Rabindranath and Sri Aurobindo were formally introduced to each other in 1906 at Calcutta. Soon they became colleagues at the newly formed National College (under the National Council of Education) at Calcutta; while Sri Aurobindo was associated with it as its first Principal and professor of history, Rabindranath served the college as the professor of Bengali. When Sri Aurobindo was arrested for the first time in 1907 for publishing seditious articles against the British Government in the Bande Mataram journal, Rabindranath wrote his famous poem Namaskar (Salutations) acknowledging the former’s profound sacrifice and expressing his own reverence for Sri Aurobindo. After Sri Aurobindo was released from imprisonment due to lack of evidence, Rabindranath paid him a visit at the residence of Raja Subodh Chandra Mullick in Wellington Square. As per reports available, he had embraced Sri Aurobindo and told him with a tender smile: “You have deceived me, Aurobindo Babu.” Sri Aurobindo answered: “Not for long, I assure you.” (Charu Chandra Dutta, My Friend and My Master, Sri Aurobindo Circle, Eight Number, p. 137, 1952)
Sri Aurobindo retired from active politics in 1910 and made Pondicherry the cave of his tapasya where he devoted his time to intense sadhana. There was no direct contact between Rabindranath and him till 1928 when Rabindranath—on his way to Colombo—sent a telegram to Sri Aurobindo and expressed his eagerness to meet the secluded yogi at Pondicherry. It is noteworthy that Sri Aurobindo had withdrawn into complete seclusion after November 1926 and neither did he grant private interviews to individuals nor did he appear before the public except on Darshan days. But he made an exception when he received Rabindranath’s telegram and agreed to meet him. Rabindranath arrived at Pondicherry on 29 May 1928 and was ushered to Sri Aurobindo’s apartments by Nolini Kanta Gupta, the Secretary of Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Though Rabindranath spent half an hour in the company of Sri Aurobindo, nothing is known about the talks they had. However, Rabindranath penned his experiences of meeting Sri Aurobindo in two articles in English and Bengali which were published in The Modern Review and Probasi respectively both edited by Ramanananda Chatterjee.
To trace the history of Jadavpur University is to trace a part of India’s freedom movement, at least from the Swadeshi Movement onwards. It was 1905 -1906
Bengal stood divided. The times were feverish.
The hegemony of the British establishment had to be challenged. Education had to play a new role in this changed scenario. It had to become a new form of resistance through which the emergent nationalist spirit could be propagated. With this in mind the National Council of Education (NCE) came into being.
Its primary aim was to impart education - literary, scientific and technical on national lines exclusively under national control. To achieve self-reliance, through education. The foundation of the NCE was made possible by the munificence - scholarly as well as monetary - of the likes of Raja Subodh Chandra Mallik , Brajendra Kishore Roychowdhury of Gouripur as well as Sir Rash Behari Ghosh (first President of NCE), poet Rabindranath Tagore and Sri Aurobindo Ghosh.
In 1910 the Society for the Promotion of Technical Education in Bengal which looked after Bengal Technical Institute (which later became College of Engineering and Technology, Bengal) was amalgamated to NCE. NCE henceforth looked after the College of Engineering and Technology, Bengal which by 1940 was virtually functioning as a University. After Independence, the Government of West Bengal, with the concurrence of the Govt. of India, enacted the necessary legislation to establish Jadavpur University on the 24th of December 1955.
Now Jadavpur University has successfully established itself as a foremost Indian University with a vast repertoire of courses offered, an enviable list of faculty members and has come to be known for its commitment towards advanced study and research.
Generous donations for the great cause of national education came from Raja Subodh Chandra Mallik, after whom the road on which Jadavpur University stands, is named, Brojendra Kishore Roy Choudhury, Maharaja Suryya Kanto Acharya Choudhury and others and National Council of Education (N.C.E.), Bengal proceeded with its programme. Subsequently came a princely bequest of Rs13lakhs from Sir Rashbehari Ghosh, the legendary legal luminary.
Calcutta Corporation under the guidance of its Mayor Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das leased out to N.C.E. the present site of Jadavpur Campus where its Engineering College was shifted in 1924. The Aurobindo Building, now housing the administrative offices, used to be the venue of teaching of the Engineering College.
Sri Aurobindo was the first Principal of the Bengal National College and among the teachers was luminaries like Rabindranath Tagore, Sir Gurudas Banerjee, Ananda Coomaraswamy, Surendra Nath Banerjee, Ramendra Sundar Trivedi, Radha Kumud Mukherjee, Benoy Kumar Sarkar, Sakharam Ganesh Deoskar and others.
Pioneering efforts came from such dedicated and learned people like Prof. Hemchandra Das Gupta, Prof. Hiralal Roy, Prof. Satish Chandra Bhattacharyya, and many others, who introduced new disciplines and domains of engineering and changed the dimensions of the colonial engineering education. Their work has been carried further by Dr. Triguna Sen, Prof. Hemchandra Guha, Prof. Karuna Roy, Prof. M. L. Schroff., Prof. Tuhin Roy, Prof. Gopal Chandra Sen and many others.
The University has been enriched by contributions from people like Prof. Sushil Kumar De, Prof. Amartya Sen, Prof. Ganesh Chandra Bose, Prof. Sudhindranath Datta, Prof. Buddhadev Bose, Prof. Gourinath Sastri, Prof. Susovan Chandra Sarkar, Prof. Subodh Chandra Sen Gupta, Prof. Prithwis Chandra Chakravorty, Prof. Panchanan Chakravorty, Prof. Prabhat Sarbadhikary, Prof. Prafulla Kumar Guha, Rev. S.J.Antoine, Prof. Bibhuti Bhusan Sen, Prof. Satyasundar Deb, Prof. Anil Kumar Majumdar, Prof. Syamadas Chatterjee, Prof. Bankim Chandra Mukherjee, Dr. Amitava Bhattacharyya, Dr. Jnan Saran Chatterjee, Prof. Sukumar Datta and many others who steered the early progress of the Arts and Science Faculties-the new additions to the original Faculty of Engineering & Technology.