Hindu College was set up in 1899 as an alternative to St Stephen’s college t hat catered to the elite. It first started functioning from Kinari Bazaar in Chandni Chowk with just about 13 boys. The number of students increased to 93 when it shifted to Kundewalan in Ajmeri Gate in 1902. It was affiliated to Delhi University in 1922 and shifted to the present location only in 1953.
The unique feature of the college was its parliament. This was started in 1920 and gave an opportunity to students to improve their leadership and oratorial skills. It was designed on the lines of the British House of Lords and Commons.
While the upper house consisted of professors, the lower house constituted students. Most discussions in the parliament centred around the freedom movement. The principal was addressed as Your Majesty.
Senior professors at the college say that the college can be called the cradle of nationalism and the college parliament played an important role in fanning nationalism. Its logo until 1932 was Vande Mataram.
Mahatma Gandhi visited the college premises on January 25, 1930, for which the students collected Rs 500 and presented it to Mahatma Gandhi.
The college magazine The Indraprastha chronicled the occasion and Gandhi’s evening meeting with the students and teachers, according to an account in a book on the college by Dr Kavita A Sharma, former principal of the college. The book is titled Hindu College Delhi: A People’s Movement.
The book has several accounts of students actively involved in the freedom movement. In August 1942, five students from the college were arrested for having formed a procession of 100-150 people behind Jama Masjid and shouting anti-government slogans.
They were convicted and sentenced with a bond of `300 each under section 562 of the CrPC for six months. Three girls, one from Hindu and two from Indraprastha, were arrested in September 1942 for picketing the house of JP Srivastava, a member of the Viceroy’s executive council.
Other accounts said a number of chemistry students from the college formed a bomb squad for disruptions in public places by underground activists.