A history lesson at Sophia College: Snapshots through 75 years | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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A history lesson at Sophia College: Snapshots through 75 years

What is now a row of lecture rooms used to be a crenellated palace roof complete with turrets. Those giant urns once had matching sculptures.

mumbai Updated: Jun 14, 2017 14:31 IST
Anubhuti Matta
Saris, salwars, Sadhana and Twiggy hair styles. Students from the first batch of Science graduates pose at Sophia College with their teachers and principal (centre, in white), in 1967.
Saris, salwars, Sadhana and Twiggy hair styles. Students from the first batch of Science graduates pose at Sophia College with their teachers and principal (centre, in white), in 1967.

Its neo-Classical architecture has made the college a favourite backdrop for movie shoots. Ishk Vishq (2003), Murder (2004), Lage Raho Munnabhai (2006) and many TV commercials have been shot here.

One of the commanders-in-chief of the forces of the Bombay Presidency lived in this building. So did the third president of the Indian National Congress, Badruddin Tyabji. The Maharaja of Indore acquired it and the Maharaja of Bhavnagar made it his home.

On June 19, Sophia College for Women celebrates 75.

Below are glimpses through the decades, excerpted from Down the Corridors of Wisdom: 75 Years of Sophia College for Women, a book released as part of the platinum jubilee celebrations by former principal Sister Anila Verghese and history professors Rashna Poncha and Swarupa Kamat.

Then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (centre) at the central staircase during a visit to lay the foundation of the Sophia polytechnic institute, which opened in 1970.
Where the second floor is today, there was an open terrace with battlements and a turret at each end. Open galleries allowed ‘memsahibs’ to supervise the gardens and kitchens below.
The first batch at Sophia consisted of 25 student. That was in 1941. As the numbers grew, a set of tiered lecture rooms was built on the second floor, and opened in 1952. (Pratik Chorge / HT Photo )
The main entrance that opens onto Somerset Lane and leads down to Warden Road. This arch at the end of the lane had to be taken down in 1954.
The main gate remains imposing. Beyond, the polytechnic institute and the Bhabha auditorium, a popular venue for plays. (Pratik Chorge/HT Photo )
The central lawn was ringed by a balustrade holding giant urns and statues representing Greek gods. The statues were eventually sold because of the high cost of maintenance. Some of the urns remain.
The marble staircase looks out onto the central garden, what remains of the balustrade, and the remaining urns. (Pratik Chorge / HT Photo )
The college opened with courses in Home Science and Social Culture. Seen here are the students from the first batch, and their teachers, posing for an inter-collegiate shoot with students from the University of Bombay.
Today, more than 3,000 women apply every year for admission to a range of courses, from Arts and Science to management and mass media.