Which one is the first Madrasah of India?

The word ‘Madrasa’ is an Arabic word, which especially means Islamic educational institutions. During the ancient period, Islamic educational institutions were only in Islamic countries. Later, with the extension of Islam and Islamic education, the number of madrasas was also being extended in many other countries of the world. Like many other regions, the Indian sub-continent was not also lagging of this.

At present, there are many famous madrasas in this sub-continent. However, which one is the first madrasah of India? Who founded that madrasa? What is the history behind this? Let us know about it- 


People know the madrasa in India as the first madrasa of this sub-continent is Calcutta Madrasa. When The British were ruling India, they built a madrasa in Calcutta.

History of the first madrasa in India

Governor-General Warren Hastings wanted the Indian Muslims to being wise in Arabic, Persian, and Muslim Law (Fiqh). British rulers planned to employ the Muslims in lower positions in Government offices, especially in courts, so they can easily get the explanations of Muslim laws. Besides, their motive was also to make the generous Muslim community happy by offering those jobs.

These were the reasons behind the plan of building madrasa. To fulfill these needs, Warren Hastings founded Calcutta Madrasa in October 1781. They changed later the name, and it was ‘’ Aliya Madrasa ‘’. At first, they located this historical madrasa at Boithakkhana, Sealdah nearer to Calcutta city.

Then it was transferred to its present location at Wellesley Square in 1827. In 2006, the Government of West Bengal recognized the madrasa as a college. In addition, in 2008, West Bengal assembly passed a bill to upgrade the madrasa to university. At present, we know it as Aliah University.  

Information of the Governing Body

1780 to 1.5 years, Warren Hastings carried the full expenses of Calcutta Madrasa. In April 1782, they handed the entire responsibility over to Bengal Government. Because of the complaint against its management and violence of the students, in 1790 direct bureaucratic interference happened for the first time. They removed the headteacher Majduddin in 1791 for this case.

Then the management of the madrasa was offered to a committee of three members where the chief person was the Chairmen of the Board OF REVENUE. In 1819, they selected a retired British army officer named captain Ayron as the first secretary to develop madrasa management. However, in 1842 the committee became extinct. After that, I appointed a European person as the principal. His name was Dr. Aloys Sprenger. They appointed some other Europeans after Dr. Alyos. Among them, the last one was MH Harley.


Its foundation period, The Calcutta Madrasa was following the teaching method of the famous Arabic school named Darse Nizamiyah. That time Islamic institutions denied the Bangla language. Along with Persian and Arabic books, there were taught Arithmetic and book of Euclid. Though Tafsir, Hadith, History, Geography were not included in the madrasa syllabus. The madrasa started primary English courses as a part of the improvement in 1826.

They opened a new department ‘’Dept. of Anglo-Persian’’ as a different institute in 1854. Again, in 1863, Calcutta Madrasa added the F. A. level, but there was no result of adding the level. After the failure of so many reforming attempts, finally, in 1854 they proposed to bring the madrasa under Calcutta University.

Nevertheless, the proposal was not granted at last. Calcutta Madrasa started to teach in Bangla from 1947. Though it was not so famous now, it has been a renowned educational institution. Now it holds over 28 subjects at this university. The university offers the students Graduation and Post-graduation for each of these subjects.  


Type: Government University

Chancellor: Governor, West Bengal

Vice-Chancellor: Professor Muhammad Ali Retired Dr. Abu Talib Khan, Professor Sayed Samsul Alam.

Address: 21 Haji Muhammad Mohsin Square, West Bengal, India

Campuses: Rajarhat, SaltLake, Parkcircus, Haji Muhammad Mohsin Square.

Official website: Aliah.ac.in

Leave a Reply