These two volumes compilation on various dimensions and emerging areas of the discipline of Psychology was initially planned as part of an academic proposal some years back. But due to certain unforeseen constraints it was not possible for the Asiatic Society to publish them on time. However, considering the importance of the subject in terms of its growth, spread and development in post graduate curricula of various university departments starting from 1916 in the University of Calcutta, it was finally decided to publish this unique compendium. The Editors of these two volumes have included some very interesting and important papers assorted from published journals, seminar proceedings, books etc. They have clarified almost all the terms used in the title of this publication leaving perhaps little space for any misunderstanding to a reader.
The scholars specially the students and researchers in the discipline of Psychology would find this work as very useful one. The papers have been divided into two time-frames-ones from 1916 to 1940 and the other from 1941 to 1965. The first volume mainly covers the development of the discipline centring around the basics current in the University of Calcutta while second volume covers contributions of other areas mainly focusing later developments in other departments of Psychology established in many parts of the country at a later date. The Editors have also taken the pain of bringing out certain distinguishable differences in the trend of teaching and research in various sub-divisions of the broad domain of Psychology encapsulated into these apparent time-frames. I believe the scholars in the subject would appreciate the efforts of the Editors in this matter.
The first Psychological Laboratory in the world was set up by Wilhelm Wundt in the University of Leipzig in 1875 for experimentally studying the mental states. Brilliant students from all over America and Europe were attracted to Wundt's Laboratory and spread the subject to different countries. Though universally recognised official year of establishment of Leipzig Laboratory is 1879, the actual year of its foundation is 1875. Dr. S. C. Mitra witnessed the fiftieth anniversary of the Laboratory celebrated at Leipzig in November 21, 1925 (Dutta 1937; Mitra 1937).
Calcutta: The Pioneer in Psychological Movement
The first Psychological Laboratory in Asia was established in Japan. The Calcutta University started the first Psychological Laboratory and the Department of Experimental Psychology in India in 1916 at University College of Science, 92 Upper Circular Road (now, Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road) in Calcutta. Dr. N. N. Sengupta was the first Head of the Department, who was specially trained in the Harvard University under Professor Hugo Munsterberg. The students then trained in the Calcutta Laboratory have been instrumental in spreading the psychological movement throughout India. The Post graduate course in Psychology was opened in 1916 and the Undergraduate Honours course in 1920 (Bose, p. 3).
M. N. Banerjee was the first and only student who passed out in 1916. The first regular batch of students, which included Haripada Maiti and Rangin Haldar, was, however, admitted in 1916. Girindrasekhar Bose also took admission at the same time as a casual student. He was permitted to appear at the M. Sc. Examination in one year, i.e., in 1917 as a special case because of his high academic achievement. Bose was awarded D. Sc. Degree in Psychology from Calcutta University in 1921 and thus became the first D. Sc. degree holder in Psychology in India.
Dr. N. N. Sengupta maintained a high standard of teaching and introduced research programme with the help of his carefully chosen students and colleagues in 1923. An added incentive for research was provided when Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) agreed to include the Section of Psychology from 1925 session. This provided the opportunity to present scientific papers to the annual sessions of ISCA. Though the inclusion of Psychology Section therein was initiated and pursued by Dr. N. N. Sengupta and Dr. G. Bose, the task would have been difficult without the strong support of Professor P. C. Mahalanobis and Sir C. V. Raman. The first meeting of the Psychology Section of ISCA was chaired by Dr. N. N. Sengupta in January 1925 at the Benaras Hindu University. Research papers of Calcutta University were highly appreciated by the Psychologists present. It was decided at the meeting to form the Indian Psychological Association and to start its official organ, the Indian Journal of Psychology to be published quarterly. The first issue of the journal was published in January 1926 with Dr. N. N. Sengupta as the first Editor. He was also the first President of Indian Psychological Association. Calcutta University agreed to print the journal at the University press free of cost and did so for more than twenty-five years. The Indian Psychoanalytical Society was started in 1922. It was mainly devoted to training Psychoanalysts and to popularise Psychoanalysis.
As the reputation of the Department spread far and wide students from different parts of the country were attracted to the Calcutta Laboratory. Young teachers of psychology of other universities came to Calcutta for crash courses of training in Psychology Practical work. The emphasis of Calcutta Laboratory was on experimental work based on the classical work of Wundt, Kulpe, Fechner, Ebbinghaus and other renowned psychologists.
Dr. G. Bose took charge of the Department from Dr. N. N. Sengupta in July 1929 as a part-timer because he was a busy medical practitioner. The designation of "Head of the Department" came into vogue at this time. The Chair of Psychology was created in 1939 and Dr. G. Bose was appointed as the first University Professor in Psychology. The name of the subject "Experimental Psychology" was changed to "Psychology" in 1938 as the qualifying word 'Experimental' was no longer necessary. Psychology as a Science subject was placed under the Faculty of Science of Calcutta University in 1950.
In 1938 the Silver Jubilee Session of the Indian Science Congress Association was attended by many foreign psychologists like C. G. Jung, Carl Spearman and C. Myers. A committee headed by Myers recommended the opening of an Applied Psychology Section as a research and public utility service unit of the Department. Applied Psychology section was formally opened in September 1938. M. N. Banerjee, the senior most Lecturer of Psychology Department was In-charge of the Section under the general supervision of Professor G. Bose, the Head of the Department. Later, in 1945, one-year Course of Certificate in Applied Psychology was started for the graduates in Psychology or Education and degree holders in Medicine.
In 1942, the War Department of the Government of India established an Experimental Selection Board for recruitment to the Commission ranks and Sudhir Kumar Bose was the first Indian Psychologist to be selected for the post of Senior Psychologist at Meerut Headquarters. On return from war he became the In-Charge of Applied Psychology Section in 1950.
Dr. Suhrit Chandra Mitra was appointed the second University Professor of Psychology in 1950 as Prof. G. Bose resigned on health grounds. Prior to his retirement, G. Bose initiated a move to open a Post graduate course in Applied Psychology as part of the existing course. Professor Mitra pursued the matter and got it accepted by the authorities. The new course was called the B-course in which the first batch of students was admitted in 1952. This course was, however, abolished when in 1969 an independent Department of Applied Psychology was opened as per decision taken in 1965 to have a Post- graduate course in Applied Psychology in place of existing Certificate course.
Till 1965, the target date of this project - Sudhir Kumar Bose was the University Professor and Head of the Department of Psychology, Calcutta University.
The history of the Department beyond 1965 is to be found in some recent publications (Deb, 2000).
Psychology Movement Spreads
A bird's eye view of the Departments teaching Psychology, based on UGC Report (1968) providing minimum information, is given below.
Mysore University, the second in India, opened the Psychology Department in 1924 with Dr. M. V. Gopalaswamy as the Professor and Head of the Department. He had his training under Professor C. Spearman in London. This was the first University in India to create a Chair in Psychology. This Department had carried out extensive research work on Psychological tests in the area of vocational and educational guidance. Renowned Psychologists like Professor B. Kuppuswamy and Professor B. Krishnan contributed much to the development of the Department. Thrust areas included Clinical Psychology, Indian Psychology, Psycholinguistics and Experimental Psychology.
The Psychology Department of University of Madras was opened in 1943 under the guidance of Dr. G. D. Boaz. The emphasis of the Department was on educational psychology and research work. One of the leading psychologists of the Department was Professor T. E. Shanmugam.
Patna University opened its Psychology Department in 1946 for teaching Psychology as an independent subject at the Post-graduate and Under-graduate levels under Professor S. M. Mohsin. In Silver Jubilee Volume of Indian Psychological Association published in 1950, it was recorded that M. Z. Abdin was the first Head of the Department of Patna College where Hons. and M.A. course in Psychology was offered since 1949. The Institute of Psychological Research and Service, formerly The Institute of Applied Psychology whose first director was Dr. H. P. Maiti was setup in 1948.
A separate department of Psychology was started at the Aligarh Muslim University in 1948 under the Headship of Dr. A. Ansari. The thrust areas are Social, Clinical and Experimental Psychology.
With the establishment of M. S. University at Baroda in 1949, a separate Department of Psychology was created under the guidance of Dr. L. J. Bhatta. Its research unit constructed and standardized Psychological tests in Gujarati language and standardized those particularly' for Gujarati people. The Department owes a debt to the pioneering work of Professor T. K. N. Menon.
At the Lucknow University Post graduate course in Psychology was opened in 1950. The Department was originally established with Philosophy by Professor N. N. Sengupta who left Calcutta University in 1929 for this purpose. In 1953, Psychology as an optional subject was started for the Under-graduate course. Under the direction of Professor Kali Prasad, who later became the Vice-Chancellor of Lucknow University, the major researches were carried out in the fields of Social and Clinical Psychology and Psychometry. Professor Rajnarain, Professor H. S. Asthana and Professor R. M. Loomba contributed much towards the reputation of the Psychology Department with their able guidance and academic acumen.
University of Pune started a Department of Experimental Psychology in 1950. Its research work emphasised particularly on verbal learning. Under the guidance of Professor V. K. Kathurkar, the Department has a well-equipped laboratory in Experimental Psychology.
The Bihar University started Post-graduate course in Psychology in 1954 and Honours classes in 1953 under Dr. A. Hazari.
Gorakhpur University started Psychology as an independent subject at the Post-graduate level in 1957. Professor H. S. Asthana was the Head of the Department. In the same year the Psychology Department of Kerala University was opened under the guidance of Professor E. I. George. Besides teaching and research facilities, the Department started students' counseling services and psychological clinic. Gujarat University also opened in that year an independent Post-graduate Department in Psychology designated as the "University School of Psychology". Professor P. H. Prabhu was the Director of the School and the Head of the Psychology Department.
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