In 1844, Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh along with Pandit Shiv Deen who served as its first principal established the Maharaja's College. It was earlier secondary school that imparted education in Sanskrit, Urdu and English. Formerly there were only 40 pupils but with time the College grew rapidly. In 1852 the college was split to establish the separate Sanskrit College under Hari Das Shastri. There was conscious emulation here of the education policies of pre-Macaulay British India. In 1865 the Jaipur Sanskrit College was relocated to the complex of the Ramachandra Temple. The Maharaja's College was established in another large temple building adjacent to the Hawa Mahal.
By 1875 almost 800 pupils enrolled themselves in the college. On the other hand the Sanskrit College was attended by almost 200 students. Both the institutions flourished immensely in later decades. BA degrees were introduced in 1890 and other higher degrees in 1896. Apart from this there were many other institutions that were established during the reign of Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh. These included the Rajput School, the Medical School, the Girls' School, the School of Art, the Public Library, a printing press, the Ram Prakash Theatre, a meteorological observatory and Mayo Hospital.
Ram Singh also reorganized the Pandit Sabha to encourage discussion of social and sectarian reform amongst pandits. The Pandit Sabha was founded by his ancestor, Mirza Raja Jai Singh 1.
School of Art
The School of Art was opened in 1866 by Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh finds a special mention here. Many Art schools were established in the Presidency towns of British India like in Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and also in but these emphasised upon Western drawing styles. On the other hand the Jaipur School differed to a great extent from that model. It was a school not of fine art but of industrial design. The curriculum included methods of local traditional crafts. It also taught drawing and skills of Western origin, such as clock-making and electroplating. The School of Art taught the methods of carpentry and wood craft, clay modelling and pottery, stone sculpture, filigree work, blacksmithing, koft-gari, embroidery and engraving. Education was free for the sons of the artisan class. The courses lasted from three to five years. Along with theoretical education sound practical education was also imparted in Industrial arts. These education policies aimed at securing the best employment for the graduates. The number of such pupils exceeded 100 by 1877 and rose to over 150 in the second decade of the twentieth century.'
Teachers of School of Art
Earlier when the school was established the administration was entrusted to a member of the small coterie of European professionals. Surgeon Major F. W. de Fabeck was one of the key instructors here. He was not a professional art educator but a physician but he devoted much time to art and culture. The purpose of the school and the revival of local industrial design was his brainchild. It was later pursued further by his successor Opendro Nath Sen from 1875 to 1907. Other notable personnel were 'Luchman' (Lakhshman), the original drawing master, his younger brother and successor Ram Baksh was a pupil of the school and also the star graduate of their department, Jai Chand, who was one of many to find appropriate employment, in his case in the office of the state's Executive Engineer. These were the influential drawing masters of the school. Ram Baksh was another important personality who was famous for introducing drawing from nature.
Under the instruction of Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh an exhibition was organised in 1883. The exhibition displayed the products of the School of Art and several other craft work from different parts of India. The Jaipur Exhibition coincided with the Calcutta International Exhibition of 1883. It was the first major such event to be held in an Indian state. Prizes for the best works were awarded by a board of jurors. Jaipur thus gained much reputation for the exhibitions held and gained much attention. The city also became the chief supplier of local skill work like, stonework, pottery, jewellery, enamelling, metalwork, lacquer and textiles to the London Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886.
Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh next shifted his attention towards building a permanent public museum with the objective of displaying valuable works of the craftsmen in the School of Art. The maharaja however died soon. Later Samuel Swinton Jacob was entrusted with the job of building the Albert Hall.
(Last Updated on : 30-07-2012)