This multidisciplinary centre of higher learning had its humble beginnings as a single room English school started by Royal Kingdom of Cochin in 1845 "to impart such instruction to the students as would enable them to converse with Englishmen without the aid of an interpreter". The school was upgraded to a college in 1875 and in June 1925 the college acquired its present name. The college provided instruction in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Zoology, History and Economics; it was affiliated with Madras University. At that time there were two hostels and physical education, literary and science associations functioning in full swing. Sir C V Raman and Dr S Radhakrishnan were among the speakers at the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 1925.
The first PG course was started in 1947 in the Department of Chemistry, which already had research facilities holding to M.Sc and Ph.D. Following the integration of Cochin and Travancore states, the college was transferred from Madras to Travancore University in 1949. The student body grew from 500 in 1925 to 2,802 in 1998; the teaching faculty saw a parallel increase from 21 to 195.
The college library is 135 years old and has a collection of nearly one lakh (hundred thousand) books, including a prestigious collection of rare literature books. The reference section itself has 2000 books. However, lack of space is one of the vexing problems of the library. A reference and information section, inter-library networking and Internet facility are some of the immediate requirements of the library.
The facilities available for sports activities include a 400-meter synthetic track, a football field-cum-cricket ground, a stadium pavilion with a capacity of 25,000 people, and courts for games like hockey, volleyball, basketball, kho-kho, kabady, and ball badminton. Facilities are available for indoor games like table-tennis, carom, chess, wrestling, weightlifting and power lifting.
Staff and students co-operative society
The Maharaja's College staff and students co-operative society Ltd. no. 207, functioning on the campus, aims at promoting the spirit of cooperation and independence among its members. The society runs a bookshop in which textbooks and notebooks and various study materials are made available for students. It also houses a photocopying machine where photocopying is done at a reduced rate.
Career guidance cell
A career guidance centre was started on the college campus in 1994, with a view to enable the students to manage themselves and to provide personal counseling on environment and qualifications for entry into various careers. In spite of the fact that the centre is still in its infancy and has few infrastructural facilities, it could arrange campus interviews for Cochin Maintenance Centre, NITT and Eureka Forbes. Many lectures on career opportunities are arranged on a regular basis by the centre.
The Maharaja's College Rama Varma hostels include the new hostel for men and the ladies' hostel. The former has 90 rooms with a capacity of 240 students and two tutors; the latter has facilities for only 104 students and one tutor. Nowadays, the demand for accommodation in the ladies' hostel is greater than the availability due to the increase in the number of girl students. To remedy this situation, a concrete proposal for a women's hostel has been submitted to UGC during the IX plan.
Old Students Association
An Old Students Association (OSA) formed in 1925 still functions on the college campus and its members have been involved in many of the activities of the college, such as arranging lectures by eminent personalities and awarding prizes to rank holders. It has also played an instrumental role in initiating the ongoing restoration work in the campus.
The college conducts 19 degree courses, 21 postgraduate courses and 11 doctorate programmes. The degree courses are:
- Bachelor of Arts in English, Malayalam, Arabic, Hindi, Sanskrit, Music, Economics, Politics, Philosophy, History, and Islamic History;
- Bachelor of Science in Botany, Chemistry, Chemistry (with Environment and Water Management as vocational subjects), Mathematics, Physics, Physics (with instrumentation as vocational subject), Zoology
- Bachelor of Commerce (with Computer Applications)
The P.G. courses are:
- Master of Arts in Arabic, English, Hindi, Malayalam, Sanskrit, Economics, Politics, Philosophy, History, Islamic History;
- Master of Science in Botany, Chemistry (Pure), Analytical Chemistry, Applied Chemistry (Oils , Fats and Aromatics), Applied Chemistry (Pharmaceutical Chemistry) , Mathematics, Physics (Theoretical Physics), Physics (Electronics), Statistics and Zoology.
Maharajas also offers PhD programmes under the departments of Arabic, Chemistry, Economics, English, Hindi, Malayalam, Philosophy, Physics, Politics, Sanskrit and Zoology.
Department of Physics, Maharaja's College is an approved Research Centre of M.G. University since 1991. Presently, there are 9 approved research guides supervising the research programmes. 9 research scholars are currently doing research work.
The thrust areas of research are Material Science, Nano-magnetic Materials, Magneto-optics, Rubber Ferrite Composites, Luminescence, Laser optics, Molecular vibrational spectroscopy, Theoretical Physics, Nonlinear physics, Quantum Computing, and Astrophysics.
Milestones in history
- 1875 - The Cochin Rajas Elementary school started by Cochin Sarkar is upgraded into a college. Mr. A.F. Sealy, M.A. took charge as the first principal. It was Mr. Sealy who had designed the building and hence the name Sealy block. F.A. (First examination in Arts) course started.
- 1908 - Intermediate course started
- 1909 - Two separate hostels started - one for Hindu students and another for Christian students
- 1910 - First college magazine published - on the occasion of the 60th birthday of the Cochin Maharaja, Sir Sri Rama Varma.
- 1925 - Golden Jubilee. Sir C.V. Raman and Dr. S. Radhakrishnan visited the college. The college got its present name - "Maharajas College". The college was raised to a first grade college providing instructions in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Zoology, History and Economics affiliated to Madras University. Old Students Association formed.
- 1930 - Three new blocks added to the college. 15-acre (61,000 m2) plot donated to the college - Maharajas ground established.
- 1935 - Diamond Jubily. B. Sc. Courses in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Zoology started.
- 1947 - B. Sc. Botany started. Year of India's independence. Student's political activities reached new peaks. Student activists hoisted Indian national flag in the Campus and got brutally beaten up by the royal police.
- 1948 - The department of Chemistry that already had research facility started the first P.G. course.
- 1949 - Following the integration of Travancore and Cochin states, the college is transferred from Madras University toTravancore University.
- 1951 - New courses - B.A. (Hons.), M.A. Economics, B.Sc. (Hons.), M.Sc. Mathematics.
- 1954 - New course - M.Sc. Applied Chemistry.
- 1956 - Pre University course started. M.A. Malayalam and M.A. English started.
- 1957 - The College comes under Kerala University. M.Sc. Physics started.
- 1959 - New courses - B.A.Sanskrit, M.A. History, M.A. Hindi, M.Sc Zoology.
- 1964 - Pre University Course metamorphed into Pre Degree course. New courses - B.A. Politics, B.A. Philosophy
- 1968 - New courses - B.A.English, B.A. Islamic History, B.A. Arabic
- 1971 - New courses - M.A. Philosophy, M.A. politics.
- 1975 - Centennial - completed 100 years - celebrations in great style with science exhibitions, seminars, symposia etc.
- 1977 - New Centenary Auditorium inaugurated.
- 1979 - New course - M.A. Arabic.
- 1981 - New courses - M.A. Islamic History.
- 1983 - Affiliation changed to newly formed Mahatma Gandhi University.
- 1990 - Maharajas College declared Centre of Excellence. Departments of Chemistry, Hindi, Malayalam and Physics recognised as research centres for research towards Ph. D, under Mahatma Gandhi University.
- 1993 - Maharajas won overall championship of the Mahatma Gandhi University youth festival. A feat to be repeated in 1994, 1995, 1998 and 2000.
- 1995 - New course - M.Sc. Statistics.
- 1996 - New courses - B.Sc. Physics - Instrumentation and B.Sc. Environment and Water Management.
- 1997 - R. Shankar Award for the best Government College presented to Maharajas.
- 1998 - New course - B. A. Music
- 1999 - New course - B. Com. with Computer Applications.
- 2000 - Completes 125 glorious years. Accredited by National Assessment and Accreditation Council. Maharajas goes online.
- 2006 - Re-accredited by National Assessment and Accreditation Council at A - level.
- 2007 - Maharajas College Ground gets synthetic tracks for conducting international athletic events. Students of the college win overall championship of the Mahatma Gandhi University Silver Jubilee youth festival.
- 2009 - Edusat facility installed. Becomes part of Ernakulam cluster of colleges.
- 2010 - Maharajas wins overall championship of the Mahatma Gandhi University youth festival. College selected as a "College with Potential for Excellence" by the University Grants Commission.