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Movement launched for a university in Murshidabad

Jalangi, Murshidabad (West Bengal):  Murshidabad district has old cultural traditions. Once it was the capital city of Bengal [including what is now Bangladesh], Bihar and Orissa. It was not a backward area educationally and culturally. This district has produced so many great personalities. Lord Clive, after conquering Murshidabad, had sent a report to the East India Company directors saying that Murshidabad city is bigger than London and it is inhabited by people richer than those of London. But alas, all that is now a story of the distant past. The city and its adjoining areas kept deteriorating until they are today among the most backward in the country which, incidentally also has the largest ratio of Muslim population in India. No one came forward showing eagerness to establish a university here even after 70 years of Independence. Even the district headquarters of Murshidabad are not located in the city. Colleges which function under the University of Kalyani are 200 kms away from Murshidabad city which has only one high school dating back from the Nawabi era. Higher education is still a dream to the youth of the destitute of Muslim majority of this district. The present supposedly pro-Muslim government of Trinamool has no plans to establish a university or even a college here.

West Bengal and even Murshidabad district witnessed great political changes since Independence. Yet, no political party ever thought to do anything for the progress of this Muslim majority district. A few years back a branch of Aligarh Muslim University was established here in Jangipur situated at a corner of the district but not in Murshidabad city. It is offering some limited courses with few full time teachers and infrastructure.

In view of this situation, Biswa Vidyalaya Protistha Manch has been formed here with the collaboration of some intellectual persons to raise the demand of a complete university in the district. The intellectuals who are part of the Protistha Manch are Dr. Mojibur Rahaman (a former principal), Prof. Jagadbandhu Biswas, Sanat Kar (a principal), Mr. Abdul Hamid Sarkar, Prof. Habibur Rahaman, Prof. Jinnat Shaik, journalist Mofejul Islam, social worker Taslima Parvin, journalist Jainul Abedin, writer Taidul Islam, journalist Bipplob Biswas, teacher Samsul Halsana, teacher Mumtaj Ahmed and many others.

The Biswa Vidyalaya Protistha Manch was setup on 9  November, 2015 during a meeting at the conference hall of Robindra Sadan in Berhampore town which is the district headquarter of Murshidabad. Representatives of the Manch appealed to the Hon’ble Cheif Minister as well as the education minister of West Bengal to listen to the demands of the people of the district. Niamot Shaik, an MLA of Murshidabad, raised his voice in the legislative assembly calling for a Biswa Vidyalay in Murshidabad district. So far no one in the government has responded to this demand.

The Biswa Vidyalay Protistha Manch has decided to start a movement in Murshidabad. It has called for an agitation on 7 December, 2016 in Berhampore demanding the establishment of a full-fledged university in Murshidabad district. It is a fact that one or more universities exist in almost every district in West Bengal state while Murshidabad has been neglected despite its historical and cultural imporatance in the life and history of Bengal. (Golam Kibria, Murshidabad)

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 December 2016 on page no. 14

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