Malda district

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Malda district
মালদা জেলা
District of West Bengal
Location of Malda district in West Bengal
Location of Malda district in West Bengal
Country India
State West Bengal
Administrative division Jalpaiguri
Headquarters English Bazar
Government
 • Lok Sabha constituencies Maldah Uttar, Maldah Dakshin
 • Assembly seats Habibpur, Gazole, Chanchal, Harishchandrapur, Malatipur, Ratua, Manikchak, Maldah, English Bazar, Mothabari, Sujapur, Baisnabnagar
Area
 • Total 3,733 km2 (1,441 sq mi)
Population (2011)
 • Total 3,997,970
 • Density 1,100/km2 (2,800/sq mi)
 • Urban 240,915
Demographics
 • Literacy 62.71 per cent
 • Sex ratio 939
Major highways NH 34
Website Official website

Malda district (Pron: ˈmʌldə or ˈmældə) (Bengali: মালদা জেলা) (also spelled as Maldah or Maldaha) is a district in West Bengal, India. It lies 347 km (215 miles) north of Kolkata, the state capital. Mango, jute and silk are the most notable products of this district. The special variety of mango produced in this region, popularly known by the name of the district, is exported across the world and is acclaimed internationally. The folk culture of gombhira is a feature of the district, being a unique way of representation of joy and sorrow of daily life of the common people, as well as the unique medium of presentation on national and international matters.

District headquarters is English Bazar, also known as Malda, which was once the capital of Bengal. The district maintains the traditions of the past in culture and education. Old Malda, the town which lies just east of the confluence of the Mahananda and Kalindi rivers, is part of the English Bazar urban agglomeration. The town rose to prominence as the river port of the old capital of Pandua. During the 18th century it was the seat of prosperous cotton and silk industries. It remains an important distributing centre for rice, jute, and wheat. The area between the historical monument of Jame Masjid (1566) and the landmark of Nimasarai tower across the river Mahananda, constituted a municipality in 1867. Rice, jute, legumes, and oilseed are the chief crops in the surrounding area. Malda is the largest producer of excellent quality of jute in India. Mulberry plantations and mango orchards occupy large areas; mango trade and silk manufacture are the main economic activities. The Independence Day of Malda is 17 August 1947.

History[edit]

Pre-Gour Era[edit]

Pāṇini mentioned a city named Gourpura, which by strong reason may be identified as the city of Gouda, ruins of which are situated in this district. Examples are legion of the relics of a predecessor kingdom being used in the monuments of the successor kingdoms.

It had been within the limits of ancient Gour and Pandua (Pundrabardhana). These two cities had been the capital of Bengal in ancient and medieval ages and are equidistant, north and south, from English Bazar town (once known as Engelzavad established by the British rulers).

The boundary of Gour was changed in different ages since the 5th century BC, and its name can be found in Puranic texts. Pundranagara was the provincial capital of the Maurya Empire. Gour and Pundravardhana formed parts of the Mourya empire as is evinced from the inscriptions, Brahmi script on a seal discovered from the ruins of Mahasthangarh in the Bogra District of Bangladesh. Hiuen Tsang saw many Ashokan stupas at Pundravardhana.

The inscriptions discovered in the district of undivided Dinajpur and other parts of North Bengal, along with the Allahabad pillar inscriptions of Samudragupta, clearly indicate that the whole of North Bengal as far east as Kamrup formed a part of the Gupta Empire.

After the Guptas in the beginning of 7th century AD Sasanka, the king of Karnasubarna as well as the king of Gauda ruled independently for more than three decades. From the middle of the 8th century to the end of the 11th century the Pala dynasty ruled Bengal, the kings were devoted to Buddhism. It was during their reign that the Jagadalla Vihara (monastery) in Barindri flourished paralleling with Nalanda, Vikramshila and Devikot.

Gour Era[edit]

The Pala empire yielded to the emergence of Sen Dynasty, the Sen rulers were Tantrik Bauddha's, and in the habit of moving from place to place within their kingdom. During this time, Buddhism went on the defensive. It eventually disappeared from the demographic map of Bengal. At the time of Lakshman Sen Goud was known as Lakshmanabati. The Sen kings ruled Bengal till Bakhtiyar Khalji conquered Bengal in 1204 AD.

Thereafter the Muslim rule started. The name Mal Daha was coined (Mal= riches, Daha= lake). Sultan Ilyas Shah, Firuz Shah, Sikandar Shah, Raja Ganesha, Alauddin Hussain Shah and Nasiruddin Nasrat Shah are the notable rulers of medieval age. Afghan warrior Sher Shah Suri invaded Gour and was repelled by Mughal emperor Humayun. Humayun loving the mango of Gour named the place as Jannatabad (garden of heaven). Firuz Shah Tughlaq, Ghiyasuddin and Mughal army invaded Gour to suppress rebellion several time. Relics of Muslim structures are present as Firuz minar, Adina Mosque (the largest mosque of South Asia then), Qutwali gate etc. During the Mughal rule, the capital was removed to Dhaka due to a course change of the river Ganges. Muslim rule ended in 1757. Koch army invasion increased during the downfall of Gour.

Post-Gour Era[edit]

The British rule started in 1757. The English traders settled in the southern bank of the river Mahananda. Some indigo plant chambers, trade center and offices were established. William Carey worked here. But the glorious days were gone.

This district was formed out of some portions of outlying areas of Purnia, Dinajpur and Rajshahi districts in 1813. At the time of Dr. B. Hamilton (1808–09), the present thanas of Gazole, Malda, Bamongola, and part of Habibpur were included in the district of Dinajpur and the thanas of Harischandrapur, Kharba, Ratua, Manikchak, and Kaliachak were included in the district of Purnia. In 1813, in consequence of the prevalence of serious crimes in the Kaliachak and Sahebganj thanas and also on the rivers, a Joint Magistrate and Deputy Collector was appointed at English Bazar, with jurisdiction over a number of police stations centering that place and taken from the two districts. Thus the district of Malda was born. The year 1832 saw the establishment of separate treasury and the year 1859 the posting of a full-fledged magistrate and collector.

Up to 1876, this district formed part of Rajshahi Division and between 1876 and 1905, it formed part of Bhagalpur Division. In 1905, it was again transferred to Rajshahi Division and until 1947, Malda remained in this division. During the first Partition of Bengal of 1905, this district was attached with the newly created province of Eastern Bengal and Assam. Malda has a history of Indigo movement led by Rafique Mondal. The santhals got insurgent and captured historic Adina Mosque in support of Jeetu. Again in August 1947 this district was affected by partition. Between 12–15 August 1947, the fate of the district as to which side it should go, to Pakistan or to India, was undecided because the announcement of the partition award of Sir Radcliffe did not make this point clear. During these few days the district was under a Magistrate of East Pakistan. When the details of the Radcliffe Award were published, the district came over to West Bengal on 17 August 1947. However, the sub-division of Nawabganj was severed from Malda and was given to East Pakistan as a sub-division of the Rajshahi district.

Modern Malda[edit]

Malda has been a long neglected district since independence of India, but it became a prominent place in West Bengal after the late A. B. A. Ghani Khan Chowdhury, one of the prominent personality of eastern India, took steps within his various capacities being minister of different portfolios from state to national ministries of India to develop Malda.

For 28 years, West Bengal was ruled by the opponents of Khan Chowdhury, who succeeded to establish a unique relation with him, and the district witnessed the fruit of this coalition in industrial sector. Sukhjeet Starch Ltd, East End Silk Ltd. and lots of other enterprises have increased. East India Agro at Rishipur Anchal, which Deals with MANGO PULP & RAW JUTE. There is also a GO-NGO partnership on the card, especially artisan-based business cluster development and SME establishment is within the mission. Malda has good potential in Agro Products like mango, jute and silk .

Malda is the one of two Muslim majority districts (Murshidabad, the other Muslim majority district) in West Bengal. Due to Political differences till date Malda is still a neglected district.

Geography[edit]

The latitude range is 24°40’20" N to 25°32’08" N, and the longitude range is 87°45’50" E to 88°28’10" E. The district covers an area of 3,733.66 square kilometres (1,441.6 sq mi). The total population (as of 2001 Census) was recorded as 3,290,160.

Malda is called the gateway of North Bengal. It was once the capital of Gour-Banga with its 3,733 square kilometres (1,441 sq mi) lay of the land classified into Tal, Diara, and Barind.

To the south is Murshidabad district, to the north are North Dinajpur district and South Dinajpur district. To the east is the international border with Bangladesh. To the west is Santhal Parganas of Jharkhand and Purnea of Bihar.

Malda Town[edit]

Main article: English Bazar

Malda, the district headquarters which lends its name to the district, during its early days grew up only near the side of the river Mahananda, and now the place is known as Phulbari. Some of the oldest houses can be found here. The city started to grow since 1925-1930. Now nearly a half-million people live in this city, and it is one of the biggest cities of West Bengal. It is a part of the former Gour. The town is recognized as the English Bazaar municipality. Its notable railway station is named as Malda Town.

Economy[edit]

In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Malda one of the country's 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640).[1] It is one of the eleven districts in West Bengal currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).[1]

Divisions[edit]

Administrative subdivisions[edit]

The district comprises two subdivisions: Chanchal and Malda Sadar. Chanchal consists of six community development blocks: Chanchal–I, Chanchal–II, Ratua–I, Ratua–II, Harishchandrapur–I and Harishchandrapur–II. Malda Sadar subdivision consists of Old Malda municipality, English Bazar municipality and nine community development blocks: English Bazar, Gazole, Habibpur, Kaliachak–I, Kaliachak–II, Kaliachak–III, Manickchak, Old Malda and Bamangola.[2] English Bazar is the district headquarters. There are 11 police stations,[3] 15 development blocks, 2 municipalities, 146 gram panchayats and 3,701 villages in this district.[2][4]

Other than municipality areas, each subdivision contains community development blocs, which in turn, are divided into rural areas and census towns.[5] In total there are 10 urban units, 2 municipalities and 3 census towns. English Bazar and Old Malda form an urban agglomeration.

Chanchal subdivision[edit]

Malda Sadar subdivision[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Religion in Malda District
Religion Percent
Islam
  
52.05%
Hinduism
  
46.97%
Others
  
0.98%

According to the 2011 census Malda district has a population of 3,997,970,[6] roughly equal to the nation of Liberia[7] or the US state of Oregon.[8] This gives it a ranking of 58th in India (out of a total of 640).[6] The district has a population density of 1,071 inhabitants per square kilometre (2,770/sq mi) .[6] Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was 21.5%.[6] Malda has a sex ratio of 939 females for every 1000 males,[6] and a literacy rate of 62.71%.[6]

Nearly 32,90,160 people live in Malda. Malda has a large diversity of demographics. Various classes and tribes like Polia, Shersabadia, Khotta, Panjhra, Santhals live here.

Northern part of the district has dominantly Hindu 53% population; Muslims are 46%. Tribesman and Christian people also live here. Old Malda has a number of Shikh population who suffered in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Southern Malda is dominated by 59% Muslim population. Sujapur Idgah is one of the largest in India. Hindus are 40% in this part.

Over all Malda district (North Malda & South Malda together) Muslims are 52%, Hindus are 47%, Others are 1%.

Assembly constituency wise religious population in malda district according to 2001 census[/B]

Assembly constituency Total population Hindus Muslims Hindu% Muslim%
Habibpur 272667 244498 13076 89.67% 04.80%
Gazole 294715 222610 65650 75.53% 22.28%
Chanchal 266179 87347 175226 32.81% 65.83%
Harishchandrapur 268433 83586 184498 31.13% 68.73%
Malatipur 248560 68034 178692 27.37% 71.89%
Ratua 297023 93446 202968 31.46% 68.33%
Manikchak 278308 154525 122671 55.52% 44.08%
Maldah 266206 201886 57853 75.84% 21.72%
English Bazar 294651 209926 83902 71.25% 28.48%
Mothabari 255241 73607 181518 28.84% 71.12%
Sujapur 267100 30823 236090 11.54% 88.39%
Baisnabnagar 284376 148358 135654 52.17% 47.70%

This district is predominantly Bengali linguistically.

Culture[edit]

Malda has special cultural sorts like Gombhira, Alkap, Kavigan etc.

Festivals[edit]

Almost all of the major religious festivals are clebrated, like

Fairs[edit]

Some of the mostly reputed cultural fairs of the district are

  • Ramkeli Fair, Gour
  • Gazole Utsab
  • Kartik puja Fair
  • Charu Babu Mela
  • Charak Fair
  • Piran-e-Pir fair
  • Chobbish (24) Prahor at Shingabad and Rishipur

Book fair and Expo are organized yearly.

Places of interest[edit]

Early 19th century lithograph of the Muslim ruins of Dakhil Darwaza at Gour
  • Adina Relics
  1. Adina Mosque
  2. Gol ghar
  3. Eklakhi mosque
  4. Adina deer park
  1. Firoz minar
  2. Chika Masjid
  3. Qutwali Gate
  4. 12-gated mosque
  5. Qudm-e-Rasul, shrine believed to contain footprint of the Prophet
Temple of Jahura Kali Bari, Malda

Notable personalities[edit]

  • Shibram Chakraborty, Bengali satirist
  • A. B. A. Ghani Khan Chowdhury, former railways minister of India (1982–84)
  • Benoy Kumar Sarkar, Economist
  • Asim Dasgupta, former finance minister of West Bengal and a former student of Malda Zilla School
  • Ramesh Chandra Ghosh, Lawyer and Politician.
  • Ramhori Roy, former MLA
  • Dr. Jayanti Kumar Ghosh, reputable physician in Northumberland, England, UK
  • Subhashis Sen, Independent Historical Researcher, Special Educator & Freelance Journalist.
  • Professor Ajit Kumar Ghosh, former principal of Bijoy Krishna Girls' College, Howrah
  • Professor Santosh Kr. Chakroborty
  • Professor Durga Kinkar Bhattacherjee, former principal of Malda College.
  • Dr. Pinaki Ranjan Roy. famous Eye Specialist
  • Pt. Vishnu Sewak Misra, famous artist of classical music
  • Niren Chandra Sinha, former MLA and Head Master, Kahala NKBB High School (HS).
  • Sourindra Mohon Misra, former Dy. Minister of Education, West Bengal
  • Professor Santosh Ghosh, former Chief Architect, CMDA, Calcutta
  • Subhas Bhowmick, former Indian national footballer
  • Dr Ranajit Kumar Ghosh, General Physician of Malda Town
  • Dr Radhagobinda Ghosh, former teacher Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandir Malda (Won National Award for Teachers)
  • Dr. Syed Muazzam Ali, General Physician, Malda

Flora and fauna[edit]

The flora of Malda district is merely a small portion of that extending from Kose to the Brahmapurtra. Alteration of beels and village shrubbery with the drier jungle of the Barind region, where the ground is not occupied by the usual crops, it is covered by an abundant natural vegetation excepting the sandy beds of rivers. Old river beds, ponds, marshy land and other watery regions have a copious vegetation of vallisneria and other plants. The areas which are subject to frequent inundation usually cover themselves with seedy grasses, and in marshy parts the Rosainvolucrata is plentiful. Some portions of the Barind area are covered by jungles, which consist chiefly of thorny scrub-bush jungles mixed with Pipal, Bat, Simul and Pakur trees and Nepal Bamboos. Species of thorny bamboos are also seen in Pandua areas near villages and embankment areas of Gour thickets or shrubberies, ordinary Neem, Jackfruit trees, tamarind, bamboo, pipul and mango trees are seen in plenty. The soil of the western region of the district is particularly suited to the growth of mulberry and mango, for the production of both of which Malda has become famous.

Though about a century ago, Malda was a well-known place for the unusual quantity of large game animals, at present the district has lost its charm in this respect. Earlier, the breeding grounds of the animals were the thorny jungles of the Barind area and jungles covering the Gour and Pandua ruins. Malda was often described as the "best sporting ground of north Bengal". Many European travellers witnessed crocodiles on wetlands of Gour. In 1919 the last-known tiger, and in 1965 the last leopard of Malda was killed.

But the jungles have mostly been cleared and their inhabitants exterminated by the Santals and Paharias, who have crossed the Ganges in large number to settle in Barind and other areas. It is a time when the people become aware of the dangers of ecological imbalance.

The rivers, beels, and ponds of Malda produce considerable quantities of various categories of fishes, including Rohu, Katla, Chital, Boal, Magur, Shol, Hilisha, Pabda and varieties of crabs, prawns, turtles, etc. Pisciculture has been undertaken under various projects according to modern scientific methods.

Education[edit]

Though Malda is one of the least educated districts of West Bengal, it contains some of the élite schools of the state. Malda Zilla School, Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Vidyamandir, Barlow Girls' High School, A.C. Institution, Lalit Mohan Shyam Mohini High School, Malda Town High School, C.C. Girls' High School, The St. Xavier's School (English medium), St. Mary's School (English medium), Jingle Bell School (an English medium preparatory school), Usha Martin School(English medium), Holy Child English Academy and North Point English Academy are also some of the most reputed schools of the district.

Malda Zilla School is the oldest school in the town and also one of the oldest schools in West Bengal. It was established in 1858 on recommendation of the Hunter commission after the mutiny. Also, there is a Kendriya Vidyalaya (Central School) in the outskirts of Malda located at Maliha, the only school with English and Hindi as medium of studies. This was established in the year 1982-83 by then Union railway minister from Malda, A. B. A. Ghani Khan Choudhury. This is the only school in Malda where Bengla is not a medium of studies and is affiliated to C.B.S.E.. It was established for the education of children of Indian Railways, BSF, PowerGrid and other central govt. employees who are mostly in transferable jobs across India. Usha Martin group is coming up with its flagship chain of schools "Usha Martin School" with all the ultra modern facilities and an air-conditioned hostel facility on main NH-31.

Malda College was also in the top league among the North Bengal University affiliated colleges. Now it has its own university, the University of Gour Banga with several affiliated colleges of the district and the neighboring districts of South and North Dinajpur. The district also has an engineering college, a few private technical institutions (mostly for computer-related professional courses), and an medical college.

Among the important persons of Malda district, Benoy Sarkar who was a professor of Calcutta University and a former student of Malda Zilla School; Ramesh Chandra Ghosh, MABL was a former student of Malda Zilla School and a lawyer practiced at Chapai Nawabganj and Malda. He was a politician and imprisoned by British during independence movement. He was a Colleague of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. His house "Shital Kutir" stands in Mahesmati, Rabindra Avenue of the town; Professor Ajit Kumar Ghosh was the principal of Howrah Girls College (Bejoy Krishna Girls College) near Kolkata. He was the secretary of "Malda in Calcutta Society" with Benoy Sarker as Chairman. He wrote a book "Federation of Half of Europe", published on 1948 based on his lecture at Asiatic Society of Calcutta in 1947. Other distinguished sons of Malda district are: Dr Ranajit Ghosh, well-known medical practitioner; Professor Santosh Ghosh, M.Arch. (USA), became the chief architect of Calcutta, and Dr Jayanti Kumar Ghosh, medical doctor worked in British National Health Service and was the principal in General Medical Practice of Bondicar Medical Group of Blyth Northumberland, UK and Fellow of The Royal Society of Medicine London and now settled in England in the UK.

Also, there were the trams plying through the roads in Malda, during the British period, but was gradually removed for the sake of convenience. The population of the people consists mainly of Hindus, and some minorities of Muslims, Christians, etc.

Colleges and universities[edit]

A foundation stone was laid on January 29, 2011 for a new polytechnic college at Samsi named Ratua Satyendranath Bose Govt. Polytechnic College.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ministry of Panchayati Raj (September 8, 2009). "A Note on the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme". National Institute of Rural Development. Retrieved September 27, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Directory of District, Sub division, Panchayat Samiti/ Block and Gram Panchayats in West Bengal, March 2008". West Bengal. National Informatics Centre, India. 2008-03-19. Retrieved 2008-11-10. 
  3. ^ "Census of India 2001, Final Population Totals, West Bengal, Rural Frame". West Bengal. Directorate of census operations. Retrieved 2008-11-10. 
  4. ^ "District Profile". Official website of the Malda district. Retrieved 2008-11-10. 
  5. ^ "Population, Decadal Growth Rate, Density and General Sex Ratio by Residence and Sex, West Bengal/ District/ Sub District, 1991 and 2001". West Bengal. Directorate of census operations. Retrieved 2008-11-10. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f "District Census 2011". Census2011.co.in. 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-30. 
  7. ^ US Directorate of Intelligence. "Country Comparison:Population". Retrieved 2011-10-01. Liberia 3,786,764 July 2011 est. 
  8. ^ "2010 Resident Population Data". U. S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-09-30. Oregon 3,831,074 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 25°00′N 88°09′E / 25.00°N 88.15°E / 25.00; 88.15