Uttarpara

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Uttarpara
উত্তরপাড়া
town
Uttarpara is located in West Bengal
Uttarpara
Uttarpara
Location in West Bengal, India
Coordinates: 22°40′N 88°21′E / 22.67°N 88.35°E / 22.67; 88.35Coordinates: 22°40′N 88°21′E / 22.67°N 88.35°E / 22.67; 88.35
Country  India
State West Bengal
District Hooghly
Government
 • Body Municipality
 • Municipality Chairperson Aditi Kundu [1]
Population (2001)
 • Total 150,204
Languages
 • Official Bengali, English[verification needed]
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 712258
Lok Sabha constituency Srirampur
Vidhan Sabha constituency Uttarpara

Uttarpara is a town of Hooghly District, West Bengal, India. It is a part of the area covered by Uttarpara Kotrung Municipality.[2]

It is a town of historical importance. Uttarpara is home to some of the biggest industrial setups in the state. It has the United Spirits Distilliery, Shalimar Wire Products, Hindustan Motors which was the only vehicle plant in West Bengal which manufactured the car Ambassador.

Uttarpara Kotrung is the municipality. Uttarpara Kotrung Municipality was established in 1853,[3] much before the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (1876).

Geography[edit]

Uttarpara is located at 22°40′N 88°21′E / 22.67°N 88.35°E / 22.67; 88.35, within 10 km from Kolkata, the capital of the state of West Bengal. It has an average elevation of 15 metres (52 feet). Located at the south-eastern tip of the Hooghly District, on the banks of the river Ganges, it is just across the Dakshineswar Kali Temple. There is a man-made canal name "Balli Khal" that clearly marks the boundary between Uttarpara and the adjoining Howrah District.

History[edit]

Uttarpara remains firmly locked with its history through the hymn of Satya-Narayan Puja in Bengali.

"Gangaar Paschim Kul, Varanasi Samatul, Taar Madhya Uttam Uttarpara Gram, Sabarna Choudhury Dwija Narayan Naam..."
(in English, "Uttarpara is located on west bank of the Ganges, just as Varanasi. It was set up by the descendants of Sabarna Choudhury...")

Atul Krishna Ray, in his book Lakshmikanta: A Chapter In The Social History Of Bengal (1928) has written that Ratneshwar Roy Choudhury (1670–1720) belonged to the Sabarna Roy Choudhury family of Barisha-Behala. In 1709 Ratneshwar had purchased Chakbali tract from Sheoraphuli fiefdom of Manohar Roy. Since it was on the north of Chakbali, the place was called Uttarpara. He is the fourth generation in the family of Lakshmikanta, who was awarded the titles of "Roy" and "Choudhury" by Mughal Emperor Jahangir. The entire Kolkata of today and the adjacent Sundarbans belonged to the Sabarna Choudhury family. Lakshmikanta's father, Kamdev Brahmachari, who had become a saint and resided at Varanasi, had expressed that a piece of tract be bought by the family on the same side of the Ganges as that of Varanasi. The Kalighat Kali Temple was installed by Kamdev Brahmachari. Lakhmikanta was the great grandson of Panchanan Gangopadhyay, who had joined Emperor Humayun's Afghan cavalry and raised a haveli for which the place was called Havei Shahar, now Halisahar.

Amarnath Bandyopadhyay, in his book Bangsha Parichay (1911), has detailed all the Brahmin and Kayastha families of the then Uttarpara. It contains genealogy of each and every family. Sabarna Choudhury Paribar Parishad of Barisha-Behala has copies of both the above books. Ootarpara, in those days was marshland — bereft of decent human settlement. Only fishermen of Patni, Malo castes and a few Muslims lived there. Their trade was fishing, marketing fishing equipments, ferry service and dacoity. Ratneshwar cleared the entire area and developed it as a progressive town.

The compulsion of Kaulinya system made Ratneswar, who was a non-Kulin Brahmin, to bring Kulin Brahmin families for matrimony. Gradually, many Brahmin families like Durga Charan Banerjee, Ramtanu Chatterjee, Ramnidhi Chatterjee, Nandaram Mukherjee etc. migrated and settled at Ootarpara through matrimonial relation with descendants of Ratneswar Roychoudhury. Many of these families afterwards took leading role in intellectual and spiritual development of Uttarpara. It is not known how and when 'Ootarpara' became Uttarpara. Jaykrisna Mukherjee, one of the renowned Zamindars of that time belonged to this historic town. He and his family members (Mukhopadhayy Bangso) are said to be one of the founders of modern Uttarpara. Jaykrisna Mukherjee a big lover of education and it was he who founded the famous Jaykrisna library (India's largest reference library). He paid a great attention towards female education and founded a school for the women which is still active.

Joykrishna Mukherjee was the first person to sign a mass petition for enactment of a law for widow marriage (Bidhoba Bibaha). A part of the Joykrishna library was opened for the famous poet Michael Madhusudan Dutta during his last few years.Every year in the month of January a classical concert is organised by the Sangeet Chakra where many famous classical maestros perform.

Demographics[edit]

As of 2001 India census,[4] Uttarpara Kotrung had a population of 150,204. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Uttarpara Kotrung has an average literacy rate of 79%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 82%, and female literacy is 76%. In Uttarpara Kotrung, 8% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Economy[edit]

Hindustan Motors[edit]

Uttarpara is home to India's first car factory - Hindustan Motors.[5] Efforts are being made to revive the plant.[6][7]

Transportation[edit]

Uttarpara is well connected by road and rail. There is a railway station at Uttarpara that connects Uttarpara with Howrah via the main line axis which connects the metropolis of Kolkata with the rest of India. At Bally, just a kilometre off, three major railway lines converge. The historically famed and the nation's prime road artery, the Grand Trunk Road passes through Uttarpara. Central Kolkata (Esplanade) is just 14 km away from Uttarpara. Presently, Uttarpara is better described as a suburb of Kolkata. Majority of its population goes to Kolkata for work.

The two adjacent stations to Uttarpara are Hindmotor and Bally.

Culture[edit]

Uttarpara boasts of a rich cultural heritage. Philanthropic zamindar of Bengal, Sri Joy Krishna Mookherjee, who was related to the family of founder Ratneshwar through marriage, contributed towards establishment of library, a public hospital and a school. The town once boasted of sylvan peace, beautiful buildings, epitome of great architectural works and steeped in cultural heritage. But, that is fast giving way to flats and modern apartment buildings to accommodate the ever increasing populace. Bengali poet Michael Madhusudan Dutt spent his last days in Uttarpara Joykrishna Library.[8]

In 1909, Aurobindo Ghosh gave his last political speech before leaving for Pondicherry to embrace monkhood. This speech, known as 'Uttarpara Speech',[9] is a valuable work for understanding Hinduism and Sanatan dharma by Sri Aurobindo.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose also came to Uttarpara once and gave his political speech. A heritage building is under renovation process to keep the memory of this great freedom fighter.

The Hungry Generation literary movement which changed the course of Bengali creative literature, was started by two brothers, Malay Roy Choudhury and Samir Roychoudhury, descendants of the founder of Uttarpara, Ratneshwar Roychoudhury. The literary movement had its meetings in their ancestral home Sabarna Villa on Choudhury Para Street, which was visited by such literary stalwarts as Sunil Gangopadhyay, Shakti Chattopadhyay and many others.

The first professional Indian photographer-artist Lakshminarayan Roychoudhury who learned photography in the 1880s from John Lockwood Kipling in Lahore was a descendant of Ratneshwar Roychoudhury and grandfather of Malay Roy Choudhury and Samir Roychoudhury.

Education[edit]

  • Little Flowers' High School(Class L.N to X)
  • Uttarpara Model School (H. S.)
  • Hind Motor High School
  • Hind Motor Education Center
  • Bhupendra Sriti Vidyalaya

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

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