District Profile

Demographics

According to the 2011 census Paschim Medinipur district has a population of 5,943,300, roughly equal to the nation of Eritrea or the US state of Missouri. This gives it a ranking of 14th in India (out of a total of 640). The district has a population density of 636 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,650/sq mi). Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was 14.44%. Paschim Medinipur has a sex ratio of 960 females for every 1000 males and a literacy rate of 79.04%.

Geography

Medinipur(undivided) was the biggest among the districts of West Bengal, with its geographical location in 21 º 36´ to 22 º 57´ North latitude to 86 º 33´ to 88 º 11´ East longitude. It was of 14,081 sq.K.mtr., which is 15.86% of West Bengal. The district is noted for its great geographical diversity. North and north-west region of this district is a part of Chhotonagpur plateau in its eastern end and covered with hard laterite stone. The eastern part of Medinipur (undivided) is a formation of recent alluvial and the southern sandy region is a part of coastal plane. Four major rivers go through this region, namely Hooghly, Cossye, Rupnarayan and Subarnarekha. As the land slope of Medinipur(undivided) is from North-West to South East part, the following stream of the rivers course towards south-east. If the geographical features of this district is discussed, it would be found that, these stone-formations belong to ‘recent’(Holocene), Pleistocene, Pliocene, Miocene, etc. Almost in 2/3 part of this region, ‘recent aluvium’ can be found. And then ‘laterite’. Other rocks are conglomerate, epidiorite and niche. These are hard and stony and not at all cultivable. From Garbeta on north to Medinipur town and from Dantan on the south to Kharagpur, State Highway is stretched and the rail-track goes just on its parallel line and this may be treated as the apportioning line of these two land-formations. The portions on the east is plain and of alluvial soil but on the other side, Western portion is the eroded part of Chhotonagpur plateau. This wavy upland descends towards east with slopes. Geographical features of this district may be defined in four divisions: (1) Planes of Shilai, (2) Lower Cossye Planes, (3) Upland of Medinipur, (4) Planes of Contai region. (1) Planes of Shilai: This plane-land is a part of Bankura border, which is on the north of this district. This is the middle portion of Shilai on the north and Cossye on the south. This is a portion of eastern Chootonagpur plateau and of 2528.6 Sq. km. Shilai is the main river of this area. Shilai River comes from Purulia and enters into Garbeta-II block. Due to regular alluvial deposition, the river bed gradually grows and in rainy season it causes floods in Daspur-I and Ghatal blocks. In geographical aspect it is known as a depression area. Alluvial and brown soil is found in southern side of this plane area. The upland of northern region is covered with bush and dwarf sal trees. In this geographical area, Garbeta-I and Garbeta-II blocks, some portion of Binpur-I block, Chandrakona-I and II blocks, Ghatal, and some portion of Daspur-I block are included. (2) Lower Cossye Plane: This region can be marked in the both side of the Cossye River or its stream. Some portions have been formed with the eastern part of the Rupnarayan, which is a natural marking of Medinipur(undivided) district. The features of a delta plane are keenly found in the eastern part of the Rupnarayan and adjacent areas of Hooghly banks. Ebb and flow is very active in this region. It is a long and depressed area. This triangular, depressed region is formed with delta plane of Cossye and Shilai. Due to gradual alluvial deposition, navigability of this river is totally lost. A huge depression is formed in the west and north-west area on the Cossye and Keleghai confluence and causes flood situation. This region is known as “Mayna basin’. Diffusing feature of the Cossye is one of the reasons behind it. Places like Binpur, Jhargram, Salboni, Medinipur, Kharagpur, Keshpur, Ghatal, Daspur, Panskura, Mayna, Debra, Bhagwanpur, Pingla, Nandigram, Tamluk, Sutahata, Dugrachak and Haldia are included in this plane. (3) Upland of Medinipur: Medinipur is a neighbouring area of Bihar and Orissa. This very upland is of 2029 sq. k.m. and the lands look wavy in this area. Some small ranges and ‘depression’ are found here. It’s a part of Chhotonagpur plateau, which is formed with laterite. In the extreme north, some hills can be see, which are 82 mtr. to 223 mtr. in height. The land sloping is from north-west to south-east. In its hilly surface some rivers and streams course with their move. Among them, some rivers meet the flow of Cossye in the north, and some of them meet the Subarnarekha. Among them, the major one is Dulung, which is on the right side of the Subarnarekha. It is originated in Binpur region and meets the Subarnarekha in Sankrail block. The Subarnarekha may be called the controlling river this upland region. This river comes from Bihar and entered into Gopiballavpur-I block of this district and heads towards east and then flows like a natural border of Bengal and Orissa in the western part of Dantan-I block. Soil surface of this western region is dry, non-fertile and unsuitable for habitation and cultivation. In lower hilly areas bush and ‘dwarf’ sal trees are found. Blocks like Binpur-I and Binpur-II, Jhargram, Sankrail, Jamboni, Gopiballavpur-I & II, Keshiary, Dantan-I are totally or partially included in this region. (4) Planes of Contai region: Contai plane is formed with the middle and southern portion of this district Medinipur(undivided). It is the biggest among the five geographical regions of this said district, which is of 5,469 sq. k.m. approximately. Surface of this region is almost plane. Massive sand dunes are seen on the middle of the Rasulpur River and Subarnarekha, which 10 k.m. away from sea coast. These dunes are called ‘Kanthi Baliari’(Contai Dune). Major rivers are Rasulpur, Keleghai, Kapaleswari, etc. Blocks of Debra, Pingla, Mayna, Sabong, Nandigram-II and III, Khejuri, Contai, Patashpur, Egra, Dantan, Nayagram, Mohanpur, Belda, Keshiary, Kharagpur-I & II, Sankrail, Ramnagar-II etc. are totally or partially included in this region.

Archaeology

Medinipur district is much enriched in its archaeology. Social evolution has been started in this region as before 15,000,00 years ago. Pre-historic features of this region can be proved from its stone age evidences, which are collected from the river-beds of Subarnarekha, Kansavati and Tarapheni.

Important archaeological sites are:

Bankati:

This site is under Sankrail PS of Jhargram sub-division. Hundreds of weapon have been discovered here, which are of stone-age in dating back. Weapons made of quartzite and ageing to Neolithic period and Mesolithic age and small weapons of Mesolithic age are also found here. Weapons like pebble tool, scrapper and cutter have been discovered here.

Chaugarh: This site is under Gopiballavpur PS of Jhargram sub-division. Hundreds of stone weapon have been discovered here, most of the pebble tools are made of quartzite. Blades of Mesolithic age, scrappers and arrow-heads are made of chart stone. Pebble tools made of sand stone and dating to Neolithic age are also found here.

Chhototurki: This is a village in Gopiballavpur PS of Jhargram sub-division, where weapons dating back to Neolithic and Mesolithic ages have been found. Mesolithic weapons like blades scrappers and arrow heads are made of chart stone.

Dhansjol: This site is in Gopiballavpur PS of Jhargram sub-division where weapons of lower, middle and upper Paleolithic ages are found. Weapons like axe, scrapper and cutter etc. made of quartzite are also available.

Dolki : This village is under Nayagram PS of Jhargram sub-division. Stone age weapons are found here in a large number. These weapons are of lower-Paleolithic age to Neolithic age. Lower Paleolithic weapons made of quartzite and axe, arrow head, scrapper etc. are of higher Paleolithic phase and made of chart stone. Middle Paleolithic weapons like cutters, blades and arrow heads are made of same stone. An axe, made of sand stone, dating back to Neolithic age was also found here.

Ghoripincha: This site is in Gopiballavpur PS of Jhargram sub-division. Various types of stone evidences of lower Paleolithic age to Neolithic age have been discovered here. Weapons like axe, cleaver and pebble tools are found here. Axe and arrow heads are made of quartzite and dating back to middle Paleolithic age. Arrow head etc. of Neolithic age has been discovered here.

Hatibari: This site is in Gopiballavpur PS of Jhargram sub-division. Cutter weapons have been discovered here, which are dating back to lower Paleolithic ages and made of quartzite. Neolithic pebble tools are also found here. Paleolithic weapons are shaped as ‘U’ and ‘V’ letters. Weapons both of abbevillian and Achullian types are found here.

Hatimara: This site is in Gopiballavpur PS of Jhargram sub-division. Hand axes and cutters, made of quartzite dating back to lower Paleolithic age and blade and scrapper, made of chart stone and dating back to middle Paleolithic age and round shaped proto-evidence, made of sand stone, dating back to Neolithic age and chisel has been discovered here.

Jamagara: This site is in Gopiballavpur PS of Jhargram sub-division, where evidences of lower and middle Paleolithic ages have been found.

Karkata: This is a village in Binpur PS of Jhargram sub-division, where an important pre-historic site has been discovered. A great number of stone weapons came to collection from this place. These are mostly of Paleolithic ages. No evidence of Neolithic phase was found here.

Kayasol: This is a village in Gopiballavpur PS of Jhargram sub-division, from where a good number of stone weapons have been discovered. Weapons of lower and middle Paleolithic and of Mesolithic ages have been found here.

Kele Jharia: This site is under Jhargram PS. Stone weapons of lower and middle Paleolithic and Mesolithic phases are found here. Mesolithic weapons, such as scrappers, arrow heads, blades and triangular stone weapons have been found here. These chart stone weapons are very important.

Kurchibani: This site is in Nayagram PS of Jhargram Sub-division. Weapons of lower Paleolithic and Mesolithic ages have been found here. These are of quartz stone and Mesolithic weapons are made of chart stone.

Kurumberia: This site is under Gopiballavpur of Jhargram sub-division. Remains of lower Paleolithic and Mesolithic cultures have been discovered from this site. Cutters, blades and arrow heads of Mesolithic culture have been found here.

Macha Bandha: Evidences of Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic ages have been discovered here. Hand axes, made of quartzite and dating back to lower Paleolithic phase, have been discovered here. Among the Neolithic tools mention may be made of ring stone weapons.

Other important pre-historic sites:

Sl. No. Name of the site Sub-division PS
1.
Mantabani
Jhargram
Jamboni
2
Payrakuli
Jhargram
Gopiballavpur
3.
Panbaraj
Jhargram
Gopiballavpur
4.
Panisol
Jhargram
Gopiballavpur
5.
Phulladiha
Jhargram
Nayagram
6.
Pandapeta
Jhargram
Gopiballavpur
7.
Purnapani
Jhargram
Gopiballavpur
8.
Raybani
Jhargram
Gopiballavpur
9.
Salgeria
Jhargram
Gopiballavpur

Besides this, the sites of Subarnarekha basin, mention should be made of Sasara, Taldangra, Tenlate, Tikayetpur,, Urusbhanga, Astajuri, Amarshi, Barabhum, Baludi, Baharasol, Champakhal, Champahati, Garbeta, Gidhni, Gopagriha, Kalgaon, Kukrakhupi, Karnagarh, Lalgarh, Salboni, Sapkota pahar and Bhelia etc. also.

Medinipur Through the Ages

MEDINIPUR THROUGH THE AGES

1500 BC
Reference of Tamralipta first found.
327 BC
Existence of Tamralipta during Alexander’s invasion to India.
251 BC
The Kalinga war of Ashoka.Tamralipta becomes a part of Mourya empire.
320 AD
Tamralipta flourishes under the Gupta rulers.
605 AD
Rise of ruler Sasanka in Bengal who ruled over Tamralipta and Dandabhukti (present day Dantan).
1021-1023 AD
Attack of Rajendara Dhol in Rarh and the beginning of the fall of Tamralipta.
1135 AD
Anant Barman captures Midhunpur (Medinipur) and fall of Aramyadurg(Arambagh). Medinipur becomes a part of Orissa.
1203 AD
Bakhtiar Khalji captures Nadia and the beginning of the Muslim rule in Bengal.
13th to 15th Century
The Hindu rulers of Bishnupur and Chitua and zamindars of South Bengal prevent complete Muslim domination over Bengal.
1497 AD
Attack of Alauddin Hussain Shah in Orissa.
1509-1518 AD
Chaitanya Dev visits Puri by travelling through Medinipur. War takes place between Orissa ruler Pratap Rudra and Alauddin Hussain Shah.Considerable areas of Medinpur is captured by the Muslims from the Surya Banshi rulers of Orissa.
1514 AD
Hijli Port becomes an important centre of commercial trade. Arrival of Portuguese from Orissa.
1574-1575 AD
War between Mughals and Afghans near Tukaroi village. Afghans are defeated by Todarmal. The name ‘Mughal Mari’ emerges.
1519 AD
Birth of Rasik Anand in Gopiballavpur.
1593 AD
Capture of Orissa and Medinipur by Raja Man Singh. Medinipur subsequently comes under Mughal rule.
1622 AD
Revolt by Shahjahan.
1632 AD
Death of Rasik Anand.
1687 AD
Arrival of Job Charnock in Hijli from Hooghly.
1690-1696 AD
Sova Singh, Zamindar of Chitua (Presently Ghatal) revolts.
1701 AD
Murshid Kuli Khan becomes the Fouzdar of Medinipur and Bardhaman.
1710 AD
Murshid Kuli Khan becomes the Dewan of Bengal.
1740 AD
Battle of Giria between Alivardi Khan and Sarfaroz Khan and subsequent defeat of Alivardi Khan.
1742 AD
Attack of Marathas (Bargi) in Bengal.
1743 AD
Second attack of Marathas in Bengal led by Bhaskar Pandit.
1744 AD
Third attack of Marathas led by Bhaskar Pandit, plunder of Orissa and Medinipur. Bhaskar Pandit is finally killed by Alivardi Khan.
1750 AD
Alivardi Khan sets a permanent camp in Medinipur as a protection against Maratha raids.
1752 AD
Marathas kill the Nawab of Orissa, Nazim Mir Habib. A large part of Orissa and Medinipur comes under Maratha rule.
1760 AD
Attack of Marathas led by Shib Bhatta. The Nayeb of Medinipur Khushi Lal Singh is defeated. Mir Kasim becomes the Nayeb of Bengal. As per treaty Chakal, Medinipur, Bardhaman and Chetua is handed over to East India Company.
1763 AD
‘Barabazar’ in Medinipur is set up.
1765 AD
East India Company wins the Dewani rights of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.
1766 AD
Famine in Bengal. ‘Bibi Bazar or Small Bazar’ is set up.
1768 AD
Spanish Bar set up in Patnabazar.
1770 AD
Wide spread famine in Medinipur
1777 AD
The first Collector of Medinipur and Jaleswar districts Mr. Pears is appointed.
1783 AD
Medinipur town is declared as district headquarter on 2nd September.
1792 AD
Famine in Medinipur.
1799-1800 AD
Pyke revolt led by Rani Shiromoni and Chunilal Khan begins at Silda.
1806 -1816 AD
Nayek revolt led by Achal Singh
1814 AD
Local residents of Medinipur set up Medinipur Collegiate School.
1820 AD
Iswarchandra Vidyasagar born in Birsingha village at present in Ghatal Sub-division.
1823 AD
Devastating flood in Medinipur.
1831-1834 AD
Recurring floods in Medinipur
1835 AD
Medinipur Alms House set up which was later renamed as Medinipur Charitable Society.
1836 AD
Medinipur Collegiate School is recognized by the Government and upgraded to a High School in 1840. Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was a student of this school.
1839-1840 AD
Floods in Medinipur.
1841 AD
Brahma Samaj established in Medinipur by Shiv Chandra Deb.
1851 AD
Devastating famine in Medinipur. Debendra Nath Tagore arrives in Medinipur.
1852 AD
Medinipur Public Library is set up and Belly becomes its first President and Rishi Rajnarayan Basu becomes the first Secretary. Presently this library is known as Rajnarayan Smriti Pathagar(Rajnarayan Memorial Library).
1856 AD
Jadav Chandra Bose sets up the first Bengali School at Tamluk.
1857 AD
Sepoy Mutiny. Same Mutiny takes places called the Paltan Mutiny in the Sekhawat Battalion in Medinipur. Leader of the revolt, a Tewari Brahmin is hanged in the Collegiate School ground.
1864 AD
Famine in Medinipur.
1870 AD
The first Girls’ School is set up at Tamluk.
1886 AD
Steamer service is set up between Diamondharbour and Tamluk.
1893 AD
M.N. Roy(alias Narendra Nath Bhattacharjee) is born in Kheput village under Daspur.
1901 AD
Bengal Provincial Conference takes place in Burdge Town in Medinipur. Satyendra Nath Banerjee and Narendra Nath Ghosh are present in the conference. Bar Library and Printing Press set up at Tamluk.
1902 AD
Arabinda Ghosh arrives in Medinipur. Extremists Groups under Hemchandra Das Kanungo , Satyendranath Bose and Gyanendra Nath Bose set up in Medinipur. Tatanagar-Kharagpur section of Bengal-Nagpur Railway is inaugurated.
1903 AD
Sister Nivedita spreads her message in Medinipur.
1904 AD
Devastating plague epidemic takes place in Ghatal.
1905 AD
Partition of Bengal has drastic opposition in Medinipur.
1906 AD
Hem Chandra Das Kanungo designs the Indian tri colour which is subsequently unfurled by Madam Kama at Stuttgart in Germany.
1907 AD
Flood in Ghatal and drought in Jhargram. Attempt to blow away train at Narayangarh Station to kill Andrew Frazer.
1908 AD
Attack of Khudiram and Prafulla Chaki on Kingsford in Muzaffarpur. Unfortunately, Mrs. and Miss Kenedy died. Kshudiram is hanged and Prafulla Chaki commits suicide.
1912 AD
Attack on police informer Abdul Rahaman during a Muharram procession.
1914 AD
Floods in Sadar sub-division in Medinipur.
1919 AD
Devastating floods in Tamluk, Ghatal and Sadar Sub-divisions. Then Bengal Governor Lord Ronald Shaw visits flood affected areas.
1920 AD
Wide spread revolt in Medinipur during the visit of Prince of Wales in India. Gandhiji arrives in Medinipur.
1922 AD
Jhargram Sub-division is set up with its headquarters at Jhargram.
1923 AD
Rediscovery of Digha.
1924 AD
First High School in Jhargram, K.K. Institution is set up. Birendranath Sasmal and Prafulla Roy visits Tamluk.
1925 AD
Gandhiji revisits in Medinipur.
1929 AD
Agitation begins to abolish Choukidari Tax under the leadership of Birendra Nath Sasmal. Netaji Subhas Chandra Basu arrives in Medinipur.
1930 AD
Salt Satyagraha begins. Killing of police officers by agitated mob in Daspur thana.
1931 AD
Assassination of district Collector Mr. Peddy by Jyoti Jivan Ghosh and Bimal Dasgupta.
1932 AD
District Collector Douglas is killed by Pradyot Bhattacharjee and Pravangshu Pal. Wide spread agitation in Sadar sub-division to abolish Choukidari tax.
1933 AD
District Collector Burdge is assassinated by Anath Bandhu Panja and Mrigendranath Dutta.
1934 AD
Large scale earth quake in Sadar Sub-division. Concerted efforts made by the District Collector for improvement of Digha.
1937 AD
Netaji Subhas Chandra Basu arrives at Tamluk. Vidyasager Memorial established at Birshingha village in Ghatal Sub-division.
1938 AD
Netaji Subhas Chandra Basu arrives at Ghatal.
1942 AD
Quit India agitation spreads rapidly in Medinipur. Matangini Hazra and other revolutionaries were killed.
1945 AD
Hindu-Muslim riots spread in Ghatal.
1947 AD
Medinipur celebrates Indian independence.
1948 AD
Kharagpur College, Ashutosh Higher Secondary School(Daspur PS) and Rani Binod Manjari Girls’ School (Jhargram) established.
1949 AD
First college in Jhargram Sub-division.
1954 AD
IIT, the first of its kind in India set up.
1955 AD
Kharagpur Athletic Association Stadium set up and inauguration of Homeopathy College.
1957AD
Polytechnic set up at Jhargram. Raja Nerendra Lal Khan Girls’ College established in Medinipur.
1959 AD
Devastating floods in Daspur. Jawaharlal Nehru visits flood affected areas.
1960 AD
Ghatal Panskura road constructed.
1961 AD
Medinipur District Library set up. Dak Bungalow constructed at Goaltore.
1962 AD
Primary Health Centre and Social Worker’s training centre set up at Belpahari. Kharagpur-I, II and Sankrail blocks created.
1963 AD
Haldia Port and Oil Refinery establishment works begin.
1964 AD
Two subsidiary Health Centres set up at Makrampur.
1973 AD
Approval of setting up of Kolaghat Thermal Power Plant by Government of India.
1976 AD
Scooter factory set up at Nimpura in Kharagpur.

Freedom Movement (1760-1905)

East India Company, the foreign trader, came here for endeavouring their business and luck. But in the way of time, they smelt chance in the social turmoil to occupy our polity. Unfortunately, their effort of authoritarianship gained success at last. But their effort was not an easy one. From the very beginning, their imperialistic disposition was hindered by mass movement and revolt from the root. In 1765, after receiving the ‘Dewani’, British rulers tried to reform the land system totally. But this wais not easy at all. Because 2/3 area of the district was covered with jungle. A large number of parganas, such as, Barabhum, Panchet, Dampara(now in Purulia), Raipur, Simulpal, Chhatna, Phulkusma(now in Bankura), Dhalbhum and Ghatsila(now in Jharkhand), Bhograi and Jaleswar(now in Orissa) were once annexed to Medinipur district. In later period these regions were known as Junglemahal. Many a number of zamindars and local lords, in their own capacities lived in this wide forest region. In Mughal period, they paid taxes rarely. As these places were fringe and infested with ferocious beasts, Mughal rulers remained pleased and did not make any administrative interference. As a result, they ruled their territory almost independently. Every zaminder had some chieftains and under these chieftains some ‘paiks’(foot soldiers) were appointed. They were not paid any money but were given pieces of agricultural lands freehold or with small range of taxes, as for their honorarium or livelihood. Before the inception of company-raj, this arrangement was in vogue in the north and north-western region of Medinipur district. When the British-raj started in this district, these traditional practices were barricaded. Zaminders of Medinipur refused to pay revenues in extended rates. As a result, British resident Mr. Graham sent his chief of force Mr. Ferguson to realize revenues from the disloyal zaminders(1767). In his first attempt, he forced some zaminders to surrender but the stiffest aggression came from the zaminder of Ghatsila. He was able to unify all the zaminders of the surrounding places and started his move towards Ghatsila again in 1778. The whole of Junglemahal set aflame with this revolt. The British authority felt that Jagannath Dhal, zaminder of Ghatsila, was the pivot person of this revolt. So the British Company was forced to requite this zamindary to Jagannath Dhal at Ghatsila in 1777. This unified movement of peasants and zaminders of Junglemahal against British Company was corroborated by the British historian J.C. Price by naming it Chuar Revolt(Chuar Bidroha). In 1798-99 in the western portion of Medinipur and in the southern portion of Bankura, revolt started in its new phase. This was called the second phase of Chuar Bidroha. Places like Karnagarh, Shiromani, Panchkhuri, Satpati, Salboni, Keshpur, Anandapur, Dhalhara, Dharenda, Ramgarh, Silda, Gopiballvapur, Narajole, Bagri, Chandrakona, Mayna, Jaleswar etc. were the nerve centres of the revolts. Gobardhan Dikpati of Bagri, Rani Shiromani of Karnagargh and Durjan Singh, Zaminder of Raipur, gave the leadership. The British force started utmost torture to suppress this movement. Before the ending of the revolt, tribal peasants started a new movement, which was named ‘Nayek Revolt of Bagri’(1806-16). In 1816, British ruler got hold of Achal Singha, leader of ‘Nayek Revolt’ treacherously and he was shot dead. His followers numbering almost two hundred were hanged on gallows openly. In some places, it was found that such type of revolts took a violent approach. As for example, we would like to mention the movement of Malangis. Salt industry was once concentrated in Tamluk and Hijli region. Around 60,000 workers were involved in salt production. After 1760, company took their access in its production and distribution though it brought huge profit for them. But the status of salt workers or Malangis were very miserable. In its production work, they had to accept physical suffering, torture and poor wages, but when the situation was unbearable they fled away from the production site. They often protested against this torture or extortion. But the authority never took steps to heal up their grievance. In 1804, one Premananda Sarkar unified the Malangis to set protest against this exploitation. In his leadership, hundreds of Malangis revolted against the establishment of the salt industry. They barricaded the office of the company’s agent in Contai. When Premananda was arrested by the foot soldiers of British, Malangis became more hostile. In 1834, a High School for English Education was established. Western influence and its ideologies took access from this school. However, but in the middle of 19th century two renowned persons played significant role to increase national spirit in this district, they are Rajnarayan Basu and Iswarchandra Vidyasagar. Rajnarayan Basu came to Medinipur in 1851, as the Headmaster of the Government Zilla School(Collegiate School of today’s) and he kept his chair until 1866. In his staying at Medinipur apart from developing his school, he established various types of oganisations relating to education, ethical life, physical practice and national consciousness. Among these organisations, re-establishment of Brahma Samaj, establishment of Jatiya Gourav Sampadani Sabha, Surpan Nivanai Saha, Girls’ School, General Library etc. are worthy of mention. Iswarchandra Vidyasagar is a great son of Medinipur district. He was a philanthropist and social reformer. He even contributed Bengali prose in its making and achieving literary status. He practiced literature with a part of his social work. He wrote Bengali primus like Barnaparichaya-I & II, Kathamala and Bodhodaya etc. He stressed upon vernacular to mediate education. He was an Inspector of Special English Schools of Nadia, Hooghly, Bardhaman and Medinipur. He took great steps for mass education of this district. But in a colonial state, this venture did not achieve expected target. Finally, he resigned his post just three years after his appointment. In 1853, he established an English-Sanskrit school in his native village Birsingha. He also realized that this country would not go ahead without stressing on Girls’s education. From November 1857 to May 1858, he established 35 Girls’ School in different districts of Bengal. Among them three schools were established in Medinipur district. For his utmost effort and movement on 26th July 1856, remarriage of Hindu widows was legitimated. He took several steps in social reformation. Regarding tenancy rights after establishing Bharat Sabha in Medinipur, Ghatal, Contai and Ramjibanpur, another 29 branches were opened. These were called ‘Rayat Sabha’(tenant’s committee). Its main purpose was to establish tenant’s right on lands. Bharat Sabha took several schedules to boost up political activities in this districts which involved many persons. In 1885 Indian National Congress was established and Indian politics took a new way. From the very beginning, this district made its link with Indian Congress. In the Annual Conferences of Congress, delegates of this district took their part regularly. Among them eminent persons are Jogesh Chandra Roy at Tara, who was a reputed lawyer, Kartick Chandra Mitra and Bipin Behari Dutta etc. In the last decade of 19th century protest was organized against the Indigo Plantation, which was called ‘Gochar Movement’. In 1901, State Conference of Congress was held, which created enthusiasm in this district. In the early days of 20th century Medinipur became the nerve centre of extremist and freedom fighters. This influence was contributed by Sri Aravinda, grand son of Rajnarayan Basu. In 1902, he resigned his service at Baroda state and came to Medinipur and formed a patriotic organization with Hemchandra Das Kanungo, Gnanendranath Basu and Satyendranath Basu. In 1903, Sister Nivedita, the great woman and follower of Swami Vivekananda, came to Medinipur. She cited for spiritualism and inspired the youth in Nationalism. She even stressed upon ethical and physical upliftment and established ‘akhra’(gymnasium).

Freedom Movement (1905-1947)

In the middle of 19th century, when patriotic movement started its pace in Medinipur, Rishi Rajnarayan Basu, revered Grand Old man of patriotism, started various reformation activities. As the Headmaster of Collegiate School(he joined this post in 1851), he influenced the young men like Gynendranath Basu, Satyendranath Basu, Pyarilal Ghosh and Hemchandra Kanungo and encouraged them in patriotism. There was a custom to set up an association or assembly to practice moderate politicsand such a trend started from the third decade of 19th century. This influence was also traced in Medinipur district. Under the leadership of Surendranath Banerjee, Indian Association was formed and its 29 branches were set up in Medinipur Sadar, Ghatal, Ramjibanpur, Tamluk, Contai, Mahisadal and other places. Medinipur district made its link with Indian Congress from the very beginning. In 1901, state level conference of Indian National Congress was held in Burdge Town at Medinipur town. Personalities of national status such as Suren Banerjee, Krishna Kumar Mitra and Janakinath Ghosal were among the assembled personalities. Kartick Mitra was the President of the Reception Committee and Khirodbehari Dutta acted as Secretary. Among these names one more name should be mentioned and he was Jogesh Chandra Roy, who joined the Congress Conference. A strong base of Nationalism and anti-Imperialism Movement was formed in Medinipur and it became more clear in the day of Banga Bhanga Andolan(Movement against Separation of Bengal). On 7th August 1905 a protest meeting was held in the Bailley Hall against this separation. Volunteer groups were formed, student stores were built for supplying indigenous items, picketing were arranged before the shops, where foreign goods were sold and meeting, road-rally, strike and rakshabandhan were also arranged in support of Bangabhanga Andolan. In this period, many ‘akhras’(gymnasium) were established in this district. Physical exercise, kusti and spinning in ‘charka’ were started. In several centres of Medinipur, educated and eminent personalities gave their patronages in favour of Swadeshi Movement. Among the zaminders, mention should be made of Jogesh Chandra Roy – zaminder of Jara and his two sons Kishorpati Roy and Satkaripati Roy; Raja Narendralal Khan of Narajole and his son Debendralal Khan, Digamber Nanda – zaminder of Mugberia, Girish Chandra Maity – zaminder of Kalagechhia and his son Jagadish Chandra Maity and Sasmals of Contai, Rakshits of Tamluk etc. Hemchandra Kanungo was one of the founders of secret assembly of Medinipur, who sold out his property and left for Paris to avail the know how of making bomb(August 1906). He retuned to his homeland and involved himself in making bomb for the Jugantar Party. The first bomb was made to kill Ramfield Fuller, who was the Lieutenant Governor of East Bengal, but his effort failed. Next time, they took attempt at killing of Andrew Fraser near Narayangarh Railway Station but it was also a failed attempt(6th December 1907). As a result of this incident, a case was started by government, which is famous as ‘Medinipur Bomar Mamla’. Hundreds of people were alleged in this case. And then Kingsford, the tyrannizing Magistrate of Muzaffarpur was targeted. As per Hemchandra’s recommendation the brave boy of Medinipur, named Kshudiram was sent to Muzaffarpur with Prafulla Chaki. But unfortunately Mrs. Kendey and Miss Kenedy were killed, instead of Kingsford(30th April 1930). Prafulla Chaki committed suicide and Kshudiram was sentenced to death by hanging (11th August 1908). With this incident, police officials started their investigation and arrested all members of their secret society. Then, the famous Alipur Conspiracy Case was started. During this time Narendranath Goswami, who became an approver, was killed by Satyen Basu and Kanailal Dutta (1st September 1908). Hemchandra Kanungo was arrested and sent to life time deportation. The First World War started on August 1914. Bagha Jatin, the renowned patriot, planned to gather ammunition from ‘Maverick’, a German ship. In this venture, Basanta Sarkar of Garbeta was given the duty of keeping the ammunitions in Chandbali. Rashbehari Basu, the great patriot, made his plan to organize terrorist activities throughout India. To build up steps in Medinipur, responsibilities was given to Basanta Sarkar, Tarapada Mukherjee, Bipin Hazra and Manu Bhattacharya etc. When non-violent non-cooperation approach was taken in the Conference of Congress at Kolkata, this was largely appreciated in Medinipur. To widen this non-violent approach, a body was formed in the state level Congress Committee. Birendranath Sasmal was elected as President firstly and Chittaranjan Das was elected President thereafter. Again Medinipur District Congress Committee was formed under his presidency and Kishorpati Roy was elected as the Secretary. Branch organizations were formed in four sub-divisions, 33 PSs and in 227 unions. Such a wide organization became very purposeful. Organizations, consciousness and movement of the mass showed success not only in the days of Non-cooperation but also in the days of disobedience and Quit India movement. In Medinipur district, action was taken to establish national vernacular schools. In this period Kalagechhia National Schools of Contai sub-division, Anantapur and Kankurda school of Tamluk sub-division were noteworthy; apart from this middle and Primary National Schools were established also in various places of this district. These schools were approved by National School Council of Jadavpur. Students and teachers of these schools tried to popularize ‘Charka’ and ‘Khaddar’. Kulapara and Durgachak of Nandigram PS, Jukhia of Bhagwanpur PS, Kadua of Ramnagar, Bishnupur of Sabong PS and Amarshi of Patashpur were the main pioneers of Khadi. ‘Shanti Committees’ (peace committee) were formed in every block to strengthen Hindu-Muslim unity. To explain the characteristics of this patriotic movement and to elucidate the relevance of students’ participation in it, a club was established named ‘Milan Mandir (1924) at Midnapore Town School, which was supported and patronized by Parimal Kumar Roy, Prafulla Tripathy, Pulinbihari Maity, Birendranath Maji, Santosh Kumar Mishra and Haripada Bhowmick. One more association was formed by the effort of these persons, Medinipur Yuva Sangha (February 1927). Raja Debendralal Khan was the President of this Yuva Sangha. In this phase, Dinesh Chandra Gupta (famous martyr) came to Medinipur and tried to expand his activities as he was a student of Midnapore College. After his staying in Medinipur, young groups tried to make contact with Bengal Volunteer, which was the cultural organization of Dinesh Gupta. In the way of time, BV Group became a powerful organization of Medinipur. Three District Magistrates were killed by this group. Almost in every part of Medinipur, preparation against Civil Disobedience was started. From 6th April in coastal area of Contai and in some places of Tamluk sub-division, programme was taken for salt production without any break. Important places were Pichhabani of Contai and Norghat of Tamluk. Volunteers from various places of Bengal gathered here to protest against this law. 56 centres opened in Contai for producing salt in unlawful way. In Tamluk sub-division, nine centres started for his purpose within May 1930. In Medinipur district, this movement built a strong base. Shiulipur of Bhagawanpur PS, Ghoramara of Mayna PS and Baroduari of Nandigram PS were directed by women. In this salt movement, a great number of women were prisoned and mention must be made of Matangini Hazra, Prababati Maity, Laxmimani Hazra, Charushila Jana, Surama Hota, Kiranbala Maity, Mayalata Das, Naribala Das, Jamunabala Devi, Subodhbata Kuiti, Indumati Bhattacharyya, Prabhabati Singha, Chikanbala Jana, Suhani Devi, Satyabati Devi, Nityalala Gol, Chinmayee Das, Nityabala Jana, Laksmirani Chatterjee and others of Tamluk sub-division. In Contai Sub-division Sindhubala Maity, Sukhadamayee Roychowdhury, Kusumkumari Mandal, Gita Bhowmick, Bhagawati Sasmal, Rajbala Sasmal, Sukhadamano Das, Prabhati Banerjee, Muktakeshi Tamli and others. In Medinipur sub-division, Charushila Goswami, Bindubala Sasmal, Nanibala Maity, Nibarani Das, Sateswari Bose, Sobhana Basu, Manorama Das, Sarajubala Das, Charushila Palit, Savitri De and others. To stop the devastating influence of this movement Govt. declared ban on those organizations who were acting in favour of disobedience (May 1930). Not only that, James Paddy, the District Magistrate, thought of dividing Medinipur in two. On 7th April 1931, Bimal Dasgupta and Jyotijivan Ghosh, killed District Magistrate, Mr. James Paddy. After this event, both of them fled to Kolkata. On 29th October 1931 Bimal Dasgupta again came to exposure, as he attempted to kill Villiers, President of European Merchants’ Association at Kolkata. He was punished with rigorous imprisonment for ten years. He could not be accused of killing Paddy for lack of evidence. On 30th April 1930, Mr. Doglas the second District Magistrate of Medinipur was killed with bullet by two young patriots, Pradyot Bhattacharyya and Pravanshu Pal in the Zilla Board Office. On 12th January 1933 Pradyot was punished by hanging in Medinipur Central Jail and Pravanshu remained anonymous or untraced. Two boys of Medinipur, Anath Bandhu Panja and Mrigen Dutta shot down Mr. Burdge, the District Magistrate, within the safe Police Line Campus. These two brave boys were gunned down by the bodyguards of Mr. Burdge. Just after this incident, a case was started against Kamakhya Ghosh, Nandadulal Singha, Sukurmar Sen, Sanatan Roy, Nirmaljiban Ghosh, Ramkrishna Roy and Brajakishor, Ramkrishna and Nirmaljiban were punished by death sentence and other accused were given lifetime imprisonment. August Movement was started with school boycott, arranging meeting or gathering for communicating the object and to form volunteer groups. As for example, in Tamluk sub-division, Bidyut Bahini was formed with selected volunteers. A bulletin was published named ‘Biplabi’ which started on 24th September 1942. In a confidential meeting it was decided that on 29th September offices, courts, police stations and other official sites will be attacked as a whole. ‘Samar Parishads’ (Combat group) were formed in various sub-divisions of Medinipur. On 28th September 1942 in the night, thousands of volunteers cut off the connectors of the main road. Telegraph and telephone lines were disconnected and transport system was disrupted. When Tamluk police stations were attacked, the Old Grand Lady Matangini Hazra of 73 years was shot dead with ten other protesters. In Mahisadal 13 protesters were killed and in Nandigram, they were five in number. ‘Tamralipta Jatiya Sarkar’ was formed in Tamluk and Contai Sub-divisions. Satish Chandra Samanta was the ‘Sarbadhinayak’(Chief), Ajay Kumar Mukhopadhyay was the Finance Secretary and Sushil Kumar Dhara was Home Secretary. This ‘Jatiya Sarkar’ stayed for a long time, from 17th December 1942 to 1st September 1944. They surrendered on 1st September 1944 after receiving an order from Mahatma Gandhi. In the end of 1938, Communist activities started after the formation of leftist study circle and Students’ Federation. From 1939 to 1941, branches were set up in Medinipur town, Kharagpur, Mahisadal, Nandigram, Lakhya, Mohammadpur and Kalagechia of Tamluk Sub-division, Anandapur in Keshpur PS and in Kalora of Daspur PS. In 1938, activities of Kishan Sabha started in this district. Bhupal Panda, Saroj Roy, Mohini Mondal and Deben Das contributed their roles in this phase. In Tamluk and Ghatal sub-divisions, Tebhaga Movement took their militant faces. It was in Nandigram, Mahisadal, Sutahata, Panskura PS that agitation took place between the members of Krishak Sabha in one side and zotdar(land owner) and police on the other side. On 27th February 1947, 10th Session of Pradeshik Krishak Sabha was held in Panchkhuri. This session was presided by Krishnabinod Roy. But Tebhaga Movement was waning after the arrest of their leaders and their concealment. According to a report of Bangiya Pradeshik Krishan Sabha, among the 3119 prisoners of Tebhaga 200 members were from Medinipur district. Finally, on 15th August, 1947, Medinipur celebrated with the rest of the country with the dawn of a new era.

Freedom Movement