ABOUT DIAMOND HARBOUR WOMEN’S UNIVERSITY
Diamond Harbour Women’s University came into existence in 2013. It was established under West Bengal Act XXXVII of 2012 on 28th January 2013. It is the first University in this region and has been envisaged in answer to the long standing requirement of the girl-student of this region and beyond for greater scope in the search for attainment of selfhood.
This is a region with strong links to the metropolis Kolkata. It is well connected by road and rail and is the gateway to the Sunderbans, an eco-region of recognized significance. It marks the confluence of the mighty river Hooghly (a tributary of the Ganga) with the Bay of Bengal. In January the Gangasagar Mela attracts thousands of pilgrims across the country. The region remains rural, though fishery is an important economic activity, increasingly acquiring industrial dimensions. In recent years, migration, both short and long term has become an important demographic feature of the region.
The Diamond Harbour Road connecting south-west Kolkata to Diamond Harbour has emerged as an education hub. Beginning with the campus of the Indian Institute of Management, Joka, Calcutta there are other major management institutes such as Calcutta Business School, Neotia Institute of Technology, Management and Science, etc. There are also well known schools such as Vivekananda Mission, K.E.Carmel School, Ramakrishna Mission Siksha Mandir, etc. The region has a strong tradition in undergraduate education and there are a number of flourishing undergraduate colleges in and around the area.
The University has already started functioning from the academic year 2014-15 with the introduction of 2- year, 4- semester PG courses in six subjects; Bengali, English, History, Political Science, Education and Women’s Studies. Classes are presently being held in a three storied dedicated academic building within the campus of the Fakir Chand College located close to the Diamond Harbour Railway Station. From the coming academic session ie AY 2015-16 the University proposes to introduce few more post graduate courses including M.Sc courses in science. Later in due course the University will move to its own campus near Sarisha crossing in Diamond Harbour. The present Vice Chancellor, Prof. Anuradha Mukhopadhyay joined her duties in early 2015.
The University hopes to address both research and teaching in the context of its location as well as globally. The objective is to function efficiently and effectively as a University providing teaching, training and research in various branches of learning/courses of study so as to promote advancement and dissemination of knowledge to meet the growing needs of the society. As a women’s university, it will address in particular questions of livelihood and security for women. It will not only provide opportunities for women in the area to access new opportunities but will also hope to draw women from other parts of the country into interaction with a rather unique corner of this diverse land.
It is a good time to think in the long term about more opportunities for women to forge ahead and seek avenues of self sufficiency. This Women’s University is committed to providing women better access to higher education thereby enabling them to reach for their personal as well as social development. It is to be kept in mind that when we education a woman we educate a generation!
Diamond Harbour is in the southern suburbs of Kolkata, on the eastern banks of the Hooghly River quite near where the river meets the Bay of Bengal. This small town is a popular weekend tourist spot located in South 24 Parganas district.
The British renamed a settlement called Hajipur as Diamond Harbour. It no longer has a harbour, but there are a few bricks to designate the location of an old fort. It used to be a safe resting spot for ships and even today offers a spectacular view of the river. Prior to the British, Portuguese pirates had a major influence in the region. The ruins of the fort of Chingrikhali (locally known as Purano Kella) cannot be seen any more. It is uncertain whether the fort was built by the Portuguese or the British. There used to be an old lighthouse, which has now been eroded by the river. Diamond Harbour is well connected with Kolkata by road and rail. It has a number of private hotels. As Diamond Harbour is within easy reach of Kolkata, just around 50 km, it is a picnic spot for city dwellers. According to the 2001 Census, Diamond Harbour had a population of 37,238, 51 per cent being men. The average literacy rate is 72 per cent, higher than the national average of 59.5 per cent: male literacy is 77 per cent and female literacy is 67 per cent. This small town with a picturesque setting is the gateway to the south-western part of the district, leading to such places as Gangasagar, Kakdwip, Namkhana and Bakkhali. Gangasagar is the confluence of the river Ganges with the Bay of Bengal, a popular annual pilgrimage centre, where people in lakhs take the holy dip. Bakkhali is a popular beach resort. There is a five star hotel with a magnificent panoramic view of the river at Raichak. Jetties at Diamond Harbour, Raichak and Mirpur provide steamer services to the other bank of the wide river estuary.
Demography of South 24 Parganas District:
The present South 24-Parganas district forms the southern-most part of the deltaic plains of Bengal. The district is proximate to the highly urbanized metropolis of Kolkata on the eastern side as well as the virgin and beautiful natural environs of Sundarbans. The district can be categorized into three broad groups (i) the marshy riverine land of Sunderban (ii) the non-Sundarban rural areas and (iii) the Urban and Semi-urban areas. The urban and semi-urban areas viz. Thakurpukur, Mahestala, Bishnurpur, Sonarpur, Baruipur, which are adjacent to Kolkata has locational advantage for industrialization.
Location & Geographical Area: The South 24-Parganas district is located between 22030’45” to 20029’ North latitude and between 8904’56” and 8803’45’’ East longitudes. The district is bounded by the river Hooghly in the West, Bay of Bengal in the South, Calcutta city and North 24 Parganas in the North & the Eastern boundary is demarcated by Bangladesh and Bidya & Matla River.
The district of South 24 Parganas had a population of more than 69 lakhs in 2001. The decadal growth rate of population between 1991 and 2001 had been 20.85 per cent, which is higher than the state average of 17.77 per cent. The proximity to Kolkata, the largest metropolis in Eastern India, is largely responsible for this phenomenon. This has created a unique problem for the district administration. The aspirations and demand of the people living close to Kolkata and commuting each day for their livelihoods are very different from those people living in rural areas or even in distant muffassil cities.
Population in South 24 Parganas
|Density of Population (2001)||694|
Source: Census (2001)
South 24 Parganas is a district with varying population density. Though a large part of the landmass of the district is classified as forest area and falls under the Sundarban Tiger Reserve, the population density is staggeringly high in Alipore, Diamond Harbour and Baruipur subdivisions. The highest concentration is in Alipur Sub Division and the lowest in Kakdwip Sub Division.
Literacy (7+ persons) and Work Participation Rates by Religious Communities
|Religion not stated||0.07||68.15||29.82|
Source: Census of India (2001)