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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 51 | January 13 , 2008|


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Rangpur Zila School

- 175 years

Rafique Sarker

Rangpur Zila School has become a part of history as well as heritage of the country. No other school except three in the country reached the 175-year milestone, which spawned hundreds of talented students who outstandingly contributed to nation building. There is a saying that he who did not study in Rangpur Zila School in his childhood could not acquire complete education. The saying may be an exaggeration but it is true that almost all students who studied in this school became established in all respects in their life.

The name and fame of the school has travelled far and wide through the century and a half. Before the partition of this subcontinent, students even from Jalpaiguri, Deenhata and Kouchbihar besides Dinajpur, Thakurgaon, Panchagar, Nilphamari, Gaibandha, Lalmonirhat and Kurigram studied in this school. Rangpur Zila School has earned the reputation for the quality of education it imparted and maintained for such a long time. In 2004 it was 2nd among the top 10 schools under Rajshahi Education Board in terms of results of the secondary school certificate examination. In 2006 a total 119 examinees secured GPA5. In 2007 the number rose to 139. Before the introduction of grading system in 2001, there was hardly any year when more than one student did not secure position in the merit list of the secondary school certificate examinations.

The school also secures praiseworthy results in juniour and primary stipend examinations every year. The school has a big campus with 17 acres of land in the middle of Rangpur town. The vast greenery surrounding the school helps develop the mind, fellow feelings and patriotism among the students. The students of the school have showed their competence not only in academic results but also in cultural activities.

The debating club of the school has a very good reputation in the northern part of the country. In 1998 it became national champion toppling debating teams of many well known schools in the country.

The debating club secured top position in Rajshahi division several times.

Brief History
The school was established in 1832 as Rangpur Zamindar School by the local zamindars or landlords. Nathial Smith, the district collector working for the British East India Company led government also had a central role in establishing the school.

It was inaugurated by Lord William Bentinck, the erstwhile Governor General of Bengal. The Maharaja of Cooch Bihar donated funds for the construction of the school building. Krishna Nath Ray joined as the first headmaster of the school. The school was governed under the management of the Government of British India in 1857. It was affiliated with Calcutta University in 1862 and was renamed as Rangpur Zilla School. The school building and other facilities were expanded between 1870 and 1874.Two separate hostels for Brahmins and Muslims were constructed in 1914. Though British East India Company patronized in running the school, many of the students of the school became defiant against the British rule.

Role of the students of this school in the Language Movement in 1952 and the Liberation War in 1971 has found due place in the history of this country. Many students of the school led the language movement in Rangpur. Among them Afzal and
Motahar Hosen Sufi are still alive. In 1971 about one hundred students of Rangpur Zila School joined sector no: 6 and 7 and fought against the Pakistani occupation army.The school celebrated its 175th founding anniversary on December 23 and 24 through organising various colourful programmes on the school premises with the presence of at least ten thousand present and former students and teachers. The whole town wore a festive look to mark the 175th founding anniversary of the school.

Noted environmentalist and writer of the country Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed inaugurated the festival.

Cultural events- songs, dance, folk numbers and a photo exhibition were held adding colour to the festival. The festival committee awarded the language activists (Bhasha sainik) Mohammad Afzal and Adv. Meer Altaf Ali. Sufi Motahar Hossain who was supposed to be awarded could not come from Dhaka due to his illness.

Eleven freedom fighters who were the students of the school were also awarded in the festival. Among the students who attended the occasion, Masum Ali, Mofizur Rahman Talukder, Sufi Mohibul Hossain, Sufi Motahar Hossain, Mohammad Amzad Hossain and AZM Abdul Awal were the senior ones. They passed S.S.C in 1939 from Rangpur Zila School. One of the participants, Adv. Meer Altaf Ali, passed S.S.C from the school in 1955. Expressing his feelings he said, "I thank him who first came up with the idea of such a grand festival to celebrate the 175th founding anniversary of Rangpur Zila School. I never thought that after such a long time I would meet my school friends who are living in different parts of the country and abroad." Language activist (Bhasha Soinik) Tojammel Ali said, after 40 years he met his school friends and spent two days recollecting memories of his school days, which had been the sweetest part of his life. Another language activist Mohammad Afzal said that Rangpur Zilla School taught the students to be patriotic and fight against all odds in the society. Noted writer and critic of Bengali literature Sufi Motahar Hossain was also the student of this school. He said, "I feel fortunate that I was a student of Rangpur Zilla School."

Recollecting his memories he said,the headmaster of the school Sheikh Md. Sadruddin was a writer. His book 'Desh Kal Patra' is one of his remarkable works. Motahar Hossainn said, "The headmaster was the main source of my inspiration to be a writer." He recollected that he won third prize in the popular game 'haring shield'. He regretted that the game is no longer played anywhere in the country.

(The writer is Rangpur Correspondent of The Daily Star)

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