A Brief History of
Ramharipur Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama
Looking at Ramharipur in its present scenario with lush green ambience and magnificent houses with modern taste and amenities, one cannot perhaps imagine that 75 years ago this was an abandoned barren land, originally named Charadihi (i.e a field of a small district with its dryness, unevenness and stony). It was the crematorium of Birrah village and the secret workplace of some anti-social elements. But there are good signs even in bad. That is why the mythical God, Bhairav was there on a pile of broken clay elephants and horses under a huge silk cotton tree.
With the cruel and inevitable march of time, Bengal experienced a great famine in the Bengali era 1322 owing to severe draught in 1321. The scattered voices of hunger were heard in the fields and villages of Bankura district. Then the British Government arranged for the distribution of relief materials though it was insignificant and scanty compared to the plight and sufferings of the so called people. Ramananda Chattopadhyay ,a renowned journalist , wrote an editorial comment in ‘Prabasi’ :
Bankura as the poorest district is known to everyone. In this poor district, three consecutive years had elapsed through sevre famine. However, the collection of revenue from here had been better than all other districts. So this fact drew the attention of Lord Carmichael (the then Governor of Bengal) and his Council of Ministers.
Against this background, several social groups came forward to help the needy ones. They came with the sympathy of friends and stood by the side of the affected. The newly established Ramakrishna Math and Mission in the city of Bankura became active by the eagerness of the Holy Mother, Sri Sarada Devi. Bankura Ramakrishna Math was established on the ideology of Swami Vivekananda’s religion of sacrifice and service. A young Sanyasin named Swami Maheswarananda fondly called Doctor Maharaj was then the President of Bankura Ramakrishna Math. He was everybody’s favourite and was blessed by the Holy Mother. Under his leadership, a service team appeared in the villages of Bankura. There were burning fire in their heart, thunder in their hands and smile on their faces. They proclaimed themselves like Supriya, a Buddhist nun, “We will save the earth by begging and satisfy the hunger of famine.” Those who came forward first to co-operate with the Sanyasins and Brahmacharins actively in relief and service work were Late Govinda Prasad Singha (popularly known as ‘Master’) of Amarkanan branch of the Congress Sevadal, Late Sishuram Mondal and Late Ramlochan Mukhopadhyay. The congress Sevadal cadres were inspired by the ideology of Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘Seva Dharma.’ They and the self- sacrificing monastic workers being inspired by the ideals Thakur and Maa Sarada Devi suddenly appeared simultaneously like messengers of God to the desperate, destitute, frustrated and sick people.
Swami Shailajanandaji Maharaj started relief and service work in the surrounding villages centred on Birrah village. Every evening in the end of the relief work, religious topics were discussed with the guests and the village people. There was a tremendous surge of a high-tide in the quiet rural life. There was a proposal to Ramakrishna Mission to set up a permanent service centre in the rural area. The initiative began. In the first and later period, the indefatigable energy of some local villagers like Late Ashutosh Bir, Late Atul Krishna Chottopadhyay and Late Shaktipada Roy; the altruistic spirit of some outsiders like Gobinda Babu, Nimai Babu and Dhiru Babu ; and above all the noble mission of public service of Ramakrishna Mission set up the confluence of three rivers. The local devotees, villagers and some great personalities of Bankura town participated in their work. It is not possible to mention all of them in this short span, but only in gratitude we remember their contributions and dedications forever.
During this long glorious span of time, the institution has flourished from a little sapling to a strong robust full-grown tree with sweet-smelling delicate blossoms. The academic performance has been consistently spectacular over the past decades. The school has succeeded again and again in achieving distinction in the arena of education , games and sports. On various occasions this esteemed institution has been graced by the glorious presence of many renowned dignitaries and personalities. The motto of this institution is to substantiate Swami Vivekananda’s epoch-making definition of education – “Education is the manifestation of perfection already in man.” The cordial and spiritual environment offers the learners a suitable platform for translating Swamiji’s man-making and character-building education into an actuality. Let this premier educational institution forge ahead bearing distinction and excellence in the years to come – “Jai Thakur, Jai Maa, Jai Swamiji”.
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