Raidighi College, situated by the largest mangrove of the world, strives continually towards enlightening the inhabitants of this remote, rural landscape – with the dream of spreading higher education among the needy enthusiasts belonging to the Schedule caste and tribes, mostly. A view into their daily choirs would place the matter in a more appropriate perspective. Raidighi is surrounded by a number of rivers, river-inlets and dense vegetation of the Sunderbans that nurture a large number of floras and faunas, the most beautiful and the fiercest of them being the Royal Bengal tiger, obviously. Hence, inhabiting for almost hundred years now, the people of this land live perpetually on a trapeze, with life and death on either side. 90% of the total population live below the poverty line, and they often have to put their lives at stake to secure a living – be it by fishing, or by collecting honey or by cultivating crops in these hostile, muddy lands. Despite being only 100km. away from the Eastern metropolis Kolkata, due to a weak conveyance, it has not been easy for Raidighi to get a sustained taste of the urban lifestyle and culture. Yet, it must be acknowledged that Raidighi throbs with its own unique dialect, philosophy and folk idiom.
Amidst all these hardships and poverty, the prospect of higher education is but a fanciful luxury for them, evidently, and it is here that the greatest challenge for the Raidighi College authority lies – in making the young educates realize the value of higher education as a remedy to the question of poverty. There has not been much attempt made in the fields of large, medium or small scale industries, to address the growing economic crisis. But even with such hostilities around, the college has managed to provide the basic, necessary infrastructural facilities to the students, and is striving for further developments, on the grants of the state government, the UGC and the local bodies. Not only higher education, but also a higher standard of imparting knowledge is a goal that the college tries to achieve. It is affiliated to Rabindra Open University, and has managed to start a centre for distance education – certainly a step towards its mission. Those who could not complete their studies years back, or could not be a part of the regular courses offered by the college, are now getting benefited by the distance education mode. We have also planned to execute a number of career-oriented courses, and have taken the initiative towards organizing career- counseling, campusing, and other means for creating job opportunities for the students. The NSS units of the college have taken us closer to the local community by arranging mass-awareness campaigns and social-welfare programmes on issues of varied interest and importance. To keep the students healthy and physically sound, the college offers to them a low-budget gym, with basic amenities for exercise and body-building. Annually, a sports competition is organized on the adjacent field, and many indoor games are also held. Attempts are also being made to procure resources and infrastructural facilities for further modernization of the library.
The college encourages a warm and cordial relationship among the teachers and staffs, as well as between the teachers and the students. Organizing seminars, workshops, educational tours and picnics at a regular basis has made Raidighi College a place for exchanging ideas, thus, opening up new horizons. The college helps, in whatever ways it can afford, the poor farmers and their families every monsoon, in this flood-infested lowland which was once bruised by Aila – the devastating cyclone.
Water, woods and unique way of life – these are the things that define Raidighi, even amidst the technological boom of the twenty-first century. And as far as the question of higher education is concerned, back in the city, we endorse it; here, they still confront it. Hence, obstacles are many for Raidighi College; but we believe, even more is the possibility of a better outcome. We strive only for that.