It is gratifying to note that in spite of being located in a rural region of the country, the department of Geography of this University can at least claim to have kept pace with the progress of geography in the country. In its span of five decades and with a skeleton staff, the department has tried its level best to cope-up with a rather overwhelming number of students on one hand and has been generally successful in maintaining the standard of geography teaching and research on the other.
The University department started its functioning on 16th July 1958, one year after the inception of University. Geography Department of the Maharana Pratap Degree College, Gorakhpur was merged in the university. At this time there were only three faculties in the department. Dr. Mahatma Singh as the Head of the department and Dr. Chandra Badan Tiwari and Dr. (Miss) Surinder Pannu as lecturers. The department imparted only undergraduate teaching till 1959. Mr. S. Bandopadhyay joined the department as a temporary lecturer in 1959 and left the department after one year. In 1960 the number of staff members increased when Ramesh Dutta Dikshit joined as lecturer coming from Allahabad. It was in 1961 that the first batch of post-Graduate in Geography passed out from the department. Since then the number of geography students kept on swelling for quite a few years. Further it was decided that teacher candidate could appear privately in the "subject. The courses offered by the department were generally traditional geography; at that time the emphasis was given on physical, human and Regional geography.
July 1963, may be termed as a landmark in the progress of geography in this University. It was in this session that Dr. Subodh Chandra Bose joined as first Professor & Head of the department. Before coming to Gorakhpur, he was serving on the same post at Karnataka University, Dharwar. Virendra Kumar Srivastva joined this department as a lecturer in 1963 after serving for some time in Dr. H. S. Gaur University, Sager. At this time the total number of staff members was only six.
In 1964, the existing syllabi of the department were thoroughly revised and enriched and effort was made to define the theoretical base of the subject to strengthen the existing branches and to streamline the training of practical geography. Prof. Bose was a geomorphologist and a specialist in regional geography of India. These two branches were expanded and new special papers like cartography and advance Climatology were introduced at post -graduate level. During this period an emphasis was laid on field study tour of the students. The students of the department traveled far and wide in different regions of the country for personal survey and collection of ground truth.
In 1965 staff structure was strengthened when Dr. H.H.Giri joined as a temporary lecturer. Afte!\vards Mr. JP. Misra also served for a short period as a temporary lecturer. In the meantime Dr. B.P.Rao joined the department after serving for three years Kisan Degree College; Basti. One of the notable achievements of the department was that Dr. S.c. Bose founded 'Association of North Indian Geographer' and publication of its journal named 'Oriental Geographer' was started in 1965. The name of this journal was later changed as 'Geographical Thought', It may be mentioned here that till 1966, the department was housed in a large room of Pant block of Gorakhpur University, The room was partitioned into 4 cells accommodating the Prof & 'Head, Staff members, library, other equipments and office respectively. The lecture rooms were shared with other faculty departments and laboratory facilities were no more than those of ordinary classrooms. There were an office assistant, a laboratory assistant and two peons to look after the management of the department. On an average 400 students were admitted to undergraduate courses and 125 to post-Graduate courses every year, leaving aside the number of private candidates. It was in 1966 that the department was able to procure some breathing space with its shifting to the second t100r of the then newly constructed Arts Faculty Building. Post- Graduate and undergraduate lecture rooms were separated and an equipped laboratory was constructed. A separate library room was also made available at that time.
Prof. S.C. Bose retired in 1967 though he continued as U.G.C. Professor in the settlement department Dr Mahatma Singh again worked as Head of the department for some time.
In Dec.1967 Dr. Ujagir Singh, Ph.D. (London) took over the charge as Prof and Head of the department. With his joining the department started a fresh wave of academic transformation. The entire syllabi was reviewed and revised in view of the model syllabus prepared by UGC and the Geography Review Committee. Keeping in the line with the recommendation of the I. G. U held in India, a new paper on 'Humid Tropics' was introduced in MA. Previous course in place of Regional Geography of three Southern Continents. At M.A. final level new papers like Geographical Thought, Urban Geography, Geography of Rural Settlements and Land-use, Applied Geography and Political Geography were also started. Practical in the special papers were given more emphasis to promote specialization The tradition of field study tours was also strengthened and undergraduate students also started undertaking such tours as a compulsory part of their curriculum. The significant achievement was made by drastically reducing the number of P.G. students to 40 only .This facilitated in imparting the intensive and special teaching of various branches of geography.
Dr. Ujagir Singh's arrival also affected the number of staff members. Jagat Narayan Pandey joined the department as lecturer in Oct 1968. This was followed the appointment of Sheo Mangal Singh as a temporary lecturer, who left the department in 1971. Later on in the same year Surendra Nath Singh joined the department as a lecturer. Dr. Jagdish Singh joined the department as reader in April 1969, who was lecturer in the department of Geography BH.U. Varanasi. In the same year Dr. R.B. Singh joined the department as a lecturer, but in the mean time R.D. Dixit left the department to complete his Ph.D degree at Australian National University, Canberra on a Commonwealth Scholarship in 1967. Hira lal Yadav joined the department in 1970 as lecturer after serving for some time at OJ. College, Baraut, Meerut Thus the hierarchy of one professor, one Reader and 9 lecturers was completed.
Soon after return of Dr. R.D. Dikshit from Canberra in 1971, Dr.V.K. Srivatava left for post doctoral research to London University on a Commonwealth Fellowship in I972.This leave vacancy was filled in by the appointment of Sheo Shanker Verma, as a lecturer.
The process of changing number of teaching staff continued as Dr. Dikshit left as Reader and Head, Department of Geography of Punjabi University, Patiala. Soon after the return of Dr.V.KSrivastva from London in 1974, Dr. Mahatma Singh, "founder member of the department retired from service in 1975. The department can reasonably take pride in the growing academic achievements of its staff members. Dr. Jagdish Singh Reader left for Ruhr University, Bochum in 1975 for one session. This visit was followed by Dr. R.B. Singh's assignment for a diploma course to the Netherlands in October1977.
Dr. CBTiwari, the senior most lecturer was appointed as Reader in Dec.1977. Phirtu Ram Chauhan joined the department in Januaryl978 to fill the vacancy of Dr. M. Singh who was retired earlier .Before joining the department he was serving at S.V.Collage Oeoria on same post Dr. Ujagir Singh retired on 30th June 1979 after serving the department as Professor and Head for about 12 years. Besides his academic attainments, another fact of credit to him was the publication of the research journal of the' Association of North Indian Geographer' in Hindi, instead of English. The journal published since 1965 with the name of Oriental Geographer and later .Geographical Thought was renamed as Utter Bharat Bhoogol Patrika in 1968. It is one of the standard bilingual research journals of geography in India, being published regularly.
After retirement of Prof USingh, Dr. Jagdish Singh, being senior most Reader took over the charge of Headship on 1 July 1979. Sri Kant Dixit was appointed as lecturer in February 1980, after serving two years at Saket P.G.Collage Faizabad. Dr. C.B.Tiwari left the department as principal of Buddha P.G. Collage Kushinagar, by the end of 1980 and ttlrther he was elevated as Vice-Chancellor of Merrut University. The department shifted in new building of its own on 26th Jan. 1981. In Feb.1981 Dr. Jagdish Singh was appointed as Professor and V K.Srivastava as Reader. In the mean time Dr. BP Rao visited Ruin University, Bochum, for a period of 6 months. In September 1982 Mrs. Nutan Tyagi appointed as a lecturer.
Shri Ram Naik
Prof. Ashok Kumar