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It is gratifying to note that in spite of being loca
ted 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 six decades and with a skeleton staff, the department h
as 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.
Brief History
The department started its functioning on 16th July 1958, one yeaDSC04316
r after the inception of University. Geography Department of the Maharana Pratap Degree College, Gorakhpur was merged with the university. At this time, there were only three faculty members in the department. Dr. Mahatam Singh, as the Head of the department and Dr. Chandra Badan Tiwari and Dr. (Miss) Surinder Pannu as lecturers. Shri S. Bandyopadhyay joined 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 from Allahabad university joined as lecturer. It was in 1961 that the first batch of post-graduate students in Geography passed out from the department. Since then the number of geography students kept on swelling for quite a few years. The courses offered by the department were generally of traditional geography at that time with emphasis 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 Srivastava joined this department as a lecturer in 1963 after serving for some time in Dr. H.S. Gour University, Sagar. 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 efforts were 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 TheDepartmentEarthPNGIndia. These two branches were expanded and new special papers like cartography and advance climatology were also introduced. 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, the staff structure was strengthened when Dr. H.H. Giri joined as a temporary lecturer. Afterwards, Mr. J.P. 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 in 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 students 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 floor of the then newly constructed Arts Faculty Building. Post-graduate and under-graduate 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 same department. Dr. Mahatma Singh again worked as Head of the department for some time.
In December 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 U.G.C. and the Geography Review Committee. Keeping in the line with the recommendation of the I.G.U. held in India in 1968, a new paper on ‘Humid Tropics’ was introduced in 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. Practicala in the special papers were given more emphasis to promote specialization. The tradition of field study tours was also strengthened and under-graduate 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 B.H.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 D.J. College, Baraut, Meerut. Thus, the hierarchy of one Professor, one Reader and 10 Lecturers was completed.
Soon after return of Dr. R.D. Dixit from Canberra in 1971, Dr. V.K. Srivastava left for post doctoral research to London University on a Commonwealth Fellowship in 1972. This leave vacancy was filled in by the appointment of Sheo Shanker Verma as a lecturer.
The process of changing number to teaching staff continued as Dr. Dixit left as Reader and became Head, Department of Geography of Punjabi University, Patiala. Soon after the return of Dr. V.K. Srivastava from London in 1974, Dr. Mahatma Singh, a 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 October 1977.
Dr. C.B. Tiwari, the senior most lecturer was appointed as Reader in Dec. 1977. Phirtu Ram Chauhan joined the department in January 1978 to fill the vacancy of Dr. M. Singh, who was retired earlier. Before joining the department he was serving at S.V. College, Deoria 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 achievements, credit also goes 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 Geography, later Geographical Thought and was renamed as Uttar Bharat Bhoogol Patrika in 1968. It is one of the standard bilingual research journals of geography in India, being published uninterruted since its inception.
After retirement of Prof. U. Singh, Dr. Jagdish Singh, being senior most Reader took over the charge of Headship on 1st July 1979. Sri Kant Dixit was appointed as lecturer in February 1980, after serving two years at Saket P.G. College, Faizabad. Dr. C.B. Tiwari left the department as principal of Buddha P.G. College Kushinagar, by the end of 1980 and further he was elevated as Vice-Chancellor of Merrut University. The department shifted in new building of its own on 26th January 1981. In February 1981 Dr. Jagdish Singh was appointed as Professor and V.K. Srivastava as Reader. In the mean time, Dr. B.P. Rao visited Ruhr University, Bochum for a period of 6 months. In September. 1982, Mrs. Nutan Tyagi was appointed as a lecturer.
The year 1983 may be called a landmark in the progress of geography department with the founding the Association of Marketing Geographers of India and with the publication of its biannual journal Indian Journal of Marketing Geography. The chief editor of that journal Dr. V.K. Srivastava became member of I.G.U. Commission on Commercial Activities. Further he was elevated to the post of chairman of commission (1992-96). In May 1986, Dr. B.P. Rao, Dr. H.H. Giri, Dr. R.B. Singh, Dr. S.N. Singh, Dr. Hira Lal, Dr. J.N. Pandey were promoted as Readers. In July 1986, Dr. R.B. Singh left the department and joined B.H.U. Varanasi on the same post. In same year, Dr. S.S. Verma, Dr. P.R. Chauhan and Dr. S.K. Dixit were promoted as senior lecturers. Later on in December 1987, Dr. K.N. Singh and Dr. R.B. Patel were appointed as lecturer. In February 1989, Dr. V.N. Sharma was appointed as lecturer. Thus, the total strength of faculty members became fourteen. In 1990, the department consisted of one Professor, six Readers and seven lecturers exhibiting keen interest in research work and having many publications to their credit. In the mean time, Dr. S.N. Singh left the department to join as principal of Hindu College, Moradabad in July 1990. in December 1991, Dr. V.K. Srivastava was promoted as Professor along with Dr. S.S. Verma, Dr. P.R. Chauhan and Dr. S.K. Dixit as Readers in the department. Dr. Hari Har Giri retired on 1st July 1989 but worked till 30th June 1990 on session benefit. Dr. R.K. Yadav, who was working as a cartographer was given lectureship in 1993, by upgrading the cartographer’s post as lecturer. Dr. B.P. Rao retired from his long service on 11th July 1995, though he was in the department till 30th June 1996. In the year of 1996, Dr. Hira Lal promoted as professor, Dr. Nutan Tyagi as Reader and Dr. K.N. Singh, Dr. R.B. Patel, Dr. V.N. Sharma were promoted as senior lecturers. Prof. J. Singh retired in January 1997, serving as Professor and Head for about 18 years and handed over the charge of headship to Professor V.K. Srivastava. During this year, the under-graduate and post-graduate syllabi were revised keeping in view to U.G.C. Model and the courses of other universities. A workshop of university and college teachers was organized to shape up new courses. At this time new courses like Geographic Information System, Geography of Health, Biogeography and Computer Assisted Cartography were introduced. On October 11, 1998, Dr. J.N. Pandey was promoted as Professor and Dr. P.R. Chauhan and Dr. S.K. Dikshit selected as Readers while Dr. R.K. Yadav promoted as senior lecturer, Dr. S.S. Verma left the department on 14th May, 1998 to join the post of Member of U.P. Secondary Education Selection Board on deputation.
Professor Srivastava served the department up to 30th June, 1999 and handed over the charge of headship to Professor H.L. Yadav on 30th June 1999. Dr. Shiva Kant Singh joined as lecturer on Oct. 26th 1999. Dr. S.S. Verma and Dr. S.K. Dixit were promoted as professor on July 19th 2001, while Dr. K.N. Singh, Dr. R.B. Patel and Dr. V.N. Sharma promoted as Reader under career advancement scheme. On July 20th 2001, N.K. Rana joined the department as lecturer after completing his M. Phil. Degree from Delhi University. Professor H.L. Yadav retired on 14th 2002 and handed over the charge of headship to Professor J.N. Pandey. Dr. Pandey started the self-finance course of PG Diploma in Tourism and Tourist Management (PGDTTM), in which 25 students were admitted. In December 1998, the department has organized 20th Indian Geography Conference of NAGI in which about 300 participants participated from various parts of country.
In April 2003, Dr. P.R. Chauhan promoted as professor and later on Dr. R.K. Yadav promoted as reader in October 2003, In the mean time Professor J.N. Pandey retired from headship on 15th August 2003 and handed over the charge of headship to Professor S.S. Verma. Professor J.N. Pandey retired on 30th June 2006, as the age of retirement as of the teachers enhanced from 60 to 62 years by the State Government. On 15th November, 2008 Dr. Nutan Tyagi, Dr. K.N. Singh and Dr. R.B. Patel were promoted as Professor on personal promotion scheme, whereas Dr. S.K. Singh and Dr. N.K. Rana were promoted as Senior Lecturer. Dr. V.N. Sharma has joined the Department of Geography, B.H.U. as Prof. of Geography on 6th December 2007. Prof. S.K. Dixit took over the charge of the Head of the department on 3rd July, 2008. After that Dr. S.K. Singh was promoted as Reader in 2008, at present he is Associate Professor since October 2011.
Prof. P.R. Chauhan took over the charge of the Head of the department on 3rd July, 2011 and continued till 2014. On 3rd July 2014, Prof. Nutan Tyagi has taken over as Head of the Department and has been continuing since then. The present strength of the department includes five Professors, one Associate Reader and one Senior Lecturer. Presently, about 4 research projects are going on in the department. About 25 research fellow (JRF, SRF & Rajeev Gandhi Fellow) and 04 project fellows are working under different U.G.C. and D.S.T. sponsored schemes. In the last two academic sessions, 04 National Conference/Seminar were organized by the department. During these sessions about 20 research papers and 05 books were published by the faculty members. In the last two academic sessions about 12 research scholars were awarded Ph.D. in the different branches of Geography.
Thus, the history reveals that the department has a continuous growing trend of the development with respect to the faculty, infrastructure, teaching, research and organization of seminars, symposia, refresher and training courses and continue to grow further in times to come.

Heads of The Department

Prof. Hiralal Yadav >>  July 1999 to August 2002
Prof. J.N. Pandey >>  August 2002 to August 2003
Prof. S.S. Verma >>  August 2003 to June 2007
Prof. S.K. Dikshit >>  June 2007 to December 2007
Prof. S.S. Verma >>  July 2008 to July 2008
Prof. S.K. Dikshit >>  July 2008 to July 2011
Prof. P.R. Chauhan >>  July 2011 to July 2014
Prof. Nutan Tyagi >>  July 2014 to till now