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Diocese of Dinajpur
Diocese of Dinajpur

Population

In 2016, the total population was around 17,784,960. In addition to Bangla, which is widely spoken, tribal communities in the diocesan territory speak their own languages, including Santali, Oraon (Kuruk and Sadri), Mahali, Mundari, Malo, Mal and Paharia.

History

Spanish Carmelite missionaries first evangelized the territory of the diocese in the 17th century. In the mid-19th century, the area was part of the Krishnagar Mission (now the Diocese of Krishnagar in West Bengal, India). PIME missionaries first came to work in the area in 1855 and have been there ever since.

The Diocese of Dinajpur covered all of North Bengal when it was erected in 1927. The new diocese was entrusted to the PIME missionaries, and Bishop Santino Taveggia PIME. He, who was earlier the Bishop of Krishnagar, went on to become the first Bishop of Dinajpur. Their main collaborators were the Sisters of Charity (Maria Bambina Sisters). In 1952, Bishop Joseph Obert PIME founded the diocesan Catechist Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of Angels (CIC). The Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate (MSI, PIME) arrived in the diocese in 1953.

In 1952, five years post the partition of the subcontinent, the territory comprising the current Indian dioceses of Dumka, Raiganj and part of Jalpaiguri was detached from the Diocese of Dinajpur. In January 1976, Pabna District, along with St. Rita's Parish in Mathurapur, were transferred from the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Dhaka to the diocese of Dinajpur, so that the diocese covered the whole of Rajshahi Division, across the rivers Jamuna and Ganges.

In May 1990, the southern areas were detached to form the new Diocese of Rajshahi.

Political

There is no separate political structure in the diocesan territory. Citizens elect representatives to fill seats for parliamentary districts. Minority communities have not reported undue pressure concerning their participation in politics.

Transportation

Buses, trains and private vehicles are the main modes of transport to Dinajpur town. Domestic flights reach only to Saidpur, about 130 kilometers to the south. Roads connect district towns and rural areas of the diocese.

Geography

The diocese covers a land area of 12,638 square kilometers comprising eight civil districts — Dinajpur, Thakurgaon, Panchagar, Rangpur, Nilphamari, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Gaibandha — and Panchbibi sub-district of Joypurhat.

Economy

The annual per capita income of Bangladesh was US$599 as of June 2008, according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. Agriculture is the primary means of livelihood in the Dinajpur diocesan territory, with the main products being rice, wheat and lychee. Rice varieties from this area are famous.

Telecommunication

Cell phones are ever more popular, and many service providers have come up, in addition to government and private landline service providers.

Education

The literacy rate is 26 percent, according to the local government office.

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