Habiganj District

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Habiganj
হবিগঞ্জ
Location of Habiganj  হবিগঞ্জ
Division Sylhet Division
Area
 • Total 2,636.59 km2 (1,017.99 sq mi)
Population (2011 census)
 • Total 2,089,001
 • Density 790/km2 (2,100/sq mi)
Time zone BST (UTC+6)
 • Summer (DST) BDST (UTC+7)
Postal code 3360-3374

Habiganj (হবিগঞ্জ Hobigônj), formerly Habibganj, was named after its founder, Syed Habib Ullah of Taraf fiefdom, is a district in the north-eastern part of Bangladesh. Between and thirteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Habiganj was part of the state of Nasirabad, which was established by Sipahisalar Syed Nasiruddin with its capital at Taraf. At present, it is a district of Sylhet Division.

Habiganj is the historical place where the Mukti Bahini started their first guerilla movement against oppression of Pakistani Army. It is also the place full of memory of Syed Nasir Uddin (R), companion and sipahsalar of Hazrath Shah Jalal (R), the great saint of Bengal. Historically, Habibganj was a bazaar or ganj beside Khowai River established by Syed Habib Ullah, the son of Syed Hadayat Ullah. With the passage of time, Habibganj turned into Habiganj. During the British Raj, Habiganj was established as a Thana (police precinct) in 1790, under Dhaka district (1779–1793). Until 1896, Habiganj's administrative centre was in Court Andar, Laskarpur. On 12 September 1874 it came under Sylhet district (part of Assam). Habiganj was declared as subdivision in 1867. On 7 April 1893, according to the Notification no. 273 of Assam Provincial Government, Habiganj Thana (Administrative unit) was established. Habiganj was rejoined with East-Bengal (now Bangladesh) in 1911. Then the Office of the Circle Officer (Development) was established in 1960. Finally on 1 March 1984 Habiganj was established as a District.Sheikh Liaquat Ali is the current chairman of Habiganj.[1]

At present Habiganj consists of 8 upazilas, 6 municipalities, 36 wards, 77 union parishads, 124 mahallas, 1241 mouzas and 2076 villages.[2]

Upazila[edit]

Upazilas of Habiganj

Habiganj District comprises eight Upazilas (sub-districts) and one thana (Police station). They are:

and Sayestaganj Thana under Habiganj Sadar Upazila.

History[edit]

Chaklapunji[edit]

All the reported prehistoric records of Bangladesh are associated with the Lalmai hills and the higher areas of Sylhet, Habiganj, and Chittagong and Madhupur tract. The prehistoric site of Chaklapunji tea garden, near Chandirmazar of Chunarughat. Habiganj has also revealed a significant number of prehistoric tools from the bed of a small ephemeral stream (water remains here only for a few hours after rainfall) known as Balu nadi (river). Angularity and freshness of the fossil wood artifacts suggest that they did not come from a great distance and probably came from nearby hillocks. Typologically, technologically, and morphometrically, the artifacts are more or less the same as those found in the Lalmai area. The Fossil wood assemblages of Lalmai and Chaklapunji can be classified into two groups:

  1. Pre-neolithic assemblages without polished tools (hand axes, cleavers, scrapers, chopping tools, points etc.);
  2. Neolithic assemblages (hand adzes, polished Celts, awls etc.).

Battle of Bara Bhuiyans and Mughal[edit]

In Baniachang a battle occurred between Anwar Khan (the Zamindar of Sylhet) and Hussain Khan (Baro-Bhuyans of Baniachang with the Mughal army in the 17th century, which can be found in the Bahrastan-i-Gayebi.

Fort of Putijuri[edit]

Khwaja Osman (Afghan king) left Bukai Nagar Fort and established a shelter at Putijuri on the foot of the Giripal. He also established a fort at Putijuri, which was extremely important for defense. The Mughal army took the advantage when Khwaja Osman's brother was absent from the fort, and finally defeated the Khwaja Osman's army at the village called Dhalamvapur, Maulvi Bazar District.

Indian National Congress[edit]

In the second session of the Congress held in Calcutta in 1886, the Indian National Congress was able to attract representatives from Habiganj District. They are Joy Gobinda Shome and Kamini Kumar Chanda of Habiganj People's Association.[citation needed]

War at Teliapara Tea Garden[edit]

On 4 April 1971, during Bangladesh Liberation War the senior army officers assembled at the headquarters of 2nd East Bengal at Teliapara, a semi hilly area covered by tea gardens where General MAG Osmani, Lieutenant Colonel Abdur Rob, Lieutenant Colonel Salahuddin Mohammad Reja, Major Kazi Nuruzzaman, Major Khaled Mosharraf, Major Nurul Islam, Major Shafat Jamil, Major Mainul Hossain Chowdhury and others were present. In this meeting four senior commanders were entrusted with the responsibility of operational areas. Sylhet-Brahmanbaria area was placed under the command of Major Shafiullah, Comilla-Noakhali area was given to Major Khaled Mosharraf while Chittagong-Chittagong Hill Tracts was given to Major Ziaur Rahman and Kushtia-Jessore area was placed under command of Major Abu Osman Chowdhury. In the meeting the organization concept of the freedom fighter forces and the command structure were chalked out under the command of General MAG Osmani.[3]

War at Ajmiriganj[edit]

During the War of Liberation in 1971 an 18 hours direct encounter between the freedom-fighters and the Pakistani-army was held on 16 November 1971, in which freedom-fighter Jagatyoti and 11 villagers were killed by the Pakistani-army.[4]

Geography[edit]

Habiganj is located at 24°22′30″N 91°25′00″E / 24.3750°N 91.4167°E / 24.3750; 91.4167. Its area is 2,636.58 km² and bounded by Sunamganj District to the north, Tripura of India and Maulvibazar District to the east, Balaganj Upazila of Sylhet to the north-east, Brahmanbaria and Kishoreganj districts to the west.[2] This part of Bangladesh is characterized by alluvial plains which are dissected by various connecting rivers as well as streams, lakes; and it is vulnerable to both flood and drought. The land is devoted mainly to agriculture due to its fertile alluvial soils.

Land[edit]

Cultivated agricultural land: 1,54,953 hectare (60.22% of the total agricultural land). Forestland 95 11,644 hectare (4.53% of the total land). For crops 51.6% single-crop, 38.7% double-crop and 9.7% triple-crop; fallow 521 hectares. Its rivers include Barak, Bheramahana, Gopala, Kalni, Kalishiri, Khowai, Korangi, Kushiara, Meghna River(lower), Ratna, Shwasanali, shutki, sonai, Korangi, Shutang, Tentulia, Jhingri, Bizna and Yojnal.api

People and population[edit]

As per district administration report[1] the total population is 1,830,554 of 926,531 male and 904,022 female (50.6% male and 49.4% female). Category by religion 80.23% Muslim, 19.12% Hindu, 0.05% Buddhist, 0.13% Christian and 0.47% others. Life Expectancy: 56 years both male and female. Age Breakdown: 42% (under 15); 26% (15-29); 16% (30-44); 9% (45-59); 5% (60 and 60+); and 2% (not known). Birth Rate: 33.0 per 1,000. Death Rate: 11.4 per 1,000. Population growth rate: 21.6 per 1,000. Infant Mortality Rate: 98.0 per 1,000 live births.

Over 98% of the population are Bengalis while the remainder are Biharis, Khasia, Manipuri and Tripuri people.

The Twipra or Tipperah are the original inhabitants of the state of Tripura. The Royal family of the Debbarma ruled the state of Tripura for more than 2,000 years till the kingdom was joined with the India in 1949.

The Manipuri's original homeland is Manipur, once a sovereign state and now the north-eastern state of India. In the early days, Manipur had different names such as Kangleipak, Kangkleipang, Kanglei, Meitrabak, and Mekhali and the Manipuri were known as Meitei. During the reign of Maharaj Garibniwaz (1709–1748), Manipuris arrived here.

The Khasia is a Mongolite ethnic group. The Khasi descended to the Khasia hills and Jaintia hills from Cherapunji and Shilong regions. They migrated to Habiganj from Assam where they came about 500 years ago, presumably from Tibet, and now they form one of the ethnic minority communities in Habiganj.

Economy[edit]

Work force[edit]

Agriculture 42.26%, agricultural laborer 20.55%, wage laborer 6.45%, commerce 8.2%, service 4.69%, industry 1.7%, fishing 2.73% and others 13.42%.

Economic resources[edit]

  • Main crops: Paddy, Tea, Wheat, Potato, Jute, Ground nut, Betel leaf and Oil seed.
  • Tea Gardens: 24 covering total area 15,703.24 hectare.
  • Rubber gardens: 3 Rupaichhara-Bahubal (1981). Half of this garden is situated in Habiganj and the rests are in Shreemangal, total area 2,000 acres (8.1 km2). Shahjibazar-Chunarughat(1978) area 2,004 acres (8.11 km2), Shatgaon Rubber garden (1971) area 200 acres (0.81 km2).
  • Main fruits: Mango, Jack fruit, Banana, Litchi, Coconut, Lemon, Pineapple and Black berry.
  • Fisheries and dairies: Dairy 148, Poultry 739 and Fishery 638.
  • Communication facilities: Roads (321 km pucca, 205 km semi-pucca and 1592 km muddy); Railways 107 km.
  • Traditional transport: Palanquin, Gaina boat and Bullock cart.
  • Factories: Textile mill, Umbrella factory, Flour mill, Rice mill, Ice factory, Soap factory, Dry fish processing center, biscuit factory.
  • Cottage industries: Weaving, Bamboo work, Goldsmith, Blacksmith, Potteries, Tailoring and Welding.
  • Mineral resources: Natural gas, Silica sand, Mineral sand, 3 Gas fields are:

Rashidpur gas field (1960), Bibiana gas field (1998) and Habiganj gas field (1963. The approximate stock of these gas fields is 5.5 Trillion Cubic Feet. Habiganj gas field lies in Madhabpur Upazila. This field was also discovered by Pakistan Shell Oil Company in 1963. The structure measures 12x5 square km with a vertical closure of 300 m which has a roughly sub-meridian axis tilted slightly eastward at the northern end. Total recoverable gas reserve of this field re-estimated by Hydrocarbon Unit is 3,852.30 billion cubic feet (1.09085×1011 m3). Commercial gas production from this field was commenced in 1968 and till 31 August 2006 total 1,364.474 billion cubic feet (3.86376×1010 m3) or 35.42 percent of reserves has been recovered.

  • Hats, bazaars and fairs: 126 (hats and bazaars) and 23 (fairs).

Exports[edit]

Main exports are Paddy, Fish, Shrimp, Frog-legs, Dry-fish, Tea, Betel-leaf, Dates, Molasses, Rubber, Bamboo, Natural gas, oil and Textile.

Education[edit]

Literacy rate of Habiganj is 45%. There are total 16 Colleges of which 1 (Honors) College, 3 Government colleges, 1 Polytechnic institute; 13 (further education) Colleges, 6 (government) and 99 (non-government) High Schools; 14 Junior Schools; 732 (government) and 711 (non-government) Primary Schools; 96 Madrasah; and 6 Satellite (temporary) Schools in this district. [1]

Literature and culture[edit]

Habigang is famous for folk Literature: Mahuya Sundari and Dhupar Path.

Cultural organizations: 131 clubs, 10 public libraries; 5 private libraries; 12 theater groups; 6 literary societies; 7 Woman's Societies; 13 cinema halls; and 13 theaters.

Religious institutions: 1385 masjid; 176 temples; 2 churches; 46 tombs.

Local newspapers: Daily Habiganj Express, Daily Pravakar, Pratidener Bani, weekly Swadhikar, Swadeshbarta, Drishtikon, Daily Khowai, Habiganj Samachar, Janatar Dalil, Parikrama, fortnightly Prayas, The Daily Habiganjer Ayna and Mritika.

Defunct local newspapers: monthly Moitri (1909), weekly Projapati (1909), Sree Sree Sonar Gauranga (1329 BS), Palli Bani (1940), weekly Shahid (1948), weekly Jagaran (1955), monthly Avijatrik (1966).

People[edit]

Historical figures[edit]

  • Sipahsalar Syed Nasiruddin was a dervish and Islamic preacher, who was born in Baghdad. After Hulagu Khan had destroyed Baghdad, he left the city in his teen and ultimately reached Delhi. Later, he participated in the Sylhet expedition as a sipahsalar (chief of armed forces) under spiritual guidance of Hazrat Shah Jalal (R) and temporal leadership of Sikander Ghazi. Syed Nasiruddin was a follower of the Suhrawardiya Tariqa (order). There are many legends about his supernatural powers. At Shah Jalal's direction, accompanied by twelve saints, he defeated a local chieftain, Achak Narayan, of Taraf. He establish Nasirabad, which was an autonomous state that included south Mymensingh, Dhaka and Comilla with its capital at Taraf and cantonment at Lashkarpur. His shrine is at Muraband, Taraf in Habiganj.
  • 'Syed Sultan (1550-1648)- Poet of medieval Bangla literature, was born in Lakserpur. The name of his Pir was Syed Hasan. The poet himself later reached the status of a pir and had a disciple called Maktul Hussain, author of the poetical work. He wrote several books, including Nabi Bangsha (Family of the Prophet), Gyanprodip (Light of knowledge), Jnanchautisha, and Jaikum Rajar Ladai (Battle of King Jaikum).
  • Sheikh Bhanu: Sheik Bhanu is one of the most renowned mystic poet of Bangladesh. His spiritual songs like Nishite Jaiyo Fulo Bone is a famous one. He was born in Bhadikara under Lakhai Upazila.
  • Bipin Chandra Pal was born on 7 November 1858. He was one of the trinity of the three Extremist patriots of the Indian National Congress who had fought and sacrificed their lives during Indian independence movement in the first half of the twentieth century. Pal started the Bangla weekly Paridarshak in Sylhet (1886), worked as Assistant Editor of the Bengali Public Opinion (1882) and served the Lahore Tribune for a short time (1887). For sometime he was the editor of The Democrat and The Independent. He published a biography (in Bangla) of Queen Victoria in 1887. Among his other books Indian Nationalism, Nationality and Empire, Swaraj and the Present Situation, The Basis of Social Reform, The Soul of India, The New Spirit and Studies in Hinduism are prominent.

Notable figures[edit]

  • Sir Fazle Hasan Abed KCMG - Founder and Chairperson, BRAC
  • M Mukhlesur Rahman Chowdhury,[5] former advisor to the President of Bangladesh, first minister of Habiganj-Lakhai area, past press secretary to the President of Bangladesh, ex-president of Overseas Correspondents' Association- OCAB and Chief Editor of the Bangladesh Worldwide and Editor of the Weekly Prekkhit
  • Justice Syed A B Mahmud Husain - The first Chief Justice of Bangladesh from Sylhet division born in a Muslim zaminder family at village Lashkerpur.
  • Shah A M S Kibria, Has served as the Executive Secretary of ESCAP (1981-1992).,[6] Finance Minister of Bangladesh (1996-2001), MP of Habiganj-3 (2001-2005).
  • Justice Syed J R Mudassir Husain - Sworn in as Chief Justice on 27 January 2004.
  • Habiganj 1: Sheikh Sujat Miah(2011-) Dewan Farid Gazi(2008–2010) (2001–2006), (1996–2001), Khalilur Rahman Chowdhury (1991–1996), Md Abdul Mosabbir (1988), Mahbubur Rob Sadi (1979-1982)Bir Protik. Sub-Sector Commander (Sector 4 - Jalalpur), Bangladesh Liberation War (1971).[7]
  • Habiganj 2: Abdul Majid Khan (2009-) Nazmul Hasan Jahed (2001–2006), Sharif Uddin Ahmed (1996–1997), Sharif Uddin Ahmed (1991–1996), Sirajul Hossain Khan (1986-1988), (1988-1990), Janab Ali (1979-1982).
  • Habiganj 3: Abu Jahir (2009), Abu Leich Md. Mubin Chowdhury (2005–2006), (1996–2001), (1991–1996), Shah A M S Kibria (2001–2005), M A Mottalib (1979-1982), Md Mostafa Ali (1970–1974).
  • Habiganj 4: Enamul Haq Mostafa Shaheed (2001–2006), (1996–2001), (1991–1996), Syed Muhibul Hasan (1979), Syed Mohammed Qaiser in 1986 and 1988.
  • Habiganj-5: Syed Mohammed Qaiser (1979 - Then there were 5 constituencies in then Habiganj Sub-Division), Maulana Asad Ali in 1970 and 1973.
  • Rizwana Hasan - attorney and environmentalist

Archaeological heritage[edit]

  • Ancient Rajbari(1737–38) at Puranbagh, Baniachang
  • Bagala Matar Mandir, Habiganj
  • Baniachong village (the biggest village in Asia)
  • Bibir Dargah Mosque, Baniachang
  • Bikhangal Akhra, Baniachang
  • Dorga-tila, Mira-tila and Tangee-tila, Nabiganj
  • Foltoli-tila and water fountain, Nabiganj
  • Jami Mosque, Bahubal
  • Kalibari, Habiganj Sadar
  • Kuri-tila, Black-stone and an Ancient Rajbari, Dinarpur, Nabiganj
  • Mashulia Akhra, Habiganj Sadar
  • Monument for the freedom-fighters, Teliapara tea garden
  • Mosque of Uchail, built by Mojlishe Amin,habiganj by azaz
  • Murarbandar Dargah Sharif, Chunarughat
  • Putijuri Jami Mosque, Bahubal
  • Ramakrishna Ashram, Habiganj Sadar
  • Rashidpur Tea Garden, Bahubal Upazila
  • Shagor Dighi, Baniachong
  • Shajeerbazar, Chunarughat
  • Sham-baoul Akhra and Doulotpur Akhra, Baniachang
  • Tea gardens in the valleys
  • War of Liberation Mass Grave, Nabiganj
  • War of Liberation Memorial Monument, Nabiganj

See also[edit]

References[edit]