|District of Jharkhand|
Location of Sahibganj district in Jharkhand
|Administrative division||Santhal Pargana Division|
|• Lok Sabha constituencies||Rajmahal|
|• Assembly seats||3|
|• Total||1,599 km2 (617 sq mi)|
|• Density||720/km2 (1,900/sq mi)|
|• Literacy||53.73 per cent|
|• Sex ratio||948|
In April 2015, the district earned infamy due to the fact that children were being sold by their parents to middlemen to becoem pickpockets in NOIDA.
The history of Sahibganj district centers mainly on the history of Rajmahal, Teliagarhi Fort, Bhognadih and Sahibganj Town. There is evidence in the pages of history that the area is inhabited since time immemorial only by Malers (Mal Paharia). They were the early settlers of the territory of Rajmahal hills, who still reside in some areas of the same hills. They are considered to be the “Malli” mentioned in the notes of Megasthenese, Greek Ambassador of Selukus Nikater, who happened to be in the vicinity of Rajmahal hills in 302 BC. Till the visit of Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang in 645 AD, the history of this area was wrapped in obscurity. In his travellogue the Chinese pilgrime mentions about the Fort of Teliagarhi (On rail route, near Mirzachauki Railway Station), when he saw the lofty bricks and stone tower not far from the Ganges. Information is gathered through the pages of history that it was certainly a Buddhist Vihar.
A continuous history of the district is available from the 13th century when Teliagarhi became the main gateway of Muslim armies marching to and from Bengal. During the Turkish dynasty rule in Delhi, Malik Ikhtiaruddin-bin-Bakhtiar Khilji marched towards Bengal and Assam trough Teliagrahi pass. He captured Bengal and its king Lakshaman Sena fled away to Cooch Behar (West Bengal).
In 1538, Sher Shah Suri and Humayun came face to face for a decisive battle near Teliagarhi.
On 12th July 1576, the battle of Rajmahal was fought and the foundation of the Mughal rule in Bengal was laid.
It was Man Singh, the most trusted general of Akbar, who in the capacity of Viceroy of Bengal and Bihar made Rajmahal the capital of Bengal in 1592. But this honour of Rajmahal was short-lived, for the capital was shifted to Dacca in 1608.
Shortly after this, Teliagarhi and Rajmahal became the seat of a fierce battle between the rebellious Prince Shahjahan and Ibrahim Khan. Shahjahan emerged victorious and became the master of Bengal for the time being, losing finally in 1624 at Allahabad.
In 1639, Rajmahal regained its glory and was once more made the capital of Bengal by Shah Shuja, the second son of Emperor Shahjahan, on his appointment as the Viceroy of Bengal. It continued as the seat of the Mughal Viceroy up to 1660 and a mint town till 1661. It was at Rajmahal that Dr. Gabriel Boughten cured the daughter of Shah Shuja. By this means Dr. Boughten succeeded in securing an order (farman) from Shah Shuja giving the English the liberty to trade in Bengal. Thus the minutest foundation of the British rule was laid here. The fugitive Nawab of Bengal Siraj-ud- Daula was captured at Rajmahal during his flight after the Battle of Plassey in 1757.
The entire Santhal Pargana along with portions of the present Hazaribagh, Munger,Jamui, Lakhisarai, Begusarai, Saharsa, a part of Purnia and Bhagalpur, districts was termed as “Jungle Terai” by the English on assumption of Diwani in September 1763 from Shah Alam II at Allahabad after the Allahabad Treaty.
The victory at Plassey made British master of the then Bengal which contained the present Sahibganj District. In Santhal Pargana, they were up against a band of simple but determined opponents, the Paharias. Paharias were great lovers of freedom and could not tolerate any intruder in their homeland. The English were very much concerned and Warren Hastings the Governor General of India organized a special corps of 800 men in 1772 to curb the Paharias. The corps was put under the command of Captain Brooke, who was appointed the Military Governor of the Jungle terai.
As a direct consequence of the Santhal Hul or Rebellion of 1854-55 led by Sido and Kanu brothers Santhal Pargana has been created as a separate district in 1855 by ceding portions of Bhagalpur (which is now in Bihar) and Birbhum (which is now in West Bengal) district.
The 1942 movement also spread to entire Santhal Pargana division, for that matter in Sahibganj and on the 11 August 1942 a general strike was observed. On 12 August 1942 a procession was taken out at Godda and soon the entire district was aflame. Thus the district of Santhal Pargana marched hand-in-hand with other parts of the State in the protracted struggle for country's freedom which yielded the result on 15th August 1947 in the form of end of slavery.
Government considered the Paharias and other tribals of Rajmahal hills as demographically underdeveloped section of society and embarked on policies and plans for their emancipation. Government's efforts in the past could not bring the desired results and the district continued to remain relatively backward. The Jharkhand Movement for separate statehood thus gained momentum and finally on 15 November 2000, a separate state named as Jharkhand came into existence comprising the 18 districts of the Chota Nagpur and Santhal Pargana divisions.<http://sahibganj.nic.in/en/History.html>
The district can be divided into two natural divisions based on its geographical features. The first region consists Borio, Mandro, Barhait, Pathna and Taljhari blocks and it is a part of the Damin-i-koh region. The hills and its slopes are covered with forests, once dense but scanty now. The second region consists Sahibganj, Rajmahal, Udhwa and Barharwa blocks. This plain region comprises the uplands, undulation along ridges and depressions. The Ganges, Gumani and Bansloi rivers flow through this region.
In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Sahibganj one of the country's 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640). It is one of the 24 districts in Jharkhand receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).
Due to poverty and the local mafia, pick pocketing in larger cities has become a major source of income for the vilage of Maharajpur in Sahebganj, with young boys sold to middlemen for this reason.
The district comprises two sub-divisions: Sahibganj and Rajmahal. Sahibganj sub-division consists of four blocks: Sahibganj, Mandro, Borio and Barhait. Rajmahal sub-division consists five blocks: Taljhari, Rajmahal, Udhwa, Pathna and Barharwa.
According to the 2011 census Sahibganj district has a population of 1,150,038, roughly equal to the nation of Timor-Leste or the US state of Rhode Island. This gives it a ranking of 407th in India (out of a total of 640). The district has a population density of 719 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,860/sq mi). Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was 23.96%. Sahibganj has a sex ratio of 948 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 53.73%.
Export of Pickpockets
In March 2015, an article by Firstpost and in April 2015, a subsequent news expose by the Hindi television channel NDTV in its Prime Time programme NDTV Khabar showed footage and interviews from Maharajpur village which showed that the 14 boys caught pickpocketing in NOIDA all belonged to this village. The program and further investigation revealed the presence of a well established network between the local panchayat members, parents of young under age boys and the mafia. Boys who were below 18 years of age are sent to NOIDA by parents, through middlemen, to become pickpockets. Parents were given 3 lakh rupees per annum for this participation.
If any children were caught, they were rescued by the local panchayat members by issuing "letters of honesty" and furnishing the relevant paperwork. It showed a large organisation of participants who, in a Dickensian Oliver Twist way, first trained these boys in "tricks" of pickpocketing in nearby towns prior sending them to NOIDA. Children thus taken were ill treated and physically abused by middlemen if they did not achieve their target of robbing goods worth Rs. 500 per day.
Places of religious, historical and archaeological importance and of tourist attraction:
1) Rajmahal:-Situated on the right bank of the river Ganges, Rajmahal is a small but historically important town. It was the seat of Government during the Mughal period when Raja Man Singh, general of Emperor Akbar made Rajmahal the capital of Bengal in 1592. Even today relics of the old and prosperous Rajmahal are visible in this one time capital of Bengal. The town has following important monuments.
i) Singhi Dalan. ii) Akbari Masjid iii) Tomb of Maina-Bibi iv) Tomb of Miran.
2) Mangalhat:- Situated 10 km west of Rajmahal, it is the site of an important monument Jama Masjid which was built during the reign of Emperor Akbar. It can be made a tourist place.
3) Kanhaiyasthan:- Situated on the bank of the river Ganges, is a village situated about 13 km north-west of Rajmahal town and owes its name to the temple of Lord Krishna (Kanhaiya). It is believed that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu once stayed here on his way to Brindaban from Bengal and got the vision of Lord Krishna. Footstep of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is also preserved here.
4) Sahibganj:- It is situated on the southern bank of the Ganges in the north-eastern region of Rajmahal subdivision. Sahibganj has been the sub-divisional headquarters since 1944 and it is the district headquarter as well. It has a municipality, which was constituted in 1883. The town has a well, constructed in 1915 known locally as “Bhagwa Kuan” which was constructed in memory of Edward VII. Residents still use the well for drinking water. In the eastern portion of the town, there located a hillock near residence of Sub- Divisional Magistrate is historically very important.
5) Teliagarhi:- These are remains of an old fort known as Teliagarhi after its builder a Teli Zamindar, who later embraced Islam during the reign of Shahjahan. It is located near Karamtola station.
6) Shivgadi:- This Shiva temple is located in the Barhait block 8 km north of Barhait and is inside the cave. Water from the mountain drips continuously on the Shivling. Devotees gather here in large numbers on Mahashivratri and whole of Shravan month.
7) Binduvasini Temple:- Situated 2 km away from Barharwa railway station. Devotees gather in large number on Ram-Navami at this temple during the fair which lasts for 9 days.
8) Shukravasini Temple:- This is a place of worship of goddess situated at Mirzapur village in the Barharwa block.
9) Raksisthan:- Situated in Mandro block near the Karamtola railway station just west of the Teliagarhi fort. This temple is considered very pious by the tribals and non-tribals. The deity is very ancient. Sutherland has reported about it in his report in 1819.
10) Bhoganadih and Panchkathiya:- The village of Sido and Kanu, the legendary brothers who led the Santhal revolt in 1855, is very sacred for the tribals. There is also a memorial for the brothers in this village. Panchkathiya is a place where these brothers were hanged by the British.
11) Udhwa Bird Sanctuary:- The only bird sanctuary in the entire state of Jharkhand is situated near Udhwa; locally called Patauda Lake. Hundreds of migratory birds reach here every winter even from Europe and Siberia.
12) Moti Jharna:- It is near Maharajpur the natural beauty of it is very attractive which is a very good picnic spot. The stream found its source from the Rajmahal hills.
13) Maghi Mela:- Organized on every full moon of Magh month at Rajmahal, this mela has an important place in the tribal life. Tribals from all over the district gather here along with the family priest to perform the pooja, which lasts for three days.<http://sahibganj.nic.in/en/Tourism.html>
Flora and fauna
Udhwa Bird Sanctuary, the only bird sanctuary of Jharkhand state is located in the district, near a place called Udhwa, which is locally called Patauda Lake. Migratory birds reach here every winter from several parts of the World, including Siberia.
- "District-specific Literates and Literacy Rates, 2011". Registrar General, India, Ministry of Home Affairs. Retrieved 2011-12-11.
- Ministry of Panchayati Raj (September 8, 2009). "A Note on the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme" (PDF). National Institute of Rural Development. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
- Kumar, Ravish (2 April 2015). "प्राइम टाइम : ईमानदार अफसरों के दिन नहीं बदलते". NDTV. Prime Time. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
- "District Census 2011". Census2011.co.in. 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-30.
- US Directorate of Intelligence. "Country Comparison:Population". Retrieved 2011-10-01.
Timor-Leste 1,177,834 July 2011 est.
- "2010 Resident Population Data". U. S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-09-30.
Rhode Island 1,052,567
- Kumar, Ravish (2 April 2015). "प्राइम टाइम : ईमानदार अफसरों के दिन नहीं बदलते". NDTV. Prime Time. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
||Bhagalpur district, Bihar||Katihar district, Bihar|
|Godda district||Malda district, West Bengal|
|Pakur district||Murshidabad district, West Bengal|