|Established||1797 (as Backergunge District)|
|• Divisional Commissioner||Amitavh Sarker|
|• Total||13,225.20 km2 (5,106.28 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1.2 m (3.9 ft)|
|• Density||630/km2 (1,600/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+6 (BST)|
|ISO 3166 code||BD-A|
|Notable cricket teams||Barisal Bulls, Barishal Division|
Barishal Division is one of the eight administrative divisions of Bangladesh. Located in the south-central part of the country, it has an area of 13,644.85 km2 (5,268.31 sq mi), and a population of 8,325,666 at the 2011 Census. It is the least populous Division within the entirety of Bangladesh. It is bounded by Dhaka Division on the north, the Bay of Bengal on the south, Chittagong Division on the east and Khulna Division on the west. The administrative capital, Barisal city, lies in the Padma River delta on an offshoot of the Arial Khan River. Barisal division is criss-crossed by numerous rivers that earned it the nickname Dhan-Nodi-Khal, Ei tin-e Borishal (rice, river and canal built Barishal).
Early Middle Ages
In early times the Barisal region was composed of an amalgamation of marshlands formed by the merging of islands brought into existence and built up by alluvial soils washed down the great channels of the combined Brahmaputra-Ganges-Meghna river systems.
In the early 13th century, Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji led the Muslim conquest of Barisal, and soon later Muhammad bin Tughluq completely conquered eastern Bengal. The Hindu chieftains from northwest Bengal were dislodged from power and they dispersed over Barisal region and founded the kingdom of Bakla.
During the Mughal intervention in Bengal, Hindu society was concentrated to northern and western Barisal (known as Bakarganj). Barisal's southern portion was still covered by forests and laced with lagoons. The northwest was also the only part of Bakarganj where the Hindu population exceeded Muslims in early British censuses.
Barisal saw a second wave of immigration in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. This time, it was Muslim pioneers who assumed the leading role. Establishing Dhaka as the provincial Mughal capital of the region, in the early 17th century the Barisal region (known as Sarkar Bakla to Mughals) was more accessible to businessmen and developers than at any previous time. However, piracy in this region along the coasts and rivers of southeastern Bengal by Arakanese and renegade Portuguese seamen inhibited any sustained attempts by Mughal governors to push into the Barisal forests.
After 1666, when Mughal naval forces cleared the Meghna estuary of such external threats, the Barisal interior lay ripe for colonization. Land developers acquired grants of plots of land, taluq (তালুক), from provincial authorities. Abundant and easily obtainable by purchase from the late 17th century these grants tended to be regarded by their possessors taluqdar (তালুকদার). As taluqdars brought their taluqs into agricultural production, these men passed up the land revenue through a class of non-cultivating intermediaries, or zamindar (জমিদার). Zamindars typically resided in the provincial capital, where they had ready access to the chief provincial revenue officer, or dewan (দেওয়ান).
In a second pattern of land development, Muslim pirs or Qazi went directly into uncultivated regions, organized the local population for clearing the jungles, and only later, after having established themselves as local men of influence, entered into relations with the Mughal authorities. Relationships between the religious Muslim pirs and Mughal authorities was not always harmonious, since a pir's natural ties of authority and patronage generally lay with the masses of peasants beneath him and not with the governors and bureaucrats. For example, in remote Jhalakati Thana in the eastern Bakarganj many of 18th-century pirs and Educationist, Islamic scholars came under the authority, among them named Saiyid Faqir and Faizus Ahmed Khan (A Persian business man and educationist, came for the business trade through Khyber pass and spread education among the Indian sub continent) from wielded enormous influence with the cultivators of the all-Muslim village of Saiyidpur, Hizla and Muladi named after the pirs. But a difficulty arose, noted a 1906 village survey of Pir Fakir of Saiyidpur village, because "the people of this part looked upon the Fakir as their guide and did not pay rent to the Nawab." In this situation, one Lala Chet Singh, a captain in the employ of the governor, "succeeded in persuading the Fakir to leave the country."
In 1797 the area was established as Bakerganj District but later renamed as Barisal District and Pir of Hizla-Muladi, Faizus Ahmed Khan stayed back & settled in Muladi-Hizla village.
The Greater Barisal region (Barisal District along with five other neighbouring districts) was created as Barisal Division on 1 January 1993.
Barisal is known as the "Granary of Bengal" for its rice production. It is still an important rice-producing area of the country. Since the Middle Ages, Barisal has acted as a trans-shipment center for hides, rice, dried beans, dried peas, lentils, chickpeas, and other legumes for Bengal. Bakery, textile, and pharmaceutical products are the output of a few industrial installations. There are Sher-e Bangla Medical College (affiliated with the National University) and B. M. College (an educational institution of Barisal Division established in 1889). Barisal is also a river port once connecting Calcutta-Barisal-Dhaka and many other routes. Today Barisal River port is the most important hub of steamer and motor launch service of the Southern Bangladesh.
Points of interest
Durga Sagar is a man-made pond where a number of migratory birds arrive every winter.
Guthia Mosque is a mosque complex of Bangladesh having a land area of 5.7 hectares (14 acres), comparing to the 3.36 ha (8.30 acres) land area of the national mosque Baitul Mukarram of the country.
The division is subdivided into six districts (zilas) and thence into 42 sub-districts (upazilas; Rangabali in Patuakhali and Taltoli in Barguna being the most recent). Lower level administrative areas are 353 union parishads, 3,159 mouzas, 12 municipalities, 25 wards and 4,163 villages.
Numerous rivers and canals force the inhabitants to use boats as the main medium of transportation. The main rivers are the Arial Khan, Bishkhali, Burishwar, Tentulia, Paira, Haringhata, Baleshwar, Kirtankhola, Katcha, and Agunmukha. It is linked by steamer with Dhaka (117 km or 73 mi to the north) and with Chittagong to the southeast. Road communication has improved significantly over last decades with the building of many bridges. The Barisal airport has regular service to Dhaka.
There are two public universities in the division: Patuakhali Science and Technology University, founded in 2002, and University of Barisal (2011). There are also three private universities: Global University Bangladesh, University of Global Village, and Trust University Barisal, although as of 2018 the last had no enrolled students. There are 258 colleges in the division. They include: Barisal Government Women's College, Brojomohun College (1889), Government Barisal College, Government Syed Hatem Ali College, and Syed Bazlul Haque College.
The division also contains specialized tertiary educational institutions: two medical schools: Patuakhali Medical College (2014) and Sher e Bangla Medical College (1968); three law colleges; four teacher training colleges; three polytechnic institutes; two textile colleges, including Shaheed Abdur Rab Serniabat Textile Engineering College; engineering college Barisal Engineering College, and military school Barishal Cadet College.
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Census figures for 1991, 2001 and 2011 are from Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Population Census Wing. The 2011 Census figures are based on preliminary results.
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