Jagannathpur Upazila

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Lakes of Jagannathpur
Lakes of Jagannathpur
Location of Jagannathpur
Division Sylhet Division
District Sunamganj District
Jagannathpur Upazila March 1983
 • MP (Sunamganj-3) MA Mannan (Awami League)
 • Total 368.27 km2 (142.19 sq mi)
 • Total 225,271
 • Density 612/km2 (1,590/sq mi)
Time zone BST (UTC+6)
Postal code 3060-65

Jagannathpur (Devanagari: जगन्नथपुर, Bengali: জগন্নাথপুর) is an upazila located in the south-eastern corner of the district of Sunamganj and in the middle of the division of Sylhet, which is in north east of Bangladesh. The upazila is bordered with Chhatak in the north, to the east Bishwanath, to the south east is Balaganj, Nabiganj on the south, to the west Derai and Sunamganj Sadar in the north west.


Early History[edit]

Jagannathpur was an important part of Muazzamabad, as Kamalshahi, capital and mint city of Muazzamabad was located in north-east of the present-day Jagannathpur upazillah proper. However, according to a ballad written by one Taranath Chaudhury, Jagannathpur was a kingdom and Vijay Manikya was its king and this king was a follower of Jagannath Mishra, who was the father of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534). Jagannath Misrah built a Basu Dev temple under the auspice of Vijay Manikya and this temple was named after Jagannath Misrah, i.e. Jagannath temple. Eventually a settlement established encircling the Jagannath temple and as the settlement grew, it became a village, which inherited the name from the temple. However, historians such as Achutyacharan Chaudhury and Syed Mujtaba Ali are in opinion that Taranath Chaudhury characterised his song on Manikya Dynasty of Tripura, but the peasants and ryots of Jagannathpur found pride in that ballad and begun to misrepresent it as a royal chronicle of Jagannathpur. They also proclaim that Vijay Manikkya established a kingdom called Pandua on the eastern border of Jagannathpur, but the name of Pandua has changed to Perua, which now has shrunk to a tiny village market between Jalalpur and Habibpur. In reality, Pandua is a ruined city in Malda district of West Bengal, India, which means Pandua in Malda was the location of Taranath Chaudhury's ballad.

Most probably the king Vijay Manikya (1532-1563) of Tripura or Twipra Kingdom named Jagannathpur after Jagannath Temple in Puri in the state of Odisha, India. Jagannath is a compound Sanskrit words: jagat (universe) and nath (lord), which literally translate as the lord of the universe. It is believed that a disciple of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu built a temple in Jagannathpur replicating the temple in Puri. This temple was originally named Jagannath Temple but eventually it renamed as Basu Dev Temple. There is much more evidence that indicates Vijay Manikya was a king of Tripura and the myth of kingdom of Jagannathpur was germinated following a novella penned by one Taranath Chaudhary, who also claimed in his tale to be the last surviving offspring of Bijoy Manikya.[1]

In sixteenth century, Jagannathpur was a zamindari (equivalent of the medieval European serfdom) of two sisters, Shivani and Mohini, who were granted the zamindari by the sovereign of Muazzamabad. Shivani and Mohini were cheated by their choudharies and diwans, which led to impecuniosities and resultant non-payment of revenue collected from the serfs led to forfeiture of zaminadri. Shivani and Mohini refused to give up their zamindari and instead declared a battle against the Khans of Muazzamabad. On the order of the reigning Khan, Jagannathpur was besieged by Paragal Khan from Paragola (present-day Pagla), Syed Habib Ullah from Habibganj (present-day Habiganj) and Kuwaz Khan from Shaharpara. No battle ensued and truce was declared on the condition that Kuwaz Khan and Syed Habib Ullah respectively walk down the aisle with Shivani and Mohini.[2]

In the year 1303 the great saint Hazrat Shah Jalal Yamani (rahmah) came from Yemen and conquered the kingdom of Gaur (now known as Sylhet) without a battle.[3] After about a decade of Muslim governance of Sylhet under Sikander Ghazi, and for Hazrat Shah Jalal (rahmah)'s blessing many of his companions spread out around the country to spread the message of Islam to everyone. At that time, under the spiritual leadership of Hazrat Shah Kamal Qahafah, he came with his 12 spiritual disciples to Shaharpara, which on the north-eastern the boundary of Jagannathpur, and preached to the people the message of Islam. One of the disciples (Syed Shamsuddin) stayed at Syedpur. Dawar Baksh Khatib and Dilawar Bakhsh stayed in the village of Dhawrai, Feson Ullah at the village of Fesi, Shah Shamsuddin Behari stayed village of Atghor, Shah Kala Manik stayed at the village of Maniharagow, Shah Kalu and Shah Chand stayed in Peerergaon and Chandbharang. Shah Jalaluddin at Quskipur.[4]


Amongst many well respected notables from Jagannathpur include Bajendra Narayan Chowdhury, Nijam Uddin Mohaldar from Chilaura, Syed Maulana Jamilul Haque from Syedpur, Jitendra Chowdhury, Swarup Chandra,Maulana Shafat Ullah Munshi from Raniganj, Bijoylal Sharma, Lal Mohammed, Surandra Das, Maulana Amin Uddin from Kaithian, Pramud Sindu Gupta, Mothurapothi Acherjyee, Dr Akhlakur Rahman from Teghari(Chairman, Economics department, Jahangirnagar University. Abdus Samad Azad, Asafur Raja Chowdhury, Sohul Uddin Ahmed (Soil Miah), Abdus Subhan Chowdhury, Nando Kumar Dutta, Nirud Chandra Paul, Abu Khaled Chowdhury, Muhammed Azizur Rahman Dara who were politicians of their time, and P C Goswami - a pioneer of modern education in Sylhet, he founded the Madan Mohan College. Radha Raman Dutta, a lyricist who extensively contributed to Damal, which is a folk dance originated in southeast Punjab, present-day Haryana state of India and it dates back to time of Mahabharata, was born in the village of Keshabpur in 1833. Syed Shahnoor Shah (a renowned lyricist was born in the village of Jalalsab in Nabiganj Upazilla)but he spent most of his life in Jagannathpur in the village of Syedpur. Peer Shah Mohammed Iskandor Miah, a lyricist, was born in Jagannathpur in the village of terautia (Mukambari). His lyric books are called '"Iskandar geeti" in Bangla, Abdur Rois Advocate (ex MP), Brigadier Moshahid Chowdhury of Jagadishpur, Moksod Miah Chowdhury, Alhaj Mohorrom Ali, Alhaj Md Sirajul Islam, and Haji Terab Ali four of them were ex-Chairman of Kalkalia Union parishad, Dusth Muhammed of Mullar gaon, Idris Ullah of Sadipur, lieutenant colonel Syed Ali Ahmed (ex lecturer Bangladesh military academy) Advocate Maulana Shahinoor Pasha Chowdhury (ex MP), Abu Hurayra Saad (Master) from Habibpur Majer Bari.

In 2005, after the death of Abdus Samad Azad (Awami League) on April 27, large numbers of candidates from different parties contested in the by-election of the Sunamganj-3 seat in the Jatiya Sangsad. Wall writings have appeared in favour of some of the candidates in Jagannathpur.[5] Awami League however, did not participate in the voting, the leading candidates were Shazzadur Rahman, Anamul Haque, Syed Ali Ahmed and others. Candidates held rallies in different areas, and posters were held all over market places. HM Ershad started a three-day campaign for Ali Ahmed.[6] The total number of voters was 218,450.[7] Shahinoor Pasha Chowdhury won the election with 42,944 votes, while M.A Mannan received 38,875 votes. The post-election violence during the evening left 30 people injured, which seven were admitted to Sunamganj Sadar hospital.[8] The post-election was described as vulnerable and caused controversy surrounding information about the personal and financial background.[9] Awami League won back the seat it lost in Sunamganj-3 during the 2008 general election, when MA Mannan won with 147,827 votes.[10][11]


A separate Thana was established at Jagannathpur on 1 October 1920 by a gazette notification by Anamul Haque of Parargaon; the thana was upgraded first as an Upazilla in March 1983,[12] and then as a municipality on the 29 September 1999.[13]

In the upazila of Jagannathpur, there are up to 8 parishads (Union Councils), and Jagannathpur Municipality, Asharkandi, Haldipur, Kalkalia, Mirpur, Pailgaon, Patli, Raniganj and Syedpur-Shaharpara. Based on the 2001 census, There are 310 villages in Jagannathpur, 9 wards, 43 mahallahs, 8 unions and 263 mauzas. There are approximately 35,682 households present in Jagannathpur.[14] In Jagannathpur there are three colleges, there are 15 secondary schools (2 junior), up to 119 primary schools under government control, 21 private schools and 34 madrasahs. There are 14 post offices available in the area, including 12 banks. There are 247 mosques in the upazila, and also 5 Hindu temples.[15]


Jagannathpur is located at 24°46′00″N 91°32′35″E / 24.7667°N 91.5431°E / 24.7667; 91.5431 . It has 28546 units of house hold and total area 368.27 km². Jagannathpur is geographically divided into two distinct regions – Upper-Jagannathpur and Lower-Jagannathpur, the former comparatively consists of highland and the latter consists of swampland and Nulla’r Hawar is the largest among the swamps. Local government offices – Union Council Office – are scattered in both upper and lower Jagannathpur. Patli, Mirpur, Asharkhandi, Syedpur and Shaharpara are located on the upper region while Khalkhai, Jagannathpur, Raniganj, Pailgaon and Daldipur are on lowland. Settlements and villages have mainly founded along riverbanks and on fringe of hawars.


At the 1991 Bangladesh census, Jagannathpur had a population of 188,139, of whom 95,285 were aged 18 or older. Males constituted 51.13% of the population, and females 48.87%. Jagannathpur had an average literacy rate of 27.9% (7+ years), against the national average of 32.4%.[16] Of the population Muslim accounted for 81.75%, Hindu for 18.10%, Buddhist for 0.02%, Christian for 0.01%.

At the 2001 census, it had a population of 225,271, of whom 51.7% were male and 48.3% were female. The literacy rate was 45.3%, which was the highest in Sunamganj, and one of the highest in Sylhet.[14]

Immigration and migration[edit]

Migration process has been constant and steady in Jagannathpur Upazillah and it can be characterised as a two-way traffic for centuries. People from villages have been migrating to towns and cities and especially overseas to United Kingdom (London, Manchester, Birmingham, Sunderland) whilst people from other parts of Bangladesh, especially from Comilla, Noakhali, Barisal, Faridpur and Mymensingh, are filling up the vacuum created by relocation of the native people. It has been identified that migration is occurring amongst people of two specific categories and they are moving out of rural to urban areas for employment and economic reasons.

Category 1 consists of people who have acquired education and seek employment. A large section of the first educated mass and elite alike have migrated to Sunamganj Municipality. Majority of the lawyers and government employees from Jagannathpur have migrated to Sunamganj town from the time of creation of Pakistan in 1947 and before the birth of Bangladesh in 1971.

Category 2 consists of well-heeled mass and elite, mainly of immigrant community and they have purchased second homes in the city of Sylhet and partially relocated in the city and abroad. The necessity of moving to city was felt in the years immediately after the independence of Bangladesh due to targeted robberies and harassing of so-called ‘Londoni’ families and villages during the entire decade of the 1970s. Another contributory factor was communications. Jagannathpur was isolated from both Sunamganj and Sylhet towns till the 1990s and amenities were very scarce. The second and third generations of category 1 and 2 are also migrating to the metropolis of Dhaka. The trend of migrating to Dhaka culminated with the millennium development activities from the eve of 2000 CE. About 95 per cent of the Bangladeshi community in the UK originate from the Sylhet region,[17] and Jagannathpur is one of the upazilas in Sunamganj which has the highest number of expatriates in the UK.[6] They mainly settled in towns and cities such as St Albans (Hertfordshire) London, in particular Tower Hamlets, people from Jagannathpur can be found in the Brick Lane area (Spitalfields and Banglatown), Newham and Redbridge and Birmingham, Oldham, Leeds, Northampton, Bedford Kidderminster,Haslingden and Sunderland.[18] A wave of immigration from Jagannathpur began after the post war shortages of industrial labour in England. This was combined with a further a sudden industrial boom of the cotton industry, mainly young men were given the opportunity to immigrate to the UK and work in the cotton mills.[19] Migration took place for various reason such as for a better quality of life or wealth, escape poverty, and send money back home for financial support. Many people of Jagannathpur had previously resided in the villages, and agricultural business was a major occupation as many farmers owned a vast amount of rich paddy fields and estates.

Due to immigration, there has been a large shift in the demographics and statistics of Jaganathpur, and also the entire region of Sylhet. The second generation settlers live in the UK and regard it as their home. Despite the cultural barriers and the perceived isolation there has been a paramount of success breeding from the people of Jaganathpur and other parts of Sylhet. They have overcome institutionalised racism, language barriers, social barriers and religious barriers to produce a successful and highly educated young population. Most of whom are now entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, diplomats, politicians, biomedical scientists and other professionals.[20] A fair amount of people from Jaganathpur have found success and fame through the catering industry and are very successful restaurateurs throughout the country, although the industry is known as Indian, the majority are in fact Bangladeshi origin and essence, as over 85 per cent of Indian restaurants in the UK are owned and managed by Bangladeshi Sylhetis.[21]

Shah Abdul Majid Qureshi who was a pioneer in the curry industry and was from Jagannathpur, including Anwar Choudhury[13] - the first and only Bangladeshi born and Bangladeshi ethnic British High Commissioner to Bangladesh,[22] Cllr Ghulam Murtuza - the first Bangladeshi born Mayor in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, and Ahmed Fakhruddin - late veteran community activist was also from Jagannathpur. Hazi Abdul Motin aka Motin Miah a non resident British Bangladeshi organizer of Bangladesh independent war in 1971 at manchester. Alhaz Mohammed Gulzar Hussain (a non resident British Bangladeshi organizer of Bangladesh independent war in 1971 at St.Albans UK and was also from Chilaura, Jagannathpur). First person from Syed Pur to be elected to both council seats, Cllr Syed Mumshad Ahmed son of al haj Syed Mostaque Ahmed (kidderminster,wyre forest district councillor 2008 and worcesterhires county councillor 2009 )


  1. ^ Rajmala, the Royal Chronicle of Tripura Kingdom
  2. ^ Choudhury, N: History of Jagannathpur
  3. ^ Achyut Charan Chowdhury Sreehatter Itibritta
  4. ^ Jagannathpur Online
  5. ^ Iqbal Siddiquee (June 01 2005, Sylhet) Dozens eye Sunamganj-3, prepare to enter fray The Daily Star. Retrieved on 2009-03-20.
  6. ^ a b "Web Edition Vol.5 Num. 404". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  7. ^ Sunamganj-3 by-polls today The Daily Star.
  8. ^ Ruling alliance candidate wins-Sunamganj by-poll News from Bangladesh (July 21, 2005). Retrieved on 2009-03-20.
  9. ^ Badiul Alam Majumdar (August 04 2005) The Sunamganj-3 by-election: A failed test case The Daily Star. Retrieved on 2009-03-20.
  10. ^ Sunamganj-3 seat details The Daily Star.
  11. ^ AL names candidates for JS polls The New Nation.
  12. ^ Sirajul Islam (2003). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh. Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. pp. 347-348.
  13. ^ a b An introduction to Jagannathpur Jagannathpur.com
  14. ^ a b Area, Population and Literacy Rate by Upazila/Thana-2001 Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics
  15. ^ Jagannathpur - History
  16. ^ "Population Census Wing, BBS.". Archived from the original on 2005-03-27. Retrieved November 10, 2006. 
  17. ^ Gardner K (1995). International migration and the rural context in Sylhet. New Community 18: 579–590. 
  18. ^ Smith, Michael; John Eade (2008). Transnational Ties: Cities, Migrations, and Identities. Transaction Publishers. p. 149. ISBN 978-1-4128-0806-4. 
  19. ^ "BBC London: Faith - Bangladeshi London". BBC. Retrieved 2005-05-27. 
  20. ^ "Bangladeshis: Moving with the times". The Daily Star - FORUM. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  21. ^ Gillan, Audrey (2002-06-21). "From Bangladesh to Brick Lane". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2002-07-21. 
  22. ^ "Profile:Anwar Choudhury". BBC News - BBC. 2004-05-21. Retrieved 2008.