Habiganj (হবিগঞ্জ Hobigônj) is a district in northern Bangladesh. It is a part of the Sylhet Division.
Habiganj was established as a Thana (police precinct) in 1790, when it was part of Dhaka district (1779-1793). Until 1896, Habiganj's administrative centre was in Court Andar, Laksarpur. In 1893, it was moved to Habiganj Sadar. On 12th September 1874 under Sylhet district (part of Assam), Habiganj was established as a subdivision. Habiganj was rejoined with East-Bengal (now Bangladesh) in 1911. In 1984, Habiganj was turned into a District; at the moment it consists of 4 municipality, 36 wards, 124 mahallas, 8 upazilas, 77 union parishads, 1241 mouzas and 2093 villages.
Habiganj has an area of 2,637 km². It is bounded by Sunamganj
district to the north, Tripura
to the east, Balaganj (part of Sylhet
district) to the north-east, Brahmanbaria
districts to the west.
This part of Bangladesh is characterised 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 Use: agricultural-cultivated 25,299 hectares (51.6% single-crop, 38.7% double-crop and 9.7% triple-crop); fallow 521 hectares. There are also 22 tea-gardens and 2 rubber-plantation. Its rivers include Barak, Bheramahana, Gopala, Kalni, Kalishiri, Khowai, Korangi, Kushiyara River , Meghna River(lower), Ratona, Shwasanali, Sutang, Tentulia and Yojnal.
People and Population
Over 98% of the population are Bengalis while the remainder are Biharis, Khasia, Manipuri and Tripuri people. The total population is 1,757,331 (49.94% male and 50.06% female), which can be further breakdown as 80.23% Muslim, 19.12% Hindu, 0.05% Buddhist, 0.13% Christian and 0.47% others. Sex Distribution: 49.94% male, 50.06% female. Life Expectancy: 56 years male, 56 years 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. Increase Rate: 21.6 per 1,000. Infant Mortality Rate: 98.0 per 1,000 live births.
The Tripuri people (Tipra 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 Kyangleipak, Kyangkleipang, Kyanglei, Meitrabak, and Mekhali and the Manipuri were known as Meitei. During the reign of Maharaj Garibniwaz (1709-1748), Manipuris arrived here.
The Khasia (or Khasi) 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.
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. Angularity and freshness of the fossil wood artefacts suggest that they did not come from a great distance and probably came from nearby hillocks. Typologically, technologically, and morphometrically, the artefacts 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:
- Pre-neolithic assemblages without polished tools (hand axes, cleavers, scrapers, chopping tools, points etc);
- Neolithic assemblages (hand adzes, polished celts, awls etc).
Battle of Bara Bhuiyans and Mughal
In Baniachang a battle occurred between Anwar Khan (the Zamindar of Sylhet) and Hussain Khan (Bara Bhuiyans of Baniachang) with the Mughal army in the 17th century, which can be found in the Bahrastan-i-Gayebi.
Fort of Putijuri
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 defence. 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 (Maulvibazar district).
Teliapara Tea Garden
On 4 April, the senior officers of the liberation army 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. Kushtia-Jessore area was placed under command of Major Abu Osman Chowdhury. In the meeting the organisational concept of the freedom fighter forces and the command structure were chalked out. Colonel MAG Osmany was to command the liberation forces, later named as mukti bahini.
War of Liberation in Ajmiriganj
During the War of Liberation in 1971 a 18 hours direct encounter between the freedom-fighters and the Pakistani-army was held on 16th November 1971, in which freedom-fighter Jagatyoti and 11 villagers were killed by the Pakistani-army.
Indian National Congress
In the second session of the Congress held in Calcutta in 1886, the Indian National Congress was able to attract representatives from Habiganj, they are Joy Gobinda Shome and Kamini Kumar Chanda of Habiganj People's Association.
Members of Parliament
- Habiganj 1: Dewan Farid Gazi (2001-2006), (1996-2001), Khalilur Rahman (1991-1996)
- Habiganj 2: Nazmul Hasan Jahed (2001-2006), Sharif Uddin Ahmed (1996-?), Sharif Uddin Ahmed (1991-1996)
- Habiganj 3: Late Shah A. M. S. Kibria (2001-2005), Abu Laice Md. Mubin Chowdhury (2005-2006), (1996-2001), (1991-1996)
- Habiganj 4: Enamul Haq (2001-2006), (1996-2001), (1991-1996)
Literacy rate: 22.51% (27.86% male and 17.01% female). Educational institutions: 1 (Honours) College; 1 Polytechnic institute; 13 (further education) Colleges, 8 (state) and 87 (non-government) High Schools; 14 Junior Schools; 1411 (state) and 233 (non-government) Primary Schools; 96 Madras; and 6 Satellite (temporary) Schools. Religious institutions: 1385 mosques; 176 temples; 2 churches; 46 tombs.
Literature and Cultural
Folk Literature: Mahuya Sundari and Dhupar Path.
Cultural organisations: 131 clubs, 10 public libraries; 5 private libraries; 12 theatre groups; 6 literary societies; 7 Women's Societies; 13 cinema halls; and 13 theatres.
Local Newspapers: Daily Pravakar, Pratidener Bani, weekly Swadhikar, Swadeshbarta, Drishtikon, Khoai, Hobiganj Samachar, Janatar Dalil, Parikrama, fortnightly Prayas and Mritika.
Extinct 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).
Literature and People
- Shree Shree Ramkrishna Gushamee (~983-1059 bangla) was born in Richi, Habiganj Sadar, and was a spirituality leader.
- Syed Sultan (c 1550-1648) a poet of medieval bangla literature, was born in Laksarpur. He lived in Chittagong for some time. 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), Jnanpradip (Light of knowledge), Jnanchautisha, and Jaikum Rajar Ladai (Battle of King Jaikum).
- Narayan Deb (16th century) was born in Jalshuka, who wrote the poetical work called Padma-Puran, Kabi-ballabh, Kalika-Puran.
- Magan Thakur (1600-1660) was born in a village called Dinarpur, near Nabiganj. He is one of the poet of medieval bangla literature, who wrote the poetical work called Chandravati.
- Syed Shanur (1730-1854), written Raagnur, Nureer Bagan, Monihar etc.
- Bipin Chandra Pal was born on 7 November 1858 in Habiganj. His father was Ramchandra Pal. He was a teacher, journalist, orator, writer and librarian who started the journal Bande Mataram. He was one of the trilogy of the three Extremist patriots of the Indian National Congress who had fought and gave his life during Indian independence movement in the first half of the twentieth century. The other two were Lala Lajpat Rai and Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Together they were known as Lal-Bal-Pal. Bipin Chandra Pal started the Bangla weekly Paridarshak in Sylhet (1886). He 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.
- Shekh Bhano (1256-1326), who wrote the poetical work called Ashararul Eshk.
- Shah Kismat Ali (1286-1351 bangla) was born in Bamkandi, Habiganj Sadar, who wrote the poetical work called Kimate Dilfana.
- Kalamdar Fakir (1294-1369 bangla) was born in Parashundar. He has written more than 100 songs.
- Dinaheen (? - 1327 bangla) was born in Shanghat, Bhahubal. He has written 500 songs.
- Swami Swahananda was born in a village near Habiganj. He was initiated in 1937 by Swami Vijnanananda, one of Sri Ramakrishna's direct disciples. Swami Swahananda is the author of many books and articles on religious life and spirituality including: Meditation and Other Spiritual Disciplines; Hindu Symbology and Other Essays, and Service and Spirituality.
- Ramnath Biswas who traveled the whole globe with a bicycle in 1936-37, blind lyric poet Faizul Kabir, Swadeshi movement activists Hem Sen and Sushil Sen, a hero of the war of liberation (1971) Major General M. Abdur Rab Bir-Uttam were born in Baniachang.
modern writers and poets
- Anandamay Brahmacharee (1863-1940, essayist)
- Shitanath Datta (1856-?, religious studies)
- Yagendra Chandra Deb (1880-?, writer)
- Swami Ashakananda (1891-1969, religious studies )
- Hemanga Bhiswash (1892-1986, song writer)
- Debendra Kumar Pal Choudhury (1916-?, poet)
- Dewan Gulam Murtuja (poet)
- Afzal Choudhury (1942-?, poet)
- Abdur Rouf Choudhury (1929-1996, novelist and essayist)
Habiganj District comprises 8 sub-districts or Upazilas
Agriculture 42.26%, agricultural labourer 20.55%, wage labourer 6.45%, commerce 8.2%, service 4.69%, industry 1.7%, fishing 2.73% and others 13.42%.
- Main crops: paddy, tea, wheat, potato, jute, ground nut, betel leaf and oil seed.
- Main fruits: mango, jackfruit, banana, litchi, coconut, lemon, pineapple and black berry.
- Fisheries and dairies: poultries 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, dryfish processing centre, biscuit factory.
- Cottage industries: weaving, bamboo work, goldsmith, blacksmith, potteries, tailoring and welding.
- Mineral resources: Habiganj gas field lies in Madhabpur upazila under Habiganj district some 100 km away to the direction of northern-east from capital city of Bangladesh, Dhaka. 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 . Commercial gas production from this field was commenced in 1968 and till 31 August, 2006 total or 35.42 percent of reserves has been recovered.
- Hats, bazaars and fairs: 126 (hats and bazaars) and 23 (fairs).
Main exports are:
- Paddy, Fish, Shrimp, Frog-legs, Dry-fish
- Tea, Betel-leaf, Dates, Molasses
- Rubber, Bamboo
- Natural gas and oil
- Ancient Rajbari (1737-38) at Puranbagh, Baniachang
- Bagala Matar Mandir, Habiganj
- Bibir Dargah Mosque, Baniachang
- Bikhangal Akhra, Baniachang
- Jami Mosque, Bahubal
- Kuri-tila, Black-stone and an Ancient Rajbari, Dinarpur, Nabiganj
- Mashulia Akhra, Habiganj Sadar
- Mosque of Uchail, built by Mojlishe Amin, Lakhai
- Murarbandar Dargah Sharif, Chunarughat
- Putijuri Jami Mosque, Bahubal
- Sham-baoul Akhra and Doulotpur Akhra, Baniachang
- Baniachong village (the biggest village in Asia)
- Dorga-tila, Mira-tila and Tangee-tila, Nabiganj
- Foltoli-tila and water fountain, Nabiganj
- Kalibari, Habiganj Sadar
- Monument for the freedom-fighters, Teliapara tea garden
- Rashidpur Tea Garden, Bahubal Upozila
- Ramakrishna Ashram, Habiganj Sadar
- Shagor Dighi, Baniachong
- Shajeerbazar, Chunarughat
- Tea gardens in the valleys
- War of Liberation Mass Grave, Nabiganj
- War of Liberation Memorial Monument, Nabiganj