Savar Upazila

Savar Upazila

Savar (সাভার) is an Upazila of Dhaka District in the Division of Dhaka, Bangladesh. It is located at a distance of about 24 km to the northwest of Dhaka city. Savar is mostly famous for Jatiyo Smriti Soudho, the National Monument for the Martyrs of the Liberation War of Bangladesh.

Geography

Savar is located at . It has 66956 units of house hold and total area 280.13 km². It is bounded by kaliakair and gazipur sadar upazilas on the north, keraniganj upazila on the south, mirpur, mohammadpur, pallabi and uttara thanas of Dhaka City Corporation on the east, dhamrai and singair upazilas on the west. The land of the upazila is composed of alluvium soil of the Pleistocene period. The height of the land gradually increases from the east to the west. The southern part of the upazila is composed of the alluvium soil of the Bangshi and Dhalashwari rivers. Main rivers are Bangshi, Turag, Buriganga and Karnatali.

The total cultivable land measures 16745.71 hectares, in addition to fallow land of 10551.18 hectares

Demographics

As of 1991 Bangladesh census, Savar has a population of 378034. Males constitute are 54.67% of the population, and females 45.33%. This Upazila's eighteen up population is 207401. Savar has an average literacy rate of 37.8% (7+ years), and the national average of 32.4% literate. Male literacy is 44.8% and female is 29.1%. The religious break down is Muslim 88.59%, Hindu 10.41%, Christian 0.93%, Buddhist 0.03% and others 0.04% and ethnic nationals number 319 including Buno, Garo, Sangma and Barman. The main occupations are Agriculture 24.34%, agricultural labourer 12.84%, wage labourer 4.44%, cattle breeding, forestry and fishing 1.90%, industry 1.37%, commerce 17.35%, service 20.68%, construction 1.66%, transport 3.96% and others 11.46%.

Administrative

Savar has 13 Unions/Wards, 350 Mauzas/Mahallas, and 321 villages. The municipal area (Savar Town) consists of 9 wards and 55 mahallas. The area of the town is 24.1 km². It has a population of 124885; male 53.03%, female 46.97%; population density per km² of 5182. Savar thana was established in 1912 and was turned into an upazila in 1983.

Economy

Agriculture and manufacturing are the two major economic sectors in Savar. The main crops grown here are Paddy, Jute, peanut, onion, garlic, chilli and other vegetables. The extinct or nearly extinct crops in the region are Aus paddy, Asha Kumari paddy, sesame, linseed, kali mator, randhuni saj, mitha saj, kaun and mas kalai. The main fruits cultivated here are Jackfruit, mango, olive, papaya, guava, kamranga, berry and banana. There are 181 combined fisheries, dairies and poultries Dairy, 5 hatcheries, 209 poultries, and 1319 fisheries. Manufacturing facilities include Ceramic industry, beverage industry, press and publication, garments industry, foot ware, jute mills, textile mills, printing and dying factory, transformer industry, automobile industry, biscuit and bread factory, pharmaceutical industry, soap factory, brick field, cold storage, welding, plant nursery, etc. Bangladesh Export Processing Zone is located in this upazila. The Cottage industry includes 8 Weaving, 100 goldsmith and 29 others workshops. The main exports are Jackfruit, papaya, flower, sapling, dairy products, meat, transformer, fabrics, dye, medicine, ready made garments, electronics and electric goods, shoe, brick, sweetmeat etc.

There are 62 km of pucca, 56 km of semi pucca, 562 km of mud road; and 50 km of highway. Transports used here include the traditional (and extinct or nearly extinct) Palanquin, bullock cart and horse carriage as well as modern day vehicles.

There are 14 regular Hats and bazars here. Noted bazars are Savar, Nabinagar, Amin Bazar, Balibhadra and Bagbari Bazar. Noted hats include Ashulia, Savar, Shimulia, Kathgara, Sadullapur, Nayar hat (with adjoined bazar), and Vhakurar Hat. Prominent fairs include Darogali Bayati Mela (Nayarhat), Bahattar Prahar mela (Savar), Ghora Pirer Mela (Nalam), Muharram Mela (Katlapur) and Pawsh Mela (Dhamsona).

Politics

Several Hindu families played a critical role in the development of the township during the British Raj in the 19th and first half of the 20th century. After partition of India in 1947, the Hindu influence in the area waned following the departure of many prominent Hindu families. The 1960s saw the establishment of some important institutions, including a dairy farm and a University in the area. Concurrently, communist politics was on the rise in the area. However, this was replaced with Bengali nationalist zeal, when the Awami League won the 1970 election in this constituency. In 1975, Savar came to the spotlight when the Maoist leader Shiraj Shikdar was secretly tortured and executed at Savar cantonment. Savar was politically important to the military dictators of the mid-1970s and '80s, as the cantonment armory here was the closest one outside the capital. From the 1990s to the present, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party candidate has been routinely elected to parliament from this constituency. However, Awami League and other parties (including several Islamist ones) continue to have a strong grassroots presence. Jahangirnagar University and a few colleges in the area serve as a hotbed of active student politics and strife. Foreign dignitaries customarily visit Savar as a part of their trip to Bangladesh to pay respect to the martyrs of 1971 at the Jatiyo Smriti Soudho.

History

The origin of the name Savar is thought to be an evolved version of the ancient 7th-8th century township of Sharbeshvar or Shombhar situated on the banks of the river known today as the Bangshee. It was the capital of the Sanbagh Kingdom then. Local legends claim that a king by the name of Harish Chandra ruled over Sharbeshvar. There is an old shloka that goes "Bangshabatir purboteere sharbeshvar nagari, boishe raja Harish Chandra jini shurpuri' (Bengali: বংশাবতীর পূর্বতীরে সর্বেশ্বর নগরী, বৈশে রাজা হরিশচন্দ্র জিনি সূরপুরী. Literal translation: Sharbeshvar city by the East banks of the Bangshabati, King Harish Chandra lives there conquering Heaven).

The Banglapedia entry for Savar states "Two inscriptions have been reported from this place; one on a burnt brick fragment contains only the name of a king called Harish Chandra Pal, the other, apparently issued by a king called Mahendra, records his genealogy. The text of the shlokas in that inscription states that Raja Dhimantasena, a devotee of Buddha and son of King Bhimasena, invaded and conquered the powerful Kiratas of Bhabalina (the land between the Brahmaputra and the Bangshi). His son Ranadhirasena extended the kingdom up to the Himalayas and fixed his residence in the city of Sambhara (Savar). Ranadhirasena's son Harish Chandra was a saint king and his son Mahendra dedicated a math in the year 791 shakabda (equivalent to 869 AD). It may also be pointed out that 6 post-Gupta gold coins have been reported from Savar; two of these bear the legend Shri-Krama while a third bear the legend Sudhanya. It is not unlikely that Savar was the seat of a political power as early as the Gupta period. A total of 13 ancient archaeological sites have been discovered at Savar. These are Raja Harish Chandrer Badi, Rajasan, Kotbadi, Gandaria, Karnapada, Kalma, Sulia, Dagar Mura, Mathbadi, Madanpur, Fulbadi, Konda and Pathalia (Jahangirnagar University Campus). These fall into three categories ie administrative, religious and pottery or residential sites. All the sites are found in and around Savar and on the eastern side of the Bangshi. The distance between one site to another site is not more than two kilometres. The cultural remains discovered from these sites are pottery, brick stupas and monasteries, bronze images, gold and silver coins, iron spear-heads and a dao (iron-knife), stone querns and mullers, terracotta plaques, weights, dabbers, balls and decorated bricks. The potteries of these sites represent red, black and grey wares. The common shapes are bowl dishes and small to medium sized pots and jars. The ceramics are both plain and painted. The pottery is decorated with black slips on red wares and painted horizontal bands and geometric designs on the body and neck. A few potsherds have also been found decorated with mat and cord impressions. The major sign of ancient occupation on the riverbank at Savar is the still surviving Kotbadi mound, a fairly large rectangular area surrounded by a mud wall, although it has been largely eroded now. Mathbadi, located close to the modern channel, is another ancient occupational area. Buddhist monastic remains have been found at least in three places, one of which is locally known as Harish Chandra Rajar Badi in Majidpur village to the east of the Savar Market bus-stop. Archaeological excavations at Savar have been conducted recently at this site. Further to its east is Rajasan, another area containing Buddhist remains. In excavations, conducted here in 1925-26, traces of four structures along with some lintels of terracotta, Buddha images, and an inscribed Visnu image were found. The evidence as a whole pointed to 7th-8th century AD. Excavations in the Rajbadi mound in 1989-90 revealed a square-shaped stupa enclosed by a wide wall. A silver 'Harikela' coin, a gold coin and a number of Buddhist bronze figures have been unearthed here. A date around 7th-8th century AD has been suggested for the remains. Besides these sites a number of ancient ponds can also be found in this area. Local legends suggest that King Harish Chandra excavated a total of 50 ponds in a single night. Of these the names of 30 ponds are known from different literatures. These are Sagar Dighi (near Raja Harish Chandrer Badi), Raj Guru's pond, Chhota Khuda, Bara Khuda, Kumaria pond, Dakaitmara pond, Jor pukur, Niramis pukur, Kodaldhoya pukur, Giyas pukur, Satini pukur, Amis pukur, Doyatdhoya pukur, Raj Dighi, Sukh Sagar, Khataishya pukur (near Kalma), Jalori pukur, Ban pukur, Chhobangara pukur, Lal pukur, Satpukuri pukur, Chhaiyal pukur, Jaleshvari pukur, Pitkila pukur, Choti Mara pukur, Andar pukur, a second Kodaldhoya pukur, Budir Bagh pukur, Yogir pukur (at Jahangirnagar University Campus) and Moor pukur. Most of these ponds have now silted up by natural processes or have been brought under human habitation. [MM Hoque]"

It is supposed from the pottery inscriptions from the sixth century that many foreign traders used to come here for business. There are also legends of the famous Bengali Buddhist monk Atish Dipankar having stayed at the Buddhist monastery at Rajashan for some time.

During the Bangladesh War of Liberation in 1971, Savar Cantonment and then newly founded Jahangirnagar University were some of the first targets of military swoop outside the capital following Operation Searchlight of 25th March. In December of that year, Savar was the last obstacle before the freedom fighters (led by Kader Siddiqi and others) entered the capital and the Pakistan army conceded defeat. Days before the end of the war, teenager Golam Dastagirr Titu was killed in a direct encounter between the Pakistani army and the freedom fighters. The compatriots buried him near the main gate of the Savar Dairy Farm. Bangladesh Army constructed a memorial monument in honour of him. Marks of the War of Liberation Jatiya Smriti Shaudha (National Memorial Monument), mass grave in front of the National Memorial, martyr memorial (for Golam Dastagirr Titu) at the gate of the Savar Dairy Farm, "Sangsaptak" and Amar Ekushey Sculpture (in Jahangirnagar University Campus).

Important Institutions

Savar is the home of Jahangirnagar University, a Public University of Bangladesh which is famous for its scenic beauty and as a prime destination for the Siberian migratory birds during the winter season.

There are many other important institutions in Savar. The 9th Divission [[Army Cantonment is located here. There is a Military Firm and Govt Dairy Firm Beside Jahangirnagar University. BPATC training center (Public Administration Training Centre), the only training centre for the public service commissioned officers in Bangladesh, is situated in Savar. Radio Bangladesh (Bangladesh Betar) employers Residence and The Transmission Zone with huge Transmission Setup. (HPT-1; high power transmission, HPT-2 etc). Two Largest entertainment theme parks of Bangladesh namely "Fantasy Kingdom" and "Nondon Park" are also located here.Fantasy Kingdom is situated in Jamgora Bazar and Nondon Park is situated in Jirani. BKSP, Bangladesh Krira Shiksha Pratisthan, the only national sports institute of Bangladesh is also situated in Jirani Bazar, Savar. Dhaka Export processing Zone, DEPZ is also situated in this upazila.

The are 318 Mosques, 8 churches and 68 other religious institutions, most noted of which are Jahangirnagar University and Savar Dairy Farm Mosques, Savar Baptist Church, Savar Daskinpara Harir Akhra Temple and Panchabati Ashram Temple.

There are 2 universities, 5 colleges, 5 school and colleges, 38 high schools, 3 junior high schools, 16 madrasas, 88 government primary schools, 13 non-government primary schools, 12 community schools, 8 satellite schools, and 1 sports institution. Some of the noteworthy institutions are Adhar Chandra High School (established in 1913), Jahangirnagar University (along with its School and College), Gana Bishwabiddalay, Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre, Bangladesh Krira Shikha Institution, Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Satellite Ground Receiving Station (Talibabad), National Institute of Biotechnology, Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute, Savar Youth Training Centre, brac Training Centre.

The locally published newspapers and periodicals are Jagrata Kantha, Savar Barta, Saf Katha, Savar Kantha and Ganabhasa.

The officially registered cultural and social organisations here include 81 Co-operative societies, 1 children's organisation, 3 film societies, 5 cinema halls, 5 theatre groups, 1 theatre stage, 3 music centre, 5 orphanages, 1 opera party (an indigenous travelling theater troup), 3 women's club, 1 chapter of Bangladesh Mohila Parishad, 2 Amnesty organisations, 1 golf club, 2 entertainment parks. There are numerous other unofficial organizations as well.

The operationally important NGOs are brac, asa, proshika, grameen bank, Ganasastha Kendra, World Vision, Swanirvor Bangladesh, VERC, Palli Mangal Karmasuchi, CDD, Adesh.

The health centres in Savar include 1 Upazila health complex, a combined military hospital (Savar Cantonment), the Korea Bangladesh Friendship Hospital, 7 family planning centres, 2 satellite clinics, and 21 private clinics.

See also

References

2. NK Bhattasali, 'The Math Inscription of Mahendra, Son of Harish Chandra of Sabhar', Dacca Review, 1920
3. GM Laskar, 'Notes on Raja Harish Chandra of Sabhar', Dacca Review, 1920
4. MM Hoque, SMK Ahsan and SSM Rahman, 'Pre-Muslim Settlement and Chronology of Savar Region', Pratnatattva, 1996
5. AKM Shahnawaz and MM Hoque, 'Savar: History and Archaeology', in Souvenir, 9th Bangladesh Science Conference, held in Jahangimagar University, 1996.
6. Banglapedia entry. http://banglapedia.search.com.bd/HT/S_0147.htm. Last retrieved on 8 July 2007.

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