Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bogra; a District in Bangladesh

Bogra, Bangladesh
Bogra (Bengali: বগুড়া Bogura) (Urdu and Punjabi: بوگرا) is a northern district of Bangladesh, in the Rajshahi Division. It is called the gateway to the north Bengal. It is an industrial city where many small and mid sized industries are housed. Bogra district was a part of the ancient Pundravardhana territory and Bogra was the capital of Pundravardhana. Bogra is famous for its historical values with Pundravardhana as former capital, which is now known as Mahasthangarh. Bogra Cantonment is located in Bogra District. 


Ancient History: 

The Bogra District occupies an important place in the legendary and the earlier historical annals of Bengal. In the ancient period, it was a part of the territory of the Pundras or Paundras, which was known by the name of Pundravardhana. Pundravardhana was one of the kingdoms of Eastern India and was separated by the stream of Karatoya from the more easterly kingdom of Prag-Jyotisha or Kamrupa. The name, Pundravardhana, occurs frequently in the Mahabharata, Ramayana and the various Puranas. According to the Mahabharata and the Puranas, Vasudeva, a powerful prince of the Pundra family, is said to have ruled over Pundravardhana as far back as 1280 BC. The claims of the district to antiquity, however, rests chiefly on association which centre round the old fortified town, now known as Mahasthangarh. 

Ramparts of Mahasthangarh citadel in Bogra
This district was under the following rules:

The Mauryas:

This district was under the rule of the Mauryas in the 4th century BC. This is evident from the existence of some Asokan Pillars in many parts of Pundravardhana and from the discovery of an old Brahmi Inscription at Mahasthangarh in this district. Bhadra Babu, a high monk of the Jain religion and a son of a Brahmin of Kotivarsha in Pundravardhana, was the Jain-Guru of Chandra Gupta Maurya. As Asoka was a firm believer in Buddhism, he put to death many naked Sectarians (presumably the Jains in Pundravardhana. 

The Guptas:

The Gupta authority over this district is revealed from the discovery of a number of inscriptions of that period from Pundravardhana. Pundravardhana was a Bhukti under the rule of Guptas till the end of the 5th century.
Mahasthangar Museum Bogra Bangladesh

By the beginning of the 6th century this region might have passed under the rule of the Gaudas of Bengal. But the history of a century of this district lies in obscurity. However, at the beginning of the 7th century. Sasanka came upon the throne of Gauda and he definitely exercised his authority over Pundravardhana (including this district). 


This region must have passed after death of Sasanka under the rule of Harshavardhana (606-647). This evident from the account of a Chinese Pilgrim named Hiuen Tsang or Yuan Chwang, who visited Pundravardhana probably in 640 AD. 

The Palas:

By the middle of the 8th century (c. 750) one Gopal assumed control of the affairs over North Bengal, established a royal dynasty known as the Pala Dynasty. After Gopal was elected king, he took his seat in Pundravardhana. He ruled over the region up to c. 780 and was succeeded by his son Dharmapala (c. 781-821). The Pala Kings had peaceful possession of this district up to the end of their rule over Bengal which ended in the 12th century. Dharmapala was the son and the successor of Gopala, extended his power beyond Pundravardhana. Like his father he was a Buddhist and founded the famous Buddhist Vihara at Somapuri in Varendra, the ruins of which have been discovered in the Naogaon District. 

Kherua Mosque at Sherpur, Bogra, Bangladesh
The Senas: 

The Senas originally came from the Deccan and settled in West Bengal. Vijayasena was the first great ruler of the dynasty. He defeated the last Pala king Madanapala, and established his authority over this district. He was succeeded by his son, Vallalsena (1160–1178) who was in definite possession of the district. He built his capital at Bhabanipur (a shakti-peeth) in this district. Lakshmanasena (1178–1204), the son and successor of Vallal Sena, exercised authority over this district till he was driven out by Ikhtiyaruddin Muhammad-bin-Bakhtiyar Khalji in 1204. Even after this date, a dynasty of Sena Rajas ruled for nearly a century over the north-eastern tract of this district as feudatory chiefs under the suzeranity of the Muslim rulers of Bengal. Their capital was at Kamalpur, a few miles to the north of Bhabanipur (a site of pilgrimage for the Hindu devotees) and little to the south of Sherpur. Achyuta Sena was the last Prince of the line.

Karatoa River near Mahasthangarh, Bogra
British Era: 

The present District of Bogra, was first formed in 1821 during British rule. In the 1901 census, the population of the district (on a reduced area) was around 854,533, an increase of 11% in the decade, the census revealed there was no town with as many as 10,000 inhabitants. 

Battle of Bogra:

The area was enveloped in thick fighting in the Battle of Bogra between the allied troops of Mitro Bahini and Indian Army (combined) which defeated the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. 

Formation of land

The area consisting whole of Upazila Sariakandi, Gabtali, Sonatala and major part Dhunat is called the eastern alluvial tract. Fertilised by the silt of flood waters, the eastern alluvion is one of the most fertile and prosperous areas in Bogra, Jute, aus, aman paddy, sugarcane and pulses are grown. 

A Field in Bogra, Bangladesh
Sometimes as many as three or more crops are grown on one field in a year without any apparent diminution of its productivity. 

The western portion of the district is a marked contrast to the eastern one. In most parts it is well-wooded. Dense serub jungle is to be found is Upazilas of Sherpur and in parts of Sibganj, which has a comparatively large proportion of cultivable waste land. This part of the district is slightly higher than the eastern parts and is generally above flood level. The soil of this part is generally suited to the growth paddy. Adamdighi is well known for the fine qualities of rice. This rice is grown some extent in the Shibganj Upazila. 

A Green Field in Bogra, Bangladesh
The tract to the east of the Karatoya is a part of the valley of the Brahmaputra and is generally low-lying and intersected by numerous khals (Canals) and shallow swamps and marshes. It is subject to yearly inudation from the overflow of the Brahmaputra and, therefore, gets a rich deposit of silt. There is very little jungle and almost the entire area is under cultivation. 


There are quite a few rivers in the Bogra District. The Karatoya is the central divider of water-channel of the district, the other rivers may be classified into the eastern and western systems. Names of the some important rivers of this district are as follows: 
  • The Bangali 
  • The Karatoya  
  • The Jamuna 
  • The Nagar 
  • The Tulshiganga
Bogra Sadar Upazila
Thana (upazilas)

Bogra has 12 Subdistricts (Upazilas): 
  1. Adamdighi 
  2. Bogra Sadar 
  3. Dhunat 
  4. Dupchanchia 
  5. Gabtali 
  6. Kahaloo 
  7. Nandigram 
  8. Sahajanpur 
  9. Sariakandi 
  10. Sherpur 
  11. Shibganj 
  12. Sonatala
Agriculture:   The fruit trees indigenous to Bogra district areas as follows: 
  1. The Mango or Aim (Mangifera indica); 
  2. The Guava or Peyara (Psidium); 
  3. The Jamun or Jam (Syzygium cumini); 
  4. The Custard-apple or Aata (Annona reticulata); 
  5. The Tamarind or Tetul (Tamarindus indica); 
  6. The Grapefruit or Batabi nebu (Citrus grandis); 
  7. The Lime or Nebu (Citrus aurantifolia); 
  8. The Jackfruit or Kathal (Artocarpus heterophyllus); 
  9. The Papaya or Pepe (Carica papaya); 
  10. The pineapple or Anaras (Ananas comosus); 
  11. The Badam (Terminalia catappa); 
  12. The Banana or Kala (Musa pradisiaca); 
  13. The Cocoanut or Narikel (Cocos nucifera); 
  14. The Lichi or Lichu (Litchi chinensis);
Smiling Childern in Bogra
  • The Pomgranate or Dalim (Punica granatum); 
  • The Date or Khejur (Phoenix sylvestris); 
  • The fig or Dumur (Ficus hispida); 
  • The Haritaki (Terminalia chebula); 
  • The Palm or Tal (Borssus flabel lifer); 
The Jackfruit, Mango and Banana are abundant; but the Date and Cocoanut are both scarce. 
Local language (dialect of Bogra)
The mother tongue of this distrcit is Bengali. In this district of Bogra "the dialect spoken is what is known as Northern dialect of Bengali of the Eastern Branch" says Dr. Grierson, may be taken to be the form of the language, which is spoken in the Dinajpur District, but the form of the dialect spoke in Bogra differs very little from that of Dinajpur. The northern dialect is spoken in the district of Rajshahi, Dinajpur, Rangpur, Bogra and Pabna. The whole of the tract has within historic times been subject to Koch tribes and members of this tribe still exist in each district.
Beautiful View of a Green Field in Bogra
They were originally reported as speaking their original Koch language, but on an examination of the specimens of the language, Dr. Grierson found that they have given up their original speech, and now only speak more or less corrupt variety of Northern Bengali. Some peculiarities (examples) are given below (Bengali>Dialect, English). 
  • Initial a in the first person becomes ha, e.g. ami>hami, I ; amar>hamar, my; amra>hamra, we; amak>hamak, me; etc. 
  • Aspirated sound becomes unaspirated e.g. chokh>chok, eye; gachh>gach, tree; Jachchhi>Jachi, going; etc. 
  • In vocative case go, have ba reba are used, e.g. kya ra ba? jabuna?, hello! Will you not go. In feminine gender ro is used in place of ra e.g. Kyaro! Ki Kortitachu? Hello! What are you doing?' 
  • U is used as final vowel in verb e.g. Jabi>Jabu? Will you go? Khachchhish??Khachchu?, Are you eating?; etc.
A Masjid in Bogra

The district of Bogra consists 3472 mosques, 686 temples, 37 churches and 58 tombs. 

Muslims are in majority in Bogra. They contribute 91.34% to the whole population of the area. The second largest religious community is Hindus. They are 7.56%. 1% people are Christians and remaining population belongs to other faith. 

Bogra was once the industrial capital of Bangladesh. There were several heavy industries. Most of them were owned by the local elite family "BHANDARI", "JAMIL", 'KHALIFA'. Various industries of "TAJMA" were also a name among the rich and famous. Bhandari's had several establishments. Among them, Bogra Cotton Spinning Mills, North Bengal Tannery, Habib Match Factory, Golam Kibria Soap Works, Bhandari Glass works, Bhandari Biri were the prime one's. In the other hand Jamil's are keeping their business like Jamil Housing, Jamil shopping complex, Jan-e-saba community center and others. Tajma still leading there position, Mr. Amjad Hossain Tajma, Managing Director of the Tajma group of Industry heading their business named Tajma Creamic Industry, Tajma Enamel Industry, Transfer Paper Limited, Agrofresh Limited, Snowbe Ice Cream Industry and so on.

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