Sunday, March 31, 2013

Habiganj; a Historic City in Bangladesh

Habiganj, Bnagladesh
Habiganj (হবিগঞ্জ Hobigônj) (Urdu and Punjabi: ھابی گنج) is a district in the north-eastern part of Bangladesh. It is under Sylhet Division.Habiganj is the historical place where the Mukti Bahini started their first guerrilla movement against aggressor Pakistani Army. It is also the place full of memory of Syed Nasir Uddin(R), an associate of Hazrath Shah Jalal (R) the great saint of Bengal. Historically, Habibganj was a bazaar or ganj beside the river Khowai established by Syed Habib Ullah, the son of Syed Hadaiet Ullah. With the passage of time, Habibganj turned into Habiganj. During the British Raj, Habiganj was established as a Thana (police precinct) in 1790, under Dhaka district (1779–1793). Until 1896, Habiganj's administrative center was in Court Andar, Laskarpur. On 12 September 1874 it came under Sylhet district (part of Assam). Habiganj was declared as subdivision in 1867. On 7 April 1893, according to the Notification no. 273 of Assam Provincial Government, Habiganj Thana (Administrative unit) was established. Habiganj was rejoined with East-Bengal (now Bangladesh) in 1911. Then the Office of the Circle Officer (Development) was established in 1960. Finally on 1 March 1984 Habiganj was established as a District. 

Baniachong Upazila, Habiganj
At present Habiganj consists of 8 upazilas, 6 municipalities, 36 wards, 77 union parishads, 124 mahallas, 1241 mouzas and 2093 villages. 


Habiganj District comprises eight Upazilas (sub-districts) and one thana (Police station). They are:
  • Ajmiriganj 
  • Baniachang 
  • Bahubal 
  • Chunarughat 
  • Habiganj Sadar 
  • Lakhai 
  • Madhabpur 
  • Nabiganj 
  • Shaistagonj Upazila 
On the way and Sayestaganj Thana under Habiganj Sadar Upazila.

Chaklapunji tea garden 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 (river). Angularity and freshness of the fossil wood artifacts suggest that they did not come from a great distance and probably came from nearby hillocks. Typologically, technologically, and morphometrically, the artifacts 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: 
  1. Pre-neolithic assemblages without polished tools (hand axes, cleavers, scrapers, chopping tools, points etc.); 
  2. Neolithic assemblages (hand adzes, polished Celts, awls etc.).
Field in Habiganj
Battle of Bara Bhuiyans and Mughal: 

In Baniachang a battle occurred between Anwar Khan (the Zamindar of Sylhet) and Hussain Khan (Baro-Bhuyans 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 defense. 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, Maulvi Bazar District. 

Teliapara Tea Garden in Habiganj
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 District. They are Joy Gobinda Shome and Kamini Kumar Chanda of Habiganj People's Association. 

War at Teliapara Tea Garden: 

On 4 April 1971, during Bangladesh Liberation War the senior army officers 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 and Kushtia-Jessore area was placed under command of Major Abu Osman Chowdhury. In the meeting the organization concept of the freedom fighter forces and the command structure were chalked out under the command of General MAG Osmani. 

Map of Habiganj, Bangladesh
War at Ajmiriganj: 

During the War of Liberation in 1971 a 18 hours direct encounter between the freedom-fighters and the Pakistani-army was held on 16 November 1971, in which freedom-fighter Jagatyoti and 11 villagers were killed by the Pakistani-army. 


Habiganj is located at 24.3750°N 91.4167°E. Its area is 2,636.58 km² and bounded by Sunamganj District to the north, Tripura of India and Maulvibazar District to the east, Balaganj Upazila of Sylhet to the north-east, Brahmanbaria and Kishoreganj districts to the west. This part of Bangladesh is characterized 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.

The River Khowai in Habiganj

Cultivated agricultural land: 1,54,953 hectare (60.22% of the total agricultural land). Forestland 95 11,644 hectare (4.53% of the total land). For crops 51.6% single-crop, 38.7% double-crop and 9.7% triple-crop; fallow 521 hectares. Its rivers include Barak, Bheramahana, Gopala, Kalni, Kalishiri, Khowai, Korangi, Kushiara, Meghna River(lower), Ratna, Shwasanali, shutki, sonai, Korangi, Shutang, Tentulia, Jhingri, Bizna and Yojnal.api 

People and Population

As per district administration report the total population is 1,830,554 of 926,531 male and 904,022 female (50.6% male and 49.4% female). Category by religion 80.23% Muslim, 19.12% Hindu, 0.05% Buddhist, 0.13% Christian and 0.47% others. Life Expectancy: 56 years both male and 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. Population growth rate: 21.6 per 1,000. Infant Mortality Rate: 98.0 per 1,000 live births.
Tripuri Childrens
Over 98% of the population are Bengalis while the remainder are Biharis, Khasia, Manipuri and Tripuri people. 

The Twipra 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 Kangleipak, Kangkleipang, Kanglei, Meitrabak, and Mekhali and the Manipuri were known as Meitei. During the reign of Maharaj Garibniwaz (1709–1748), Manipuris arrived here. 

Govt. Brindaban College,Habiganj
The Khasia 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. 


Literacy rate of Habiganj is 45%. There are total 16 Colleges of which 1 (Honors) College, 3 Government colleges, 1 Polytechnic institute; 13 (further education) Colleges, 6 (government) and 99 (non-government) High Schools; 14 Junior Schools; 732 (government) and 711 (non-government) Primary Schools; 96 Madrasah; and 6 Satellite (temporary) Schools in this district.
Rajnagir Masjid,Habiganj
Literature and Culture: 

Habigang is famous for folk Literature: Mahuya Sundari and Dhupar Path. 

Cultural organizations: 131 clubs, 10 public libraries; 5 private libraries; 12 theater groups; 6 literary societies; 7 Woman's Societies; 13 cinema halls; and 13 theaters. 

Religious institutions: 1385 masjid; 176 temples; 2 churches; 46 tombs. 

Local newspapers: Daily Habiganj Express, Daily Pravakar, Pratidener Bani, weekly Swadhikar, Swadeshbarta, Drishtikon, Daily Khowai, Habiganj Samachar, Janatar Dalil, Parikrama, fortnightly Prayas, The Daily Habiganjer Ayna and Mritika. 

Defunct 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). 

Natural Beauty in Habiganj

Historical figures: 
  • Sheikh Bhanu :Sheik Bhanu is one of the most renowned mystic poet of Bangladesh. His spiritual songs like Nishite Jaiyo Fulo Bone is a famous one. He was born in Bhadikara under Lakhai Upazila. 
  • Shah Syed Nasiruddin (13th century) Saint and Islamic preacher, was born in Baghdad. After Halaku Khan destroyed Baghdad, he left the city in search of livelihood and ultimately reached Delhi. Later, he participated in the sylhet expedition with commander Sikandar Khan and Hazrat shah jalal (R)and nominated Sipah Salar (armed forces chief) to lead the war.Syed Nasiruddin was a follower of the suhrawardia tariqa (order). There are many legends about his supernatural powers. At Shah Jalal's direction, accompanied by twelve saints, he attacked and defeated king Achak Narayan of Taraf and became administrator there & established capital at Lakserpur. His shrine is at Murabandh Taraf in habiganj.
Bipin Chandra Pal
  • 'Syed Sultan (1550-1648)- Poet of medieval Bangla literature, was born in Lakserpur. 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), Gyanprodip (Light of knowledge), Jnanchautisha, and Jaikum Rajar Ladai (Battle of King Jaikum). 
  • Bipin Chandra Pal was born on 7 November 1858. He was one of the trinity of the three Extremist patriots of the Indian National Congress who had fought and sacrificed their lives during Indian independence movement in the first half of the twentieth century. Pal started the Bangla weekly Paridarshak in Sylhet (1886), 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.
J. R. Mudassir Husain
Notable Figures:
  • Justice Syed A B Mahmud Husain - Justice Syed A B Mahmud Husain was the first chief justice of Bangladesh from Sylhet division born in a Muslim zaminder family at village Lashkerpur. 
  • Shah A M S Kibria, Has served as the Executive Secretary of ESCAP (1981-1992)., Finance Minister of Bangladesh (1996-2001), MP of Habiganj-3 (2001-2005). 
  • Mukhlesur Rahman Chowdhury, former advisor to the President of Bangladesh and Minister of State, erstwhile Press Secretary to Bangladesh President, ex- President of Overseas Correspondents' Association Bangladesh- OCAB and a PhD fellow of the University of Sheffield, UK. 
  • Mahbubur Rob Sadi - Bir Protik. Commander (sub-sector Jalalpur, sector-4), Bangladesh Liberation War (1971). Member of the Parliament (1979). Former executive Director of Delta Life Insurance Company. 
  • Justice Syed J R Mudassir Husain - Sworn in as Chief Justice of Bangladesh on 27 January 2004 and was at office until 28 February 2007, second Chief Justice from Habiganj.
Ancient Rajbari in Puranbagh, Habiganj
Archaeological Heritage:
  • Ancient Rajbari(1737–38) at Puranbagh, Baniachang  
  • Bagala Matar Mandir, Habiganj 
  • Baniachong village (the biggest village in Asia) 
  • Bibir Dargah Mosque, Baniachang 
  • Bikhangal Akhra, Baniachang 
  • Dorga-tila, Mira-tila and Tangee-tila, Nabiganj 
  • Foltoli-tila and water fountain, Nabiganj 
  • Jami Mosque, Bahubal 
  • Kalibari, Habiganj Sadar 
  • Kuri-tila, Black-stone and an Ancient Rajbari, Dinarpur, Nabiganj
  • Mashulia Akhra, Habiganj Sadar 
Rashidpur Tea Garden, Habiganj
  • Monument for the freedom-fighters, Teliapara tea garden 
  • Mosque of Uchail, built by Mojlishe Amin,habiganj by azaz 
  • Murarbandar Dargah Sharif, Chunarughat 
  • Putijuri Jami Mosque, Bahubal 
  • Ramakrishna Ashram, Habiganj Sadar 
  • Rashidpur Tea Garden, Bahubal Upazila 
  • Shagor Dighi, Baniachong 
  • Shajeerbazar
  •  Chunarughat 
  • Sham-baoul Akhra and Doulotpur Akhra, Baniachang 
  • Tea gardens in the valleys 
  • War of Liberation Mass Grave, Nabiganj 
  • War of Liberation Memorial Monument, Nabiganj

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