Bagerhat is a district in the south-western part of Bangladesh under the jurisdiction of Khulna division. The district lies in between 21°49′ and 22°59′ north latitudes and in between 89°32′ and 89°98′ east longitudes. Bagerhat is bounded by Gopalgonj and Narail districts on the north, Bay of Bengal on the south, Gopalganj, Pirojpur and Barguna districts on the east, Khulna district on the west. It was a thana under Khulna sub-division in 1842. Then it became a sub-division under Jessore district in 1863. Bagerhat sub-division was transferred to Khulna district in 1882 and it was finally upgraded to a district on 23 February, 1984. Bagerhat has an area of 5882.18 sq. km (1834.74 sq. mi) of which 600.04 sq. km. is under reserve forest. It consists of 9 Upazilas, 3 Municipalities and 75 Union Parishads. According to the 2011 Bangladesh Census, Bagerhat district has a population of 1,476,090. Density of the population is 370 inhabitants/km2.
There are different opinions about the origin of the name of the district. According to some, the area was infested with tigers due to the presence of the Sundarbans nearby, hence the name “Bagherhat” meaning “A market of Tigers” was circulated and gradually changed to Bagerhat. According to some others, the famous “Bag” meaning “garden” of Khalifaat-i-Abad, founded by Hazrat Khan Jahan Ali became so prosperous in the region that it influenced the name Bagerhat. However, the most acceptable view is that the long turn from Harikhali on the north side of the Bhairab River, which flows past the town, to the present Nager Bazaar, was formerly inhabited by a market in the past. Thus, this region was popularly known as “Baker hat” meaning “the market at the turn”. Over time, the name has changed to Bagerhat.
The Human Development Index (HDI) of Bagerhat is 0.620 which is 6th among all districts of Bangladesh. It indicates moderate life expectancy, literacy Rate and per capita income of the inhabitants. The district has a literacy rate of 74.62% for the population 7 years and above. Bagerhat is situated on the bank of the river Madhumati. Panguchi, Pasur, Kaliganga, Bhola, Mangla, Daratana, Haringhata, Shila, Baleshwari, Bangra and Goshairkhali are the main rivers that flow through the district. The average high temperature is 24.2°C and the average low temperature is 12.0°C. Annual rainfall averages 1947 millimetres. Numerous daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly and literary newspapers and magazines are published from Bagerhat. Daily Dakshin Kantha, Daily Uttayal, Daily Dakhin Bangla, Weekly Khan Jahan, Weekly Bagerhat Darpan and Weekly Bagerhat Barta are notable among them. Folk songs such as Charagan, dazzles, proverbs, Meyeli geet, Gazir geet, Aushtok songs on Chaitra Sangkranti are sung in the rural areas of the district. Besides, Jatra, Pala are also performed during different occasion and festive ceremonies. Traditional Transport include Palanquin (extinct), horse carriage, bullock cart (nearly extinct) and boats.
The economy of Bagerhat is predominantly agricultural. Its economy is also dependent on the Sundarbans and Mongla port. Main sources of income includes agriculture with 54%, non-agricultural laborer 6.7%, industry 0.87%, commerce 17.28%, transport and communication 3.3%, service 8.05%, construction 1.32%, religious service 0.28%, rent and remittance 0.4% and others 7.8%. According to the Agriculture Census 2008, the total holdings of the district are 339 thousand of which 68.57% of holdings are farms that produce varieties of crops namely, local and HYV paddy, wheat, jute, vegetables, spices, pulses, oilseeds, sugarcane and others. Various fruits like mango, banana, Jackfruit guava, coconut and betel nut etc. are grown. Fish of different varieties abound in the district. Varieties of fishes caught from rivers, tributary, channels and creeks and even from paddy field during rainy seasons. Besides crops, livestock and fishery are main source of household income. Fish (Prawn), paddy, coconut, betel nut, betel leaf, honey are main export items in this district.
There are many prawn production centers here. For the huge contribution to the economy, prawns are also called white gold. Rampal and Fakirhat, two upazilas of Bagerhat is known as Qwait of Bangladesh due to its huge production of prawn and earning a lot of foreign exchange. Also, one of the two main ports of Bangladesh, Mongla port is here in Bagerhat. Near the port, Bagerhat has a variety of light and heavy industries. Manufacturing industries include Jute mill, match factory, salt factories, shipyard, steel mill, cable mill, rice mill, flour mill, ice factory, press mill, saw mill etc. Cottage industries include Handloom, bamboo work, goldsmith, potteries, carpenter, tailoring. There are also some other sectors, namely, chemicals, fish and seafood packaging, food processing, sugar milling and power generation. The KCCI regulates commerce through it’s Licensed Measurers’ Department (LMD) and certification, attestation and publicity departments of this area. The region has an export processing zone, which has attracted foreign investment.
Bagerhat is a great historical place. The name of Khan Jahan Ali is closely related to the history of Bagerhat. He migrated here in 1429 with a large number of soldiers. He established the Khalifatabad Pargana covering areas including Bagerhat, Khulna, Satkhira, Jessore and Barisal districts. He ruled this pargana during the period from 1429 to 1449. At the time of his reign, Bagerhat was a part of the Sundarbans forest. He cleared the forest and made it habitable. He erected many official buildings to run his administration. He also built many mosques and dug tanks. After the death of Khan Jahan Ali in 1449, Raja Pratapaditya occupied the pargana. The buildings erected by Khan Jahan Ali are now all in ruins. But still, Bagerhat city is famous for it’s mosques. It is also known as the Mosque City for the presence of a large number of mosques in the district. The domed structures of the mosques built with bricks in the 15th century is considered an architectural marvel. The city of Bagerhat has been given the status of a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1973.
During the Liberation War in 1971, Bagerhat district was under sector 9. The Pakistani army entered into Bagerhat through the land way. They killed about 200 innocent people at Khalishakhali and Babuganj. Many people were killed and wounded in several encounters between the Pak army and the Freedom Fighters at Doyapara, Shakharikarihat, and at Chakulia of Mollahat. 35 persons were also killed in an encounter between the Freedom Fighters and the Razakars in Morrelganj. There are 9 mass graves, 8 memorial monuments and 4 mass killing sites in this district. The mass graves are located in Chitalmari, Sakharikathi, Morrelganj, Ranjitpur, Teligati, Dakra, Kandapara, Mansha Bazar and Maghia.
The district is predominately Muslims with a population of 1237862. There are 304427 Hindus, 6261 Buddhists, 54 Christians and 42 others practicing other religions. The district of Bagerhat consists 7815 mosques, 238 temples, 17 churches and seven tombs. Among the archaeological heritage and relics, sixty-domed Mosque, Nine-domed Mosque, Shona Mosque, Khan Jahan Ali’s tomb Complex, Seven-domed Mosque, Ten-domed Mosque, One-domed Mosque, Pocha Dighee, Ghora Dighee, Kodla Math or Ayudha Math, Kuthibari, Durgapur Shiva Math, Shiva Temple are notable.
At a glance Of Bagerhat
|1||Area||5882.18 sq. km (1834.74 sq. mi)|
|4||Literacy rate||74.62 %|
|5||Seats in the Parliament||4|
|7||Upazilas (9)||· Bagerhat Sadar
|8||Main River||Madhumati, Panguchi, Pasur, Kaliganga, Bhola, Mangla, Daratana, Haringhata, Shila, Baleshwari, Bangra, Goshairkhali|
|Main Newspapers||Daily Dakshin Kantha, Daily Uttayal, Daily Dakhin Bangla, Weekly Khan Jahan, Weekly Bagerhat Darpan, Weekly Bagerhat Barta|
|9||Sector in Liberation War||9|
|10||Interested Places||· Sundarbans
· Sixty-domed Mosque
· Nine-domed Mosque
· Seven-domed Mosque
· Ten-domed Mosque
· One-domed Mosque
· Khan Jahan’s tomb Complex
· Shona Mosque
· Pocha Dighee
· Ghora Dighee
· Kodla Math
· Durgapur Shiva Math
· Shiva Temple
· Saint Paul’s Church
· Mangla Port
· Hiron Point
· Sundarban Museum
· Ramakrishna Ashrama
· Dohajari Shib Bari
|Highlighted Personalities||· Bidhu Bhushan Babu
· Dr. Nilima Ibrahim
· Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed
· Rudra Muhammad Shahidullah
· Dr. Mozammel Hossain
· Md. Moazzem Hossain
· Sheikh Helal Uddin
· Sheikh Abdul Aziz
· Halima Khatun
· Mesbah Ahmed
· Abu Bakar Siddique
· Abdus Sattar Akon
· Mia Abbas Uddin
· Amirul Alam Milon
· James Romen Bairagi
· M.A. Khayer
· Mir Shakhawat Ali Daru
· Abdul Latif Khan
Written & Edited by Sadia Siddika Zitu