Gaibandha is a district located on the northern part of Bangladesh under the jurisdiction of Rangpur division. The district lies in between 25°13′ and 25°27′ north latitudes and in between 89°26′ and 89°41′ east longitudes. Gaibandha is bounded on the north by Kurigram and Rangpur districts, on the east by Kurigram and Jamalpur districts, on the south by Bogra district and on the west by Joypurhat, Dinajpur and Rangpur districts. Gaibandha sub-division was established in 1875 and it was finally turned into a separate district in 15 February, 1984. It has an area of 2,179.27 sq. km. (841.42 sq. mi). Gaibandha consists of 7 Upazilas, 3 municipalities and 82 Union Parishads. According to the 2011 Bangladesh Census, Gaibandha district has a population of 2,430,627. Males constitute 50.64% of the population and females 49.36%. Density of the population is 1100 inhabitants/sq. km.
Nothing is definitely known about the origin of the name of the district. It is certain that this district was previously known as Bhabanigonj upto 1875. There are two popular opinions regarding the name of Gaibandha. It is said that, this area was previously ruled by a wealthy king named Virat. The number of his cows was sixty thousand. Sometimes robbers would come and plunder the cows of the king. For that reason, king Virat set up a cowshed in a huge desert to ensure safe and secure food and water supply to the cows. According to the legend, from the place where these cow were tied, the area was named Gaibandha. (“Gai” meaning cow and “bandha” meaning tied) However, some people believe that the name of the area was “Gaibandha” after the name of the barn or zoo of the zamindar Bhagadatta and not of king Virat. Whether there is a relationship with King Virat or not, one thing is certain that the name Gaibandha was deduced from the abundance of cows and the fact that cows were tied.
Gaibandha has a literacy rate of 54% for the population 7 years and above. It is situated on the bank of the river Jamuna. There are five major rivers in Gaibandha with combined length of 107.71 km. Bramhaputra, Tista, Karotoa and Ghaghot are the other main rivers. Most area of this district is covered with sandy, peat and loam soil, only 20% is covered with clay soil in the Khiar area of Gobindaganj upazila. This area has extremely intriguing weather and high rainfall. The average high temperature is 33.5°C and the average low temperature is 10.5°C. Annual rainfall averages 2536 millimetres. Numerous daily and weekly newspapers are published from Gaibandha. Daily Ghaghat, Daily Sandhan and Daily Bhorer Surya are notable among them.
Most inhabitants of Gaibandha speak Bengali in Rangpurian tone. Some people living in the southern area of the district speak dialects of Bogra region. Many people living in the char areas of Jamuna also speak dialects of Mymensingh region. But they understand the formal Bengali. Bhawaiya song, Palli geeti, Murshidi, Marfati, Baul song, marriage song, Chatka song, song of Bhanna Kushan, Goralir Panchali, Jari gan, rhymes, proverbs, folk tale, riddle etc. are notable folk culture prevailing in Gaibandha. Palanquin, horse carriage, bullock and buffalo carts were the traditional transports in the rural areas of the district, which are now either extinct or nearly extinct. Now-a-days, all the upazilas are connected with the district headquarters with metalled roads. Bus, minibus, three wheelers ply over the district.
The economy of the district is mostly dependent on agriculture. Major sources of income comprises of agriculture with 55.23%, non-agricultural laborer 2.80%, industry 0.95%, commerce 15.73%, transport and communication 5.48%, service 7.84%, construction 2.42%, religious service 0.24%, rent and remittance 0.33% and others 5.48%. A plenty of vegetables and seasonal fruits are also grown here. People of this area produce varieties of crops namely, local and HYV paddy, wheat, jute, sugarcane, potato, brinjal, mustard seed, chili, onion, garlic, vegetables and other minor crops. Various fruits like mango, jackfruit, banana, papaya, melon, litchi etc. are also grown in the district. Jute is produced in huge number at Gobindaganj, Palashbari and the northern side of this district. The production of Aus paddy, sugarcane, sweet potato, kaun and tobacco has decreased recently but production of banana has increased on the other hand. Fish of different varieties are caught from rivers, tributary channels and even from paddy fields during the rainy season. The most common fishes are ruhi, katla, mrigel, magur, singi, koi, puti, shoil, gazar, boal etc. All these fishes are economically valuable. Besides these common varieties, some other well known varieties of fishes, such as, pangash, airh, bacha, rita, batasi, khalisha and prawn are also found. Besides crops, livestock and poultry are the subsidiary source of household income of the district.
There is a large industry, 2 medium industries and 1621 small industries in Gaibandha. The industries include flour mill, ice factory, rice mill, chira mill, saw mill, soap factory and plastic pipe factories. There are also 1,46,192 cottage industries including goldsmith, blacksmith, potteries, bamboo and cane work, wood work, fishing-net work. There are 596 poultry farms, 69 dairy farms and 69 livestock farms here. There are 64 fisheries, 233 fish fry production farms and 25,369 pounds under fish farming in Gaibandha. 16 nurseries and 2 artificial cattle breeding centers are also here.
This region was a part of the Mourya, Pala, Gupta and Kamarupa kingdoms at different times. Famous Chinese traveler xuanzang and Ptolemy has mentioned this area in their books. At that time, this area was filled by the slit of the rivers Jamuna, Brahmaputra and Tista. Due to the flood of 1787 and the earthquake of 1898, the flow of Tista river was changed and small rivers like Kartoa, Ghaghot and Katakhali were created. Bhabaniganj was first established as a thana for administrative reason during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. It was upgraded to a sub-division on 27 May, 1858. The name of this sub-division was changed from Bhabanigonj to Gaibandha in 1875. It was finally established as a separate district in 15 February, 1984.
A movement was held in 1783 in this district against collection of excess taxes. Anti-British Movement and Tebhaga Movement were also initiated in Gaibandha. Fayezuddin and Puti Sheikh were killed by Police firing in 1949 in a movement to stop collection of tolls at hats and bazars. A Peasant Convention was held at Fulchhari of this district in 1956 under the leadership of Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani. Gaibandha was liberated on 9 December, 1971 by about 150 freedom fighters headed by Mahbub Elahi Ranju defeating the Pakistani army. Then the freedom fighters hoisted the national flag of Bangladesh at the Swadhinata Prangan. There are 3 mass killing sites, 3 mass graves and 2 memorial monuments that bear the testimony of Liberation War in the district.
The district is predominately Muslims with 88.21% of the population. Hindus form 11.47%, Christians 0.26% and remaining 0.06% practice other religions. Being one of the oldest districts of Bangladesh, a considerable number of archaeological heritages are found here. Vardhan Kuthi, house of Naldanga Zamindar along with its Shiva Linga made of black basalt, Vrisa Mandir of white stone and a large pond, Mosque of Shah Sultan Gazi, house of Bamandanga Zamindar, Mosque at Jamalpur, large pond at Faridpur, Masta Mosque at Gobindaganj are notable archaeological heritage and relics of this district.
|At a glance of Gaibandha|
|1||Area||2,179.27 sq. km. (841.42 sq. mi).|
|3||Founding Year||15 February, 1984|
|6||Seats in the Parliament||5|
|8||Sector in Liberation War||7|
- Gaibandha Sadar
Jamuna, Bramhaputra, Tista, Karotoa, Ghaghot
Daily Ghaghat, Daily Sandhan, Daily Bhorer Surya
- Vardhan Kuthi
- Naldanga Zamindar Bari along with its Shiva Linga made of black
- Vrisa Mandir of white stone
- Mosque of Shah Sultan Gazi
- House of Bamandanga Zamindar
- Large pond at Faridpur,
- Masta Mosque
- Rajbirat Prasad
- Bamondanga Zamidar Bari
- Bir Protik Mahabub Elahi Ronju
- Ahmed Hossain
- Shah Abdul Hamid
- Akhteruzzaman Elias
- Abu Hussain Sarkar
- Khan Bahadur Abdul Majid
- Tulsi Lahiri
- Shiraj Uddin Ahmed
- Kazi Mohammad Badruddoza
- Saker Mahmud
- Harish Chandra
- Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah
- Abul Hasan Shamsuddin
Written & Edited by Sadia Siddika Zitu.