Naogaon, popularly known as the bread-basket of Bangladesh because of its enriched productions of crops and situating highest number of rice processing mills of the country, is one of the most significant and most economically enriched districts in Bangladesh. Locating in between 24°32’ and 25°13’ North latitudes and in between 88°23’ and 89°10’ East longitudes, this district covers an area of about 3,435.67 square kilometers with a population of almost 26, 00,157 people (according to the census of 2011). .This district is surrounded by West Bengal on the North, Natore and Rajshahi districts on the South, Joypurhat, Bogra and Natore districts on the East and Chapai Nawabganj district on the West. Being the central part of “Varendra” region, almost 80% of this district is covered by fertile and cultivable lands This district has a tropical weather with an average maximum temperature of 37.8°C and minimum temperature of 11.2°C with annual rainfall of 1862 mm.
Naogaon, initially being a sub-division under former Rajshahi district in 1877, has in fact old history about the origin of its name. From the belief that Naogaon once was developed as a ‘mauza’ consisting of nine villages, the name derived from ‘nao’ meaning nine and ‘gaon’ meaning village. Another belief reveals that the name of this land came from a French word ‘nao’ meaning new and ‘gaon’ meaning village, because the lands of Naogaon district has been established as villages centering the Atrai River for agricultural and trade convenience. However, through many administrative changes during British Period and Pakistani period, this was established as a district comprising 11 Upazilas in 1984.
19 mass graves and 7 mass killing sites in Naogaon bear testimony to the massacre here during the war of Liberation in 1971. Killing 128 people in Pakuria village in August 1971, the Pakistani army buried them in a mass grave. Throughout long-nine-month-battle, many people of Naogaon sacrificed their lives for freeing their homeland from the torturous Pakistani domination. Paharpur under Naogaon Sadar upazila, Kulfatpur and Mahisantosh of Dhamoirhat upazila, Piral Danga, Gangra and Rangamati have encountered heavy casualties from both sides of freedom fighters and Pak soldiers through several fights. Three liberation sculptures and one memorial monument have been built to commemorate the contribution of the people from this district during the struggling war.
The average literacy rate of this district is 44% among which 49.4% is male and 39.1% is female. To ensure education facilities for all children regardless of male-female discrimination, there are 1342 primary schools, 584 secondary schools, 45 colleges, 10 technical colleges, 22 community schools, 23 kindergarten schools , 244 madrasas in Naogaon.
Having the highest number of rice processing mills of the country and enormous productions of crops such as jute, paddy, wheat, maize, potatoes, sugar cane, opium, tobacco, oil seeds, cannabis, indigo, pulses, onions, garlics, eggplants etc., Naogaon is one of the main contributors in overall economy of our country. It is also remarkable for huge production of varieties of fruits such as mango, jackfruit, banana, guava, palm, plum, papaya, peanut, wood apple, litchi, coconut and watermelon.
The language of local residents of Naogaon has several distinctive features in terms of their pronunciation, tone and usage of vocabulary. Interchange in the pronunciation of /n/ and /l/ is very prominent in most of the utterances.
Aside from agriculture, Naogaon is also enriched in numbers of sub-genres of folk cultures and music. Jatras (one kind of opera), folk songs including Palligeeti, Murshidi and Bhatiali, rural poems, wedding songs (known as Meyeli geet) of rural areas have been prevalent in Naogaon district for many centuries. Celebrations such as Bangla Nababarsha (Bengali New Year), Charakpuja, Nabanna, Halkhata, Berabashan are also commonly observed in this area.
Moreover, various kinds of sports including folk sports like Kabaddi (also known as Ha-du-du), Boat Race, Dariabandha and Lathi Khela (stick game) and foreign sports such as Football, Cricket, Volleyball, Swimming, Gymnastics, Weightlifting, Boxing, Badminton, Bodybuilding, Table tennis, Taekwondo (Judo Karat), Cycling and many others are also familiar here.
There are people from different religious communities such as Muslim, Hindus, and Christians and from other religions. Moreover, there are people from some indigenous ethnic communities such as Santal, Oraon, and Munda. With varieties of people, culture, economic contribution through products and tourist spots, Naogaon is one of the most notable districts in Bangladesh.
|At A Glance Naogaon|
|01||Area||3,435.67 square kilometers|
|03||Founding Year||1 March 1984|
|06||Seats in the Parliament||6|
|09||Sector in Liberation War||7.|
Chhoto Jamuna, Atrai, Punarbhaba.
Dailies: Joybangla, Ishtehar, Alokbarta, Weeklies: Bangabani, Barendra Batra, Naba Batra, Banglar Kantha, Desher Bani, Banka Chand, Nabayug, Ei Shomoy, Monthly: Nabadiganta and annual magazine on every 25 Baishakh on birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore.
After being established as a district in 1984, Naogaon comprised of eleven Upazilas and among them, Niamatpur is the largest and Badalgachhi is the smallest upazila. The names of the Upazilas of Naogaon are stated below:
- Atrai Upazila
- Badalgachhi Upazila
- Dhamoirhat Upazila
- Manda Upazila
- Mahadebpur Upazila
- Naogaon Sadar Upazila
- Niamatpur Upazila
- Patnitola Upazila
- Porsha Upazila
- Raninagar Upazila
- Sapahar Upazila
Whenever we utter the name of the district ‘Naogaon’, it generally gives us a glimpse of many archaeological sites among which Paharpur Buddhist Bihara is the most notable. Apart from this place, there are many such places which worth mentions in terms of attracting tourists:
- Paharpur Buddhist Bihara, also known as Sompur Mahavihara (Badalgachhi)
- Halud Bihara (Badalgachhi)
- Tara Temple
- Satyapirer Bhita
- Six domed Kushumba Shahi Mosque (16th century)
- Rabindranath Tagore’s Kuthibari (Patishar, Moniari Union)
- Patishar Royal Palace
- Dibor Dighi ( Patnitola)
- Paikbanda Salban (Patnitola)
- Kashimpur Rajbari
- Balihar Rajbari ( Naogaon Sadar)
- Dubalhati Rajbari
- Sailgachhi Rajbari
- Kumaigiri three domed Mosque
- Balubhara Temple
- Jagaddal Bihara
- Raghunath Temple
- Mahadebpur Rajbari
- Residence of Satish Roy Chaudhury (present government College building)
- Bhim Sagar
- Bhimer Panti
- Alta Dighi ( Mahadebpur)
- Alta Dighi Jatiyo Uddan
- Tomb of Muhammad Shiran Khilji
- Kusumba Mosque (Manda)
Naogaon is the homeland of numerous national and international personalities and some of them are:
- Mohammad Baitullah (First Deputy Speaker of Bangladesh Parliament)
- Late Mohammad Abdul Jalil (Former Minister of Bangladesh government)
- Alomgir Kabir (Cultural personality)
- Zakaria Pintu (Sportsman)
- Talim Hossain (Poet)
- Toyeb Uddin Ahmed Chowdhury
- Mojaffar Hossain Kaki
- Babu Kumud Nath Das
- Akhter Hamid Siddiki
- Kala Pahar
- Shabnam Mustari (Singer)
Written & Edited by Nushrat Ara.