Natore, popularly known for Chalan beel, one of the most renowned water bodies in Bangladesh and for having an area covering lowest annual rainfall of Bangladesh named Lalpur. In an area measuring 1896.05 square kilometers in Natore district, 1706673 people live peacefully and there are approximately 20000 people coming from different indigenous communities among them. Naogaon and Bogra from the north, Pabna and Kushtia from the south, Pabna and Sirajganj from the east and Rajshahi from the west surround Natore locating in between 24°25′ and 24°58′ north latitudes and in between 88°01′ and 88°30′ east longitudes. The climate of Natore district is mainly tropical. The area has a warm and humid weather in most of the time, but sometimes it becomes extremely heated with a maximum temperature of 40°C in summer and very cold with a minimum temperature of 8°C in winter.
Regarding the origin of the name ‘Natore’, there are several interesting myths. The most popular one says that the area of this district was mainly a low lying land named ‘Chaivanga’ where Raja Ramjibon Roy was travelling by boat once and asked the boatmen to stop the boat by saying ‘Nao Thamao’ (‘stop the boat’ in English) when he saw a frog catching a snake. From that phrase ‘Nao Thamao’, later with the establishment of Raja Ramjibon Roy’s capital in that land in 1710, the name turned into ‘Natore’. However, this land played significant role under Pathan, Mughal and British rule too. It is assumed that Rani Bhabani was given the title of Maharani was called Ardha-Bangeshwari (‘Lord of Half Bengal’ in English) because of being the superintendent of huge zamindari of Natore. The feudalism and the system of government and public welfare of a majestic woman were formed here at the reign of Rani Bhabani. Natore is considered as the first subdivision under Rajshahi which was established in 1845. People of Natore have encountered the widespread Indigo resistance movement in 1859-60. Then this sub-division was formed as a municipality in 1869.
The Gopalpur Massacre is one of the notable moments in the history of liberation war in Bangladesh which took place in Gopalpur Municipality in Lalpur Upazila in Natore and Bengali employees in North Bengal Sugar Mill were the victims. This incident was set relating to the battle of Moyna village where Bengali freedom fighters allied by local Santals attacked Pakistani army on 30 March and put several Pakistani soldiers at the residence of Awarul Azim (local leader and general manager in North Bengal Sugar Mill) after capturing them. Replying to this Bengali attack, the Pakistani troop invaded North Bengal Sugar Mill on 5 May and took 200 employees under captivity and among them only five people could survive finally. Natore has experienced a grave brutality of Pakistani army conducting carnage of 195 people by dumping them into the nearby pond, shooting and bayonetting in this occurrence. Commemorating this cruel scenario of massacre, the pond has later been named as ‘Shaheed sagar’ and the then Gopalpur Railway Station has been renamed as Azim Nagar Station.
Natore is well known for education facilities including 701 primary schools, 274 secondary schools, 59 colleges, 237 madrasah, 1 PTI, 1 deaf and dumb educational institution. There are also numbers of cultural institutions in this district including ‘Monobina Songho’, ‘Sakam Sangskritik protishthan’, ‘Shilpakala Academy’, ‘Natore Sangeet Bidyalaya’, ‘Usha khelaghor Asor’, ‘Setu Bondhon’, ‘Bhola Mon Baul Songothon’, ‘Saptak Sur Torongo’, ‘Nrityangon’, ‘Ding Dong Dance Club’ and ‘Divya sangskritik songothon’ for ensuring cultural excellence among the people of Natore.
The communication facilities of Natore with other districts in Bangladesh can be considered up to the mark because there are 236.04 km metaled and 35 km semi-metaled road and 64 km railway. These facilitate the residents and the businessmen of Natore to spread in every corner of the country and to export traditional goods of Natore. Kanchagolla, a sweet made by milk curd and sugar, has contributed greatly to the widespread reputation of Natore. Natore is mostly based on agriculture and thus, it is contributing in economy by exporting sugar, paddy and fresh vegetables mainly. Moreover, there are 2 sugar mills, 1 private food manufacturing plant of Pran Agro Ltd and 1 private industry of Jamuna Group producing industrial alcohol.
Natore is also notable for several sub-genres of Folk songs and of them, Madarer song, Padmapuran or Manasar song, Mangar song, Yogir song, Murshidi song are noteworthy. Manasar song is usually performed on the occasion of Manasa puja and Mangar song in the Bangla month of Poush. People from different indigenous community such as Santal, Oraon, Turi, Bhumij, Kaibarta, Mahato, Mushar, Malpahadi, and Munda belong to this area. They have their distinct cultural appearances through languages, food habits and festivals on different occasions of marriage, monsoon, plantation and harvest times. Some mentionable and usually observed festivals among indigenous communities are Karam festival (observed expecting to satisfy the nature), Pungtadi festival, Saharai festival (wishing for good harvest), Danda Katna festival (wishing for prosperity of family members) and Fagua festival (observed with traditional song and dance on the occasion of Dol Purnima). The tribal people generally use their own languages to communicate within families but for schooling and working outside, they speak Bangla too because some indigenous languages do not have alphabet or any written format. However some researchers have revealed that at present, some tribes have forgotten their mother tongue. Some notable indigenous languages found in Natore are Sadri (spoken by Oraon, Mahato, Munda, Mallick), Kurukh (by Oraon), Santali (by Santals), Persian (used by Santals), Nagari (by Rabidas), Oriya, Pahari (by Pahari) etc.
People from different religion and ethnic communities live here and work together for the betterment of Natore. The district administration and almost 80 NGOs in Natore take care of the welfare of the ethnic people and local communities. Besides being historically important, Natore is prominently contributing to upholding economic welfare of the country and the tourist charm of the notable places of the district.
|At A Glance Natore|
|01||Area||1896.05 square kilometers|
|05||Seats in the Parliament||4|
|11||Sector in Liberation War||7.|
After being established as a district in 1984, Natore has comprised of seven upazilas, namely:
- Gurudaspur Upazila
- Natore Sadar Upazila
- Baraigram Upazila
- Bagatipara Upazila
- Lalpur Upazila
- Singra Upazila
- Naldanga Upazila
Musakhan, Nandakunja, Barnai, Godai, Baral, Khalishadanga, Gunai, Narod.
Dainik Uttar Bangabarta, Dainik Uttarpath, Prokash, Janadesh, weekly Natore Barta.
Natore has many spots for Tourist attraction: while some places carry archaeological importance, some other places carry modern age architecture and updated advantages.
- Natore Rajbari
- Dighapatia Rajbari (Uttara Ganabhaban)
- Dayarampur Rajbari (Bagatipara)
- Budpara Kali Mandir (Lalpur)
- Joykali Mandir at Harwara (Natore sadar)
- Begunbaria Zamindar Bari
- Nupur Zamindar Bari (Bagatipara)
- Neelkuthi (Bagatipara)
- Museum at village Khubjipur
- Chalan Beel
- Halti Beel
- Chalan Beel Museum
- Oushodhigram (famous for cultivating medicinal herbs)
- Graveyard of Hazrat Kubir Shah
- Pagla Raja’s palace ( Jubo park at present)
- Modoner Pukur Par
- Shaheed Sagar
- North Bengal Sugar Mill
- Natore Adhunik stadium
- Galimpur Zamindar Bari
- Bara Bagha Mazar Sharif
- Temple of Sree Sree Radharaman.
Natore is home to numerous talents and illustrious personalities who accomplished various sectors with their notable contribution as writers, actors, intellectuals and so on. Some highlighted personalities of Natore are:
- Maharaja Jagadindranath Roy Bahadur (Zamindar or landlord of Natore)
- Rani Bhabani (Zamindar of Natore)
- Madar Bux (Politician)
- Taijul Islam (Cricketer)
- Zunaid Ahmed Palak (Member of Parliament)
- Bir Pratik Azad Ali (Freedom fighter)
- Farida Parveen (Folk singer)
- Sarat Kumar Ray (Co-founder of Varendra Research Museum)
- M. Rahmatullah (Politician)
- Jadunath Sarkar (Historian)
- Zakir Talukdar (Fiction writer & physician)
- Sultana Zaman (Actress & Producer)
- Abdus Sattar
- Dr Motiur Rahman
- Principal Abdul Hamid
- Lieutenant Bari
- Professor Mosleh Uddin
Written & Edited by Nushrat Ara.