Sylhet, initially named as Srihatta, is also known as Jalalabad. The district is the divisional capital of the Sylhet division in the north-eastern territory of Bangladesh. Sylhet District is consist of about 3490.40 sq km area which is situated in between 24°36′ and 25°11′ north latitudes and in between 91°38′ and 92°30′ east longitudes. Total Population of the district is 2555566 divided into 1314317 male and 1241249 female. The district is bounded by Assam state of India on the east, Habiganj and Sunamganj districts on the west, Meghalaya state of India on the north, Maulvibazar district on the south.
Sylhet, a district located in the bank of the river Surma, is splited into thirteen Upazilas. The upazilas are Companiganj, Beanibazar, Dakshin Surma, Bishwanath, Balaganj, Gowainghat, Fenchuganj, Jaintiapur, Golapganj, Osmani Nagar, Zakiganj, Kanaighat, Sylhet Sadar. Among this 13 upazilas of the district Fenchuganj is the smallest with of 114.48 sq km area and Gowainghat is the largest with of 486.10 sq km area. Surma, Gorao, Piyain, Kushiyara are the main water bodies of Sylhet. Muslims are the majority in this area with a population of 2365728 while 186565 Hindu, 1831 Bhudhist, 352 Christian and 1090 others belong to this area. Manipuri, Khasia, Patra also known as Pathor are some Indigenous communities who also stay in this upazila along with Banglalees.
History approve that, Harikela and Kamarupa kingdoms of ancient Bengal and Assam subordinated by Brahmans, occupied Sylhet as an enlarged commercial circle. Widespread of Buddhism happened in the fore-millennium. This era also witnessed the visit of the Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta in the area. During his journey to the territory he met with Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah and the great saint Shah Jalal (R).
Sylhet is a part of typical Bangladesh tropical monsoon climate at higher elevations. The rainy season stays in this area from April to October. During this time environment remains hot and humid with very heavy showers. Thunderstorms almost every day in these days. November to February, the dry season is very warm and clear. May and September are occupied by the annual average rainfall in 80% of 4,200 millimetres (170 in). The district is situated within the region of hills and basins. It make the region distinctive among Bangladesh. Sylhet made mainly of red soils, embracing some big depressions known locally as “beels” which can be called as oxbow lakes.
The district was formed on 3 January in 1783. Sylhet was the part of Bengal province until it was brought into the newly created Assam Province in 1878. Though during the break up of Bangla Province in 1905 upto 1911, it was not a part of Assam. After the partition in 1947, Sylhet turned into a part of East Pakistan (in present Bangladesh) under the jurisdiction of Chittagong Division. In 1983-84, Chittagong Division was divided into 4 districts. In this process, at present Sylhet district was known as North Sylhet which later became a part of Sylhet Division in 1995 after the formation of it.
On 1971, during the War of Liberation the district gone through many violences. On 4 April 1971, a direct battle was held between the Muktibahini and the Pakistani army in Sylhet Sadar. In the battle, a number of both freedom fighters and Pakistani soldiers were killed. The freedom fighters created tention by a bomb explosion on 5 April in the Sylhet airport which made the Pakistani soilders rushed to the area. The freedom fighters broke into the Sylhet Jail by taking advantage of this situation and freed about 2500 detainees including freedom fighters. They incurred the Airport again on 19 April. Several battles between the freedom fighters and the Pak army at Tultikar, Ureatila, Laltila, Malinichhara Tea Garden, Zindabazar Police Line, Jalalabad of Sylhet sadar upazila casued murder of more than 100 freedom fighters and civilians. On 6 May,a mass killing was conducted by the Pakistani army at Ilashpur of Balaganj upazila. The soilders also murdered 36 people at Adityapur. Many direct encounters happened between the freedom fighters and the Pakistani army at Sherpur and Sadipur where the Pak army was subjugated. The Pakistani soilders killed many tea gardeners at Fenchuganj Fertilizer Factory and Monipuri Tea Garden in the month of May. A surprise attack on Ujuhat village on 28 November executed by the Pakistani army at dead of night, caused the death of 25 freedom fighters. Mass killing, Rape, Violance, Destruction of properties, forsed convertion and so many crime was conducted by the Pakistani army during the War of Liberation throughout the district. Many innocent persons including Jitendra Das, Narayan Sen, Dhirendra Kumar Das, Bomkesh Chowdhury and Basanta Kumar Das of Bishwanath upazila were killed by the army. They used the backyard of Dak bungalow of the Beanibazar sadar, thana compound as mass killing sites to kill people abducted from different places. 19 members of Muktibahini of the Companiganj upazila were killed in several encounters with the Pakistani Army. 13 Mass graves, 14 memorial monuments, 9 mass killing sites 9, 1 sculpture still bear the marks of the War of Liberation.
The economy of the district is mainly depends on Agriculture which is 38.58%. Sylhet is blessed with not only natural beauties but also different cultural hegemonies. Jhum dance, Lai Haroaba dance, Kumari dance, Manipuri dance, Marifati song, Murshidi song are the widespread folk culture of the district which make Sylhet unique and diverse.
Significant monuments as Keane Bridge, Al Amjad’s Clock, some religious places such as Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal (R), Shrine of Hazrat Shah Paran (R) along with Malnichhara Tea Garden, Gour Gobinda Fort, MAG Osmani International Airport, Osmani Museum, Shahi Eidgah, Keen Bridge, Lalkhal at Sylhet Sadar, Hakaluki Haor at Fenchuganj, Dream Land Park at Golabganj etc. are some important features of the district. Many people from home and abroad visit Sylhet every year and enjoy the aura.
At a glance of Sylhet
(1,332.85 sq mi)
|03||Founding Year||3 January 1782|
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- Dakshin Surma
- Osmani Nagar
- Sylhet Sadar
Surma, kushiyara, Piyain, Gorai.
- Keane Bridge
- Al Amjad’s Clock
- Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal (R)
- Shrine of Hazrat Shah Paran (R)
- Malnichhara Tea Garden
- Gour Gobinda Fort
- MAG Osmani International Airport
- Osmani Museum
- Shahi Eidgah
- Keen Bridge
- Lalkhal at Sylhet Sadar
- Hakaluki Haor at Fenchuganj
- Dream Land Park at Golabganj
- Shah Jalal(R) (Sufi saint and mystic.)
- Shah Paran(R) (Sufi saint.)
- Swami Nikhilananda (Ramakrishna Math and Mission Order monk)
- Swami Premeshananda (Ramakrishna Math and Mission Order monk)
- Swami Gambhirananda (Ramakrish Math and Mission Order monk)
- Nurul Islam Nahid (Former Education Minister)
- Professor Govinda Chandra Dev ( Martyred intellectual)
- Abdul Malik (National Professor)
- Rushanara Ali (First Bangladeshi to be elected as an MP for the British parliament.)
- Ajmal Masroor (television presenter)
- Lutfur Rahman (politician)
- Mukhlesur Rahman Chowdhury (Former minister)
- Humayun Rashid Choudhury (Former speaker of National parliament.)
- Dilwar Khan (poet)
- Salman Shah (Film actor)
- Shuvro Dev (playback singer.)
- Syed Ahmed (businessman)
- Badar Uddin Ahmed Kamran, (Mayor of Sylhet)
Written & Edited by Shaima Akter Sethu.