Jessore District

Jessore, officially known as Jashore, is a district in the south-western part of Bangladesh under the jurisdiction of Khulna division. Jessore is the first district of Bangladesh to be liberated from Pakistani forces during the Liberation War in 1971. It is also the first digital district in the country. The district lies in between 22°48′ and 23°22′ north latitudes and in between 88°51′ and 89°34′ east longitudes. The district is bounded by India to the west, Khulna and Satkhira districts to the south, Khulna and Narail districts to the east, Jhenaidah and Magura districts to the north. Jessore district was established in 1781. It has an area of 2,606.94 sq. km (1,006.55 sq. mi). The district consists of 8 Upazilas, 8 Municipalities and 92 Union Parishads. According to the 2011 Bangladesh Census, Jessore district has a population of 2,764,547. Males constitute 50.1% of the population and females 49.9%. Density of the population is 962 inhabitants/km2.

There are different opinions about the origin of the name Jessore. Many people think that the word Jessore originates from the Arabic ‘Jasar’ which means bamboo bridge. In the past, Jessore was full of rivers, bridges were built over rivers or canals for communication. It is known that Pir Khanjahan Ali crossed the river Bhairab and came to Murli by using a bamboo bridge. Thus, the name Jessore originated from the word ‘Jasar’. However, according to many, the name ‘Jessore’ was there even before the arrival of Khanjahan Ali. They believe, Maharaja Pratapaditya’s father Vikramaditya and one of his associates, Basanta Roy, secretly sent the Sultan’s immense wealth to this area during the period of extreme anarchy in Gaur. After the arrival of innumerable boats carrying the treasures of Gaur, the fame of the forested area gradually spread around and a prosperous state was established. The newly established state was named Jessore, after the word “josh” which means “fame” or “glory”.

The Human Development Index (HDI) of Jessore is 0.622 which is 5th 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 51.29% for the population 7 years and above. Jessore is situated on the bank of the river Kopotakkho. Bhairab, Chitra, Harihar, Dadra, Betrabati, Kodla, Teka, Hari, Sree, Aparbhadra, Buribhadra, Mukteshwari and Betna are the main rivers that flow through the district. The average high temperature is 34.6°C and the average low temperature is 15.4°C. Annual rainfall averages 1,537 millimetres. Numerous daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly and literary newspapers and magazines are published from Jessore. Dainik Kalyan, Dainik Purobi, Weekly Sonali Din, Fortnightly Mot-Motantar are notable among them. Folk songs such as Jari, Dheuo, Bhab, Baul, Foloi are sung in the rural areas of the district. Besides, indigenous communities like Bede, Pode, Kaora, Bagdi and Buno perform various folk festivals during Puja and marriage ceremony.

The economy of the district is mostly dependent on agriculture. Main sources of income includes agriculture with 39.84%, agricultural laborer 24.13%, wage laborer 2.68%, commerce 11.99%, service 8.66%, industry 1.41%, transport 3.11% and others 8.18%. Out of the total 591 thousand holdings of the district, 63.38% holding are farms that produce varieties of crops, namely local and HYV paddy, wheat, jute, vegetables, spices, pulses, oil-seeds, sugarcane and others. Various fruits like mango, banana, Jackfruit, guava, coconut and betel nut etc. are also grown here. Date Sugar, locally called “patali” is made from the sap of locally grown date trees. It is cooked, thickened and crystallized using a traditional method. Fish of different varieties abound in the district. Varieties of fishes are caught from rivers, tributary, channels and creeks and even from paddy field during rainy seasons. Fish farming has accelerated the economy of Jessore. The lion’s share of Jessore’s economy comes from fish farming and shrimp exports. Beside crops, livestock and fishery are other sources of household income. Non-agricultural activities also play an important role in the economy of this district. Noapara can be called the lifeblood of Jessore’s trade and commerce. Various industrial factories have been established here. Another main factor of the economics of Jessore is Benapol Land Port which is situated in Sharsa upazila. A huge amount of the import and export trading between Bangladesh and India is done through this port. It plays a special role in the socio-economic development of the country. Jessore is known as the flower capital of Bangladesh. Most of the flowers of Bangladesh are mainly grown in Gadkhali of Jhikargachha upazila of Jessore. The flowers produced here are supplied all over the country.

Jessore district once belonged to the ancient kingdom of Banga/Samatat. In the 15th century, Jessore became a part of the kingdom of Pratapaditya. The area was transferred to the East India Company with the rest of Bengal in 1765. British administration was finally established in Jessore district in 1781 when the governor-general ordered the opening of a court at Murali near Jessore. In 1947, Jessore was divided between India and Pakistan(then). Except for the Bangaon and Gaighata thanas, the district became a part of East Pakistan. The Pakistani army arrested Advocate Moshiur Rahman (former minister and noted politician) on the night of 26 March 1971 and later on brutally killed him. The Pakistani army killed a number of railway staff in the office room of the Noapara station, besides, they also killed 17 persons including Najibur Rahman, Assistant Secretary of Noapara unit of Bangladesh Awami League. The Bangali soldiers posted at Jessore Cantonment revolted against them on 29 March 1971 led by Captain Hafiz Uddin and Lt Anwar in which about 300 soldiers were killed. Jessore is witness to many early and late battles taken place during 1971. Many freedom fighters were killed in a battle with the Pakistani army and the combined forces on 20 November at Jagannathpur and Garibpur playground of Chaugachha upazila. This upazila is called the gateway to the War of Liberation. There is a famous poem named ‘September on Jessore Road’ composed by Allen Ginsberg which he wrote after visiting the War victims of Bangladesh, on Jessore road personally during the Liberation War. Finally, on 6 December 1971, Jessore became the first district of Bangladesh to be liberated from Pakistani forces. There are 5 Memorial Monuments, 2 memorial sculptures, 1 mass grave, 1 memorial preservation centre in Jessore. The tomb of Bir Srestha Nur Mohammad is situated at village Kashimpur under Sharsha upazila of the district.

Jessore has communication links with nearby districts. It also has highways for transportation to West and East Bengal. The Jessore Airport, near the city, is an airfield for the Bangladesh Air Force. Alongside military service, its runway caters to seven commercial flights daily which includes US Bangla, Novo and Biman Bangladesh Airlines, for domestic flights. The district is predominately Muslims occupying 85.50% of the population. Hindus form 14.21% and remaining 0.29% practice other religions. There is an ancient mosque, known as “Shani mosque” which is an example of the high architecture of Muslim Sultani period. Remnants of the Chanchara Rajbari, Kali Mandir, Dargah of Ghazi Kalu, Rajbari, Dighi and Mandir at Siddirpasha, remnants of the palace of king Mukut Roy, residence of Nawab Mir Jumla, Imam Bari built by Haji Muhammad Muhsin at Murli are part of archeological heritage of the area.

At a glance of Jessore
01 Area 2,606.94 sq. km

1,006.55 sq. mi)

02 Population 2,764,547
03 Founding Year 1781
03 Density 962/km2
04 Literacy Rate 51.29%
05 Seats in the Parliament 6
06 Postcode 7400
07 Sector in Liberation War 8

Upazilas (8)

  • Jessore Sadar
  • Manirampur
  • Sharsha
  • Abhaynagar
  • Chowgacha
  • Keshabpur
  • Jhikorgachha
  • Bagherpara

Main Rivers:

Kapotakkho, Bhairab, Chitra, Harihar, Dadra, Kodla.

Main Newspapers

Dainik Kalyan, Dainik Purobi, Weekly Sonali din, Fortnightly Mot-Motantar

Notable places

  • Grave of Birshrestho Lance Nayek Noor Muhammad Sheikh
  • Sagardari (the birth place of Michael Madhusudan Dutt)
  • Remnants of the Chanchara Rajbari
  • Dighee and Mandir at Siddirpasha,
  • Remnants of the palace of king Mukut Roy
  • Residence of Nawab Mir Jumla
  • Residence of Dhiraj Bhattacharya (actor)
  • Bharat Raza’s Dewl
  • Mirzanagar Hammamkhana
  • Dhalijhara Buddha Bihar
  • Sheikhpura 3 Domed Mosque
  • Khan Jahan Ali’s Dighi
  • Flower Garden at Godkhali
  • Katakhal Bangabandhu Park
  • Dhoolgraam Teple
  • Mound of Dam Dam Peer
  • Joypur Neelkuthi
  • Kachari Ghar
  • Chanchra Shiva Temple
  • Imam Bari
  • The Jessore Collectorate Building
  • Shani mosque
  • Godkhali kalibari
  • Panchpukur Baganchara
  • Binodia Park
  • Jessore Boat-club
  • Jess-garden Park
  • Gazir Dorgah
  • Khanjahan Ali Jame Mosque
  • Jamidar Bari at Shridhorpur
  • Shimulia Mission (Saheb Bari)

Highlighted Personalities

  • Bir Sreshtha Nur Mohammad Sheikh
  • Bir Uttam S.M. Imdadul Haq
  • Mohammad Moniruzzaman
  • Mohammad Rafiquzzaman
  • C. Bose
  • Michael Madhusudan Datta,
  • Mahendra Lal Bose
  • Dhiraj Bhattacharya
  • Manishankar Mukherjee
  • Paran Banerjee
  • Kishori Mohan Bannerjee
  • Ahmed Ali Enayetpuri
  • Dinesh Chandra Chatterjee
  • G. Majumdar
  • Jatin Bala (Dalit author)
  • Haridasa Thakur
  • Kalinath Roy
  • Saroj Dutta
  • Sanatana Goswami
  • Bobita
  • Iqbal Quadir
  • Shamsher Ali
  • Jiban Ratan Dhar

Written & Edited by Sadia Siddika Zitu.

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