Kurigram District

Kurigram is a district located on the northern part of Bangladesh under the jurisdiction of Rangpur division. The district lies in between 25°23′ and 26°14′ north latitudes and in between 89°27′ and 89°54′ east longitudes. Kurigram is bounded by West Bengal of India on the north, Gaibandha and Jamalpur districts on the south, Assam state of India on the east, West Bengal of India, Rangpur and Lalmonirhat districts on the west. Kurigram sub-division was established in 1875 and it was finally turned into a separate district in 1984. It has an area of 2,245.04 sq. km. (866.81 sq. mi). The district has 278.28 km of international border line with India. Kurigram consists of 9 Upazilas, 3 municipalities and 72 Union Parishads. According to the 2011 Bangladesh Census, Kurigram district has a population of 2,069,273. Males constitute 50.05% of the population and females 49.95%. Density of the population is 920 inhabitants/sq. km.

Nothing is definitely known about the origin of the name of the district. It is assumed that, “Kurigram” is derived from two words, “Kuri”(meaning Twenty) and “Gram”(meaning Village). The most popular view is that in the long past, the present place of the district sadar was a residential area of kuri (Twenty) families of the Meech tribes in consequence of which the place was named as Kurigram. There is another opinion saying Maharaja Bishwa Singh sent twenty fishing families of his kingdom to this region by recognizing them as upper class Hindus. It is believed that Kurigram was named after the arrival of these twenty families.

The Human Development Index (HDI) of Kurigram is 0.591 which is 15th 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 56% for the population 7 years and above. Kurigram is situated on the bank of the river Dharla. Bramhaputra, Tista, Dudhkumar, Fulkumar, Sonabhari, Gingira, Gangadhar and Halhalia are the main rivers of the district. The weather of Kurigram is slightly different from other parts of Bangladesh. The temperature here is higher during summer and lower during winter than other parts of the country. The average high temperature is 32.3°C and the average low temperature is 11.2°C. Annual rainfall averages 2931 millimetres. Numerous daily and weekly newspapers are published from Kurigram. Daily Jago bahe, Daily Kurigram Khabor and Daily Banglar Manush are notable among them.

Most inhabitants of Kurigram speak Bengali in Rangpurian tone. But they understand the formal Bengali. The district has 14 enclaves. Bhawaiya song, Palli geeti, Murshidi, Marfati, Baul song, marriage song, Chatka song, song of Bhanna Kushan, Goralir Panchali, Jari gan, rhymes, proverbs, folk tales, riddles etc. are notable folk culture prevailing in Kurigram. Palanquin, horse carriage, bullock cart 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 70.41%, non-agricultural laborer 4.74%, industry 0.51%, commerce 9.45%, transport and communication 2.02%, service 4.98%, construction 0.77%, religious service 0.15%, rent and remittance 0.21% and others 6.76%. A plenty of vegetables and seasonal fruits are also grown here. Out of total 469,713 holdings of the district, 58.69% household are farms that produce varieties of crops namely, local and HYV paddy, sugarcane, wheat, vegetables, jute, pulses, spices, cash crops, oilseeds, maize and other minor crops. Various fruits like pineapple, banana, jackfruit, mango, guava, coconut, papaya, palm, litchi, blackberries, dates etc. are also grown in the district. 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.

Kurigram had to face many torture and mistreatment of the East India Company during British rule. Many historians say that, the Great Bengal Famine of 1770 was caused by the carelessness of company. This gave birth to many rebellions also. During this period, Kurigram was divided into four divisions, namely, Borobari, Chimari, Ulipur and Nageshwari. At that time, Kurigram was known as “Kuriganj”. Kurigram is mentioned as “Kuriganj” in “Gazetteer of Rangpur District” by Sir William Hunter. Kurigram Municipality was established in 1972. It was renamed as Kurigram Paurashava later. The British government first established Kurigram sub-division in 22 April, 1875. The sub-division consisted of 8 thanas namely, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Chilmari, Ulipur, Roumari, Bhurungamari, Nageshwar and Phulbari. Kurigram district was formed on 1 February, 1984 with nine current upazilas.

Devi Chaudhurani and Bhabani Pathak of this district revolted against the British Rule. They built their secret hermitages in the deep forests. They conducted many encounters against the British and their collaborators during 1760-1783. The movements namely, Quit-India Movement, Tebhaga Movement and Satyagraha Movement spread all over Kurigram. During the Liberation War, Raumari, Rajibpur (except Kodalkati union) and Phulbari Upazilas were beyond the reach of Pakistani Army. Many direct encounters between the Freedom Fighters and the Pakistani army occurred in this district throughout the nine months of war, in which about 100 Freedom Fighters were killed. There are 11 mass graves at Nageshwari, Bhurungamari, Ulipur and Kurigram Sadar Upazila; two mass killing sites at Bhurungamari and Chilmari Upazila. There are also 4 memorial monuments, one martyr memorial plate at Ghosh Para and one Victory pillar at the turning point near the College. A memorial plank with names of 18 freedom fighters in front of the Ulipur Muktijoddha Office bears the testimony of the War of Liberation in Kurigram District.

The district is predominately Muslims with a population of 1666880. There are 123627 Hindus, 164 Buddhists, 164 Christians and 1238 people  practicing other religions. Remnants of a mosque at Nayarhat, remnants of a mosque near Patweshwari Bazar, three-domed mosque at village Majider Par of Thanahat Union, Arabic inscription of a mosque, Joymoni Zamindar Bari, Naodanga Zamindar Bari and Mandir, Pangeshwari Mandir and remnants of the Rajbari, image of Kali at Dasherhat, images of Mangal Chandi, Kamakkha Devi, Laksmi and Sattanarayan in front of the Bhetarbandh Zamindar Bari, Kali Siddheshwari Mandir, two canons of Panga Kingdom are notable among the archaeological heritage.

At a Glance 0f Kurigram
01 Area 2,245.04 sq. km. (866.81 sq. mi)
02 Population 2,069,273
03 Found Year 1984
04 Density 920/sq. km.
05 Literacy Rate 56%
06 Seats in the Parliament 4
07 Postcode 5600
08 Sector in Liberation War 6 & 11

Upazilas (9)

  • Kurigram Sadar
  • Bhurungamari
  • Char Rajibpur
  • Chilmari
  • Phulbari
  • Nageswari
  • Rajarhat
  • Raumari
  • Ulipur

Main Rivers

Dharla, Bramhaputra, Tista, Dudhkumar, Fulkumar, Sonabhari, Gingira, Gangadhar, Halhalia

Main Newspapers

Daily Jago bahe, Daily Kurigram Khabor, Daily Banglar Manush

Notable Places

  • Remnants of a mosque at Nayarhat
  • Remnants of a mosque near Patweshwari Bazar
  • Three-domed mosque
  • Joymoni Zamindar Bari
  • Naodanga Zamindar Bari and Mandir
  • Kali Siddheshwari Mandir
  • Shahi Mosque
  • Chandi Mandir
  • Dolmancha Mandir
  • Bir Protik Taramon Bibi’s house
  • Naodanga Royal Palace
  • Sindur Moti
  • Pangeshwari Temple
  • Bhetarbandh Royal Palace
  • Chandamari Mosque
  • Two Canons of Panga Kingdom
  • Kazir mosque
  • Chilmari land port
  • Ghogadaha Bazar

Highlighted Personalities

  • Bir Uttam Lieutenant Ashfakus Samad
  • Bir Bikram Shaukat Ali Sarkar
  • Bir Bikram Syed Mansur Ali
  • Bir Protik Taramon Bibi
  • Syed Shamsul Haque
  • Bhabani Pathak
  • Kanai Lal Sarker
  • Ahmed Ali Baksh
  • Mia Abdul Hafiz
  • Baroda Sundari
  • Tazul Islam Chowdhury

Written & Edited by Sadia Siddika Zitu

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