Kushtia is a district in the western part of Bangladesh under the jurisdiction of Khulna division. Kushtia is known as the cultural capital of Bangladesh. The language used by the inhabitants of this district is called the purest language of Bangladesh. It has existed as a separate district since the partition of India in 1947. Prior to that, Kushtia was a part of Nadia district under Bengal Province of British India. Initially, Kushtia consisted of Kushtia, Chuadanga and Meherpur sub-divisions up to 1984. Kushtia District has an area of 1608.80 square kilometres and located in between 23°42′ and 24°12′ north latitudes and in between 88°42′ and 89°22′ east longitudes. It is bounded by Rajshahi, Natore, Pabna districts to the North, by Chuadanga, Jhenaidah districts to the South, by Rajbari district to the East, and by West Bengal and Meherpur district to the West. The district consists of 6 Upazilas, 7 thanas, 5 municipalities and 71 Union Parishads. According to the 2011 Bangladesh Census, Kushtia district has a population of 2,366,811. Males constitute 50.01% of the population and females 49.99%. Density of the population is 1,500 inhabitants/km2.
History of Kushtia can be found in Hamilton’s Gazette under British rule. Historically, the region had fertile soil but during the British rule, Indigo used to be cultivated in the region, that is why now the region has poor soil. There is a large industry surrounding Jute which is where the name Kushtia comes from since the local name for jute is ‘Kushti’. The Human Development Index (HDI) of Kushtia is 0.672 which is 2nd 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 46.33% for the population 7 years and above. Gorai, Mathabhanga, Bhairab, Nabaganga, Kaligonga and Kumar are the main rivers flowing through the district. The average high temperature is 37.8 °C and the average low temperature is 9.2 °C. Annual rainfall averages 1,467 millimetres. Numerous daily and weekly newspapers are published from Kushtia. Dainik Bangladesh Barta, Dainik Kushtia Darpan, Shaptahik Kushtiar Kantha are worth mentionable among them. There is also a Bengali TV channel broadcasted in the region. The most notable folk culture of the district include Baul gan, Murshidi gan, Jarigan, Gazi gan, Marfati, Punthi-path, puppet show etc.
Kushtia is a medieval township. The economy of the district is mainly dependent on both agriculture and industries. Main sources of income includes agriculture with 51.71%, non-agricultural laborer 5.58%, industry 3.99%, commerce 17.61%, transport and communication 4.03%, service 7.32%, construction 1.54%, religious service 0.15%, rent and remittance 0.40% and others 7.67%. There is a large industry surrounding Jute in Kushtia. The region’s chief crops are rice, wheat, jute, sugar, potatoes, tobacco, and betel leaf. There are also numerous rice mills in the area. There are almost 400 auto rice mills in Khazanagar area of Kushtia from where 70% of rice for Bangladesh is processed. There is a famous Tiler Khaja Factory beside the Milpara Rail Gate in Kushtia Town which is well-known in country and abroad. It is a trade centre containing cotton-textile, sugar mills and a pottery cottage industry. Kushtia is not only dependent on agriculture like other parts of Bangladesh. Besides agriculture, industrial factories have been set up in here. There are many tobacco factories in Kushtia. Nasir Tobacco Limited, British-American Tobacco, The United Dhaka Tobacco and Perfect Tobacco are notable among them. BRB is the largest electric wire factory in Bangladesh which is originally located in Kushtia. High quality fabric industry has developed in Kumarkhali upazila of the district. The fabrics produced here are being exported beyond the borders of the country. With the development of these factories, there is less reliance on agriculture alone.
A river port was developed in the district during the reign of Emperor Shahjahan. Although the British East India Company made extensive use of the port, it was not until indigo planters and traders settled there that the township began to grow. A railway connection was made in 1860 with Kolkata which made the town an alluring location for mills and factories, including the Jagneshwar Engineering Works, Renwick and Co. and Mohini Mills. In 1860, the Indigo Movement spread throughout the Bengal province. Shalghar Madhua in Kushtia district was one of the forerunners in this movement. It inspired all indigo farmers in Kushtia to refrain from paying government taxes. The town once again became attractive for development in 1954 with the establishment of the Ganges-Kobadak Project headquarters and a number of government offices.
The district of Kushtia had significant contribution to the Liberation War of Bangladesh. A group of 147 Pakistani soldiers of the 27th Baluch Regiment reached Kushtia on 25 March 1971 from its base at Jessore cantonment. They initially captured the local police station and settled an outpost there, but soon faced considerable resistance from a group of police, ansar, students and local people. By 1 April, the Pakistani army was completely overpowered and the freedom fighters took control of Kushtia. Subsequently, battles between the Pakistan army and the rebels occurred at many places of the district including Bangshitala of Kumarkhali upazila and Daulatpur upazila. Marks of the Liberation War includes 13 mass graves and 2 memorial monuments. In total, 10 roads have been named after martyrs. There is a notable memorial sculpture named ‘Muktabangla’ at the Islamic University.
After the independence of Bangladesh, several development projects were undertaken in the district of Kushtia. On 22 November 1979, the foundation stone of The Islamic University was laid at Shantidanga–Dulalpur under the districts of Kustia and Jhenaidah, which is the first government university established in Bangladesh after independence. Though the University was shifted to Gazipur in 1982, it shifted back to its original site on 10 January, 1990.
From a historical point of view, Kushtia is a large district consisting of three sub-divisions, each of which later became a district. But for the people of these three districts, namely, Chuadanga, Meherpur and Kushtia, Greater Kushtia is not just a thing of the past, rather something much more emotional. It may be specially mentioned that the oral language of the original inhabitants of this region and the undivided Nadia district bears a close resemblance to modern standard Bengal. The inhabitants of these three districts forms the Greater Kushtia District together. Various organizations such as “Greater Kushtia Association”, “Greater Kushtia Samaj” are working for the development of the people of these three districts.
The Shahi Mosque in Kushtia bears the sign of rich cultural heritage of the region from the Mughal Period. Kushtia is the birthplace of many historical figures including Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore. The Shilaidaha Kuthibari is only 20 km from Kushtia town, where Rabindranath Tagore lived for a part of his life and wrote many memorable poems. The Kuthibari is now a museum, and taken care by the Archeological Department of Bangladesh. The shrine of Fakir Lalon Shai, the founder of the Baul faith is located at Cheouria, about 2 km from the Kushtia railway station.
The district is predominately Muslims with 97.02% of the population. Hindus form 2.92%, Christians 0.01% and others 0.04%. Kushtia consists 3587 mosques, 185 temples, 32 Churches and some shrines and tombs.
|At a glance of Kushtia|
|01||Area||1608.80 sq. km ( 621.16 sq. mi)|
|05||Seats in the Parliament||4|
|07||Sector in Liberation War||8|
- Kushtia Sadar
Gorai, Bhairab, Nabaganga, Mathavanga, Kumar.
Dainik Kushtia Darpan, Dainik Bangladesh Barta, Shaptahik Kushtiar Kantha.
- Shilaidaha Kuthibari
- Shrine of Fakir Lalon Shai
- Shahi Mosque of Jhaodia
- Parimal Theater
- Gopinath Jiu Temple
- Bastuvita of Mir Mosharraf Hossain
- Bastuvita of Azizur Rahman
- N. Press of Kangal Harinath
- Mohini Mills
- Thermal Power Station of Bheramara
- Lalon Shah Bridge (2nd largest bridge in Bangladesh)
- Fakir Lalon Shai
- Abdul Zabbar
- Kangal Harinath
- Gagan Harkara
- Jatindranath Mukherjee (Bagha Jatin)
- Rokonuzzaman Khan Dadabhai
- Parishundori Debi
- Mir Mosharraf Hossain
- Azizur Rahman (Poet)
- Mahmuda Khatun Siddika (1st Muslim female Sonnet writer)
- Akshaykumar Moitreyo
- Radha Binod Pal
- Kazi Motaher Hossain
- Akbar Hossain
- Shah Azizur Rahman (Ex Prime-Minister of Bangladesh)
- Kazi Aref Ahmed (Designer of the national flag of Bangladesh)
- Mohini Mohon Chatterjee
- Habibul Bashar Shumon
- I. Tutul
Written & Edited by Sadia Siddika Zitu