Meherpur District

Meherpur is a north-western district in the south-western part of Bangladesh under the jurisdiction of Khulna division. It is the smallest district of Bangladesh. The district lies between 23°44 and 23°59 north latitude and between 88°34 and 88°53 east longitude. The district is bounded by Kushtia district and West Bengal of India on the north, Chuadanga district and West Bengal on the south, Chuadanga and Kushtia district on the east, West Bengal on the west. Until the Partition of India, Meherpur sub-division was within Nadia district. After partition in 1947, it was attached to Kushtia district. Meherpur became a separate district on 26 February, 1984. It has an area of 716.08 sq. km (276.48 sq mi). The district consists of 3 Upazilas, 2 municipalities and 18 Union Parishads. According to the 2011 Bangladesh Census, Meherpur district has a population of 655,392. Males constitute 49.53% of the population and females 50.47%. Density of the population is 920 inhabitants/km2.

It is said that a man named Meher Ullah Shah rose to great prominence as a social and religious thinker in the present area of the district. The district might have derived its name from the name of that man. The Meherpur Municipality is one of the oldest municipalities in Bangladesh. The Human Development Index (HDI) of Meherpur is 0.610 which is 9th 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 46.27% for the population 7 years and above. Kushtia town is situated on the bank of the river Bhairab. Mathabhanga, Kajla & Cheutia are the main rivers of the district. Dharlar Beel, Chandbeel, Kolar Beel, Patapukur Beel, Gopalpur Beel, Bamandi Beel, Salika Beel, Terogharia Beel and Elangi Beel are the main depressions. The average high temperature is 37.1°C and the average low temperature is 11.2 °C. Annual rainfall averages 1,467 millimetres. Numerous daily and weekly newspapers are published from Meherpur. Dainik Meherpur, Weekly Mujibnagar, Weekly Parichay, Weekly Chumbak, Fortnightly Paschimanchal, Monthly Sadhak, Palli Shree, Simanta, Probaha are notable among them. Murshidi, Marfati, Baul songs, Jatra, Bhab song, Bhasan song, Kavigan, Peasants’ song, Gazir Geet, etc are notable among present folk culture.

The economy of the district is mostly dependent on agriculture. Main sources of income includes agriculture with 68.95%, non-agricultural laborer 3.24%, industry 0.87%, commerce 13.83%, transport and communication 2.21%, service 3.81%, construction 1.03%, religious service 0.14%, rent and remittance 0.59% and others 5.33%. Out of total 152,544 holdings of the district, 73.86% holdings are farms that produce varieties of crops namely  local and HYV paddy, sugarcane, wheat, vegetables, spices, jute, pulses, tobacco and others. Various fruits like mango, banana, jackfruit etc. are grown in the district. Fish of different varieties abounds in the district. Moreover, varieties of fish are caught from rivers, tributary channels, even from paddy field during the rainy season. Some valuable timber and forest trees are grown in the district. Out of total area 716.08 sq. km of the district, organized forestry is almost absent but riverine areas occupy about 16.06 sq. km (2.24%) of the total area.

During the Liberation War of Bangladesh, Meherpur witnessed several early battles between the Pakistani forces and the freedom fighters. The Provisional Government of Bangladesh was first formed and solemnly sworn at Baidyanathtala of Meherpur, presently known as Mujibnagar on 17 April, 1971. On the same day, Meherpur was declared as the provisional capital of People’s Republic of Bangladesh. The entire Proclamation ceremony was organized by local leaders under the supervision of Momeen Chowdhury and MM Rustom Ali. The first provisional government of Bangladesh was formed here under the leadership of Tajuddin Ahmed and Syed Nazrul Islam. After that day on 18 April 1971, the Pakistani army killed 8 people at village of Amjhupi. During the 9 months of Liberation War, there is a record of several frontal battles between the Pakistan army and the freedom fighters at Meherpur. There are mass graves found in Meherpur Government College, Jagannathpur, Kazipur and Tengramari. A Mass killing site at Jatarpur and a memorial monument are also at Mujibnagar.

The district is predominately Muslims occupying 97.766% of the population. Hindus form 1.201%, Christians 1.011% and others 0.022%. There are 930 mosques, 11 shrines, 75 temples and 25 churches in Meherpur. Gosaidubi Mosque at Karamdi, Dargahs of Sheik Farid and Shah Enayet, Mazars of Barkat Bibi and Bagudewan, Ballavpur Mission, Teragharia Marrut, Shiva Mandir at Ballavpur, Alampur Mandir, Bhabanipur Mandir, Neelkuthis at Aamjhupi, Bhatpara and Saharbati are part of archeological heritage of the area.

At a glance of Meherpur
01 Area 716.08 sq. km ( 276.48 sq. mi)
02 Population 655392
03 Founding Year 26 February, 1984
03 Density 920/km2
04 Literacy Rate 46.27%
05 Seats in the Parliament 2
06 Postcode 7100
07 Sector in Liberation War 8

Upazilas (3)

  • Meherpur Sadar
  • Mujibnagar
  • Gangni

Main Rivers

Bhairab, Mathavanga, Kajla, Cheutia.

Main Newspapers

Dainik Meherpur, Weekly Mujibnagar, Fortnightly Paschimanchal.

Notable places

  • Amjhupi Neelkuthi
  • Mujibnagar Memorial
  • Bhatpara Neelkuthi
  • Gosaidubi Mosque
  • Dargah of Sheik Farid
  • Dargha of Shah Enayet
  • Mazars of Barkat Bibi and Bagudewan
  • Shiva Mandir at Ballavpur
  • Alampur Mandir
  • Bhabanipur Mandir
  • Swami Nigmand Ashram

Highlighted Personalities

  • Azam Shah
  • Atahar Shah
  • Abdur Rashid
  • Mir Mojaffar Ali
  • Sahiuddin
  • Golam Kibria
  • Vabananda Majumdar
  • Nurul Haque
  • Md. Mojammel Haque
  • Shah Alam

Written & Edited by Sadia Siddika Zitu.

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