Nilphamari District

Nilphamari is a district located on the northern part of Bangladesh under the jurisdiction of Rangpur division. The district lies in between 25°44′ and 26°19′ north latitudes and in between 88°44′ and 89°12′ east longitudes. Nilphamari is bounded by West Bengal of India on the north, Rangpur district on the south, Lalmonirhat district on the east, Panchagarh and Dinajpur districts on the west. Nilphamari sub-division was formed in 1875 and turned into a district in 1984. It has an area of 1,643.70 sq. km. (634.64 sq. mi). The district consists of 6 Upazilas, 4 municipalities and 60 Union Parishads. According to the 2011 Bangladesh Census, Nilphamari district has a population of 1,907,497. Males constitute 50.32% of the population and females 49.68%. Density of the population is 1215 inhabitants/sq. km.

Nothing is definitely known about the origin of the name of the district. But it is said that the area was once prominent for Nil (Indigo) cultivation. The fertile soil of this area was very preferable for indigo cultivation. As a result, the British established more farms for cultivating of indigo here compared to other districts. A big Nil ‘Khamar’ (meaning farm) was set up here, as such the area was called “Nilkhamari”. The present name of the district, Nilphamari is the phonetic corruption of the original name Nilkhamari.

The Human Development Index (HDI) of Nilphamari is 0.614 which is 7th 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 49.69% for the population 7 years and above. Nilphamari is situated on the bank of the river Tista. Buritista, Isamoti, Jamuneshwari, Dhum, Kumlai, Charalkata, Sorbomongola, Salki, Chikli and Deonai are the main rivers of the district. 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 Nilphamari. Daily Nil Kantha, Weekly Nilphamari Barta and Weekly Nilsagar are notable among them. There is a famous historical dighi named Nilsagar which stands at Dhobadanga mauza of Gorgram union of Nilphamari. The banks of the dighi are used as a village fair site during Baruni Snan festival in Baisakh every year. Harikirtan singers play different kinds of kirtan songs in the fair. Many tourists and various kinds of migratory birds visit Nilphamari every year.

Bhawaiya, Bishari, Manasa, Hudumdeo, Jari, marriage song or Heroya, Bhasan Jatra, songs of Satya Pir are notable folk songs of the district. Nayanshari Bostam Baudia, Shital Shori Janakpala, Ambal Shori Pichhal Baudia, Paimal Shori Bhodai Member etc. are also very popular. Ashta Mangala, Bhadar Katani, Paush Katani etc. are notable folk culture prevailing in Nilphamari. There is a famous folk festival called ‘Pasti’ arranged by the rural people of Nilphamari. They arrange it within three to six days of the birth of a baby. 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 68.51%, non-agricultural laborer 3.93%, industry 0.66%, commerce 11.77%, transport and communication 3.06%, service 5.93%, construction 0.89%, religious service 0.23%, rent and remittance 0.17% and others 4.85%. A plenty of vegetables and seasonal fruits are also grown here. The major agricultural crops of Nilphamari are rice, wheat, jute, pulse, oilseed, vegetable, spice, sugarcane, tobacco etc. Among rice crops, aman occupies the largest area followed by aus and boro. The fruit crops are banana and coconut. The crop which is very commonly grown and is very special of this district is betel nut. 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 mrigal, magur, singi , koi, puti, shoil, gazar, boal etc. All these fishes are economically valuable. Besides these common varieties some other well known varieties of fish are pangash, airh, bacha, rita batasi, khalisha and chingri or prown are found. Besides crops, livestock and poultry are the subsidiary source of household income of the district. The small scale industries of Syedpur of this district are playing a special role in the economy of the whole country.

The Tebhaga Movement spread over this area in the 1940s. In this movement, the activist Tannarayan was shot dead by the zamindar. The Nilphamari region was under the Votmari Chauki during the British period. Later on, the Chauki was transferred first to Shekherhat of Badarganj thana and then to Dokra of Domar thana. Syedpur of this district is well known for its railway workshop. In 1870, the Assam-Bengal railway set up its largest workshop in Syedpur. The telephone exchange for the whole Assam-Bengal area was also situated in Syedpur during british period. The very first airport in North Bengal was established in Syedpur. It also had a cantonment during the British period.

The Biharis of Syedpur attacked and killed many innocent Bengalis on 23 March. The Pakistani army arrived in this district on 7 April. The freedom fighters snatched away 300 rifles and 10,000 ammunitions from the armory the same day. The Pakistani army with help from the razakars took control of Nilphamari. They captured the a renowned businessman, Rabindranarh Kundu and confined him for eight days before killing him. They continued to torture the innocent people throughout the nine months of Liberation War. Finally the freedom fighters and the Pakistani army had a front battle on 14 December. The freedom fighters had victory in that encounter though two of them died. There are 8 mass graves and a mass killing site in Golahat of the district. There are 2 memorial monuments named “Swadhinatar Smriti Amlan” and “Bashar Gate” in the Nilphamari town.

The district is predominately Muslims occupying 82.84% of the population. Hindus form 17.18%, Christians 0.1%, Buddhists 0.02% and remaining 1.31% practice other religions. The district of Nilphamari has 2514 mosques, 361 Temple, 2 churches, 1 pagoda and some shrines. Indigenous people of Santal tribe also lives in Nilphamari . The district has a long history with diversified culture of them.

At a glance of Nilphamari
01 Area 1,643.70 sq. km. (634.64 sq. mi)
02 Population 1,907,497
03 Founding Year 1984
04 Density 1215/sq. km.
05 Literacy Rate 49.69%
06 Seats in the Parliament 4
07 Postcode 5300
08 Sector in Liberation War 6

 Upazilas (6)

  • Nilphamari Sadar
  • Syedpur
  • Kishoreganj
  • Jaldhaka
  • Domar
  • Dimla

Main Rivers

Tista, Buritista, Isamoti, Jamuneshwari, Dhum, Kumlai, Charalkata, Sorbomongola, Salki, Chikli, Deonai

Main Newspapers

Daily Nil Kantha, Weekly Nilphamari Barta, Weekly Nilsagar

Notable Places

  • Nilsagar
  • The palace of Raja Harish Chandra
  • Fort of Raja Dharmapal and his palace
  • Three domed Jami Mosque at Bherberi
  • Tomb of Hazrat Pir Mohiuddin
  • Dimla Rajbari
  • Syedpur Airport
  • Railway Factory in Syedpur
  • Uttara Export Processing Zone
  • Tista Barrage
  • Syedpur Church
  • Nat Settlement
  • Chini Mosque

Highlighted Personalities

  • Mashiur Rahman
  • Asaduzzaman Noor
  • Anisul Hoque
  • Baby Naznin
  • Shah Kalandar
  • Nabab Nurul Uddin
  • Khairat Hossain
  • Dabir Uddin Ahmed
  • Harlal Rai
  • Mahesh Chandra Roy
  • Begum Lutfunnesa Abbas
  • Ahosan Ahmed

Written & Edited by Sadia Siddika Zitu.

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