Rangpur District

Rangpur is a district in the north-western part of Bangladesh under the jurisdiction of Rangpur division. The district lies between 25°18′ and 25°57′ north latitudes and in between 88°56′ and 89°32′ east longitudes. The district is bounded by Nilphamari and Lalmonirhat districts on the north, Gaibandha district on the south, Kurigram district on the east and Dinajpur district on the west. Rangpur district was established in 1772. It has an area of 2,400.56 sq. km (926.86 sq. mi). The district consists of 8 Upazilas, 3 municipalities and 76 Union Parishads. According to the 2011 Bangladesh Census, Rangpur district has a population of 2,996,336. Males constitute 50.91% of the population and females 49.09%. Density of the population is 1200 inhabitants/km2.

Nothing is clearly known about the origin of the name of the district. It is said that the king of Kamrup had built a “Rang Mahal” in this area for amusement which might have influenced the name. It is known from history that the British started cultivating indigo in the subcontinent.  Due to the fertile soil in this region, a lot of indigo was cultivated here. The locals called that indigo by the name of “Rang”. With time, people might have started to call this region Rangpur influenced by this. Another common idea is that the name Rangpur comes from the naming of the Rangmahal by Bhagadatta, the son of the astrologer Nar. Due to the prevalence of malaria, some people used to call this district ” Jampur” (meaning city of death). Another name of Rangpur district is “Jangpur”. Rangpur district has been the main base of resistance to many movements since the distant past. “Jang” means war, “pur” means city or town.  People from the villages were often killed by the British or died of malaria. Rangpur was also called Lal (red) Rangpur because of the way in which the peasant movement developed in the district in the late thirties.

The Human Development Index (HDI) of Rangpur 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 48.50% for the population 7 years and above. Rangpur town is the divisional headquarter which is situated on the bank of the river Tista. Jamuneshwari, ghaghat, Karotoa, Chikali, Akhira 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. The soil of the district is divided into two main groups namely, Khiar (Barind Tract) and Poli (alluvial). The Barind tract in the southern part of the district contains brown clays with iron and molecules of carbonate of lime. The soil of the Poli area consists of varying proportion of lay and soft sandy loam. In the Tista river valley, the active and very young meander floodplains with alluvium complex are prevailing. Hard rock, coal and copper are some of the mineral resources of the district.

Indigenous communities such as Santal, Munda and Oraon belong to this district. In an anthropological view, most people of Rangpur are having Rajbangshi blood in their veins. Rangpur is a multi-lingual district. People of Rangpur have two languages, namely Rangpuri and Bengali. Many natives speak Rangpuri language which is an Indic language spoken by half a million Rajbangshi people in Bangladesh and five million in India. Rangpuri goes by numerous names. In Bangladesh, these include Rangpuri, Bahe Bangla, Anchalit Bangla, Kamta and Polia. The main dialects are Western Rajbanshi, Central Rajbanshi, Eastern Rajbanshi and Hill Rajbanshi (also known as Koch language). Bengali is more popular in the towns and among the educated people. But a portion of Santal and other ethnic people also have their own languages. Many are bilingual in both Bengali and Assamese.

Numerous daily and weekly newspapers are published from Rangpur. Daily Juger Alo and Daily Dabanal are notable among them. There is a Broadcasting station in Rangpur named Bangladesh Betar Rangpur (BBR). Also Bangladesh Television (BTV) has a satellite station in Rangpur. Rangpur Press Club is situated in the heart of Rangpur town. Rangpur Riders is the name of local Bangladesh Premier League franchise of Rangpur. Palagan, Yogir Gan, Chhokra Nachani Gan, songs imitating marriage of trees, songs imitating marriage of frogs, Goalir Gan, Hudumar Geet, Punthi path, songs of Lalon, Bhawaiya, Bhatiali, songs of Hasan Raja, songs of Abbasuddin, Murshidi, Marfati, Dehatattva, Harishava in the temple, rhymes, folk tale, proverbs, etc. are notable folk culture prevailing in Rangpur. Traditional Transport include Palanquin (extinct), horse carriage, bullock cart (nearly extinct) and boat.

The economy of the district is mostly dependent on agriculture. Major sources of economy comprises of agriculture with 62.99%, non-agricultural laborer 4.66%, industry 1.11%, commerce 13.28%, transport and communication 3.90%, service 6.32%, construction 1.18%, religious service 0.20%, rent and remittance 0.20% and others 6.16%. Main Crops of the district include paddy, tobacco, sugarcane, wheat, corn, potato, ground nut, mustard seed, tomato, onion, chili, radish, cauliflower, cabbage and vegetables. Mango, jackfruit, black berry, papaya and banana are the main fruits of the district. Paddy, jute, wheat, sugarcane, ginger, tobacco, mango and vegetables are the main export items. Rangpur district can be stated as the commercial centre of all nearby  districts. It has many government and private banks, insurance companies, residential hotels, restaurants, sweet shops, gift shop etc. It can be called one of the most important economic hub in Bangladesh. The Rangpur region is famous for its tobacco. The tobacco produced here satisfies the demand of the whole country. There are 3 Garment factories, 703 Rice mills, 215 Steel and Engineering mills, an Aluminium  factory, 4 Jute mills and 2 Sugar mills in this district.

Rangpur was conquered by the army of Man Singh, commander of Emperor Akbar in 1575. Mughal Empire took full control of Rangpur in 1686. The name Mughalbasa and Mughalhat of Kurigram district are the proof that Mughal rule prevailed in this region. During the Mughal rule, Rangpur was under the governance of Ghoraghat. The name of Rangpur and Ghoraghat has been mentioned in the Riyaz-us-Salatin. During the early period of the company rule, Fakir-Sannyasi Movement and Peasant Rebellion were held in Rangpur.

On 28 March, 1971 the people of Mitha Pukur upazila attacked the Rangpur cantonment with local household weapons such as sticks, Ballam, bow and arrow, etc. At that time, the 29 Cavalry Regiment fired from machine gun and killed a large number of people. The Pakistani army conducted mass killing and heavy plundering in this district throughout the nine months of Liberation War. On 3rd December, the Pak army conducted mass killing on the Barati Bridge over the river Jamuneshwari. 212 razakars of Gangachara upazila surrendered to the freedom fighters on 13 December, 1971. Finally on 17 December, the Pakistani army surrendered to the joint forces and thereby Rangpur district was liberated. There are 4 mass graves, 10 mass killing site and a memorial sculpture named Arjan in this district.

Rangpur was declared a district headquarter on 16 December, 1769. It was established as a municipality in 1869, making it one of the oldest municipalities in Bangladesh. Rangpur was made a district in 1877. In 1890, Shyamasundari Canal was excavated for improvement of the town. The municipal office building was erected in 1892. The establishment of Rangpur City Corporation was done on 28 June 2012. Rangpur was upgraded into a Metropolitan City on 16 September, 2018.

Previously, Rangpur was the headquarters of Greater Rangpur district which was later broken down into Rangpur, Kurigram, Nilphamari,  Lalmonirhat and Gaibandha districts. In this region, little economic development took place until the 1990s, mainly because of the yearly flood.

Rangpur district is considered to be part of the greater Bengal floodplain.  But from a geological point of view, its structure is different from other districts of the country. The change in the original course of the river Tista was very important in the formation of land in Rangpur district. The Tista river was a tributary of the Ganges before 1800 AD. Ghaghat is another important river in the district.  Ghaghat originates from the heart of the Tista, passes through Rangpur district, passes through Gaibandha district in the south, and falls into the Karotoa river.

The district is predominately Muslims occupying 89.60% of the population. Hindus form 9.59%, Christians 0.50% and remaining 0.31% practice other religions. The district of Rangpur has 5711 mosques, 760 Temple, 43 churches and six shrines.

At a glance of Rangpur
01 Area 2,400.56 sq. km (926.86 sq mi)
02 Population 2,996,336
03 Founding Year 1772
03 Density 1200/km2
04 Literacy Rate 48.50 %
05 Seats in the Parliament 6
06 Postcode 5400
07 Sector in Liberation War 6

Upazilas (8)

  • Rangpur Sadar
  • Gangachara
  • Kaunia
  • Badarganj
  • Mithapukur
  • Pirgacha
  • Pirganj
  • Taraganj

Main Rivers

Tista, Jamuneshwari, ghaghat, Karotoa, Chikali, Akhira

Main Newspapers

Daily Juger Alo, Daily Dabanal

Notable places

  • Tajhat Rajbari
  • Keramatia Mosque
  • Dimlaraj Kali Mandir
  • Sree Sree Karunamaye Kali Mandir
  • Rangpur Museum
  • Rangpur Town Hall
  • Pareshnath Mandir at Mahiganj
  • Tomb of Keramat Ali Jainpuri
  • Tomb of Shah Jalal Bokheri
  • Tomb of Ismail Ghazi
  • Residence of Ruqquiya Sakhawat Hossain
  • Takka Mosque
  • Three-domed Jami Mosque
  • Four-domed Taraganj Mosque
  • Nine-domed Radhanagar Mosque
  • Tomb of Kutub Shah
  • Vim Garh at Manshinghpur
  • Zamindar Bari at Roypur
  • Remnants of the palace of Raja Nilambar

Highlighted Personalities

  • Jahanara Imam
  • Ruqquiya Sakhawat Hossain
  • Mashiur Rahman Jadu Mia
  • Hussain Muhammad Ershad
  • Anisul Haque
  • Rashid Askari
  • Rezwana Chowdury Bannya
  • A. Wazed Mia
  • Abu Sadat Mohammad Sayem
  • Karim Uddin Varasha
  • Rahim Uddin Varasha
  • Hayat Mahmud
  • Haralal Roy
  • Mostafa Kamal
  • Abbasuddin Ahmed
  • Rathindranath Roy
  • Ferdousi Rahman
  • Mohammad Nurul Islam

Written & Edited by Sadia Siddika Zitu.

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