Faridpur District

Faridpur is a historic district in central Bangladesh. It is a part of the Dhaka Division. Faridpur District has a population of over 1.7 million people and is situated on the banks of the Padma river (Lower Ganges). It is bordered by Madaripur, Narail, Rajbari, Magura, Shariatpur, Gopalgonj, Dhaka and Manikganj. Once a subdivision, the original area of the district comprised what is today the Greater Faridpur region which includes the present day districts of Rajbari, Gopalgonj, Madaripur, Shariatpur and Faridpur.

Famous for its jute fields, which are considered to produce the finest raw jute, and aristocratic zamindar families, the district was a focal point for political movements in Bengal during the British Raj and the early days of the Pakistan era. It produced some of the most prominent politicians and cultural figures of Bengal.



[edit] Geography

Faridpur is located in central Bangladesh under Dhaka division. The area of this district is 2072.72 km². The district is bounded by the Padma river to the north and east and across the river are Manikganj, Dhaka and Munshiganj districts. It is bordered by Madaripur to the east, Gopalgonj to the south and Rajbari, Narail and Magura to the west.

The soil is highly fertile as the district lies on the banks of the mighty Padma river, also called the Lower Ganges. Other smaller rivers include Old Kumar, Arial khan, Gorai, Chandana, Bhubanshwar and Modhumoti. The main depressions are Dhol Samudra, Beel Ramkeli, Shakuner Beel and Ghoradar Beel.

[edit] History

In 1582 in the ring of Emperor Akbar, the province of Bengal was formed into 33 sarkars or financial sub-divisions, and Faridpur area appears to have been included with in the sarkar of Muhammad Abud. During the Emperor Shah Jahan, these divisions were carried onto such an extent as to cause in a falling of the imperial revenue. In 1721 a new partition of the country was made the province of Bengal being formed into 13 large divisions (chaklas) instead of sarkars. In 1765 the financial administration of Faridpur, together with the rest of Bangal was captured by the English, and in 1790 the criminal administration of the country at the correctors were invested with magisterial powers. In 1793 the collectors were relieved of their magisterial duties and separate officers were appointed united Judicial and Magisterial power together. The greater portion of Faridpur was then comprised within Dacca Jalalpur. In 1811 Faridpur was separated from Dacca collectorate.

The district was initially known as Fatehabad. In 1860 the district was named as Faridpur after 12th Century Sufi saint Shah Sheikh Fariduddin. Faridpur town was declared a municipality in 1862 and a District Prison was set up in 1865. In 1840 the Faridpur Zila School was established and is one of the oldest schools in modern day Bangladesh.

The original district stretched out across central Bengal, comprised of the what is, today, the Greater Faridpur region. A politically important district during the British Raj, Faridpur became a sub-division of Dhaka Division after the creation of Pakistan. In 1984, with the Decentralization Program of the Bangladesh government, Faridpur district was broken into five separate districts: Rajbari, Gopalgonj, Madaripur, Shariatpur and Faridpur.

Faridpur is notable for its rich zamindari history. Most of the zamindar families were Hindus. They included the Basu Roys of Gopalgonj, the Sikdars of Kanaipur, The Bhawal Rajas of Pangsha, the Lords of Choddo and the Baish and Roshi estates of Bhanga. During the reign of the Nawabs of Bengal, several Muslim zamindaris were established. They included the Chanpur Estate and the Boalmari Estate in present day Faridpur, Golam Ali Chowdhury of Idilpur pargana and the Padamdi Nawab Estate in present day Rajbari. The most powerful Muslim landlords were Nawab Abdul Latif and Chowdhury Moyezuddin Biwshash.

During the 1800s, Haji Shariatullah, after returning from Mecca, began the famous Faraizi movement aimed at ending the persecution of Muslims by upper caste Hindu zamindars. The Indigo Resistance Movement which resisted Indigo plantations promoted by the British East India Company, also began in Faridpur. The movement was led by Pir Dudu Miah.

The Greater Faridpur region is also famous for producing some of the finest politicians of the Indian Subcontinent. They include Baba Ambika Charan Majumder, Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Mohonmiah Yusuf Ali Chowdhury , Buddhadeb Bhattacharya , Humayun Kabir and many more.

Faridpur hosted several key meetings of the Indian Independence movement. It was regularly visited by Subhash Chandra Bose, Chittaranjan Das, Rabindranath Tagore, and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. The annual conference of the Bengal Congress held on the grounds of the Moyez Manzil Palace in Faridpur in 1921 was attended by Mahatma Gandhi.

After the creation of Pakistan, Bengali nationalists frequently held large rallies in Faridpur. Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy and Sher-e-Bangla A. K. Fazlul Huq would regularly visit the district. Prior to the elections of 1954 which brought Bengali nationalists to power in Faridpur, the Jukta Front coalition held a massive rally on the grounds of the Biwshash Bari zamindar mansion in the village of Chanpur, just outside Faridpur. The rally was attended by Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani and Sher-e-Bangla A. K. Fazlul Huq.

Faridpur also saw many ruthless atrocities during the Bangladesh Liberation War. On April 26, the Pakistan army landed on Daulatdia river port (now in present day Rajbari) and began a massacre as soldiers went from village to village killing sleeping civilians during dawn.

[edit] Demographics

Faridpur has a population of 1,714,496 people according to the 2001 census. 50.55% of the people are male and 49.23% are female. The major religions are Islam and Hinduism. 88% of people are Muslims in the district. Although once a Hindu dominated district, Hinduism has significantly declined in Faridpur with only 11% of the population being Hindu. The major ethnic group are the Bengali people, as is the case in most of Bangladesh. There is also a small Bihari and Oriya population.

[edit] Administration

Faridpur district consists of 9 upazilas, 4 municipalities, 79 union parishads, 36 wards, 92 mahallas and 1859 villages. The town consists of 9 wards and 35 mahallas. The area of the town is 20.23 km². The population of the town is 99634; male 51.73%, female 48.27%. The density of population is 4925 per km². The literacy rate among the town people is 66.6%. The town has two dakbungalows.

Faridpur district is divided into the following upazilas:

  1. Faridpur Sadar Upazila
  2. Boalmari Upazila
  3. Alfadanga Upazila
  4. Madhukhali Upazila
  5. Bhanga Upazila
  6. Nagarkanda Upazila
  7. Charbhadrasan Upazila
  8. Sadarpur Upazila
  9. Shaltha Upazila

[edit] Education

[edit] Economy

Despite its colonial importance, Faridpur and its surrounding districts remain as one of the most under developed regions of modern day Bangladesh. Communications except for the municipalities, are very poor. Moreover, the district's transport with Dhaka is severally effected as there is no bridge over the Padma river to connect with Dhaka and thus, people of the district rely on slow and often deadly ferry services.

The district has an aggro-based economy. The main crops are jute and paddy. Other crops include peanut, wheat, oilseed, pulse, turmeric, onion, garlic and coriander. Many fruits are also produced, notably mango, jack fruit, black berry, palm, coconut, betel nut, kul, tetul, bel, papaya, banana, and guava. The main exports are jute, Helsa fish and sugarcane.

Faridpur is famous for producing high quality raw jute. Once the principal earner of the country's economy, the jute industry has suffered a decline in recent years due to low prices on the international market, leading to many jute plants shutting down. However, Faridpur still has quite a few which are also some of the most prominent. They include notably Faridpur Jute Fibers and Sharif Jute Mills.

The district, being on the banks of the Padma, also accounts for a significant portion of exports of Helsa fish. The Helsa found in Padma are immensely popular at home and abroad and are called the Silver Helsa. The district has thriving fisheries and a growing poultry industry.

Manufacturing is moderate in the district although there are several industries. Kanaipur Industrial Area was set up in Faridpur town during late 1980s. There are many sugar mills and jute plants as well. Some of the leading industries of the district are listen below:

  • Faridpur Jute Fibers
  • Aziz Jute Fibers
  • Aziz Pipes
  • Faridpur Sugar Mills
  • Khankhanapur Textile Mill
  • Saiyed Jute Spinning
  • Karim Jute Mill
  • Faridpur Cold Storage
  • Sharif Jute Mill
  • BADC Cold Storage
  • Rokeya Textile
  • A H Jute Mills

In 2009, the Bangladesh government announced plans to construct the long demanded Padma Multipurpose Bridge. When completed in 2012, it will be the longest bridge in South Asia. The Padma bridge will greatly help in developing the Greater Faridpur region as it would connect Dhaka with the districts.

[edit] Places of interest

  • Kobi Jasimuddin's House: Residence of the renonwed Bengali poet Jasimuddin
  • Faridpur District Court: 19th century colonial styled court house
  • Mazar of Dewan Saker Shah: Mausoleum of the Dewan of the Boalmari Estate
  • River Research Institute: a government research institute
  • Moyez Manzil Palace: a mansion of the Chanpur Estate
  • Baisrashi Bari Palace: a mansion of the Baisrashi Estate
  • Kamlapur, Faridpur: historic neighbourhood housing colonial buildings and zamindar mansions
  • Dighir Par Masjid: a mosque in Bhanga built during the Mughal era
  • Basudeva Mandir: famous Hindu temple
  • Faridpur Zila School: one of the oldest schools in Bangladesh

[edit] Personalities


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