Sylhet District (sylhet
division) with an area of 3490.40 sq km, is bounded by the Khasia-Jainta
hills of India on the north, maulvi
bazar district on the south, Kachhar and Karimganj districts
of India on the east, sunamganj
districts on the west. Annual maximum temperature is 33.2°C and minimum
is 13.6°C; annual rainfall 3334 mm. Main river is surma
82; Shingua Beel (12.65 sq km) and Chatla Beel (11.86 sq km) are notable;
reserve forest 236.42 sq km. Parts of Khasia and Jainta hills are included
in this district. Notable tilas and hills are Jaintapur (54 m),
Sary Tila (92 m), Lalkhan Tila (135 m), Dhaka Daksmin Tila series (77.7
Sylhet (Town) consists of 27 wards and 210 mahallas. The area of the town is 10.49 sq km. It has a population of 285308; male 54.68%, female 45.32%; density of population is 27198 per sq km. Literacy rate among the town people is 66.9%. The rapid growth and expansion of Sylhet occurred during the colonial period. Sylhet Municipality was established in 1878. A devastated earthquake demolished almost the entire town on 12 June 1897. On the wreckage a modern and European model new town was built later on. Many new roads were constructed in late 1890s. Sylhet became really connected to the other parts of the country with the establishment of an extension line of Asam-Bengal Railway in 1912-15. From the very beginning of the 20th century, importance of Sylhet town increased with the establishment of tea industry. In 1950s and 1960s, rapid urbanisation took place in the town by the expatriate Syleties and still the process is going on. At present, Sylhet is the district-headquarter as well as the divisional headquarter.
Administration Sylhet district was established on 3 January 1782. Until 1878, Sylhet was under the jurisdiction of dhaka division. In the same year, Sylhet was included in the newly created Asam Province. Up to 1947 (excepting the Banga Bhanga period of 1905-1911) it remained a part of Asam. In 1947, as a result of a referendum, it was attached to the East Pakistan and was included in the Chittagong Division. The greater Sylhet was divided into four new districts viz Sylhet, Sunamganj, Habiganj and Maulvi Bazar in 1983-84. On 1 August 1995 Sylhet was declared as the 6th division of the country consisting of the four districts of the greater Sylhet. Sylhet district consists of 11 upazilas, 2 municipalities, 37 wards, 233 mahallas, 98 union parishads, 1693 mouzas and 3249 villages.
The upazilas are balaganj,
Archaeological heritage Stone monument of Jaintapur,
Mound of Gharduara, Gaiyabi Mosque, tombs of Hazrat shah
jalal (r) and shah
paran (r), Abu Torab Mosque, Nawabi Masque, Mughal Mosque at
Akhalia, Dhaka Dakshmin Temple, Tin Mandir (trio temple).
Historical events Sylhet is an ancient settlement
area. It was known as Jalalabad in Sultani period. From the Pashchimbagh
brass plate engraved by the Maharaja Shreechandra in 10th century, it
could be assumed that he conquered Sylhet. Many historians think that
Sylhet or Sreehatta (enriched market place) was an expanded commercial
centre from the ancient period. A large number of Bengalis migrated to
Sylhet. In the 14th century, Muslim saint from Yemen Hazrat Shah Jalal
(R) triumphed Sylhet and began to spread Islam. The Pathan valiant Khawja
Osman fought against the Mughal with the help of local feudal. During
revolt in 1857 the British traders defeated the mutinous. The
Nankar revolt is another important event in the history of Sylhet. The
Nankars were the serf of the zamindars. As a result of Nankar and
other similar revolts the Nankar system was abolished in 1950.
In 1927, when Sylhet was still a part of the Asam, the politicians (MLAs) got the right of speaking in Bangla in the Provincial Council. In favour of declaring Bangla as the state-language an editorial was published in the local Al Islah after the emergence of Pakistan in 1947.
Marks of War of Liberation Mass killing site 9, mass grave 13, memorial monument 14 and memorial statue 1.
Religious institutions Most noted tombs of Hazrat Shah Jalal (R) and Shah Paran (R), Syed Osmani Bagdadi (R),
Jinda Pir, Fakir Kanai Shah and Shitalang Shah.
Population 2569783; male 50.75%, female 49.25%; Muslim 91.96%, Hindu 7.80%, Christian 0.09%, and others 0.15%; ethnic nationals: Khasi (Khasia), Manipuri and Patra (Pathar).
Literacy and educational institutions Average literacy 44.5%; male 50.6%, female 38.4%. Educational institutions: university 1, medical college 3, polytechnic institute 1, PTI 1, college 35, vocational training institute 1, high school 218, primary school 1320, madrasa 148.
Newspapers and periodicals Yugveri (1930), Al-Islah (1931), Daily Jalalabadi, Daily Sylhet Bani, Daily Ajker Sylhet; extinct: Sreehatta Prokash (19th century), Paridarshak (19th century), Sreehatta Mihir (19th century), Weekly Chronicle (1900), Janashakti (1921).
Cultural organisation Club 110, public library 38, museum 3, theatre group 28, theatre stage 4, literary society 18, women's organisation 15, community centre 5.
Main occupations Agriculture 30.82%, agricultural labourer 15.59%, non agricultural labourer 7.33%, commerce 12.2%, transport 2.21%, construction 1.66%, house renting out 3.11%, fishing 3.6%, others 23.48%.
Land use Cultivable land 66%, fallow land 34%; single crop 54%, double crop 36% and treble crop 10%.
Land control Land owner 49.26%, landless 50.74%.
Value of land The market value of the first grade arable land is around Tk 7500 to 9000 per 0.01 hectare.
Main crops Paddy, mustered, betel nut.
Main fruits Mango, jackfruit, orange, litchi,.
Fisheries, dairies, poultries Fishery 110, cattle farm 112, dairy 12, poultry 228, hatchery 8.
Communication facilities Roads: pucca 794 km, railways 275 km; airways connections with Dhaka and abroad.
Traditional transport Palanquin and horse carriage
Manufactories Notable manufactories include tea processing industries, Fenchuganj Fertiliser Factory, LP Gas Plant.
Cottage industries Bamboo work, cane work, Shital Pati (one kind of handmade mat
made of cane).
Mineral resources natural gas, crude oil.
Main hats, bazars and fairs Hats and bazars are 152, fair 14.
Main exports Paddy; tea, betel nut, natural gas,
NGO activities Operationally important NGOs are brac, asa, grameen bank, CARE.
Health centres Hospital 3, upazila health complex 10, union health and family planning centre 68, satellite clinic 17. [Ashfaq Hossain]