Barishal or Barisal district is located at 22° 42′ 0′ ‘ north latitude and 90° 22’ 0 ” east longitude. Barishal is bounded by Chandpur, Madaripur and Shariatpur districts to the north of Barisal district; Jhalokati, Barguna and Patuakhali districts in the south; Laxmipur district and Meghna river on the east and Pirojpur, Jhalokati and Gopalganj districts on the west.
The area of Barisal district is 2784.52 sq. km. There are 14 thanas in Barishal district. That includes Barisal Sadar Thana, Bakerganj Thana, Babuganj Thana, Agailjhara Thana, Uzirpur Thana, Hijla Thana, Mehendiganj Thana, Muladi Thana, Banaripara Thana, Gournadi Thana, Kotwali Thana, Bimanbandar Thana, Kaunia Thana, Bandar Thana.
There are 10 upazilas in Barisal district. The number of unions in Barisal is 88. List of upazilas—Agailjhara upazila, Gournadi Upazila, Babuganj Upazila, Bakerganj upazila, Banaripara Upazila, Barisal Sadar Upazila, Mehendiganj Upazila, Muladi Upazila, Wazirpur Upazila and Hijla Upazila.
The history of greater Barisal is different from the history of the rivers and canals of this region. Numerous rivers spread like a net in the whole area. From prehistoric times, this southern part of Bangladesh has been constantly engaged in the game of demolition and making new history. From ancient times to the present, the rivers flowing in this region have been in a state of relentless creation and destruction. The land of Chandradwip-Bakla is only about fifty thousand years old. From the beginning of creation, this land has repeatedly changed its form. And that is why there are differences in the topography of different regions of Chandradwip-Bakla.
Naming Of Barisal District
There are many differences about the naming of Barisal. Due to large willow trees (Bari + Shal) = Barisal; Barisal for the love story of Portuguese Berry and Shelley; Barisal etc. for big salt balls. At Girde Port (Great Port) the Nawabs of Dhaka had large salt outposts. The English and Portuguese merchants used to call this region ‘Barisalt’ for its large salt pans and large grains of salt. Many people think that Barisal has changed to Barisal.
Realizing the historical significance of Barisal, the then British government in its Bengal District Administration Report of 1913-14 recommended the establishment of Barisal division including Faridpur and Khulna districts. Later implementation was not possible due to various political reasons. Finally, excluding Faridpur and Khulna districts, the Barisal division was established on 1 January 1993 with the ancient Chandradwip state and the greater Bakerganj district.
History Of Barishal District
The historical significance of the Barisal division, known as ‘Paddy-river-canal these three Barisal’, is immense. This independent kingdom called ‘Chandradwip’ was established by King Danujmardan during the Muslim rule in South-East Bengal. Until the fourteenth century, the region became known as Chandradwip. Before the establishment of this state, this region was known as ‘Bakla’. ‘Bakla’ means grain trader which comes from the Arabic word. One of them said. A man named Kanungo built the port of Bakla. Arab and Persian merchants used to come to this seaport to trade. The name Bakla-Chandradwip can be seen in large letters on a very ancient foreign map. Until 1796, the district was known as Bakla-Chandradwip. Bakerganj district was established in 1797 with the southern part of Dhaka district. In 1801, the district headquarters Bakerganj district was shifted to Barisal (Girde port). In 1812 there were 15 thanas in this district.
According to the latest census (2001), the current population of Barisal Division is 81,12,435 and the population density is 632 per kilometer. The region was inhabited by Hindus till 1800. Later, the arrival of Muslims from different areas, the conversion of some Muslims and the mass exodus of Hindus led to the increase in the number of Muslims. About 5,000 members of the lower caste Hindu-Christian community are living in the area. The inhabitants of this region are the descendants of a traditional human race. Henry Beveridge, Collector and District Magistrate of Barisal, in his book The District of Bakerganj – It’s History and Statistics in 1876, mentioned, “The people of Bakerganj are authentic examples of Bengali character”. Besides, in the history book of Barisal, Sirajuddin Ahmed has said that ‘Chandradwip was the original abode of the Bengali nation’. The aristocracy here was known as ‘Bakla Samaj’. After the establishment of feudal system here in the 8th century, talukdar zamindars were considered as the first class in the society. Like Santal, Garo, Hajong, Mug and Chakmas of other parts of the country, Barisal region is inhabited by a nation called ‘Chandrabhadra’.
Barisal, the granary of Bengal, was once known as ‘Agricultural Manchester’. The economy of Bengal was connected with the economy of Barisal. Sujla-Sufla-Shasya-Shyamla This region has been endowed with infinite wealth and boundless abundance since ancient times. From ancient times the fertile region of silt was excellent for agriculture and habitation. Agriculture was the main source of economy of this country. Tourist Ralph Fiss described Bakla as very wealthy in 1560 and mentioned the abundance of rice, corpus, silk cloth and large houses here. This is why the region has been attracting people from other parts of the world since ancient times. Arab merchants used to come by sea to Bakla, a land of abundance. Like the Middle East today, it was once one of the most enticing regions in the world. The people of Barisal region are truly comfortable and fond of food. Family wise they are very close and sincere. They are not satisfied without a dessert after a variety of delicious oil-soaked food. Here the date juice, molasses, coconut, dairy cake type is close to Shaw. Poet Ishwargupta came to Beda in Barisal and wrote, ‘Food happiness cannot be described here. I feel that there is no other place in Bengal where rice is as good as here. ‘ One of the places of interest in Barisal Division is Kuakata beach in Patuakhali, Kamalarani Dighi in Baufal, Durgasagar Dighi in Madhabpasha in Barisal, Sher-e-Bangla AK in Chakhar in Barisal. Fazlul Haque Museum and Guthia Baitul Aman Mosque in Wazirpur, Sonar Char in Barguna, Sonakata etc. During the Pakistan period there were a total of 08 subdivisions in Barisal district. In 1969 a district was formed in Patuakhali comprising Patuakhali and Barguna subdivisions. Subsequently, administrative reorganization resulted in the establishment of Barguna as a new district in 1984. Besides, Jhalokati, Pirojpur and Bhola subdivisions of the then Barisal district were also upgraded to districts. At present the total number of districts in this division is 6. The districts are: Barisal, Patuakhali, Bhola, Pirojpur, Barguna and Jhalokati.
Barisal is an important district in South Bangladesh and the headquarters of the Barisal Division. In short, it is bounded on the north by Shariatpur, Madaripur and Gopalganj, on the west by Gopalganj, Pirojpur and Jhalokati, on the south by Barguna and Patuakhali and on the east by Bhola and Laxmipur. Chandradwip is the old name of this town situated on the banks of the river Kirtankhola. Barisal is one of the main sources of food grains and fish production in the country. It is called the Venice of Bengal. Barisal is an important river port of the country.
Barisal occupies an extraordinary place in the social, cultural and political arena of Bangladesh. The name of Barisal is associated with many feats and achievements of Bengalis. The great leader Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Haque, poet Sufia Kamal, poet Jibanananda Das, charan poet Mukunda Das and many other celebrities were born in Barisal. Barisal has played a significant role in various political movements including anti-British movement and independence movement. The administration of the district has rendered continuous service to the people of the district and is making sincere efforts to showcase the potential of tourism and agro-based industries in the district to the whole world.
Tradition Of Barishal Zila
Barisal is one of the districts of the Gangetic delta region rich in rivers, canals, forests and natural diversity. The ever-changing rivers here are constantly eroding and land formation. So the people here are constantly struggling inside this broken-down. From time immemorial, people of different nationalities from different countries have come and settled and enriched the villages of this district.
Influence of Pirs and Maulanas:
The influence of Pirs and Maulanas is very high in the rural areas of Barisal. Most of the villagers in the entire district are devotees of one or the other Pir. Many people take vows in the court of the Pir to fulfill any desire.
Religious ceremonies of Muslims:
The Muslims of this district are generally very religious. They observe all kinds of religious rites with reverence. Many people fast for one month during the holy month of Ramadan. Many of the well-to-do people also perform the holy Hajj.
Looking at the countryside, it can be seen that there are small and big mosques in almost every village. Every Friday, the villagers gather in the mosques to perform the Friday prayers.
Muslims will celebrate Eid-ul-Azha, Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Fitr with great enthusiasm and fervor. Three of these days are celebrated with considerable dignity in urban and rural areas.
Namashudras and caste Hindus are second only to Muslims in this district. In the past, there were more caste Hindus in the Hindu community. Population statistics do not provide specific information about their livelihood and employment. Brahmins and Kayasthas are caste Hindus. Of these, only the Kayastharas were engaged in agriculture. Among the lower castes, Namah Shudra was predominant.
Rice, fish, pulses and vegetables are the main food of the daily life of the people of this district. Poultry and chicken are found in abundance. The common people of the village serve beef, duck and chicken at various festivals or entertaining guests. Although milk is very popular, poor people rarely eat it. The common food of the poor is fish and rice. In the villages, those who cannot afford to buy fish eat fish from canals.
In this district, especially in rural areas, kabaddi, volleyball and ha-du-du and volleyball and football are very popular in urban and rural areas. The game of cricket has also become popular lately. Boating is often done on the river. On this occasion, the competition boats were decorated in a beautiful way.
Music and dance:
Bhatiali, Rakhali, Murshidi, Zari and Sari songs are very popular in the region. Journeys, poetry-songs, plays and book readings are also prevalent. Different types of folk music are also quite popular.
A number of ancient mosques, monasteries etc. are found in Barisal district. The influence of the architecture of Khanjahan Ali’s mosque can be seen in the structure and workmanship of many mosques in the district.
References: Bangladesh District Gazetteer: Bakharganj, May. J. (Retd.) Edited by MA Latif, Ministry of Establishment, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, 1984.
Brief description of antiquities In Barishal District
Greater Barisal, a southern town in the Gangetic valley, has a glorious historical chapter. Witnessing that rich history, there is a huge collection of different historical monuments scattered in different areas here.
In the late fifteenth century, the capital of Bakla was established at Madhabpasha, not far from the city of Barisal, by Ramchandra, the son of Kandarpanarayan, one of the Bara Bhuiyans of Bengal. Ramchandra Madhabpasha was renamed Srinagar. Ramchandra expanded his fame by excavating beautiful buildings, temples of various gods and goddesses, monasteries and lakes in the new capital. Today, the ruins of those ancient palaces and temples are a testament to history.
There is an ancient mosque with many domes at Kasba on the north side of Barisal city. This mosque bears a resemblance to the nine-domed mosque in Bagerhat and the mosque in Khulna. Although there is no inscription, this famous installation is believed to have been built in the fifteenth century.
The Shialguni Mosque near Bakerganj is another famous ancient mosque in the region. The craftsmanship of this mosque is still spectacular, though it is now miserable due to the cruel crushing of time. Nasrat Shah is said to be the builder of this mosque.
In the village of Sholak, near Barisal, there are buildings, monasteries and temples of the Nawabi period. The village of Gaila-Fulshree also has many ancient buildings, monasteries and temples. Nathullabad has Dakshin Chakra, Birupaksha and Kali temples.
A number of pre-Islamic and later idols have been found in the area. Among them are idols of the Hindu community and Buddha statues of the Buddhist community. One of the idols found in Barisal is the idol of Vishnu at Laxmankathi on the river Gaurnadi. An eleventh-century eagle statue has been recovered from the Gaurnadi. This statue is now preserved in the National Museum. A four-foot-tall pillar of the Sen period is preserved in the Dargah of Baro Auliya in Bakerganj.
References: History of Barisal, Saiful Ahsan Bulbul, Gatidhara, Dhaka, April 2009.
Sports And Recreation Of Barishal
Names and descriptions of special sports in Barisal district:
Football, Cricket, Athletics, Kabaddi, Handball, Volleyball, Chess, Badminton, Table Tennis, Boxing, Wrestling, Judo, Karate, Kho-Kho, Swimming, Hockey, Wushu etc. Apart from this, boat rides, lathikhela, dariyabadha, ha du du and cyclist Dilip’s various cycling styles are especially notable in the rural areas.
Every year ‘Deputy Commissioner Gold Cup Football Tournament’ is held in each district, ‘Divisional Commissioner Gold Cup Football Tournament’ is held with the district level champion teams in each division. This will on the one hand enrich the national football team through such talented players; On the other hand, it is hoped that the massive public gatherings will facilitate the promotion of the government’s welfare programs and create awareness among the people.
It is hoped that Barisal district, rich in history, will be further developed in the social, cultural and sports fields in the future.
Map Of Barishal District
There is no resemblance between the slogan ‘Paddy-river-canal in these three Barisal’ and the one-time Barisal known as Bakla-Chandradwip. Barisal division was full of rivers and canals. In addition to agricultural crops, betel and coconut were produced in large quantities. Betel business centers were established in several places including Daulatkhan, Amtali, Patarhat, Nalchiti, Nilganj and Galua. Now there is no yield like before. So the business centers are lost. Burmese and Chinese used to come to Barisal to buy betel nuts. Chinese traders lived in the port. They still have some graves in Nalchiti. Betel was exported from different ports of Barisal to Kolkata, Chittagong and Rangoon. The people of Burma used to make a kind of dye with betel nut (boiled). There were three types of betel nut: tati, magai and veja. After drying the wet betel he is called magai. Coconut was next to the betel nut. Coconut was widely grown all over Barisal. In 1894-95, 6 lakh coconuts were sent from Barisal to various places including Kolkata, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Dhaka and Pabna. Besides paddy, betel nut and betel, dates and sugarcane were cultivated in large quantities. Sugar was made from sugarcane juice. World poet Rabindranath Tagore opened a business in Barisal by buying sugarcane threshing mills to make sugar. In the north of Barisal a large quantity of betel was produced. Drinks were shipped from the Turkish business center to different districts of the country. In 1875 a small amount of cotton was also cultivated in Hijla and Mehendiganj. Besides, in the fertile soil of Barisal, pepper, sesame, linseed, mustard, lentil, kalai, kachu and other rabi crops were produced.
Rivers Of Barisal
Greater Barisal is undoubtedly one of the only rivers in Bangladesh that has been recognized for its contribution to the creation of rivers. From that prehistoric period, innumerable tributaries spread like a net of rivers have been carrying silt and creating this wonderful land.
The following is a brief description of the notable rivers of Barisal:
Meghna: The largest river in Barisal is the Meghna. On the way from its birth, the Pramtta river has engulfed a large number of lands on both banks, so no significant settlement has been formed on the banks of the Barisal part of it.
Tentulia: The tributary of the Meghna, which flows through the western part of Bhola towards the sea, is known as Tentulia. This river is also known as Kool Bhangania like its source river.
Ilisha: This tributary of the Meghna flows as far as Mehendiganj under the name of Ilisha.
Arial Khan: Arial Khan has been widely known among the notable rivers of the south since ancient times. Although the Arial Khan, rich in many branches, is only thirty miles in length, for various reasons, this river still flows with a distinct identity.
Kirtankhola: Barisal city is located on the banks of this river. Its length is fixed at only fifteen miles. In the next part, Kirtankhola became known by different names and fell into the sea.
Hijla: The fifteen mile long river at the northern end of Barisal is known as Hijla river.
Bakerganj: This river is twenty five miles long and flows in Bakerganj region.
Kalijira: Located at the western end of Barisal city, this river is ten miles long.
Sondha: The name of the five mile long river adjacent to Banaripara-Swarupkathi is Sandhya.
References: History of Barisal, Saiful Ahsan Bulbul, Gatidhara, Dhaka, April 2009.
Communication System From Barisal
In the past, boats and launches were used to travel everywhere as the rivers of Barisal district were overflowing. At present there are direct road connections between Barisal city, Babuganj, Uzirpur, Gournadi, Banaripara, Hijla, Muladi, Agailjhara and Bakerganj upazilas, but with Mehendiganj, one has to travel by river. However, to reach the remote areas of the upazilas, one has to rely on boats, trawlers, launches or speedboats.
Launch travel is the most comfortable and relatively safer way to travel from Dhaka to Barisal. Several launches leave Dhaka’s Sadarghat Launch Terminal for Barisal every night. Besides, Barisal can also be reached by road. Buses leave from Gabtoli bus stand in Dhaka every hour for Barisal. Most buses cross Paturia Ghat, but some reach Barisal via Mawa Ghat. Almost all of the express bus services are ferry-crossings.
Bangladesh Biman has recently started flying on Dhaka-Barisal route from 8th April 2015. At present, Bangladesh Biman has flights on Sunday morning and Wednesday afternoon. Since July 10, 2015, the flight of US-Bangla Airlines, a non-government organization, is joining the passenger transport on this route with the state flag carrier Bangladesh Biman. The US-Bangla Airlines will operate flights on this route 5 days a week.