Karimganj District is an administrative
districtin the state of Assamin India. The district headquarters are located at Karimganj.
The district occupies an
areaof 1809 km². It is bounded on the northeast by Cachar District, on the east by Hailakandi District, on the south by Mizoramstate, on the southwest by Tripurastate, and on the west and northwest by Bangladesh.Karimganj TownThe administrative headquarter and main town of the district also bears the same name, that is, Karimganj.LocationKarimganj town is located on the northern fringe of the district adjoining Bangladesh, by the river Kushiara. Its distance from Guwahati - the state capital of Assam - is approximately 330 km by road and about 350 km by rail. Distance of other important places are : Silchar - 55 km, Shillong - 220 km, Agartala - 250 km.CommunicationKarimganj town has communication links with both rail and road with the rest of India. Karimganj town is a railway junction and meter gauge lines connecting Tripura with Assam pass through this station. The most popular mode of passenger transport, however, is by road. A good number of buses - mostly night services - ply between Karimganj and Guwahati daily. Direct long distance bus services are also available to Shillong, Agartala, Aizawl and so on. Communication with Silchar, Badarpur, Patherkandi and other nearby places is also mainly dependent on road transport, with services by all sorts of light and heavy vehicles available a frequent intervals. The nearest airport is Kumbhirgram (85 km) near Silchar - the headquarter of the adjacent district of Cachar. Karimganj town is also an important river port and has seasonal cargo and freight transport link with Kolkata through river ways via Bangladesh.GeographyFlanked on two sides by the rivers Kushiyara and Longai, Karimganj town is located just on the Bangladesh border with the river Kushiara flowing in between. One prominent feature of the place is a long and winding canal called Noti Khal meandering across the town. Earlier, it used to be a connecting river way between Kushiara and Longai facilitating river communication and also balancing of water-levels between the two rivers. Now, however, this canal has been blocked at several places through embankments and land-fills to pave way for road transport and construction works.
Early periodThe early history of present district of Karimganj, Assam, is hazy and obscure. With available source materials and evidences, it is difficult to construct a chronologically comprehensive account of early history of the region. Only a broad outline, with major gaps, can be attempted.From the Nidhanpur copper inscriptions issued by King Bhaskarbarman, it is learnt that the region has been within the Kamrupa Kingdom for about a hundred years since A.D. sixth century. The Aryanisation of the region under the leadership of the pioneer immigrant Brahmins with plough-based agriculture as economic basis had its beginning during this period. From the Kalapur copper plates issued by Samata Marundanatha, it is learnt that in the 7th Century A.D., this region, along with foothills of North Cachar Hills had passed on to the Samatata Kingdom of the Eastern Bengal. Of ourse, there is no direct evidence to prove it. In the 10th Century A.D., King Srichandra of the renowned Chandra Dynasty of Eastern Bengal incorporated the entire region within his Vanga Kingdom. During this period, the Chandrapura Matha or monastery, situated at Panchakhanda (8 miles From Karimganj town, now in Bangladesh), became a very reputed centre of learning. According to the renowned historian D.C. Sarkar, the Chandrapura Matha was the greatest centre of Hindu-learning in the entire Eastern India of the early period. From two Bhatera inscriptions of Govindakeshava Deva and Ishana Deva, it is learnt that there was an independent Srihatta Rajya in the 12th Century within which the entire Karimganj District along with a major portion of the Cachar plains were incorporated.
Middle AgeWhen Hazarat Shah Jalal, a warrior Muslim Saint from Yemen, conquered Sylhet in 1328 A.D., Srihatta, along with a major portion of Karimganj district passed on to the Bengal Sultanate. A portion of Karimganj district comprising the present thana area of Patherkandi was under the control of the Tripura King at that period. However, during the reign of Hussain Shah (1483-1519), this region - at that time known as Pratapgarh - also came under the Sultanate. We have two inscriptions - one of Hussain Shah, and another of his son Mahmud Shah, found respectively at Kaliganj and Suprakandi, to show that Bengal Sultanate had complete sway over this entire region. The region, along with other parts of Sylhet, was incorporated within the Mughal Empire in 1576 during the reign of Akbar. According to Ain-I-Akbari, most of the areas of the district were placed under the Pratapgarh Revenue Mahal of the Silhat Sarkar of the Mughals. The district continued to be part of the Silhat Sarkar and Bangla Suba of the Mughals.
British Era and Freedom MovementIn 1765, the diwani of the Bangla Suba was taken over by the British East India Company and the District of Sylhet, of which Karimganj was a part, passed on to the British. However, up to 1786, the British could not establish their hegemony over the entire region. A local Zamindar, Radharam, brought under his administrative control, a vast region of Southern Karimganj, and local people started calling him Nawab Radharam. His blatant defiance of British authority brought the matters to a head, but Radharam could survive two successive expeditions of the British contingents. Ultimately, a reinforced contingent succeeded in capturing him after defeating his native force. While he was being carried to Sylhet by the Company soldiers, Radharam reportedly committed suicide. It is only with his fall in 1786 that the British could establish their complete authority in the region around Karimganj.In November 1857, three companies of the 34th Native Infantry stationed at Chittagong mutinied and they subsequently emerged in the south-east of the Sylhet District. At Latu village of present Karimganj district, these rebel soldiers encountered a contingent of the Sylhet Light Infantry under the command of Major Byng. The sepoys were defeated, but Major Byng was killed. At Malegar hillock of Latu village, the graves of the fallen rebels are still venerated by the local people.
In 1878, the British administration designated Karimganj town as the headquarters of the newly created sub-division of Karimganj. Before the
Partition of Indiain 1947, Karimganj District was a sub-division of greater Sylhet District. Many "tallukas" and zamindari estates were located in here. The estate of the erstwhile Zamindarsof Hasanpur, in Badarpur is also situated in Karimganj. After Partition, most of Sylhet District joined East Pakistan, which eventually became the independent nation of Bangladeshin 1971.
Since 1947 Karimganj town continued to be the headquarters of a truncated Karimganj sub-division attached to the Cachar district of Assam.
In 1983, this town was designated as the district headquarters of the newly created
Trade and Commerce
Karimganj town is an important centre of trade and commerce in the North East India. Its river port, with elaborate infra-structures like cargo-terminal, jetty, warehouses etc., is capable of handling large volumes of cargoes carried by steamers plying through river ways via Bangladesh. Karimganj is also a borders trade centre and import-export business worth crores of rupees is carried out through the custom trade point at Kalibari Ghat in the town.
The district has a population of 1,003,678 (as of
2001). The district's literacy rate is 55.78%. Muslims form a slight majority in the district, at 52.3% of the population, with Hindus comprising 47% according to the [ [http://www.censusindia.gov.in/ Indian Census] ] .
Karimganj is one of several districts in Assam where Bengali is spoken by the majority of the population, as also in some other districts such as Cachar, Barpeta, Halaikandi, Dhubri and Goalpara. The Bengali dielect that is use in Karimganj is known as
Sylheti. Now since the last century speakers Sylheti identified themselves as Sylheti, irrespective of their religions.
Karimganj District has one sub-division. The district has 5
tehsils or development circles ( Karimganj, Badarpur, Nilambazar, Patherkandiand Ramkrishna Nagar), two urban areas (Karimganj and Badarpur) 3 towns (Karimganj, Badarpur, and Badarpur Railway Town), 7 community development blocks (North Karimganj, South Karimganj, Badarpur, Patherkandi, Ramkrishna Nagar, Dullavcherra and Lowairpoa), 5 police stations (Karimganj, Badarpur, Ramkrishna Nagar, Patharkandi, Ratabari), 96 gram panchayats, and seven anchalik panchayats.
* [http://karimganj.gov.in/ Karimganj District official website]
* [http://www.karimganj.com/ Karimganj District KARIMGANJ ONLINE]
* [http://www.silchartoday.com/tour_travels/assam/silchar/karimganj_home.htm About Karimganj]
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