Background: Jhalokati came into existence as a sub-division of Barisal district in 1972. It was upgraded to a district on February 1, 1984. It is generally believed that the present area of the district headquarters was full of dense forest. Once a group of Jelay (meaning fisherman in Bengali) settled here by cutting the forest. The name of the district is said to have been derived from the combination of the above words Jelay and Cutting. Jhalokati district is situated on the bank of the Sugandha River.
Area and Location: Jhalokati district is bounded on the north and east by Barisal district, on the south by Barguna district and on the west by Pirojpur district. It lies between 22o20' and 22o47' north latitudes and between 90o01' and 90o23' east longitudes. The total area of the district is 706.76 sq. km (272.88 sq. miles).
Township: Jhalokati Town Committee was established in 1875 and it was formed into a municipality in 1913. It consists of 9 wards and 47 mahallas.
Temperature and Rainfall: The annual average maximum and minimum temperature in Jhalokati district varies from 33.3°C to 12.1°C. The annual average rainfall of this district is 2506 mm.
Main Rivers: The Bishkhali, Sugandha, Dhansiri, Gabkhan, Jangalia and Bamanda are the main rivers of Jhalokati district.
Administration: Jhalokati subdivision was established in 1972 and was turned into a district in 1984. The district consists of 4 upazilas, 32 unions, 396 populated mauzas, 455 villages, 2 paurashavas, 18 wards and 68 mahallas. The upazilas are Jhalokathi Sadar, Kanthalia, Nalchity and Rajapur.
Archaeological Heritage and Relics: Sujabad Kellah (fort), remnants of the Ghosal Rajbari, Old Municipal Building, Civil Court Building (1781), Surichora Jami Mosque, Madabar Mosque are the important archaeological heritage and relics of this district.
Historical Events: During the British rule 17 Muslims were killed in an encounter with the British army at Kulkati. Due to navigation facilities the area attracted the Europeans; the East India Company, the Dutch and the French established their trade centres in phases. Because of its commercial importance Jhalokati was called the 'Second Kolkata'. During the War of Liberation Rezaul Karim of village Besain Khan (Jhalokati Sadar Upazila) formed the Manik Bahini consisting of 24 members to resist the Pak army. On 16 June 1971, the Pak army in collaboration with some local Razakars captured and killed them. On 27 April the Pak army set on fire in Jalokhati Town and caused heavy damages.
Famous Personalities of the District: Jhalokati is the homeland of many national and international reputed heroic sons of the soil. Some of the renowned personalities are mentioned below:
- Kamini Roy: She hailed from a elite family of Jhalokati. She was the first honors graduate in India. She became a leading Bengali poet, social worker and feminist. She always fought for the establishment of fundamental rights and privileges of women in all sphere of life. Kamini Roy worked nearly for fifty years in different manner for realizing her goal of women’s emancipation in reality. She was the first woman lyrist who composed many notable literary works which raise her to the highest peak of prominence in social and literary world.
- Shamsuddin Abul Kalam: He was a famous novelist of Bengali Literature. His literary works basically based on rural life of the people of Bengal. Emotion and romanticism are the main theme of his works. He was politically conscious from his early life as a result of which he was found working as an active participant in the independent movement of India. He was also involved in the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971.
Marks of the War of Liberation: There are 2 mass killing sight, 2 memorial plate and 1 memorial sculpture in the district.
Main Crops: Transplanted Aman is the major rice crop preceded by aus and boro on more than half the area. Other crops include khesari, masur, mong, sesame, chilies, gram, jute, sweet-potato, turmeric, onion, garlic, mustard, potato and betel leaf.
Main Fruits: The most common fruits are found in this area is mango (Mangifera indica), jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), black berry (Syzygium cumini), banana (Musa sapienrum) and amra (Spondia pinnata). The most characteristic feature of the landscape is undoubtedly the palm, the commonest species being the country date or khejur (Phoenix sylvestris), the betelnut palm (Arca catechu), the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) and the palmyra palm (Borassus flabellifer).
Traditional Transport: Palanquin, boat and bullock-cart are the traditional transports found in the rural area of Jhalokati district. These means of transport are either extinct or nearly extinct. Now-a-days, all the upazilas are connected with the district headquarters with metaled roads. Bus, minibus, three wheelers ply over the district.
Religious Institutions: The numbers of religious institutions of this district are mosque 2631, eid-gah 549, temple 435, church 1, tomb 4.
Educational Institutions: Government college 2, non-government college 19, government high school 2, non-govt. high school 190, junior school 3, madrasah 123, kawmi madrasah 20, government primary school 364, registered primary school 186, non-government primary school 8, kindergarten 21.
Cultural Organizations: The numbers of cultural organizations of this district are club 416, public library 4, theatre group 7, literary society 2, playground 344, community centre 3, Shilpakala academy 1, women's organisation 3.
Locally Published Newspapers and Periodicals: Locally Published newspapers and periodicals are Daily Shatakantha, weekly Suryadaya, weekly Ajana Khabar etc.
NGO Activities: Operationally important NGOs are BRAC, ASA, CARE, Abirvab, Annesha, JDS, Parshi, South Bengal Development Society, Social Welfare Organisation, Popular Development Society, CIDA, Proshika, Palli Unnayan Sangstha etc.
Economic situation: The economy of Jhalakati is predominantly agricultural. Out of total 133,204 holdings of the district, 96616 holding are farms that produce varieties of crops namely local and HYV rice vegetables, spices, cash crops, pulses, oilseeds, betel leaves and others. Various fruits like banana, guava, coconut, etc. are grown. Guava is grown in the northern part of the Jhalakati sadar upazila. Fish of different varieties abound in this district. Varieties of fish are caught from rivers, tributary channels and creeks and even from paddy fields during rainy season. Some prawn and Hilsha fish are available in the district. Various types of timber and forest trees are grown in this district. Jhalakati is famous for business center for different kinds of consumable goods.