Background: Habiganj was one of the sub-divisions of former Sylhet District was created in 1888. It was up-graded to a district on the 1 February, 1984. There are different views about the origin of the district name. There is a popular view that in the past there lived a prominent man named Habibullah, who set up a Ganj meaning trading centre in the present district headquarters. It is belived that the district name might have been originated from the word Habibullah and Ganj.
Area and Location: Habiganj district is bounded on the north by Sunamganj district, on the east by Maulvibazar district and Sylhet district, on the south by Tripura state of India and on the west by Kishoreganj district and Brahmanbaria district. The total area of the district is 2636.59 sq.km. (1017.00 sq.miles) of which 149.48 sq.km (57.72) sq.miles) are under forest. The district lies between 23˚58' and 24˚42' north latitudes and between 91˚09' and 91˚40' east longitudes.
Township: Habiganj Town Committee was established in 1881 and it was turned into a municipality in 1913. During the British period an embankment was constructed along the Khowai river to protect the town. The main business centre of the town is Chowdhury Bazar.
Temperature and Rainfall: The maximum and minimum temperature in Habiganj district varies from 33.2°C to 13.6°C. The annual average rainfall of the district is 3334 mm.
Main Rivers: Khowai, Sutang, Korangi, Kalni, Kushiyara, Gopala, Ratna and Barak are the important rivers of Habiganj district.
Administration: Habiganj subdivision was established in 1874 under Sylhet District and was turned into a district in 1984. The district consists of 8 upadistricts, 77 unions, 1255 mauzas, 2143 villages, 6 paurashavas, 54 wards and 188 mahallas. The upadistricts are Azmiriganj, Bahubal, Baniachong, Chunarughat, Habiganj Sadar, Lakhai, Madhabpur and Nabiganj.
Historical Events: On 4 April 1971 Col. Ataul Ghani Osmany (Supreme Commander of the War of Liberation) and some officers of the 2nd and 4th East Bengal Regiment assembled in the Teliapara Tea Garden Dakbungalow to discuss war situation.
Famous Personalities of the district: Habiganj is the homeland of many nationally and internationally renowned personalities. Some of them are mentioned below:
Bipin Chandra Pal: He was born in the then Habiganj District and was well known as a revolutionary activist against the British Rule. He participated in the swaraj and swadeshi movement.
Sir Fazle Hasan Abed: He is a social worker and the founder Chairman of BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee). For his outstanding contribution to social improvement, he has received many honorary awards. Among them, Ramon Magsaysay Award, UNDP Mahbub ul Haq Award and Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG) are notable.
Dewan Farid Gazi: He was a Bangladeshi politician and was elected as Member of Parliament for the Habiganj-1 constituency for three times-1996, 2001 and 2008. He served as Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Primary and mass Education.
Shah Abu Muhammad Shamsul Kibria (Shah AMS Kibria): He was an economist, diplomat, a politician and the Finance Minister of Bangladesh. He was a Civil Servant of the then Pakistan and became the Director General of Political Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was actively involved in the Language Movement of 1952. He played a lead role in the War of Liberation in order to mobilized the opinion of Bangladeshi and international communities in support of Bangladesh.
Main Crops: The main crops of this district are paddy, potato, ground nut, betel leaf etc. This district is famous for growing a considerable quantity of tea. More than 20% of tea gardens of Bangladesh are located in this district.
Main Fruits: Mango (Mangifera indica), jackfruits (Artocarpus heterophyllus), banana (Musa sapientum), coconut (Cocos nucifera), lichi (Lichi chinensis), guava (Psidium guajava) and papaya (Carica papaya) are the major fruits of this district.
Traditional Transport: Palanquin, horse carriage and bullock cart, boat are the traditional transports found in the rural area of Habiganj district. These means of transport are either extinct or nearly extinct. Now a day, all the upazilas are connected with the district headquarters with metalled roads. Bus, minibus, three wheelers ply over the district.
Economic Situation: The economy of Habiganj is predominantly agricultural. Out of total 342,178 holdings of the district, 57.61% holdings are farms that produce varieties of crops namely local and HYV rice, wheat, vegetables, jute, spices, cash crops, pulses, oilseeds and others. Various fruits like pine apple, banana, mango, guava, jackfruit, black berries, coconut, papaya, palm, lichi, dates etc. are grown. Fish of different varieties are caught from rivers, tributary channels and creeks and even from paddy fields during rainy season. Besides crops, livestock and fishery are the main sources of household income. Habiganj is famous for growing a considerable quantity of tea which is one of the most important cash crops of Bangladesh earning a good amount of foreign exchange. More than 20% of tea gardens of Bangladesh are located in this district. The required conditions prevail in this district for growth of tea.