Sylhet Regional Study

To understand a region beyond administrative borders and focusing more on geo-environmental conditions

The name Sylhet is Anglicized from the Bengali word Srihatta. In Indo-Aryan languages Sri means prestige or beauty and Hatta is a term for human settlement. According to Mughal Empire’s records Srihatta was used to define the district in Bengal Subah (an administrative unit back then). The term changed to Sylhet in English during British Indian era.

The term Sylhet Region is can be divided into two categories: natural and anthropological. Defined by a block area of 28,347.8 Sq. km includes economic, physical, climatic, natural and anthropological regions within the geographic perimeter set above. This does not fall under any political/administrative boundaries. The purpose is to understand the overall physical and socio-economic characteristics of Sylhet as a Region.

-Sylhet region includes the following geographic features:
-Sylhet Trough
-Indo-Burman Ranges
-Shillong Massif
-Some parts of Bogra Shelf
-Some Parts of Faridpur Trough and
-Barishal Gravity High

The term Sylhet Division is used to define administrative area of the region. It is also known as Greater Sylhet or Sylhet Region, which is located at the northeastern corner of Bangladesh. The Sylhet Division was declared as the 6th division of Bangladesh in 1995. Previously it was a part of Chittagong Division. The division is bordered by the Meghalaya, Assam and Tripura states of India to the north, east and south respectively. The administrative area is 12, 558 sq. km. with a population of 9,910,219. The Sylhet Division is subdivided into four districts/ zilas.

The local residents of Sylhet are known as Sylheti. Ethnic groups (e.g. Monipuri, Patro, Khasia, Chakma, Tripura and Shaotal) are also present in the region. The copperplates, inscriptions, stories, compositions gathered from here are the ancient instances of literature of this area. Residents of this area have been practicing literature in seven languages. The languages practiced since 15th century are: 1) Sangskrit, 2) Bengali 3) Sylheti Nagori 4) Arabic 5) Persian 6) Urdu and 7) English. Among them Sylheti Nagori Lipi (script) is one of Sylhet’s unique cultural heritage.