Birbhum district is a district of West Bengal and northern most district of Burdwan division with its administrative headquarters located at Suri. It is also popularly called as “The land of red soil”. The district got its name from the two terms first one is Bhumi means Land and the second one is Bir means Brave. Both the terms together means “The land of braves”. Natives of the district also believe that the district derived its name from the name of Bir kings, who ruled in the reign. On the other hand in Santali language the word Bir means forests and hence, Birbhum also means “A land of forests”. Some authors believe that in the ancient time the place of Birbhum was called by the name Kamkoti, related to its tantric heritage.The place of Birbhum is consist of many Shakti Peethas such as Tarapith, Bakreshwar, Kankalitala, Fullara near Labhpur, Sainthia and Nalhati.The district witnessed the advent rule of Muslim rulersduring the medieval period. Then the kingdoms of Hetampur and Rajnagar occupied most of the Birbhum region and some parts of the places of Burdwan, Maldah and Jharkhand from Dubrajpur. The administrative unit, Birbhum was formed in 1787 during the phase of British East India Company. Earlier it was a part of Murshidabad district. At the very beginning in 1787, when officially the district was formed, it was much bigger in comparison to the present one. Bishnupur was the part of it till 1793 but now it is a part of the Bankura district.Santhal Parganas was also part of Birbhum till the year 1857. Later the immediate reason for separating the western tribal majority areas was the Santhal rebellion of 1855-56, which was quelled. Today also Sidhu and Kanu are remembered by every heart’s of Birbhum as martyrs of this uprising.
Pranab Kumar Mukherjee, the13th and currentPresident of India was born on 11th December, 1935 at Mirati in the district. Mukherjee is a senior leader of the Indian National Congress. He occupied several important ministerial portfolios in the Government of India such as external affairs, defence and finance. Tarasankar Bandyopadhyay, one of the leading Bengali novelists was born on 23th July, 1898 at Labhpur in the district. He wrote numerous unforgettable novels,story-books,plays, essay-books,autobiographies and travel stories. He was honoured by many notable awards such as Rabindra Puraskar in 1955, Sahitya Akademi Award in 1956,Jnanpith Award in 1966, Padma Shri in 1962 and Padma Bhushan in 1969.
Geographically, the district lies at 24°36'N latitude, 87°84'E longitude and 252 m Altitude.In the year 2019, there was a total 4.07% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 4,545 sq. km. and it is bounded by Bardhaman district on the south, Murshidabad district on the east and north east, Jamtara district, Dumka district andPakur district of Jharkhand on the west and north west. The climate in the western and eastern side of the district is quite different. The climate in the western part is generally dry and extreme on the hand in the eastern part it remains mild most of the year. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season.The actual rainfall in the district was 1197.5 mm in the year of 2019-20.
Administrationwise,thedistrictisdividedinto3 sub-divisions namely Suri Sadar,BolpurandRampurhat. There are 2 Lok Sabha and 11 assembly constituencies in the district. Moreover, thedistrict comprises 20 towns and 2,455 villages. The administrative language in the district is Bangla.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 35,02,404 including 17,90,920 are males and 17,11,484 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 956 females for every 1000 males. During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 16.15% out of which 15.79% were males and 16.52% were females. As per 2011 census the major religions in the district are Hindu and Muslim with 62.29% and 37.06% of the total population. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Bengali with 92.38%. The population density in the district is 771 (persons per sq. km.). In the year 2018 the number of live births in the district was 80,688 out of which 40,708 were males and 39,980 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 20,695 out of which 12,181 were males and 8,514 were females.
More than half of the population in the district are engaged in agriculture. There are 5 barrages in the district providing irrigation facility. Some of its chief agricultural products are rice, legumes, wheat, corn (maize), potatoes and sugar cane. It is the main centre of cottage industries. Moreover, the district has also some other industries such as agriculture-based industries, textiles, forestry, arts and crafts. In2006 theMinistry of Panchayati Raj declared Birbhum as one of the country's 250most backward districts and currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF). In the year 2013-14the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 21,27,860 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 10,29,129 at Constant Prices in the year 2004-2005. The Net Domestic Product in the district during the period 2013-14 was Rs. 19,72,540 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 9,44,129 lakh at Constant Prices in the year 2004-2005. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost in the district during the period 2013-14 was Rs. 53,122 at Current Price and Rs. 25,426 at Constant Prices in the year 2004-2005.
The district provides a platform for the higher education.It has numerous reputed educational institutions namely Visva-Bharati University, Kabi Joydeb Mahavidyalaya, Kabi Nazrul College, Krishna Chandra College, Sambhunath College, Suri Vidyasagar College, Birbhum Mahavidyalaya,Turku Hansda-Lapsa Hemram Mahavidyalaya, Chandidas Mahavidyalaya, Rampurhat College, Hiralal Bhakat College, etc.As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 70.68%including 76.92% aremales and64.14% are females. The total number of literates in the district is 21,58,447 including 12,01,481 are males and 9,56,966 are females.
Ram Chandra Dome, an illustrious Indian politician and a leader of theCommunist Party of India (Marxist) was born on 8th February, 1959 at Chilla village in the district.He was elected to theLok Sabha for numbers of time from Birbhum constituency in 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004. But in 2009, he was elected to the Lok Sabha fromBolpur constituency.
The district is rich in cultural heritage. The various sets of tourist place in district allures many travellers from different parts of the world. Santiniketan, situated near Bolpur, in the district is a small town and very famous across the world since it was the hometown of the Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali polymath. One can found a great collection of his classical literature in this place. Sriniketan, located about 3 km. away from Santiniketan. Sriniketan, established in 1922 is a rural reconstruction centre. It is a sister unit of Shantiniketan. The foremost attractionsin Sriniketan include Kala Bhavana, Rabindra Bhavana, Uttarayan Gardens and Deer Park. Tarapith is a religious and pious place because the natives of the district believe that the eye ball (tara) of Goddess Sati fell here whereas the others believe that the Sage Basistha worshipped Goddess Sati in the form of Tara at this place. Suri or Suiri is a place full of mesmerising natural sceneries. It is a perfect destination for nature’s lovers. Ballabhpur Wildlife Sanctuary, established in 1977 is popularly known as Deer Park. It is an abode to a variety of wild animals such as blackbuck, spotted deer, jackals, foxes, etc.