History of Khulna District

Khulna District

Khulna District, one of the most ancient and immemorial places, known as the industrial city lies along the Bhairab and Rupsha rivers. It is the divisional headquarters of the Khulna Division and a major industrial and commercial center. Khulna is the hub of routes to Mongla Port, the second-largest port of the country which is just 38 km from the city, and the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangroves forest. It is also called the third-largest city in Bangladesh. The naming history of Khulna is so interesting with the folk’s story. People have some different opinions about its naming.

Background History of Khulna District

According to the Greek historians and the geographical narration, It seems
that the present Khulna region was part of the Bengal Delta. The ancient
map of Khulna also proves this theory. This is called the southeast region
of Padma and Bhagirathi. Hieuen Tsang, the Chinese traveler narrates that
Khulna was under the Gupta dynasty during the Gupta period.

Naming of Khulna

Generally there are no actual or believable information about the naming
of khulna. We found some myths and rumours. Historians cannot find any
legal data about naming hisory of khulna.So they had to depend on the
rumours and myths. Different historians expressed various opinions. Those
opinions are as follows

  1. According to the great historian ‘Satischandra Mitra’ who wrote in
    his book ‘Jessore Khulnar Itihash’ – “In the ancient period Khulna
    was known as Noyabad. People went to Sundarban for collecting
    wood and honey. Sundarban was the only source of usable woods.
    When someone wants to go abroad or WestBengal they have to go
    through The Sundarban. So at the end of the day, they would anchor
    their boats at the end of Noyabad, where the forest start. It is said
    that when one of the adventurous sailors went to open the boat, the
    forest god forbade him from the middle of the forest and told him
    ‘khulo na khulo na’ (not to open).”
image 2
Figure 3: water picture of Sundarban boatman

After briefing this myth Satischandra Mitra told that the word khulona was modified and at last it was go through Khulna at a time. Other historians like Muhammad toha khan, researcher Sheiekh
Shahjahna also agrees with him. Modern historian Golam Mostafa Sindaini said that when tides came sailors want to free the boat from
the tie at that time someone told them ‘khulo na khulo na’. In the evolution of time ‘khuo na’ was converted to Khulna.

  1. The another important and most reliable incident about the naming
    history of Khulna is the temple Khulneshwari. Once upon a time
    there was a town called Ujani on the banks of the river Ajay in East
image 3
Figure 4: Watercolor photo of Dhanpati Saudagar and his wives

Burdwan district where a merchant named Dhanpati lived. He has two wives named Lohona and Khullona. Lahana was violent and on the other hand, Khullona was the devotional ideal wife. It is believed that the merchant built a temple of Goddess Chandi named ‘Khulleshwari’ in memory of his beloved wife Khullona. It is believed that name Khulna was originated from this ‘Khullona’
word. According to the historian, Muhammad toha khan-“ Khulna was named from the name of ‘Khulleshwari’ Temple.”
Satischandra Mitra was a strong supporter of this doctrine. Researcher Sheiekh Shahjahna also approves this doctrine. Historian Anwar Kadir was also a supporter of this view.

  1. There was a Mouja called ‘Kismat khulna’. Some historians seems
    that the Khulna name was originated from the name of Kismat
image 4
Figure 5: Water picture of Kismat Khulna Mouza
  1. When British and Portugese came to the Khulna region they named
    this region as ‘Culnea’. According to the historian ‘Satischandra
    Mitra’ he wrote in this book ‘Jessore Khulnar Itihash’ – “In the
    British period (1766 AD) A ship named ‘FAL-MOUTH’ was sinked
    into the Posure river. In the details of Sailores resque operation
    Khulna was written as ‘Culnea’.” This opinion has not a strong
    support because most of the historians seemed that British found this
    ‘Culnea’ names from the name of Khulna.”
  2. Khalil Shah a preacher of Islam came to the Khulna region. It is not
    known exactly why Khalil Shah, a preacher of Islam, came here, but
    some believe that Khalil shah was called ‘Khulle’ and from this the
    name Khulna was originated.
  3. Another idea of naming Khulna is that the Arab merchants of the
    Muslims in this region actually called this region ‘Ad-Khulna’.Some
    belief that Khulna name was came from the word ‘Ad-Khulna’.
  4. Other believe that the word ‘Khullonaba’ was responsible for the
    naming of Khulna.
  5. In the ancient map ‘Jessore-Culna’ name was mentioned. It may be
    another reason of naming Khulna. But most of the historians told
    that ‘Jessore-Culna’ was the British pronunciation of Khulna. So, it
    is not a reliable opinion.

Evaluation Khulna District

After analyzing all myths and opinions of historians it is clear that there is no exact information about the naming history of Khulna. For the naming matter, we have to depend on some Myths and rumors. But even here is a doctrine that historians find more acceptable. The doctrine or opinion is -The word Khulna was originated from the name of ‘Khulneshwari temple’ which was located beside the west of present Rupsa river. Historian Satischandra Mitra was a strong supporter of this opinion. Although some talked about the word ‘khulo na’ to Khulna. But this is not public opinion. Historian Muhammad Toha Khan, Researcher Shahjahan, Modern historian Golam Mostofa Sindaini and Abdul Kadir find this opinion more logical and believable. So after evaluating the opinions Khulneshwari to Khulna is more logical and confidential to me.

Finally, we can say that Khulna is one of the most ancient regions of Bangladesh. The naming history of Khulna is more complex and interesting with the myths and rumors. Although Khulna is the place of industry and fishing spot of Bangladesh it is also known as the land of Sundarban the greatest mangrove forest in the world. Geographically it has great importance. Khulna is blessed with abundant natural resources. So it is necessary for everyone to know about the naming history of Khulna.

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