Until 1947, Sylhet was part of the Indian state of Assam. After the partition of the Indian subcontinent, it became part of the Chittagong division, and in 1995, it became a separate division. It is bordered by the Indian states of Meghalaya, Tripura and Assam as well as the Mymensingh and Comilla divisions. Thirteen rivers flow through Sylhet, feeding its abundant tea plantations.
The Division of Sylhet has a population of 9.9 million, and is predominantly (87.57%) rural. The literacy rate of the division is 45%, with most educational institutions (especially those of higher education) concentrated in Sylhet district. School attendance (ages 5 to 24) is more or less uniform for both men and women at 48%. In terms of faith, the population is majority Muslim (81.16%), followed by Hindu (17.80%), Christian (0.06%), Buddhist (0.02%) and others (0.96%).
Sylhet is a major tea-growing region and home to 150 tea gardens, including three of the largest tea gardens in the world. These tea plantations employ 300,000 people, of which over 75% are women. Sylhet is also home to eight gas fields and the country’s only oil field. This division has the lowest average poverty rate in Bangladesh.
The main political parties in Sylhet are Awami League (AL), Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Jatiya Party (JP). The administrative head of the division is the Divisional Commissioner, and the current Divisional Commissioner is Mohammed Jamal Uddin Ahmed.
Mominul Hoque, The History of Sylhet Division (Centre for Bangladesh Research UK, September 2001)