Sahibganj district, a part of the Santhal Pargana division is a district of Jharkhand state with its administrative headquarters located at Sahibganj town. The history of the Sahibganj district is full of glory and numerous interesting stories. Its history is basically revolves around the history of Rajmahal, Teliagarhi Fort and Sahibganj Town. Earlier, Sahibganj was not a separate district but a part of the district of Santhal Pargana with its headquarters at Dumka. Thus, the history of the today’s Sahibganj district is inseparable from the history of its parent district of Santhal Pargana. Furthermore, it is also inter-related with the histories of Godda, Dumka, Deoghar and Pakur districts. The Santhal Hul or Rebellion led by Sido and Kanu brothers of Santhal Pargana in the year 1854-55 has a great importance in the history of the region since it helped Sahibganj to emerge as a separate district in 1855 by ceding some portions of Bhagalpur (currently in Bihar) and Birbhum (currently in West Bengal) district. During the British period, the British use to call the entire Santhal Pargana region along with some parts of the present Hazaribagh, Munger, Jamui, Lakhisarai, Begusarai, Saharsa, a part of the districts of Purnia and Bhagalpur as “Jungle Terai” on assumption of Diwani in September, 1763 from Shah Alam II at Allahabad after the Allahabad Treaty.
Geographically, the district lies at 25°24'N latitude and 87°64'E longitude. The altitude in the district is 16 m. In the year 2021, there was a total 27.82% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 2,063 sq. km. and it is bounded by Bihar on the North, Pakur district on the South, West Bengal on the East and Godda district on the West. A large part of the district is hilly. A large part of the land of the region is covered between hill ranges named, Damin-I-koh, a Persian word which means skirts of the hills. The principal river in the district is Ganga River which forms the northern border of the district and then flows through its north western corner. The climate of the district remains extremely hot during the summers and fairly cold during the winters. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 2045.0 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into two sub-divisions namely Sahibganj and Rajmahal. Moreover, it comprises 9 sub-districts, 8 towns and 1,813 villages. The administrative language in the district is Hindi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 11,50,567 out of which 5,89,391 are males and 5,61,176 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 952 (females for every 1000 males). During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 24.01% including 23.39% were males and 24.68% were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu and Muslim with 54.59% and 34.61% of the total population. The population density in the district is 558 (persons per sq. km.). As per 2011 census the principal languages in the district are Hindi, Santali, Bengali and Urdu with 37.99%, 21.86%, 28.86% and 6.33%. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 31,321 out of which 16,522 were males and 14,799 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 4,154 out of which 2,734 were males and 1,420 were females.
Both the agricultural and industrial sectors are the backbone of the economy of the district. Some of its population are engaged in agricultural activities in order to earn their livelihood. The chief agricultural products in district are paddy, groundnut, soyabean, maize, pulses, wheat, gram, etc. Industrially also the district is quite well developed. There are some traditional cottage and village industries in the district practiced by the Santhals and the Paharias likewise tasar rearing, village black-smithy, carpentry, handloom weaving, rope making, bidi making, earthen ware making, stone ware making, etc. But it has no any prominent large-scale industry because there is a lack of infrastructure support. It is also often observed that there is a good potential for establishing some china clay industries. The district is rich in mineral resources as well. The Rajmahal Hills has abundant in road stones. Another most significant mineral called Kaolin is found near Mangal Hat in Rajmahal sub-division. In some parts of the district Bentonite, a minerial used by women-folk as hair washing material is available in a huge quantity. In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj declared Sahibganj as one of the country's 250 most backward districts and currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF). In the year 2008-2009 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 3,14,357 lakh at current price and Rs. 2,18,527 lakh at constant prices in the year 1999-2000. In the year 2008-2009 the net domestic product in the district was Rs. 2,63,688 lakh at current price and Rs. 1,95,265 lakh at constant prices in the year 1999-2000. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost in the district during the period 2008-09 was Rs. 25,161 at current price and Rs. 18,632 at constant prices in the year 1999-2000.
The place Sahibganj is well known as an abode of several reputed educational institutions. It also provides a platform for higher education. Some of its most recognised educational institutions are St. Xavier’s School, St. Joseph School, S.K. University, Trinity’s Angels School, Railway High School, Rajasthan High School and many more. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 52.04% including 60.34% are males and 43.31% are females. The total number of literates in the district is 4,83,263 out of which 2,87,303 are males and 1,95,960 are females.
Vijay Hansdak, a veteran Indian politician and a member of the 16th Lok Sabha from the Rajmahal constituency of Jharkhand was born on 27th October, 1982 at Kalitalla at Barharwa in the district. He is a member of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) political party.
The district has several centres of attraction which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Moti Jharna, located near to the place called Maharajpur is full of mesmerising natural sceneries which is a very good picnic spot too. The stream originates from the Rajmahal hills. Udhwa Bird Sanctuary, the only bird sanctuary situated in the whole Jharkhand state is locally called Patauda Lake. During every winter season hundreds of migratory birds come to this place from Europe, Siberia and some other places. Shivgadi, a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is located at the Barhait block in the district. Pilgrims from far off places gather here in a huge number during the occasion of Mahashivratri and the whole of Shravan month as well. Kanhaiyasthan, a sacred place situated on the bank of the river Ganges in the district is named after the renowned temple of Lord Krishna (Kanhaiya) of this place. Native of the place believe that once upon a time Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stayed here on his way to Brindaban from Bengal and at that time he got the vision of Lord Krishna. Some other notable places of interest in the district are Rajmahal, Mangalhat, Teliagarhi, Binduvasini Temple, Shukravasini Temple, Maghi Mela, Bhoganadih and Panchkathiya and many more.