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Sylhet, my hometown, lies in the Surma valley situated in the north-east side of
Bangladesh. Sylhet traditionally was part of Assam in undivided India. During the
partition of 1947, there was a referendum in Sylhet to allow it to join either
India or Pakistan. Majority of Sylhet voted to join East Bengal which was later
named East Pakistan. Some part of Sylhet, Kassar and Karimgonj decided to join Assam
and became a part of India.
Sylhet has its own distinct dialect that is very close to the language of Assam. Sylheti language also uses its own alphabet (Dev Nagri). Not many people outside academics know Dev Nagri anymore. Although most people know how to speak Sylheti, they learn proper Bangla at schools.
Sylhet has a long and colorful history. Sylhet was divided in small feudal kingdoms and was ruled by independent kings until Shah Jalal came to Sylhet and preached Islam.
Sylhetis are scattered across the world. A majority of expatriates from Bangladesh to England and America are from Sylhet. In fact, Sylheti is the second most spoken language in England. There are hundreds of thousands of Sylhetis live in England. Not many families you will find in Sylhet who do not have someone in England or America.