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Bangladesh
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Bangladesh

The People's Republic of Bangladesh is a country in South Asia that forms the eastern part of the ancient region of Bengal. Bangladesh literally means "The Country of Bengali language". Lying north of the Bay of Bengal, on land it borders India almost exclusively, save for a small section bordering Myanmar in the southeast.

গণ প্রজাতঁত্রী বাংলাদেশ
Gana Prajātantrī Bānglādesh
(In Detail) (In Detail)
National motto: None
Official language Bengali
Capital Dhaka
President Iajuddin Ahmed
Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia
Area
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 91st
144,000 km²
7.0%
Population
 - Total (2002)
 - Density
Ranked 8th
133,376,684
926/km²
Independence
from Pakistan
March 26, 1971
Victory Day
December 16, 1971
Currency Taka (BDT)
Time zone UTC +6
National anthem Amar Sonar Bangla
Internet TLD .bd
Calling Code880

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 Divisions
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Culture
8 Political Parties
9 Miscellaneous topics
10 External links

History

Main article: History of Bangladesh

Existence of advanced civilization in current day Bangladesh, Eastern part of a greater region called Bengal, goes back fairly long in time. Evidence of civilisations dating back to 700 B.C. have been found in the form of Buddhist monasteries. Although there are claims of social structures from around 1000 B.C., proofs for such structures are not extremely convincing. Early civilisations had Buddhist and/or Hindu influences. Northern Bangladesh has several sites of mass architecture, in the form of temples and monasteries, bearing proofs of such influences.

Bengal became Islamic starting in the 13th century and developed into a wealthy centre of trade and industry under the Mogul Empire during the 16th century. European traders had arrived in the late 15th century and eventually the British East India Company controlled the region by the late 18th century, from which the British extended their rule over all of India. When Indian independence was achieved in 1947, political motivations caused it to be divided into a predominantly Muslim Pakistan and a predominantly Hindu India.

The Partition of India saw Bengal divided between the two new countries: an eastern part called East Pakistan and a western part, the Indian state of West Bengal. The abolition of the Zamindari (system of dividing the society into lords, owners of property, and commoners, users of property) system in East Bengal (1950) was a major landmark in Bangladesh's movement to a "people's state". The Language Movement of 1952 established the rights of the Bengali community to speak in their own language. Worth mentioning, this was the only revolution that was done solely for preserving the rights to speak a language and for this reason, UNESCO recognised Feb 21 as International Mother Language Day.

Bangladesh, the then East Pakistan, was dominated and neglected by West Pakistan. The frequent exploitation of the majority Bengalis by the minority non-Bengalis infuriated sensible people on both sides of Pakistan. The tensions peaked in 1971, following an open, non-democratic denial by Pakistani president Yahiya Khan, a military ruler, of election results that gave Awami League an overwhelming majority in the parliament. Under the leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, also known as Bongobondu/Bangabandhu (Friend of Bengal) and the Father of the Nation, Bangladesh started its struggle for independence. The official onset followed one of the bloodiest genocides of recent times carried out by the Pakistan army on innocent Bengali civilians on March 25, 1971.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, being identified as a major influencer of the Bengalis, was arrested by the Pakistan Government. Ziaur Rahman, an army major then, and President of Bangladesh much later, declared the Independence of Bangladesh, on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, using a makeshift Radio Transmitter from the Port city of Chittagong. With help of Bengali officers in the army, support of civilians and military/humanitarian aid from India, Bangladesh quickly put together Mukti Bahini (Freedom Fighters), an armed group formed mostly of young students, workers, farmers and other civilians. It also started Bangladesh's War of Liberation Mukti Bahini with the help of Indian troops faced the occupying Pakistani army and within nine months, forced the Pakistani army to leave the country. Pakistan, in co-ordination with its abetters in Bangladesh, carried out massive war crimes during the war. The Pakistani Army was forced to surrender in December 16, 1971 and Bangladesh was free of foreign occupants.

Politics

Main article: Politics of Bangladesh

The President, while head of state, holds a largely ceremonial post, with real power held by the Prime Minister, who is head of government. The president is elected by the legislature every 5 years and his normally limited powers are substantially expanded during the tenure of a caretaker government, mainly in controlling the transition to a new government.

The prime minister is appointed by the president and must be a member of parliament (MP) whom the president feels commands the confidence of the majority of other MPs. The cabinet is composed of ministers selected by the prime minister and appointed by the president.

The unicameral Bangladeshi parliament is the House of the Nation or Jatiya Sangsad, whose 300 members are elected by popular vote from single territorial constituencies for five-year terms of office. The highest judiciary body is the Supreme Court, of which the chief justices and other judges are appointed by the president.

Divisions

Main article: Divisions of Bangladesh

Bangladesh is subdivided into 6 divisions, all named after their respective capitals:

See List of cities in Bangladesh.

Geography

Main article: Geography of Bangladesh

Bangladesh consists mostly of a low-lying river delta located on the Indian subcontinent with a largely marshy jungle coastline on the Bay of Bengal known as the Sundarbans, home to the (Royal) Bengal Tiger. The densely populated delta is formed by the confluence of the Ganges (local name Padma), Brahmaputra (Jamuna), and Meghna rivers and their tributaries as they flow down from the Himalayas. Bangladesh's alluvial soil is highly fertile but vulnerable to both flood and drought. Hills rise above the plain only in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (highest point: the Keokradong at 1,230 m) in the far southeast and the Sylhet division in the northeast.

Straddling the Tropic of Cancer, the Bangladeshi climate is tropical with a mild winter from October to March, a hot, humid summer from March to June, and a humid, warm rainy monsoon from June to October. Natural calamities, such as floods, tropical cyclones, tornadoes, and tidal bores affect the country almost every year, combined with the effects of deforestation, soil degradation and erosion. Dhaka is the country's capital and largest city, other major cities include Chittagong, Rajshahi, and Khulna. Cox's Bazar, south of Chittagong, is the longest natural beach in the world.

Economy

Main article: Economy of Bangladesh

Despite sustained domestic and international efforts to improve economic and demographic prospects, Bangladesh remains a poor, overpopulated, and ill-governed nation. Although more than half of GDP is generated through the service sector, nearly two-thirds of Bangladeshis are employed in the agriculture sector, with rice as the single most important product.

Major impediments to growth include frequent cyclones and floods, inefficient state-owned enterprises, mismanaged port facilities, a rapidly growing labour force that cannot be absorbed by agriculture, inefficient use of energy resources (such as natural gas), insufficient power supplies, and slow implementation of economic reforms, caused by political infighting and corruption. In 2001, 2002, and 2003, Transparency International's surveys ranked Bangladesh as the world's most corrupt country.

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Bangladesh

Apart from very small countries such as Singapore and Bahrain, Bangladesh is the most densely populated country in the world. The nation, at 912 persons per square km, has often been compared to Indonesia's Java.

Bangladesh is ethnically homogenous, with Bengalis comprising 98% of the population. The vast majority speak Bengali or Bangla. The remaining two percent are Urdu-speaking, non-Bengali Muslims from other regions of India such as Bihar. A small number of tribal groups inhabit the Chittagong Hill Tracts in the southeast.

Most Bangladeshis (about 83%) are Muslims, but Hindus constitute a sizable (16%) minority. There are also a small number of Buddhists, Christians, and Animists. Bengali, a member of the Indo-Aryan languages is written in a script similar to Devanagari. It is the official language, though English is accepted in official tasks and in (higher) education.

Many minority groups face severe persecution for their ethnicity and religion. The government has yet been able to control the situation.

Bangladesh is plagued by overpopulation. In 1992, the government began promoting birth control to slow growth, but with limited success. Many are landless or forced to inhabit hazardous flood-plains, with the consequence of rampant water-borne disease. In an effort to stem the spread of pathogens like cholera and dysentery, international organizations began to promote well-drilling throughout the nation. Several years after wide-spread implementation of the programme, over a quarter of the population exhibited symptoms of arsenic poisoning. High levels of naturally occurring arsenic in the water table had not been accounted for. The effects of arsenic-tainted water still remain a problem.

Culture

Main article: Culture of Bangladesh

Political Parties

Miscellaneous topics

External links


[ Edit {}] Countries in South Asia
Bangladesh | Bhutan | India | Maldives | Nepal | Pakistan | Sri Lanka