Bangladesh (// (About this sound listen); //; Bengali: বাংলাদেশ Bāṃlādēśa, pronounced [ˈbaŋlad̪eʃ] (About this sound listen), lit. "The country of Bengal"), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh (গণপ্রজাতন্ত্রী বাংলাদেশ Gaṇaprajātantrī Bāṃlādēśa), is a country in South Asia. It shares land borders with India and Myanmar (Burma). Nepal, Bhutan and China are located near Bangladesh but do not share a border with it. The country's maritime territory in the Bay of Bengal is roughly equal to the size of its land area. Bangladesh is the world's eighth most populous country. Dhaka is its capital and largest city, followed by Chittagong which has the country's largest port.
Bangladesh forms the largest and eastern part of the Bengal region. Bangladeshis include people of different ethnic groups and religions. Bengalis, who speak the official Bengali language, make up 98% of the population. The politically dominant Bengali Muslims make the nation the world's third largest Muslim-majority country. Most of Bangladesh is covered by the Bengal delta, the largest delta on Earth. The country has 700 rivers and 8,046 km (5000 miles) of inland waterways. Highlands with evergreen forests are found in the northeastern and southeastern regions of the country. Bangladesh has many islands and a coral reef. It is home to the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world. The country's biodiversity includes a vast array of plant and wildlife, including critically endangered Bengal tigers, the national animal.
The Greeks and Romans identified the region as Gangaridai, a powerful kingdom of the historical subcontinent, in the 3rd century BCE. Archaeological research has unearthed several ancient cities in Bangladesh, which had international trade links for millennia. The Bengal Sultanate and Mughal Bengal transformed the region into a cosmopolitan Islamic imperial power between the 14th and 18th centuries. The region was home to many principalities which had inland naval prowess. It was also a notable center of the worldwide muslin and silk trade. As part of British India, the region was influenced by the Bengali renaissance and played an important role in anti colonial movements. The Partition of British India made East Bengal a part of the Dominion of Pakistan; and was renamed as East Pakistan. The region witnessed the Bengali Language Movement in 1952 and the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. After independence, a parliamentary republic was established. A presidential government was in place between 1975 and 1990, followed by a return to parliamentary democracy. The country has also been affected by poverty, natural disasters, hunger, dominant party systems and military coups.
Bangladesh is a middle power and a major developing nation. Within South Asia, the country ranks first in gender equality, second in foreign exchange earnings and third in life expectancy and peacefulness. Listed as one of the Next Eleven, its economy ranks 46th in terms of nominal GDP and 29th in terms of PPP. It is one of the largest textile exporters in the world. Its major trading partners are the European Union, the United States, China, India, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. With its strategically vital location between Southern, Eastern and Southeast Asia, Bangladesh is an important promoter of regional connectivity and cooperation. It is a founding member of SAARC, BIMSTEC, the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Forum for Regional Cooperation and the Bangladesh Bhutan India Nepal Initiative. It is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Developing 8 Countries, the OIC, the Non Aligned Movement, the Group of 77 and the World Trade Organization. Bangladesh is one of the largest contributors of United Nations peacekeeping forces.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Politics
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Quotes
- 6 Culture
- 7 References
- 8 Cited sources
- 9 Bibliography and further reading
- 10 External links
The name Bangladesh was originally written as two words, Bangla Desh. Starting in the 1950s, Bengali nationalists used the term in political rallies in East Pakistan. The term Bangla is a major name for both the Bengal region and the Bengali language. The earliest references to the term date to the Nesari plate in 805 AD. The term "Vangaladesa" is found in South Indian records in the 11th century.
The term gained official status during the Sultanate of Bengal in the 14th century. Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah proclaimed himself as the first "Shah of Bangala" in 1342. The word Bangla became the most common name for the region during the Islamic period. The Portuguese referred to the region as Bengala in the 16th century.
The origins of the term Bangla are unclear, with theories pointing to a Bronze Age proto-Dravidian tribe, the Austric word "Bonga" (Sun god), and the Iron Age Vanga Kingdom. The Indo-Aryan suffix Desh is derived from the Sanskrit word deśha, which means "land" or "country". Hence, the name Bangladesh means "Land of Bengal" or "Country of Bengal".
Ancient and classical Bengal
Ancient Bengal was settled by Austroasiatics, Tibeto-Burmans, Dravidians and Indo-Aryans in consecutive waves of migration. Major urban settlements formed during the Iron Age in the middle of the first millennium BCE, when the Northern Black Polished Ware culture developed in the Indian subcontinent. In 1879, Sir Alexander Cunningham identified the archaeological ruins of Mahasthangarh as the ancient city of Pundranagara, the capital of the Pundra Kingdom mentioned in the Rigveda.
The Wari-Bateshwar ruins are regarded by archaeologists as the capital of an ancient janapada, one of the earliest city states in the subcontinent. An indigenous currency of silver punched marked coins dating between 600 BCE and 400 BCE has been found at the site. Excavations of glass beads suggest the city had trading links with Southeast Asia and the Roman world.
Greek and Roman records of the ancient Gangaridai Kingdom, which according to legend deterred the invasion of Alexander the Great, are linked to the fort city in Wari-Bateshwar. The site is also identified with the prosperous trading center of Souanagoura mentioned in Ptolemy's world map. Roman geographers noted the existence of a large and important seaport in southeastern Bengal, corresponding to the modern-day Chittagong region.
The legendary Vanga Kingdom is mentioned in the Indian epic Mahabharata covering the region of Bangladesh. It was described as a seafaring nation of South Asia. According to Sinhalese chronicles, the Bengali Prince Vijaya led a maritime expedition to Sri Lanka, conquering the island and establishing its first recorded kingdom. The Bengali people also embarked on overseas colonization in Southeast Asia, including in modern-day Malaysia and Indonesia.
Bengal was ruled by the Mauryan Empire in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE. With their bastions in the Bengal and Bihar regions (collectively known as Magadha), the Mauryans built the first geographically extensive Iron Age empire in Ancient India. They promoted Jainism and Buddhism. The empire reached its peak under emperor Ashoka. They were eventually succeeded by the Gupta Empire in the 3rd century. According to historian H. C. Roychowdhury, the Gupta dynasty originated in the Varendra region in Bangladesh, corresponding to the modern-day Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions. The Gupta era saw the invention of chess, the concept of zero, the theory of Earth orbiting the Sun, the study of solar and lunar eclipses and the flourishing of Sanskrit literature and drama.
In classical antiquity, Bengal was divided between various kingdoms. The Pala Empire stood out as the largest Bengali state established in ancient history, with an empire covering most of the north Indian subcontinent at its height in the 9th century. The Palas were devout Mahayana Buddhists. They strongly patronized art, architecture and education, giving rise to the Pala School of Painting and Sculptural Art, the Somapura Mahavihara and the universities of Nalanda and Vikramshila. The proto-Bengali language emerged under Pala rule. In the 11th-century, the resurgent Hindu Sena dynasty gained power. The Senas were staunch promoters of Brahmanical Hinduism and laid the foundation of Bengali Hinduism. They patronized their own school of Hindu art taking inspiration from their predecessors. The Senas consolidated the caste system in Bengal.
Islam arrived on the shores of Bengal in the late first millennium, brought largely by missionaries, Sufis and merchants from the Middle East. Some experts have suggested that early Muslims, including Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas (an uncle of the Prophet Muhammad), used Bengal as a transit point to travel to China on the Southern Silk Road. The excavation of Abbasid Caliphate coins in Bangladesh indicate a strong trade network during the House of Wisdom Era in Baghdad, when Arab scientists absorbed pre-Islamic Indian and Greek discoveries. This gave rise to the system of Indo-Arabic numerals. Writing in 1154, Al-Idrisi noted a busy shipping route between Chittagong and Basra.
Subsequent Muslim conquest absorbed the culture and achievements of pre-Islamic Bengali civilization in the new Islamic polity. Muslims adopted indigenous customs and traditions, including dress, food, and way of life. This included the wearing of the sari, bindu, and bangles by Muslim women; and art forms in music, dance, and theater. Muslim rule reinforced the process of conversion through the construction of mosques, madrasas and Sufi Khanqahs.
The Islamic conquest of Bengal began when Bakhtiar Khilji of the Delhi Sultanate conquered northern and western Bengal in 1204. The Delhi Sultanate gradually annexed the whole of Bengal over the next century. By the 14th century, an independent Bengal Sultanate was established. The rulers of the Turkic Ilyas Shahi dynasty built the largest mosque in South Asia, and cultivated strong diplomatic and commercial ties with Ming China.
Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah was the first Bengali convert on the throne. The Bengal Sultanate was noted for its cultural pluralism. Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists jointly formed its civil-military services. The Hussain Shahi sultans promoted the development of Bengali literature. It brought Arakan under its suzerainty for 100 years.
The sultanate was visited by numerous world explorers, including Niccolò de' Conti of Venice, Ibn Battuta of Morocco and Admiral Zheng He of China. However, by the 16th century, the Bengal Sultanate began to disintegrate. The Sur Empire overran Bengal in 1532 and built the Grand Trunk Road. Hindu Rajas and the Baro-Bhuyan zamindars gained control of large parts of the region, especially in the fertile Bhati zone. Isa Khan was the Rajput leader of the Baro-Bhuyans based in Sonargaon.
In the late 16th-century, the Mughal Empire led by Akbar the Great began conquering the Bengal delta after the Battle of Tukaroi, where he defeated the Bengal Sultanate's last rulers, the Karrani dynasty. Dhaka was established as the Mughal provincial capital in 1608. The Mughals faced stiff resistance from the Baro-Bhuyans, Afghan warlords and zamindars, but were ultimately successful in conquering the whole of Bengal by 1666, when the Portuguese and Arakanese were expelled from Chittagong. Mughal rule ushered economic prosperity, agrarian reform and flourishing external trade, particularly in muslin and silk textiles. Mughal Viceroys promoted agricultural expansion and turned Bengal into the rice basket of the Indian subcontinent. The Sufis gained increasing prominence. The Baul movement, inspired by Sufism, also emerged under Mughal rule. The Bengali ethnic identity further crystallized during this period, and the region's inhabitants were given sufficient autonomy to cultivate their own customs and literature. The entire region was brought under a stable-long lasting administration.
By the 18th century, the Bengal Subah included the dominions of Bengal proper, Bihar and Orissa. It was the wealthiest part of the subcontinent. It generated 50% of Mughal GDP. Its towns and cities were filled with Eurasian traders. Dhaka became an important center of Mughal administration. The Nawabs of Bengal established an independent principality in 1717, with their headquarters in Murshidabad. The Nawabs granted increasing concessions to European trading powers. Matters reached a climax in 1757, when Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah captured the British base at Fort William, in an effort to stem the rising influence of the East India Company. Siraj-ud-Daulah was betrayed by his general Mir Jafar, who helped Robert Clive defeat the last independent Nawab at the Battle of Plassey on 23 June 1757.
The defeat of the last independent Nawab of Bengal at the Battle of Plassey ushered the rule of the British East India Company in 1757. The British displaced the ruling Muslim class of Bengal. The Bengal Presidency was established in 1765, with Calcutta as its capital. The Permanent Settlement created a feudal system. A number of deadly famines struck the region.
The Mutiny of 1857 was initiated in the Presidency of Bengal, with major revolts by the Bengal Army in Dacca, Calcutta and Chittagong. Eastern Bengal witnessed numerous native rebellions, including the Faraizi Movement by Haji Shariatullah, the activities of Titumir, the Chittagong armoury raid and revolutionary formations such as the Anushilan Samiti. The Bengal Renaissance flowered as a result of educational and cultural institutions being established across the region, especially in East Bengal and the imperial colonial capital Calcutta. The Presidency of Bengal became the cradle of modern South Asian political and artistic expression. It included the notable contributions of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Mir Mosharraf Hossain, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Jagadish Chandra Bose, Khan Bahadur Ahsanullah, Rabindranath Tagore, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Kazi Nazrul Islam and Begum Rokeya. Gopal Krishna Gokhle, the mentor of Mahatma Gandhi, remarked that "what Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow".
During British rule, East Bengal developed a plantation economy centred on the jute trade and tea production. Its share in world jute supply peaked in the early 20th century, at over 80%. The Eastern Bengal Railway and the Assam Bengal Railway served as important trade routes, connecting the Port of Chittagong with a large hinterland.
As a result of growing demands for educational development in East Bengal, the British partitioned Bengal in 1905 and created the administrative division of Eastern Bengal and Assam. Based in Dacca, with Shillong as the summer capital and Chittagong as the chief port, the new province covered much of the northeastern subcontinent. The All India Muslim League was formed in Dacca in 1906 and emerged as the standard bearer of Muslims in British India. The partition of Bengal outraged nationalist Hindus and anti-British Muslims, leading to the Swadeshi movement by the Indian National Congress. The partition was annulled in 1911 after a long civil disobedience campaign by the Congress. The Indian Independence Movement enjoyed strong momentum in the Bengal region, including the constitutional struggle for the rights of Muslim minorities.
The Freedom of Intellect Movement thrived in the University of Dacca. By the 1930s, the Krishak Praja Party led by A. K. Fazlul Huq and the Swaraj Party led by C. R. Das came to represent the new Bengali middle class. Huq became the Prime Minister of Bengal in 1937. With the breakdown of Hindu-Muslim unity in the British Raj, Huq allied with the Muslim League to present the Lahore Resolution in 1940, which envisioned independent states in the eastern and northwestern subcontinent.
During the Second World War, the Japanese Air Force conducted air raids in Chittagong in 1942, displacing several thousand people. The war-induced Bengal famine of 1943 claimed the lives of over a million people. Allied forces were stationed in bases across East Bengal in support of the Burma Campaign. Axis-allied Subhash Chandra Bose also had a significant following in East Bengal.
The Muslim League formed a parliamentary government in Bengal in 1943, with Sir Khawaja Nazimuddin and later H. S. Suhrawardy as its premiers. At the Indian provincial elections, 1946, the decisive victory of the Bengal Muslim League set the course for the Partition of British India and the creation of the Dominion of Pakistan on 14 August 1947. Assam was partitioned in order to allow Bengali-speaking Sylhet to join East Bengal. There was also an unsuccessful attempt to form a United Bengal. The Radcliffe Line divided Bengal on religious grounds, ceding Hindu-majority districts to the Indian dominion, and making Muslim-majority districts the eastern wing of Pakistan.
Eastern wing of Pakistan
East Bengal was the most populous province in the new Pakistani federation led by Governor General Muhammad Ali Jinnah in 1947, with Dacca as the provincial capital. While the state of Pakistan was created as a homeland for Muslims of the former British Raj, East Bengal was also Pakistan's most cosmopolitan province, being home to peoples of different faiths, cultures and ethnic groups. In 1950, land reform was accomplished in East Bengal with the abolition of the permanent settlement and the feudal zamindari system.
The successful Bengali Language Movement in 1952 was the first sign of friction with West Pakistan. The One Unit scheme renamed the province as East Pakistan in 1955. The Awami League emerged as the political voice of the Bengali-speaking population, with its leader H. S. Suhrawardy becoming Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1956. He was ousted after only a year in office due to tensions with West Pakistan's establishment and bureaucracy.
The 1956 Constitution ended dominion status with Queen Elizabeth II as the last monarch of the country. Dissatisfaction with the central government increased over economic and cultural issues. The provincial government of A. K. Fazlul Huq was dismissed on charges of inciting secession. In 1957, the radical left-wing populist leader Maulana Bhashani warned that the eastern wing would bid farewell to Pakistan.
The first Pakistani military coup ushered the dictatorship of Ayub Khan. In 1962, Dacca was designated as the legislative capital of Pakistan in an appeasement of growing Bengali political nationalism. Khan's government also constructed the Kaptai Dam which controversially displaced the Chakma population from their indigenous homeland in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. During the 1965 presidential election, Fatima Jinnah failed to defeat Field Marshal Ayub Khan despite strong support in East Pakistan.
According to senior international bureaucrats in the World Bank, Pakistan applied extensive economic discrimination against the eastern wing, including higher government spending on West Pakistan, financial transfers from East to West and the use of the East's foreign exchange surpluses to finance the West's imports. This was despite the fact that East Pakistan generated 70% of Pakistan's export earnings with jute and tea. East Pakistani intellectuals crafted the Six Points which called for greater regional autonomy, free trade and economic independence. The Six Points were championed by Awami League President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1966, leading to his arrest by the government of President Field Marshal Ayub Khan on charges of treason. Rahman was released during the 1969 popular uprising which ousted President Khan from power.
Ethnic and linguistic discrimination was abound in Pakistan's civil and military services, in which Bengalis were hugely under-represented. In Pakistan's central government, only 15% of offices were occupied by East Pakistanis. They formed only 10% of the military. Cultural discrimination also prevailed, causing the eastern wing to forge a distinct political identity. Pakistan imposed bans on Bengali literature and music in state media, including the works of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. In 1970, a massive cyclone devastated the coast of East Pakistan killing up to half a million people. The central government was criticized for its poor response. After the elections of December 1970, calls for the independence of Bangladesh became stronger.
Genocide and war of independence
The fury of the Bengali population was compounded when Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who led Awami League to win a majority in Parliament in the 1970 elections, was blocked from taking office. A massive civil disobedience movement erupted across East Pakistan, with open calls for independence. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman addressed a huge pro-independence rally in Dacca on 7 March 1971. The Bangladeshi flag was hoisted for the first time on 23 March 1971, Pakistan's Republic Day.
On 26 March 1971, the Pakistani military junta led by Yahya Khan launched Operation Searchlight, a sustained military assault on East Pakistan, and detained the Prime Minister-elect under military custody. The Pakistan Army, with the help of supporting militias, massacred Bengali students, intellectuals, politicians, civil servants and military defectors during the 1971 Bangladesh genocide. Several million refugees fled to neighboring India. Estimates for those killed throughout the war range between 300,000 and 3 million.
Global public opinion turned against Pakistan as news of atrocities spread, with the Bangladesh Movement gaining support from prominent political and cultural figures in the West, including Ted Kennedy, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Victoria Ocampo and Andre Malraux. The Concert for Bangla Desh was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City to raise funds for Bangladeshi refugees. It was the first major benefit concert in history and was organized by Beatles star George Harrison and Indian Bengali sitarist Ravi Shankar.
During the liberation war, Bengali nationalists announced a declaration of independence and formed the Mukti Bahini (the Bangladeshi National Liberation Army). The Provisional Government of Bangladesh operated in exile from Calcutta, India. Led by General M. A. G. Osmani and eleven Sector Commanders, the Mukti Bahini held the Bengali countryside during the war, and waged wide-scale guerrilla operations against Pakistani forces. Neighboring India and its leader Indira Gandhi, a longstanding nemesis of Pakistan, provided crucial support to the Bangladesh Forces and intervened in support of the provisional government on 3 December 1971. The Soviet Union and the United States dispatched naval forces to the Bay of Bengal amid a Cold War standoff during the Indo-Pakistani War. Lasting for nine months, the entire war ended with the surrender of Pakistan's military to the Bangladesh-India Allied Forces on 16 December 1971. Under international pressure, Pakistan released Mujib from imprisonment on 8 January 1972, after which he was flown by the Royal Air Force to a million strong homecoming in Dhaka. Indian troops were withdrawn by 12 March 1972, three months after the war ended.
The cause of Bangladeshi self-determination was widely recognized around the world. By the time of its admission for UN membership in August 1972, the new state was recognized by 86 countries. Pakistan recognized Bangladesh in 1974 after pressure from most of the Muslim world.
After independence, Bangladesh became a secular democracy and a republic within the Commonwealth. The world's 7th most populous nation at the time was ravaged by wartime devastation and widespread poverty, receiving massive international aid as a result. It joined the Non-Aligned Movement and the OIC in 1973, followed by the United Nations in 1974. The Mujib administration signed a 25-year friendship treaty with India and was courted by Western and Eastern bloc powers. Bangladesh expressed strong solidarity with Arab countries during the Arab-Israeli War in 1973, sending medical teams to Egypt and Syria. Mujib's government faced growing political agitation from left-wing groups, especially the National Socialist Party. Chakma politician M. N. Larma protested the lack of recognition for indigenous Chittagong Hill Tracts minorities in the new constitution. Mujib briefly declared a state of emergency to maintain law and order.
India, Pakistan and Bangladesh signed tripartite agreement in 1973 calling for peace and stability in the subcontinent. A nationwide famine occurred in 1974. In early 1975, Mujib initiated one party socialist rule. On 15 August 1975, Mujib and most of his family members were assassinated by mid-level army officers during a military coup. Vice President Khandaker Mushtaq Ahmed was sworn in as President, with most of Mujib's cabinet intact. Bangladesh was placed under martial law.
Mushtaq interned four prominent associates of Mujib, including Bangladesh's first prime minister Tajuddin Ahmad. Two Army uprisings on 3 and 7 November 1975 led to a reorganised structure of power. Between the two coups, the four interned Awami League leaders were assassinated by army men in Dhaka Central Jail. Mushtaq was replaced by Justice Abu Sayem as President, while the three chiefs of the armed services become martial law administrators. A technocrat cabinet was formed with Moudud Ahmed as Deputy Prime Minister. Bangladesh was one of the first countries to recognize the provisional revolutionary government of South Vietnam after the withdrawal of U.S. forces.
Lieutenant General Ziaur Rahman took over the presidency in 1977 when Justice Sayem resigned. In 1979, President Zia reinstated multi-party politics and restored civilian rule. He promoted free markets and founded the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). Zia reoriented Bangladesh's foreign policy, moving away from the Awami League's strong ties with India and Soviet Union, and pursued closer relations with the West. He opposed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Domestically, Zia faced as many as 21 coup attempts.
An insurgency began in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, due to demands by the region's indigenous people for autonomy. The Bangladesh Army was accused of persecuting the area's diverse ethnic minorities. Zia also advocated the idea of a South Asian regional community, inspired by the formation of ASEAN. A military crackdown on Rohingyas in neighboring Myanmar led to an exodus of several hundred thousand refugees into southeastern Bangladesh. Zia's rule ended when he was assassinated by elements of the military in 1981. He was succeeded by Abdus Sattar, who served in office for less than a year.
Bangladesh's next major ruler was Lieutenant General Hussain Muhammad Ershad. As President, Ershad pursued administrative reforms, including a devolution scheme which divided the country into 64 districts and 5 divisions. Ershad hosted the founding summit of SAARC in Dhaka in 1985, which brought together 7 South Asian countries, including India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bhutan and Bangladesh, into a landmark regional union. He also expanded the country's road network and started important projects like the Jamuna Bridge. In 1986, Ershad restored civilian rule and founded the Jatiya Party. Elections were held in 1986 and 1988. Ershad sent Bangladeshi troops to join the US-led coalition in the Persian Gulf War after a request from King Fahd. Ershad faced a revolt by opposition parties and the public in 1990, which coupled with pressure from Western donors for democratic reforms, forced him to resign on 6 December that year. He handed over power to Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed. Ershad was later indicted and convicted on corruption charges. In 1991, Bangladesh reverted to parliamentary democracy. Former first lady Khaleda Zia led the Bangladesh Nationalist Party to victory at the general election in 1991 and became the first female Prime Minister in Bangladeshi history. Zia's finance minister Saifur Rahman launched a series of economic reforms aimed at liberalizing the Bangladeshi economy, mirroring similar initiatives by Manmohan Singh in India in 1991. Prime Minister Zia was forced to implement the caretaker government provision in the constitution in 1996 by the opposition.
At the next election in 1996, the Awami League, headed by Sheikh Hasina, one of Mujib's surviving daughters, returned to power after 21 years. Hasina ended the Chittagong Hill Tracts insurgency after a peace accord with PCJSS rebels. She also secured a treaty with India on sharing the water of the Ganges. Hasina held a trilateral economic summit between India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in 1999 and helped establish the D8 grouping with Turkey. The economy took a downturn with a depletion of foreign exchange reserves. Hasina also refused to export Bangladesh's natural gas, despite major investment offers from international oil companies. The Awami League lost again to the Bangladesh Nationalist Party in the 2001 election. In her second term as Prime Minister, Khaleda Zia signed a Defence Cooperation Agreement with China.
The economy picked up steam from 2003, with a GDP growth rate of 6% in spite of the 2005 floods. Zia faced criticism for her alliance with the Jamaat-e-Islami, which was accused of war crimes in 1971, and accusations against her son Tarique Rahman of corruption. The Awami League waged a series of strikes against the government after an assassination attempt on former premier Sheikh Hasina. Widespread political unrest followed the end of the BNP's tenure in late October 2006. A caretaker government led by the pro-BNP President Iajuddin Ahmed worked to bring the parties to election within the required ninety days, but was accused by opposition parties of being biased. At the last minute, the Awami League announced an election boycott.
On 11 January 2007, the Bangladesh Armed Forces intervened to support both a state of emergency and a continuing but neutral caretaker government under a newly appointed Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed, the former governor of the Bangladesh Bank. Ahmed strengthened the Anti Corruption Commission and launched an anti-graft drive, detaining more than 160 people, including politicians, civil servants, businessmen and two sons of Khaleda Zia. The Awami League won a landslide majority in the 2008 general election. The BNP boycotted the general election in 2014 due to Sheikh Hasina's cancellation of the caretaker government system.
Bangladesh has significantly reduced poverty since it gained independence, with the poverty rate coming down from 57% in 1990 to 25.6% in 2014. Per-capita incomes have more than doubled from 1975 levels. Bangladesh has also achieved successes in human development, including greater life expectancy than India. The country continues to face challenges of unstable politics, climate change, religious extremism and inequality.
The politics of Bangladesh takes place in the framework of a multiparty parliamentary representative democracy, modeled on the Westminster system of unicameral parliamentary government. Traditionally, Bangladesh has been a two party system since democracy was restored in 1990. However, concerns over the fairness of elections and annulment of the caretaker government system led to a boycott of the national election in 2014 by major opposition parties. Critics have accused the government of trying to turn Bangladesh into a dominant party state under the ruling Awami League.
- Executive: The Prime Minister is the head of government and is appointed by the President with the confidence of the majority in parliament. The Prime Minister heads the Cabinet of Bangladesh which holds Executive power. The President is the head of state with key ceremonial duties. The President is elected by the parliament for a five-year term. Sheikh Hasina has been the Prime Minister of Bangladesh since 2009. Abdul Hamid is the current President of Bangladesh.
- Legislative: There are 350 MPs in the Jatiyo Sangshad. It is headed by the Speaker of Parliament, who is second in line to the presidency. The Prime Minister is traditionally the Leader of the House and the single largest party. The Leader of the Opposition heads the main opposition in the house. During elections, 300 lawmakers are elected on a first-past-the-post basis. The Speaker allocates an additional 50 reserved seats for women candidates. The Awami League currently holds control of the house with 273 seats. The Jatiya Party is the chief opposition with 42 seats. The current Speaker of parliament is Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury.
- Judicial: The legal system of Bangladesh is primarily in accordance with English Common Law. The higher judiciary consists of the Supreme Court, which includes an Appellate Division and the Bangladesh High Court. The current Chief Justice is Surendra Kumar Sinha. The constitution has undergone fifteen amendments since 1972.
Bangladesh's foreign policy follows a principle of friendship to all and malice to none, which was first articulated by Bengali statesman H. S. Suhrawardy in 1957. Suhrawardy also led East and West Pakistan to join the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, CENTO and the Regional Cooperation for Development. After independence, Bangladesh joined the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations. Today, countries considered as Bangladesh's most important partners include India, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom.
During the Cold War, Bangladesh cultivated good relations with both the United States and the Soviet Union, but it remained nonaligned with either superpower. Bangladesh asserted itself in regards to many international issues, including those affecting decolonized and developing countries. Bangladesh traditionally places a heavy reliance on multilateral diplomacy, especially in the United Nations. Since independence, it has twice been elected to the UN Security Council. Bangladeshi diplomat Humayun Rashid Choudhury served as President of the United Nations General Assembly.
During the Gulf War in 1991, Bangladesh contributed 2,300 troops to the US-led multinational coalition for the liberation of Kuwait. It has since become the world's largest contributor of UN peacekeeping forces, providing 113,000 personnel to 54 UN missions in the Middle East, the Balkans, Africa and the Caribbean, as of 2014[update]. Bangladeshi aid agencies work in many developing countries worldwide. An example are the operations of BRAC in Afghanistan, which benefit 12 million people in that country.
Bangladeshi foreign policy also relies on the country's Islamic heritage, being an OIC member and the world's third largest Muslim-majority country, and enjoys fraternal relations with many nations in the Muslim world. It is a founding member of the Developing 8, along with Turkey, Malaysia, Egypt, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan and Indonesia.
Strategically important in South Asia and the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh is classified as a middle power. It has diverse political, economic and military partnerships in the region. It has played a leading role in organizing regional engagement and development cooperation. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was founded in Dhaka in 1985. Three Bangladeshis have since served as its Secretary General. The Bangladeshi capital hosts the headquarters of the Bay of Bengal Initiative (BIMSTEC). The country is part of the Bangladesh–China–India–Myanmar Forum for Regional Cooperation. It has prioritized relations with ASEAN members in Southeast Asia. It is a member of the Indian Ocean Rim Association.
Bangladesh's most important bilateral relations are with the two regional powers India and China. The relationship with India is bound by shared ideals of democracy, cultural heritage and the 1971 Liberation War, in which Indian military and diplomatic support was crucial in defeating Pakistani forces on Bangladeshi territory. In the early years of Bangladesh's independence, Dhaka and Delhi enjoyed a strong alliance. However, when military coups began in Bangladesh during the late 1970s, there was increasing distance between the two neighbors. Differences emerged over sharing the water of the Ganges. Bangladesh developed very warm relations with the People's Republic of China in the 1980s. Defense cooperation rapidly increased as the Bangladeshi military became one of the largest buyers of Chinese defense equipment, given their relative cost-effective attractiveness for the Bangladeshi defence budget. China has supplied Bangladesh with missiles and frigates. China is also one of Bangladesh's largest trade partners. In more recent years, India has sought to revive relations with Bangladesh through a strategic partnership focused on counter-terrorism, aid for infrastructure development and promoting regional economic integration. Bangladesh and India are the largest trading partners among SAARC nations. The Indian and Bangladeshi armed forces maintain robust strategic engagement. Relations with Pakistan have been affected by issues related to the 1971 genocide and terrorism. Bangladesh enjoys strong ties with regional neighbors Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
Bangladesh's relations with neighboring Myanmar are relatively warm. Myanmar was one of the first countries to recognize Bangladesh's independence. Relations were in a brief deadlock due to a naval standoff in 2008 over disputed maritime territory. In 2012, the two countries resolved their maritime boundary disputes at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The relationship with Myanmar is complicated by the persecution of the Rohingya people in Rakhine State. As of 2016[update], Bangladesh hosts between 300,000 and 500,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmarese military crackdowns since 1978. In 2012, Bangladesh denied entry to further refugees after another spate of sectarian riots broke out in Rakhine State. Both countries view each other as gateways to South and Southeast Asia. Their armed forces maintain regular dialogue and both depend on Chinese military supplies. Thailand is an important ally and economic partner of Bangladesh, with the two countries sharing strategic interests in the Bay of Bengal region.
The United States enjoys a warm and strategic partnership with Bangladesh. 76% of Bangladeshis viewed the United States favorably in 2014. The United States is Bangladesh's largest foreign investor and trade partner. Bangladesh is the third largest recipient of American development assistance in Asia after Afghanistan and Pakistan. Relations with the United Kingdom are long-standing. Bangladesh is one of the largest recipients of U.K. development aid. Japan and Bangladesh have strong relations with common strategic and political goals. Japan has been Bangladesh's largest development partner since independence, providing over US$11 billion in aid. Relations with the Russian Federation have focused on trade, nuclear energy and defense supplies. There are also growing trade links with Latin American nations, particularly Brazil and Mexico.
As of 2012[update], the current strength of the army is around 300,000 including reservists, the air force 22,000, and navy 24,000. In addition to traditional defence roles, the military has been called on to provide support to civil authorities for disaster relief and internal security during periods of political unrest. Bangladesh has consistently been the world's largest contributor to UN peacekeeping forces for many years. In February 2015, Bangladesh had major deployments in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Darfur, Côte d'Ivoire, Haiti, South Sudan, Lebanon, Cyprus and the Golan Heights.
Bangladesh is ranked by Freedom House as "Partly Free" in its Freedom in the World report. Press freedom in Bangladesh is ranked as "Not Free". The Economist Intelligence Unit classifies the country as a hybrid regime, which is the third best rank out of four in its Democracy Index. Bangladesh ranked as the 3rd most peaceful country in South Asia in the Global Peace Index in 2015. In recent years, the once vibrant civil society and media in Bangladesh have come under attack from both the ruling Awami League government and far-right Islamic extremists.
According to Mizanur Rahman, the chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, 70% of the allegations of human rights violations they receive are against the law-enforcement agencies. Targets have included Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank, secularist bloggers, independent and pro-opposition newspapers and television networks. The United Nations has said that it was deeply concerned by the government's "measures that restrict freedom of expression and democratic space".
Bangladeshi security forces, particularly the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), have faced strong international condemnation for human rights abuses, including enforced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings. Over 1,000 people have been killed in extrajudicial killings by RAB since its inception under the last BNP government. The agency has been singled out by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International as a "death squad". They have called for the force to be disbanded. The British and American governments have been widely criticized for funding and engaging the force in counter-terrorism operations.
In the Chittagong Hill Tracts, the government is yet to fully implement the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord. The Hill Tracts region remains heavily militarized despite the signing of the peace treaty with indigenous people led by the United People's Party of the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Secularism in Bangladesh is legally enshrined in the constitution. Religious parties are banned from contesting elections, but the government is accused of courting religious extremist groups for votes. Ambiguities over Islam being the state religion have been criticized by the United Nations. Despite relative inter-religious and communal harmony, minorities in Bangladesh have faced persecution on occasions. The Hindu and Buddhist communities have faced religious violence from Islamic groups, notably the Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Shibir. The highest vote share achieved by Islamic far right candidates during Bangladeshi elections was 12% in 2001; the lowest was 4% in 2008.
According to Transparency International, Bangladesh ranked 14th in the list of countries with the most perceived corruption in 2014. In 2015, the cost of bribery was at 3.7% of the national budget.  The country's Anti Corruption Commission was highly active under a state of emergency in 2007 and 2008, when it indicted many leading politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen for graft. After assuming power in 2009, the Awami League government greatly reduced the commission's independent powers for investigation and prosecution. Land administration was the sector in Bangladesh with the largest cost of bibrery in 2015. Education is among the sectors with significant corruption.  The police is highly affected by corruption, too.  Corruption affects water supply significantly.
|Historical populations in millions|
|Source: OECD/World Bank|
Estimates of the Bangladeshi population vary but most recent data suggest 162 to 168 million people (2015). However, the 2011 census estimated 142.3 million, much less than recent (2007–2010) estimates of Bangladesh's population ranging from 150 to 170 million. Bangladesh is thus the 8th most populous nation in the world. In 1951, the population was only 44 million. It is also the most densely populated large country in the world, and it ranks 11th in population density, when very small countries and city-states are included.
Bangladesh's population growth rate was among the highest in the world in the 1960s and 1970s, when its population grew from 65 to 110 million. With the promotion of birth control in the 1980s, the growth rate began to slow. The fertility rate now stands at 2.55, lower than India (2.58) and Pakistan (3.07). The population is relatively young, with 34% aged 15 or younger and 5% 65 or older. Life expectancy at birth is estimated to be 70 years for both males and females in 2012. Despite the rapid economic growth, 43% of the country still lives below the international poverty line which means living on less than $1.25 per day. Bengalis constitute 98% of the population.
Minorities include indigenous people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and other parts of northern Bangladesh. The Hill Tracts are home to 11 ethnic tribal groups, notably the Chakma, Marma, Tanchangya, Tripuri, Kuki, Khiang, Khumi, Murang, Mru, Chak, Lushei and Bawm. The Sylhet Division is home to the Bishnupriya Manipuri, Khasi and Jaintia tribes. The Mymensingh District has a substantial Garo population. The northern Bangladesh region is home to aboriginal Santal, Munda and Oraon people. Bangladesh is also home to a significant Ismaili community.
The southeastern region has received an influx of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, particularly during Burmese military crackdowns in 1978 and 1991. During renewed sectarian unrest in Rakhine State in 2012, Bangladesh closed its borders amid fears of a third major exodus from Myanmar. Stranded Pakistanis or Biharis are a contentious dispute between Bangladesh and Pakistan. In 2008, the Bangladesh High Court granted full citizenship to all second generation Stranded Pakistanis born after 1971. The Hill Tracts region suffered unrest and an insurgency from 1975 to 1997 due to a movement by indigenous people for autonomy. A peace accord was signed in 1997; however, the region remains heavily militarized.
More than 98% of Bangladeshis speak Bangla as their native language. English is also used as a second language among the middle and upper classes and is also widely used in higher education and the legal system. Historically, laws were written in English and were not translated into Bangla until 1987. Bangladesh's Constitution and all laws are now in both English and Bangla.
Stranded Pakistani Biharis since 1971 living in various camps in Bangladesh speak Urdu. Similarly, Rohingya Refugees from Myanmar since 1978 living in various camps in Bangladesh speak Rohingya. There are also several indigenous minority languages.
Islam is the largest religion in Bangladesh, adhered to by about 86.6% of the population. The country is home to most Bengali Muslims, the second largest ethnic group in the Muslim world. The majority of Bangladeshi Muslims are Sunni, followed by the Shia and Ahmadiya. Roughly 4% are non-denominational Muslims. Bangladesh has the fourth-largest Muslim population in the world and is the third-largest Muslim-majority country after Indonesia and Pakistan.
Hinduism is followed by about 12.1% of the population, with most being Bengali Hindus and a small segment being ethnic people. Bangladeshi Hindus are the country's second biggest religious group and the third largest Hindu community in the world after those of India and Nepal. Hindus in Bangladesh are almost evenly distributed in all regions, with large concentrations in Gopalganj, Dinajpur, Sylhet, Sunamganj, Mymensingh, Khulna, Jessore, Chittagong and parts of Chittagong Hill Tracts. And despite their dwindling numbers, Hindus are the second-largest religious community after the Muslims in Dhaka.
Buddhism is the third largest religion, at 0.6%. Bangladeshi Buddhists are largely concentrated among ethnic groups in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, particularly the Chakma, Marma and Tanchangya peoples; while coastal Chittagong is home to the large number of Bengali Buddhists.
Christianity is the fourth largest religion at 0.4%.
The remaining 0.3% population follow various folk religions and animistic faiths.
Many people in Bangladesh practice Sufism, which has a long heritage in the region. The largest gathering of Muslims in the country is the Bishwa Ijtema, held annually by the Tablighi Jamaat. The Ijtema is the second largest Muslim congregation in the world after the Hajj.
The Constitution of Bangladesh declares Islam as the state religion, but bans religion-based politics. It proclaims equal recognition of Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and people of all faiths. Earlier in 1972, Bangladesh became the first constitutionally secular country in South Asia. The U. S. State Department describes Bangladesh as a secular pluralistic democracy.
Bangladesh has a low literacy rate, estimated at 66.5% for males and 63.1% for females in 2014. The educational system in Bangladesh is three-tiered and highly subsidized. The government operates many schools in the primary, secondary, and higher secondary levels. It subsidises parts of the funding for many private schools. In the tertiary education sector, the government funds more than 15 state universities through the University Grants Commission.
The education system is divided into five levels: Primary (from grades 1 to 5), Junior Secondary (from grades 6 to 8), Secondary (from grades 9 to 10), Higher Secondary (from grades 11 to 12) and tertiary. The five years of lower secondary education concluded with a Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination, but since 2009 it concludes with a Primary Education Closing (PEC) examination. Earlier, students who pass this examination proceed to four years secondary or matriculation training, which culminate in a Secondary School Certificate (SSC) Examination.
Primary Education Closing (PEC) passed examinees proceed to three years Junior Secondary, which culminate in a Junior School Certificate (JSC) Examination. Students who pass this examination proceed to two years secondary or matriculation training, which culminate in a Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination. Students who pass this examination proceed to two years of Higher Secondary or intermediate training, which culminate in a Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSC) examination.
Education is mainly offered in Bengali, but English is commonly taught and used. A large number of Muslim families send their children to attend part-time courses or even to pursue full-time religious education, which is imparted in Bengali and Arabic in madrasahs.
Bangladesh conforms fully to the Education For All (EFA) objectives, the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and international declarations. Article 17 of the Bangladesh Constitution provides that all children between the ages of six and ten years receive a basic education free of charge.
Universities in Bangladesh are mainly categorized into three types: public (government owned and subsidized), private (private sector owned universities) and international (operated and funded by international organizations). Bangladesh has 34 public, 64 private and two international universities. Bangladesh National University has the largest enrollment among them and University of Dhaka (established 1921) is the oldest. Islamic University of Technology, commonly known as IUT, is a subsidiary organ of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), representing 57 member countries from Asia, Africa, Europe and South America. Asian University for Women in Chittagong is the preeminent liberal arts university for women in South Asia, representing 14 countries from Asia. The faculty members are from many well-known academic institutions of North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. BUET, CUET, KUET, RUET are the four public engineering universities in the country. BUTex and DUET are two specialized engineering universities, where BUTex specializes in Textile Engineering and DUET offers higher education to Diploma Engineers.There are only one public-private partnership specilized institute NITER which provide Textile Engineering highr education. There are some science and technology universities including SUST, PUST, JUST, NSTU etc.
Bangladeshi universities are accredited by and affiliated with the University Grants Commission (UGC), created according to the Presidential Order (P.O. No 10 of 1973) of the government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh.
Recently the literacy rate of Bangladesh has improved as it stands at 71% as of 2015[update] due to the modernization of schools and education funds. At present, 16,087 schools and 2,363 colleges were getting Monthly Pay Order (MPO) facilities. 27,558 madrasas, and technical and vocational institutions were enlisted for the facilities. 6036 educational institutions were outside the MPO coverage and that the ruling party enlisted 1,624 private schools for MPO in 2010.
- On the ground, in the investigations that we have carried out, we did not get any evidence of ISIS links as yet. I do not think, any terrorist or groups would ever gain permanent or semi-permanent ground in Bangladesh
- Bangladesh's State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, quoted on One India (February 13, 2016), "No evidence of ISIS' presence in Bangladesh: Alam"
- Our relationship with the United States in the last two years has reached a new height. Both sides agree that we are happy with the level of co-operation with each other
- Bangladesh's State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam on relations between the US and Bangladesh, quoted on One India (February 13, 2016), "No evidence of ISIS' presence in Bangladesh: Alam"
- It's roughly a 40/60 split. We have more large concentrations of people than we've ever had before. That is new. And those concentrations themselves, they have momentum.
- said Deborah Balk, an urbanization specialist with the CUNY Institute for Demographic Research in New York City, quoted on BBC News, "Dhaka, Bangladesh: Fastest Growing City in the World", September 9, 2010.
- Scholars, journalists, activists, and others have an almost knee-jerk tendency to praise Bangladesh's beginnings as a secular nation and trace its slide into Islamist domination from the 1975 assassination of its founding father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. That praise is warranted - but only to a limited extent, for secularism and any semblance of democratic ideals were in their death throes long before Sheikh Mujib was.
- Benkin, Richard L. (2012). A quiet case of ethnic cleansing: The murder of Bangladesh's Hindus. New Delhi: Akshaya Prakashan. p.167 Bangladesh is a poor country?
- Many Bangladeshis are travelling abroad, taking holidays abroad. They are being exposed to how people in neighbouring countries live, what kind of clothes they wear... The increase in their expectations and growth in disposable income will create a situation and market for foreign branded items to come in here.
- Prof Imran Rahman, vice chancellor and director of the School of Business at the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh, quoted on BBC News, "Uniqlo looks to cash in on Bangladesh's middle class", July 11, 2013.
- The rate at which sediment is deposited and new land is created is much slower than the rate at which climate change and sea level rises are taking place.
- Dr Atiq Rahman, a lead author of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, quoted on BBC News, "Bangladesh landmass 'is growing'", July 30, 2008.
- Bangladesh inherited almost no tourist infrastructure either at the time of the formation of Pakistan or at the time of its establishment as the Republic of Bangladesh. Unlike West Pakistan, the East had no mountain scenery to lure the British to establish hill stations. Bangladesh is mostly delta; although it does have a cooler climate in the Chittagong Hills.
- Bangladesh is a majority Muslim country, with a significant, if shrinking Hindu minority—about 25-30% at the time of Partition in 1947, and less than 9% in 2003. The textbooks in Bangladesh are not based on an anti-Indian bias as are state sponsored textbooks in Pakistan. The social studies curriculum in Pakistan is premised on creating a national identity that is distinct from India, whereas Bangladeshi textbooks reflect a more pan-South Asian perspective, though Bengal-centric.
- Yvette Rosser, (2003). Curriculum as Destiny: Forging National Identity in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh (Dissertation). University of Texas at Austin.
- Bangladesh’s vision for becoming a middle-income country is ambitious, but not impossible. To achieve this goal, it will need to boost its competitiveness and grow at an even faster pace than the last decade. With nearly one-third of the population living in urban centres, they can become the engine of growth if local urban bodies are able to deliver essential services and make cities liveable.
- Johanness Zutt, World Bank country director for Bangladesh, quoted on Public Finance International, "Bangladesh local government to get $410m infrastructure boost", February 10, 2014.
The recorded history of art in Bangladesh can be traced to the 3rd century BCE, when terracotta sculptures were made in the region. In classical antiquity, a notable school of sculptural Hindu, Jain and Buddhist art developed in the Pala Empire and the Sena dynasty. Islamic art evolved since the 14th century. The architecture of the Bengal Sultanate saw a distinct style of domed mosques with complex niche pillars and no minarets. Mughal Bengal's most celebrated artistic tradition was the weaving of Jamdani motifs on fine muslin, which is now classified by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage. Jamdani motifs were similar to Iranian textile art (buta motif) and Western textile art (paisley). The Jamdani weavers in Dhaka received imperial patronage. Ivory and brass were also widely used in Mughal art. Pottery is widely used in Bengali culture.
The modern art movement in Bangladesh took shape during the 1950s, particularly with the pioneering works of Zainul Abedin. East Bengal developed its own modernist painting and sculpture traditions, which were distinct from art movements in West Bengal. The Art Institute Dhaka has been an important center of visual art in the region. Its annual Bengali New Year parade was enlisted as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2016.
Modern Bangladesh has produced many of South Asia's leading painters, including SM Sultan, Mohammad Kibria, Shahabuddin Ahmed, Kanak Chanpa Chakma, Kafil Ahmed, Saifuddin Ahmed, Qayyum Chowdhury, Rashid Choudhury, Quamrul Hassan, Rafiqun Nabi and Syed Jahangir among others. Novera Ahmed and Nitun Kundu were pioneers of modernist sculptures in the country.
The Chobi Mela is the largest photography festival in Asia.
The oldest evidence of writing in Bangladesh is the Mahasthan Brahmi Inscription, which dates back to the 3rd century BCE. During the Gupta Empire, Sanskrit literature thrived in the region. Bengali developed from Sanskrit and Magadhi Prakrit in the 11th century. Bengali literature is a millennium old tradition. The Charyapada are the earliest examples of Bengali poetry. Sufi spiritualism inspired many Bengali Muslim writers. During the Bengal Sultanate, medieval Bengali writers were influenced by Arabic and Persian works. Syed Alaol was a noted secular poet and translator. The Chandidas are an example of Bangladeshi folk literature which developed during the Middle Ages. The Bengal Renaissance shaped the emergence of modern Bengali literature, including novels, short stories and science fiction. Rabindranath Tagore was the first non-European laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature and is described as the Bengali Shakespeare. Kazi Nazrul Islam was a revolutionary poet who espoused spiritual rebellion against colonialism and fascism. Begum Rokeya was a pioneer of Bengali writing in English, with her early of work of feminist science fiction. Other renaissance icons included Michael Madhusudan Dutt and Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay.
The writer Syed Mujtaba Ali is noted for his cosmopolitan Bengali worldview. Humayun Ahmed was a popular writer of modern Bangladeshi magical realism and science fiction. Shamsur Rahman was the poet laureate of Bangladesh for many years. Jasimuddin was a renowned pastoral poet. Farrukh Ahmed, Sufia Kamal, Kaiser Haq and Nirmalendu Goon are important figures of modern Bangladeshi poetry. Notable writers of Bangladeshi novels include Mir Mosharraf Hossain, Akhteruzzaman Elias, Syed Waliullah, Shahidullah Kaiser, Shawkat Osman, Selina Hossain, Taslima Nasreen, Haripada Datta, Razia Khan, Anisul Hoque, Al Mahmud, Bipradash Barua, Tahmima Anam, Neamat Imam, Monica Ali and Zia Haider Rahman. Many Bangladeshi writers, such as Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, K. Anis Ahmed and Farah Ghuznavi, are acclaimed for their short stories.
Women in Bangladesh
Although, as of 2015[update], several women occupy major political office in Bangladesh, the women of the country continue to suffer under a patriarchal social regime where violence is common. Whereas in India and Pakistan women participate less in the workforce as their education increases, in Bangladesh there is an opposite trend.
Bengal has a long history of feminist activism dating back to the 19th century. Roquia Sakhawat Hussain and Faizunnessa Chowdhurani played an important role in emancipating Bengali Muslim women from the purdah in undivided Bengal and promoting girls' education. Several women were elected to the Bengal Legislative Assembly in the British Raj. The first women's magazine Begum was published in 1948.
Female workforce participation in Bangladesh is among the highest in the Muslim world, at 59%. Women dominate blue collar jobs in the Bangladeshi garment industry. Agriculture, social services, healthcare and education are also major occupations for Bangladeshi women; while employment in white collar jobs has steadily increased.
The architectural traditions of Bangladesh have a 2,500-year-old heritage. Terracotta architecture is a distinct feature of Bengal. Pre-Islamic Bengali architecture reached its pinnacle during the Pala Empire, when the Pala School of Sculptural Art established grand structures such as the Somapura Mahavihara. Islamic architecture began developing under the Bengal Sultanate, when local terracotta styles influenced medieval mosque construction. The Adina Mosque of undivided Bengal was the largest mosque built in the Indian subcontinent.
The Sixty Dome Mosque was the largest medieval mosque built in Bangladesh, and is a fine example of Turkic-Bengali architecture. The Mughal style replaced indigenous architecture when Bengal became a province of the Mughal Empire and influenced the development of urban housing. The Kantajew Temple and Dhakeshwari Temple are excellent examples of late medieval Hindu temple architecture. Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture, based on Indo-Islamic styles, flourished during the British period. The zamindar gentry in Bangladesh built numerous Indo-Saracenic palaces and country mansions, such as the Ahsan Manzil, Tajhat Palace, Dighapatia Palace, Puthia Rajbari and Natore Rajbari.
Bengali vernacular architecture is noted for pioneering the bungalow. Bangladeshi villages consist of thatched roofed houses made of natural materials like mud, straw, wood and bamboo. In modern times, village bungalows are increasingly made of tin.
Muzharul Islam was the pioneer of Bangladeshi modern architecture. His varied works set the course of modern architectural practice in the country. Islam brought leading global architects, including Louis Kahn, Richard Neutra, Stanley Tigerman, Paul Rudolph, Robert Boughey and Konstantinos Doxiadis, to work in erstwhile East Pakistan. Louis Kahn was chosen to design the National Parliament Complex in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar. Kahn's monumental designs, combining regional red brick aesthetics, his own concrete and marble brutalism and the use of lakes to represent Bengali geography, are regarded as one of the masterpieces of the 20th century. In more recent times, award-winning architects like Rafiq Azam have set the course of contemporary architecture by adopting influences from Islam and Kahns' works.
- চাপাইনবাবগঞ্জের বিখ্যাত সোনামসজিদ।.JPG
- Puthia Mandirs10.JPG
- Atia terracotta.jpg
Islamic terracotta on the Atia Mosque
- Khan Mohammad Mirdhas Mosque Dome by Ragib Hasan.jpg
- Lalbagh Kella (Lalbagh Fort) Dhaka Bangladesh 2011 57.JPG
Mughal architecture in Dhaka
Theatre in Bangladesh includes various forms, with a history dating back to the 4th century AD. It includes narrative forms, song and dance forms, supra-personae forms, performances with scroll paintings, puppet theatre and processional forms. The Jatra is the most popular form of Bengali folk theatre. The dance traditions of Bangladesh include indigenous tribal and Bengali dance forms, as well as classical Indian dances, including the Kathak, Odissi and the Manipuri dances.
The music of Bangladesh features the Baul mystical tradition, listed by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Numerous lyric based musical traditions exist including Gombhira, Bhatiali and Bhawaiya, varying from one region to the next. Folk music is accompanied by the ektara, an instrument with only one string. Other instruments include the dotara, dhol, flute, and tabla. Bengali classical music includes Tagore songs and Nazrul geeti. Bangladesh has a rich tradition of Indian classical music, which uses instruments like the sitar, tabla, sarod and santoor.
There are 150 different types of boats and canoes in Bangladesh. The types of timber used in boat making are from local woods Jarul (dipterocarpus turbinatus), sal (shorea robusta), sundari (heritiera fomes) and Myanmar teak (tectons grandis). The region was renowned for shipbuilding in the medieval period, when its shipyards catered to major powers in Eurasia, including the Mughals and Ottomans.
The Nakshi Kantha is a centuries-old embroidery tradition for quilts, said to be indigenous to eastern Bengal (Bangladesh). The sari is the national dress for Bangladeshi woman. Mughal Dhaka was renowned for producing the finest muslin saris, including the famed Dhakai and Jamdani, the weaving of which is listed by UNESCO as one of the masterpieces of humanity's intangible cultural heritage. Bangladesh also produces the Rajshahi silk. The shalwar kameez is also widely worn by Bangladeshi women. In urban areas some women can be also seen in western clothing. The kurta and sherwani are the national dresses of Bangladeshi men. The lungi and dhoti is worn by Bengali men in informal settings. The handloom industry supplies of 60–65% of clothing demand. Aside from ethnic wear, domestically tailored suits and neckties are usually worn by men in the country, and it is customary in offices, schools and social events.
The Bengali ethnic fashion industry has flourished well in the changing environment of the fashion world. The retailer Aarong is one of the most successful ethnic wear brands in South Asia. The development of the Bangladesh textile industry, which supplies leading international brands, has promoted the production and retail of modern Western attire locally, with the country now having a number of expanding local brands like Westecs and Yellow. Bangladesh is the world's second largest garments exporter.
White rice is the staple of Bangladeshi cuisine, along with many vegetables and lentils. Rice preparations also include Bengali biryanis, pulaos, and khichuris. Mustard sauce, ghee, sunflower oil and fruit chutneys are widely used in Bangladeshi cooking. Fish is the main source of protein in Bengali cuisine. The Hilsa is the national fish and immensely popular across Bangladesh. Other fishes eaten include rohu, butterfish, catfish, tilapia and barramundi. Fish eggs are a gourmet delicacy. Seafood holds an important place in Bengali cuisine, especially lobsters, shrimps and dried fish. Meat consumption includes chicken, beef, mutton, venison, duck and squab. In Chittagong, Mezban feasts are a popular tradition featuring the serving of hot beef curry. In Sylhet, the shatkora lemons are used to marinate dishes. In the tribal Hill Tracts, bamboo shoot cooking is prevalent. Bangladesh has a vast spread of desserts, including distinctive sweets like Rôshogolla, Rôshomalai, Chomchom, Mishti Doi and Kalojaam. Pithas are traditional boiled desserts made with rice or fruits. Halwa is served during religious festivities. Naan, paratha, luchi and bakarkhani are the main local breads. Black tea is offered to guests as a gesture of welcome. Kebabs are widely popular across Bangladesh, particularly seekh kebabs, chicken tikka and shashliks.
Bangladesh shares its culinary heritage with the neighboring Indian state of West Bengal. The two regions have several differences, however. In Muslim-majority Bangladesh, meat consumption is greater; whereas in Hindu-majority West Bengal, vegetarianism is more prevalent. The Bangladeshi diaspora dominates the South Asian restaurant industry in many Western countries, particularly in the United Kingdom.
Pohela Boishakh, the Bengali new year, is the major festival of Bengali culture and sees widespread festivities. Of the major holidays celebrated in Bangladesh, only Pohela Boishakh comes without any preexisting expectations (specific religious identity, culture of gift-giving, etc.). Unlike holidays like Eid al-Fitr, where dressing up in lavish clothes has become a norm, or Christmas where exchanging gifts has become an integral part of the holiday, Pohela Boishakh is really about celebrating the simpler, rural roots of the Bengal. As a result, more people can participate in the festivities together without the burden of having to reveal one's class, religion, or financial capacity. Other cultural festivals include Nabonno, and Poush Parbon both of which are Bengali harvest festivals.
The Muslim festivals of Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Milad un Nabi, Muharram, Chand Raat, Shab-e-Barat; the Hindu festivals of Durga Puja, Janmashtami and Rath Yatra; the Buddhist festival of Buddha Purnima, which marks the birth of Gautama Buddha, and Christian festival of Christmas are national holidays in Bangladesh and see the most widespread celebrations in the country.
Alongside there are national days like the remembrance of 21 February 1952 Language Movement Day (International Mother Language Day), Independence Day and Victory Day. On Language Movement Day, people congregate at the Shaheed Minar in Dhaka to remember the national heroes of the Bengali Language Movement, and at the Jatiyo Smriti Soudho on Independence Day and Victory Day to remember the national heroes of the Bangladesh Liberation War. These occasions are observed with public ceremonies, parades, rallies by citizens, political speeches, fairs, concerts, and various other public and private events celebrating the history and traditions of Bangladesh. TV and radio stations broadcast special programs and patriotic songs. And many schools and colleges organise fairs, festivals, and concerts in which citizens from all levels of society can participate.
Cricket is one of the most popular sports in Bangladesh, followed by football. The national cricket team participated in their first Cricket World Cup in 1999, and the following year was granted elite Test cricket status. But they have struggled to date, recording only ten Test match victories: eight against Zimbabwe with five in 2005 and three in 2014, the other two came in a 2–0 series victory over the West Indies in 2009.
The team has been more successful in One Day International cricket. In July 2010, they celebrated their first ever win over England in any form of match. Later in 2010, they beat New Zealand for the first time. In late 2012, they won a five-match home ODI series 3-2 against a full-strength West Indies National team. In 2011, Bangladesh successfully co-hosted the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 with India and Sri Lanka. In 2012, the country hosted the Asia Cup. The team beat India and Sri Lanka but failed to keep the reputation in the final game against Pakistan. However, it was the first time Bangladesh had advanced to the final of any top-class international cricket tournament. They participated at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, defeating Afghanistan to claim their Gold Medal in the first ever cricket tournament held in the Asian Games. Bangladeshi cricketer Sakib Al Hasan is no.1 on the ICC's all-rounder rankings in all three formats of the cricket.
Kabaddi is a very popular game in Bangladesh, considered the national game. Other popular sports include field hockey, tennis, badminton, handball, basketball, volleyball, chess, shooting, angling. The National Sports Council regulates 42 different sporting federations.
Bangladesh has 5 grandmasters in chess. Among them, Niaz Murshed was the first grandmaster in South Asia. In another achievement, Margarita Mamun, a Russian rhythmic gymnast of Bangladeshi origin,became world champion in 2013 and 2014.
Media and cinema
The Bangladeshi press is diverse, outspoken and privately owned. Over 200 newspapers are published in the country. Bangladesh Betar is the state-run radio service. The British Broadcasting Corporation operates the popular BBC Bangla news and current affairs service. Bengali broadcasts from Voice of America are also very popular. Bangladesh Television (BTV) is the state-owned television network. There more than 20 privately owned television networks, including several news channels. Freedom of the media remains a major concern, due to government attempts at censorship and harassment of journalists.
The cinema of Bangladesh dates back to 1898, when films began screening at the Crown Theatre in Dacca. The first bioscope in the subcontinent was established in Dacca that year. The Dhaka Nawab Family patronized the production of several silent films in the 1920s and 30s. In 1931, the East Bengal Cinematograph Society released the first full-length feature film in Bangladesh, titled the Last Kiss. The first feature film in East Pakistan, Mukh O Mukhosh, was released in 1956. During the 1960s, 25–30 films were produced annually in Dacca. By the 2000s, Bangladesh produced 80–100 films a year. While the Bangladeshi film industry has achieved limited commercial success; the country has produced notable independent filmmakers. Zahir Raihan was a prominent documentary-maker who was assassinated in 1971. The late Tareque Masud is regarded as one of Bangladesh's outstanding directors due to his numerous productions on historical and social issues. Masud was honored by FIPRESCI at the Cannes Film Festival in 2002 for his film The Clay Bird. Tanvir Mokammel, Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, Humayun Ahmed, Alamgir Kabir, Chashi Nazrul Islam are some of the prominent directors of Bangladeshi cinema.
Museums and libraries
The Varendra Research Museum is the oldest museum in Bangladesh. It houses important collections from both the pre-Islamic and Islamic periods, including the sculptures of the Pala-Sena School of Art and the Indus Valley Civilization; as well as Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian manuscripts and inscriptions. The Ahsan Manzil, the former residence of the Nawab of Dhaka, is a national museum housing collections from the British Raj. It was the site of the founding conference of the All India Muslim League and hosted many British Viceroys in Dhaka.
The Tajhat Palace Museum preserves artifacts of the rich cultural heritage of North Bengal, including Hindu-Buddhist sculptures and Islamic manuscripts. The Mymensingh Museum houses the personal antique collections of Bengali aristocrats in central Bengal. The Ethnological Museum of Chittagong showcases the lifestyle of various tribes in Bangladesh. The Bangladesh National Museum is located in Ramna, Dhaka and has a rich collection of antiquities. The Liberation War Museum documents the Bangladeshi struggle for independence and the 1971 genocide.
In ancient times, manuscripts were written on palm leaves, tree barks, parchment vellum and terracotta plates and preserved at monasteries known as viharas. The Hussain Shahi dynasty established royal libraries during the Bengal Sultanate. Libraries were established in each district of Bengal by the zamindar gentry during the Bengal Renaissance in the 19th-century. The trend of establishing libraries continued until the beginning of World War II. In 1854, four major public libraries were opened, including the Bogra Woodburn Library, the Rangpur Public Library, the Jessore Institute Public Library and the Barisal Public Library.
The Northbrook Hall Public Library was established in Dacca in 1882 in honour of Lord Northbrook, the Governor General. Other libraries established in the British period included the Victoria Public Library, Natore (1901), the Sirajganj Public Library (1882), the Rajshahi Public Library (1884), the Comilla Birchandra Library (1885), the Shah Makhdum Institute Public Library, Rajshahi (1891), the Noakhali Town Hall Public Library (1896), the Prize Memorial Library, Sylhet (1897), the Chittagong Municipality Public Library (1904) and the Varendra Research Library (1910). The Great Bengal Library Association was formed in 1925. The Central Public Library of Dhaka was established in 1959. The National Library of Bangladesh was established in 1972. The World Literature Center, founded by Ramon Magsaysay Award winner Abdullah Abu Sayeed, is noted for operating numerous mobile libraries across Bangladesh and was awarded the UNESCO Jon Amos Comenius Medal.
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Bibliography and further reading
- Iftekhar Iqbal (2010) The Bengal Delta: Ecology, State and Social Change, 1840–1943, Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, Pages: 288, ISBN 0-230-23183-7
- M. Mufakharul Islam (edited) (2004) Socio-Economic History of Bangladesh: essays in memory of Professor Shafiqur Rahman, 1st Edition, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, OCLC 156800811
- M. Mufakharul Islam (2007), Bengal Agriculture 1920–1946: A Quantitative Study, Cambridge South Asian Studies, Cambridge University Press, Pages: 300, ISBN 0-521-04985-7
- Meghna Guhathakurta & Willem van Schendel (Edited) (2013) The Bangladesh Reader: History, Culture, Politics (The World Readers), Duke University Press Books, Pages: 568, ISBN 0-8223-5304-0
- Sirajul Islam (edited) (1997) History of Bangladesh 1704–1971(Three Volumes: Vol 1: Political History, Vol 2: Economic History Vol 3: Social and Cultural History), 2nd Edition (Revised New Edition), The Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Pages: 1846, ISBN 984-512-337-6
- Sirajul Islam (Chief Editor) (2003) Banglapedia: A National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh.(10 Vols. Set), (written by 1300 scholars & 22 editors) The Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Pages: 4840, ISBN 984-32-0585-5
- Srinath Raghavan (2013) '1971: A Global History of the Creation of Bangladesh', Harvard University Press, Pages: 368, ISBN 0-674-72864-5
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- Whyte, Mariam (1 September 2009). Bangladesh (Cultures of the World). Benchmark Books. p. 144. ISBN 978-0761444756.
- Rahman, Urmi (2014). Bangladesh – Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture. Kuperard. p. 168. ISBN 978-1857336955.
- Mojlum Khan, Muhammad. The Muslim Heritage of Bengal: The Lives, Thoughts and Achievements of Great Muslim Scholars, Writers and Reformers of Bangladesh and West Bengal. Kube Publishing Ltd. p. 384. ISBN 978-1847740526.
- Bose, Neilesh (2014). Recasting the Region: Language, Culture, and Islam in Colonial Bengal. Oxford University Press. p. 352. ISBN 978-0198097280.
- Mohan, P. V. S. Jagan. Eagles Over Bangladesh: The Indian Air Force in the 1971 Liberation War. Harper Collins. p. 368. ISBN 978-9351361633.
- Cardozo, Maj Gen Ian. In Quest of Freedom: The War of 1971 – Personal Accounts by Soldiers from India and Bangladesh. Bloomsbury India. p. 324. ISBN 978-9385936005.
- Saikia, Yasmin (2011). Women, War, and the Making of Bangladesh: Remembering 1971. Duke University Press. p. 328. ISBN 978-0822350385.
- Openshaw, Jeanne (2002). Seeking Bauls of Bengal. Cambridge University Press. p. 304. ISBN 978-0521811255.
- March, Michael. Bangladesh (Facts About Countries). Hachette Children's Group. ISBN 978-0749666545.
- Katoch, Dhruv C. Liberation : Bangladesh – 1971. Bloomsbury India. p. 300. ISBN 9384898562.
- Ahmed, Salahuddin (2004). Bangladesh: Past and Present. APH Publishing. p. 367. ISBN 9788176484695.
- Islam, Dr. Zahidu (2009). Strengthening State-led Rural Justice in Bangladesh: VIEWS FROM THE BOTTOM. CCB Foundation Dhaka. p. 224. ISBN 9789849128410.
- Elliott, Scott. Experiencing Bangladesh: History, Politics, and Religion. Lulu.com. p. 72. ISBN 9781329015487.
- Religion, identity & politics: essays on Bangladesh. International Academic Publishers. 2001. p. 201. ISBN 9781588680815.
- Valbo-Jørgensen, John; Thompson, Paul M (2007). Culture-based Fisheries in Bangladesh: A Socio-economic Perspective. Food & Agriculture Org. p. 41. ISBN 9789251058503.
- Belal, Dr Ataur Rahman (2012). Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting in Developing Countries: The Case of Bangladesh. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 182. ISBN 9781409487944.
- Sogra, Khair Jahan (2014). The Impact of Gender Differences on the Conflict Management Styles of Managers in Bangladesh: An Analysis. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 145. ISBN 9781443868549.
- Riaz, Ali (2010). Political Islam and Governance in Bangladesh. Routledge. p. 200. ISBN 9781136926242.
- Grover, Verinder (2000). Bangladesh: Government and Politics. Deep and Deep Publications. p. 977. ISBN 9788171009282.
- Baxter, Craig (1998). Bangladesh: From a Nation to a State. Westview Press. p. 176. ISBN 9780813336329.
- Riaz, Ali; Rahman, Mohammad Sajjadur (2016). Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Bangladesh. Routledge. p. 468. ISBN 9781317308775.
- Bose, Sarmila (2012). Dead Reckoning Memories of the 1971 Bangladesh War. Hachette UK. p. 256. ISBN 9789350094266.
- Nabi, Dr. Nuran (2010). Bullets of '71: A Freedom Fighter's Story. AuthorHouse. p. 496. ISBN 9781452043838.
- Mookherjee, Nayanika (2015). The Spectral Wound: Sexual Violence, Public Memories, and the Bangladesh War of 1971. Duke University Press. p. 352. ISBN 9780822359494.
- Ali, S. Mahmud (2010). Understanding Bangladesh. Columbia University Press. p. 441. ISBN 9780231701433.
- Umar, Badruddin (2006). The Emergence of Bangladesh: Rise of Bengali nationalism, 1958–1971. Oxford University Press. p. 371. ISBN 9780195979084.
- Volume XI
- Three Hours of Destiny by fatemolla
- The Human Rights Tribune: A HRCBM Publication
- The Human Rights Newspaper of HRCBM. The Human Rights and Humanitarian Organization dedicated to uphold human rights in Bangladesh and protect minorities in the country. It is working to end genocide against minorities in Bangladesh
- Mukto-mona : A Secular site for Bengali humanists & freethinkers
- Mukto-mona encourages freethinking, humanism and rationalismamong our members.
- J.N. Mandal's resignation letter
- Mayerdak Home
- Religious persecution in the Chittagong Hill Tracts
- Murder in the Hill tracts
- HRCBM Human Rights Discussion
- THE CASE OF DAUD HAIDER - The New York Review of Books
- An article by Kurt Vonnegut from The New York Review of Books, October 24, 1985
- Interfaith Strength
- Mukto-mona-Human Rights
- The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide | New York Journal of Books
- The Blood Telegram : Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide | Bookreporter.com
- A riveting historythe first full accountof the involvement of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger in the 1971 atrocities in Bangladesh that led to war between India and Pakistan, shaped the fate of Asia, and left in their wake a host of major strategic consequences for the world today.
- Book Review: 'The Blood Telegram' by Gary J. Bass - WSJ.com
- Peter Kann reviews The Blood Telegram: The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide, by Gary J. Bass.
- The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide: Gary J. Bass: 9780307700209: Amazon.com: Books
- The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide [Gary J. Bass] on Amazon.com. *FREE* super saver shipping on qualifying offers. A riveting historythe first full accountof the involvement of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger in the 1971 atrocities in Bangladesh that led to war between India and Pakistan
- Nixon and Kissingers Forgotten Shame - NYTimes.com
- They aided a regime as it killed thousands of Bangladeshis.
- A khaki dissident on 1971 | ColumnNews
- Viewpoint is a non-profit venture organised on a voluntary basis. It is an activist alternative to the corporate-mainstream media. Viewpoint is an outlet for voices hushed up or ignored in the corporate media due to business interests or anti-working class ideology.
- [Genocide/1971 Rounaq Jahan's Introduction to Eye Witness Accounts]
- BANGLAPEDIA: Genocide, 1971
- Genocide 1971
- The Tilt: The U.S. and the South Asian Crisis of 1971
- Women of 1971 ** Drishtipat Campaign to assist 7 war-affected women
- The Case Against Henry Kissinger Part Two by Christopher Hitchens
- 8129104318 9788129104311 Indoctrinating Minds Case Study : Printsasia
- 8129104318 9788129104311 Indoctrinating Minds Case Study Bangladesh Yvette Claire Rosser
- Virtual Bangladesh : Directory
- Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh
- Banglapedia ** National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh
- Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh
- American Institute of Bangladesh Studies - Home
- Bangladesh Minority Watch
- Inside the horrific unregulated sweatshops of Bangladesh | Daily Mail Online
- These are the photographs that show the grim reality for thousands of children in Bangladesh who are forced to work crippling hours stitching labels into our jeans.
- BANGLADESH-MYANMAR-THAILAND---THE JIHADI CORRIDOR
- Bangladesh.pdf (application/pdf Object)
- The Concert For Bangla Desh - George Harrison and Friends
- Virtual Bangladesh : History : Genocide 1971
- Virtual Bangladesh : History : The Bangali Genocide, 1971
- Bangladesh The Trial of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchins
- Ethnic Cleansing In Bangladesh- Rahul Gupta
- Gendercide Watch: Genocide in Bangladesh, 1971
- Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report
- The Concert for Bangladesh
- News From Bangladesh
- Bangladesh - Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM)
- Reporters sans frontires - Bangladesh
- human rights report 2005 South Asia Bangladesh
- US report warns of Bangladesh militancy
- Bangladesh: Attacks on members of the Hindu minority - Amnesty International
- This report documents Amnesty International's concerns regarding the attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh following the general elections of October 2001. It looks at the increasing discrimination faced by the Hindu minority, the attacks on women, national and international reactions to the attacks, the killing of Gopal Krishna Muhuri and the arrest of journalist Shahriar Kabir.
- BANGLADESH - Amnesty International
- Amnesty International (AI) is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights.
- Bangladesh: Attacks on members of the Hindu minority - Amnesty International
- This report documents Amnesty International's concerns regarding the attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh following the general elections of October 2001. It looks at the increasing discrimination faced by the Hindu minority, the attacks on women, national and international reactions to the attacks, the killing of Gopal Krishna Muhuri and the arrest of journalist Shahriar Kabir.
- Human Rights Watch's Bangladesh index
- Bangladesh watchdog: a collection of news articles about Bangladesh human rights abuses.
- Perverted policing & meaningless magistrates: True stories from Bangladesh
- Why Do Bangladeshi Writers Keep Getting Murdered? | VICE | United States
- Bangladesh has never been an especially safe place for opposition writers, but things have begun spiraling out of control over the last two years.
- Bangladesh - Secondary School Madrasas in Bangladesh
- Bangladesh Jihad Watch
- International Religious Freedom Report 2006
- A Bangladeshi Americans Blog
- Bangladeshs Radical Islamists Get U.S. Backing - The Daily Beast
- In 1971, the U.S. abetted a genocide in Bangladeshand its now siding with the radical Islamist culprits, who are fomenting the countrys latest political crisis.
- God Willing: The Politics of Islamism in Bangladesh: Ali Riaz: 9780742530850: Amazon.com: Books
- God Willing: The Politics of Islamism in Bangladesh [Ali Riaz] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Is Bangladesh becoming a Taliban state? The question has become urgent in light of the growing strength of militant groups supposedly aligned with Al Quaida
- Political Islam and the Elections in Bangladesh | Institute of Commonwealth Studies
- Bangladesh: Combating Islamism in South Asia
- Bangladesh hangs Islamist leader despite U.N. objections - CNN.com
- Bangladesh hanged an Islamist leader Thursday despite pleas not to from the United Nations.
- The Rise of Islamist Militancy in Bangladesh - SRaug06_2.pdf
- Counter-Jihad blogger beheaded in Bangladesh - Atlas Shrugs
- This blogger who wrote against jihad and sharia was found "with his head hacked apart with a machete." Ahmed Rajib, aka Thaba Baba, had been "threatened frequently" by jihadists who were angry at his role in the anti-jihad protests and his writings against the religion. The silence of the complicit lambs. Where is the media on this? If the Puff Ho covered this, they'd blame the blogger. The motto of the media is free speech for me, but not for thee. Anti-Islamist blogger killed in Bangladesh: police NDTV (thanks to Suneil) Dhaka: A blogger who had been critical of Bangladesh's Islamist groups was killed in the capital late on Friday, police said, a day after he attended a big rally against leaders of the country's largest Islamic party. Protests championed by the country's bloggers have seen thousands of people take to the streets demanding the execution of leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami party who are under trial for war crimes. Clashes between police and Islamist protesters demanding the trials be halted have also rocked the capital. Police found the body of Ahmed Rajib, 35 -- better known by his online identity Thaba Baba -- near his home in Dhaka's Pallabi suburb, with his head hacked apart with a machete. "We recovered the machete. It is clear the attacker wanted to murder him. They did not touch his laptop or other valuable objects," police official Sheikh Motiur Rahman told AFP. Police have not commented on a possible motive for the killing, but Rahman, citing Rajib's relatives, said the blogger played a large role in organizing the anti-Islamist protests. Rajib's brother, who declined to be named, told AFP his sibling had been "threatened frequently" by Islamists angry at his role in the protests and his writings against the religion. "In recent months he stopped writing against Islam and concentrated on the war crime issues," he added. At least 13 people have died during clashes over the ongoing trials in which a host of senior Jamaat figures -- including the party's leader and deputy leader -- are being tried over their role in the 1971 independence war. The clashes have intensified since last week after a senior Jamaat leader was sentenced to life imprisonment for mass murder. Jamaat and the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party have said the trials are based on bogus charges and part of a wider political vendetta. The government says...
- Islamists In Bangladesh Demand Murder of More Bloggers - Slashdot
- An anonymous reader writes "Days after the killing of leftist blogger Thaba Baba, mosques throughout Bangladesh called for a popular uprising to demand the killing of other bloggers who had held a rally calling for the death of Jama'at-e-Islami leaders convicted of war crimes. This happens in an atm...
- Bangladesh Pollution, Told in Colors and Smells - NYTimes.com
- A deadly building collapse brought the dangers of Bangladeshs clothing manufacturing to world notice, but the environmental destruction is taking a daily toll as well.
- Response: This account of the Bangladesh war should not be seen as unbiased | Comment is free | The Guardian
- Response: A new study views the men of Pakistan's army as gentle and kind. Can this be fair, asks Nayanika Mookherjee
- The birth of Bangladesh: Blood meridian | The Economist
- The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger and a Forgotten Genocide. By Gary Bass. Knopf; 499 pages; $30. Buy from Amazon.com UNTIL 1971 Pakistan was made up of two parts:...
- Bangladesh party leader accused of war crimes in 1971 conflict | World news | The Guardian
- Delwar Hossain Sayeedi of Jamaat-e-Islami party charged with aiding Pakistan during war of independence
- Religious ritual in a Bangladeshi mosque - PhotoBlog by bigman in Admanya.com
- A Hindu being beaten by Muslims in a mosque in Bangladesh. He was captured outside the mosque while going home. After Friday prayers were over, the Muslims came out and grabbed the first Hindu they could. Mr. Vimal Patak a Bangladeshi born Hindu was beaten to death with sticks as the Muslim mullahs (priests) chanted
- Thousands Protest in Bangladesh against Islamic Constitution
- Muslims raped 200 non-Muslim women in Bangladesh The Mindset
- You are what you act, not what you speak. This time the followers of The Religion of Peace have shown their peaceful nature by raping 200 non-Muslim (Hindu) women. Times of India Report: Minority women gang raped in Bangladesh DHAKA: A judicial commission has concluded that over 200 Hindu women were raped following the 2001
- Rape victim receives 101 lashes for becoming pregnant - Telegraph
- A 16-year-old girl who was raped in Bangladesh has been given 101 lashes for conceiving during the assault.
- State of Minorities in Bangladesh: From Secular to Islamic Hegemony - HRCBM Human Rights Discussion
- Bangladesh - Greening the Supply Chain of the Textile Industry in Bangladesh
- US-Kleiderlden weigern sich, den Opfern von Bangladesh zu helfen - News Wirtschaft: Unternehmen - tagesanzeiger.ch
- Europische Detaillisten beteiligen sich an Hilfsfonds fr die Opfer von Fabrikunfllen in Dhaka. Amerikanische Ketten frchten, eine Zahlung knnte als Schuldeingestndnis gelesen werden.
- Bangladesh Seeks Writer, Charging She Insults Islam - NYTimes.com
- The police across Bangladesh are scouring the country for an outspoken woman writer who is in hiding after Muslim clerics said she should be put to death for blaspheming Islam. The writer, Taslima Nasreen, 32, slipped out of her apartment in Dhaka, the capital, a few hours before officers arrived there to arrest her on a blasphemy charge.
- fight corruption, crime & cruelty | resist inhuman activities
- resist inhuman activities
- Brite und US-Brger in Bangladesh zum Tode verurteilt - News Ausland: Asien & Ozeanien - tagesanzeiger.ch
- Zwei Mnner hatten laut Gericht in Dhaka whrend des Unabhngigkeitskrieges Kriegsverbrechen begangen. In ihren neuen Heimatlndern hatten sie sich inzwischen ein neues Leben aufgebaut.
- The Persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh Feels Scarily Familiar | VICE United Kingdom
- But action being taken offers hope that it won't turn into a genocide.
- The Islamisation of Bangladesh and Bengal
- The new terrorism in Bangladesh | The Economist
- A jihadist attack on a restaurant popular with foreigners may force the government to change its strategy
- No Hindus will be left in Bangladesh after 30 yrs: Dhaka Professor |
- Dhaka: No Hindus will be left in Bangladesh 30 years from now if the current rate of
- Isolated tribes in the hills of Bangladesh | Daily Mail Online
- Photographer Rehman Asad spent weeks in the Bandarban district, one of the three tribal populated Chittagong Hill Tracts districts, in south-eastern Bangladesh to meet some of the hidden tribes.
- How George Harrison Used Music To Awaken World Conscience On Bangladesh
- George Harrison and his friends had come together in 1971 at Madison Square Garden for The Concert for Bangladesh.
- Bangladesh Rape Victims Say War Crimes Overlooked | Womens eNews
Bangladesh is celebrating 40 years of independence, but two sisters who were both victimized by massive, brutal war-time rapes are in no mood to celebrate. They say their lives have been ruined and perpetrators have never been brought to justice.
- Muslims Brutally Attack Hindus in Bengal - Atlas Shrugs
- This is a daily struggle wherever Muslims have gained a majority. In the state of West Bengal, in India bordering Bangla Desh, Muslims infiltrated over the last few decades to such an extent that today they are 30% of the population of the state. In many villages bordering Bangla Desh, infidels' (Hindus') daily life is that of fear and terror. (hat tip Satya) Please call the officials. When they get several calls from abroad, particularly from the United States, they do respond. Mr. Siddiqui is District Magistrate and his cell is 9434770000. His office number is 8342 251650 and home number is 8342 250002. Here is the link for the phone numbers of the City Government of Mushidabad. http://murshidabad.gov.in/phones.htm#B2 Eyewitness report: Muslims Attack on Hindus in Murshidabad, Bengal From 14th April Communal Riot started in Panchthupi village and surrounding area of the village under BURWAN Police Station of Kandi sub division of Murshidabad district. It started from a petty quarrel between Hindus and Muslims.But, within hours it took ugly turn. Hindus were attacked and tortured. Many Hindu houses and shops were looted. Many people from both community injured. Seriously injured persons are admitted to nearby Kandi Hospital. Today (Aril 6, 2010) , one Sujit Ghosh has been brutally murdered. Police encircled the Hindu villages where mainly Yadavs/Ghosh reside. They are fighting caste.In this, the District Magistrate (D.C.) Mr. Parvez Siddiqi is playing a dirty role to misuse administration in favour of Muslim hooligans. This Parvez Siddiqi is a most communal govt officer. Since he joined as D.M. in this 67%(projected) Muslim majority district, his behaviour is extremely partisan and communal. He has made it a point to offer Namaz every Friday noon in different Mosques of the Baharampur town and Murshidabad dist. He particularly chooses those mosques which are not visited by many Muslims. His intention is to popularise that mosque and to give encouragement and inspiration to the Mullahs and Imams of those unpopular mosques. His effort became successful. Hindus are very much apprehensive that so long this man will remain at the helm of administration here, how much damage will be done to the Hindus by him.Out of total 26 Blocks of this predominantly Muslim majority (63.67% in 2001 census), only this Burwan block is Hindu majority block with 59.66% Hindu in 2001. Rest 25 Blocks are Muslim majority in 2001. Today morning the Dak Bunglow Market, about 6 km distant from Panchthupi village, was attacked by the Muslim miscreants. A number of shops owned by the Hindus were destroyed and looted. Hindus are extremely scared as they know that they live in a de-facto Pakistan. In fact, in 1947, since 15 August, Pakistani Flag hoisted for three days in this district. Every Hindu of this district knows their fate and future. But a total hopelessness and killer passivity are the identity marks of the Hindus here. Till now the Panchthupi incident is a small one considering the overall scenario of West Bengal. Everyday, I repeat everyday, a...