NAM COUNTRY: BANGLADESH

BANGLADESH
 
Introduction

Bangladesh is a unitary and sovereign republic known as the People's Republic of Bangladesh. It emerged as an independent nation on 26 March 1971. The nine-month long war of liberation was declared by President Ziaur Rahman and culminated in the victory of Bangladeshi forces on December 16, 1971. This region was under Muslim rule for five and a half centuries since the thirteenth century, under British rule for two centuries since 1757 A.D., and remained a province of Pakistan between 1947 and 1971.

Geography
Bangladesh is situated in the eastern part of South Asian sub-continent. It lies between Latitudes 20º34' and 26º38' North and Longitudes 88º01' and 92º41' East. The country is bordered by India on the east, west and north, and by the Bay of Bengal and a small border strip with Myanmar on the south.
Bangladesh has a land area of 1,47,570 square kilometers (56,977 sq. miles). It's alluvial plains provide fertile agricultural lands. The land-mass is deltaic comprising mainly the delta of three mighty rivers – the Ganges, The Brahmaputra and the Meghna, with a network of numerous rivers and canals. Vast green fields are bounded by low hills in the north-east and the south-east with an average elevation of 244 and 610 meters respectively. The highest point is located in the south-eastern extremity of Chittagong Hill Tracts.
History

Bangladesh has historically been a land of many races. Long before the arrival of the Aryans in the 5th and 6th centuries BC, the Bengalees were already racially mixed and on that count the Aryans described them as sankaras or hybrid people. The ancestors of present-day inhabitants of Bangladesh have therefore emerged from the fusion of each diverse races as the Austric, Dravidian, Mongoloid, Homo-Alpine, Mediterranean Brown, Aryans and so on.

The earliest historical reference to organised political life in the Bangladesh region is traceable to the writings on Alexander’s invasion of India in 326 BC. Greek and Latin historians suggest that Alexander the Great withdrew from India anticipating a valiant counter-attack from the Gangaridai and Prasioi empires which were located in the Bengal region. Historians maintain that these empires were succeeded by the Maura' (4th to 2nd century BC), the Guptas (4th-5th century AD), the empire of Sasanka (7th century AD), the Pala empire (750-1162 AD) and the Senas (1162-1223 AD).

From the 13th century AD, the Buddhist and Hindu rulers were swamped by the flood of Muslim conquerors and the tide of Islam continued up to the 18th century. Sometimes there were independent rulers in Bengal in the likes of the Ilyas Shahi and Husain Shahi dynasties, while at other times they ruled on behalf of the imperial seat of Delhi.

From the 15th century, the Europeans -- Portuguese, Dutch, French and British traders – exerted an economic influence over the region. British political rule over the region began in 1757 when the last Muslim ruler of Bengal Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah was defeated at the Battle of Palashi.

Economy

Bangladesh has an agrarian economy with 22.83% of GDP coming from the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector. Major agricultural products are rice, jute, wheat, potato, pulses, tobacco, tea, sugarcane, etc. The country is the largest exporter of jute and jute goods in the world. Readymade Garments occupy the topmost position among the exportable items, Tea, frozen shrimps, fish, leather good, flowers and vegetables, ceramic-ware and handicrafts are also major exportable commodities.

Bangladesh has undergone a major shift in its economic philosophy and management in recent years. On its birth, it embraced socialism as the economic ideology with a dominant role for the public sector. But since the mid-seventies, the country undertook a major restructuring towards establishing a market economy with emphasis on private sector-led economic growth.

Since its assumption of office in October 2001, the present government has attached top priority to rapid economic growth alongside reduction of poverty in the country through employment generation, human resource development and revitalization of the rural economy.

Culture

Bangladesh has a rich tradition of art. Great Painter Zainul Abedin enriched the nation’s heritage followed by Quamrul Hasan and S.M.Sultan. Well-Known painters such as Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin, Shafiuddin Ahmed and Quamrul Hasan provided early inspiration to the younger generation in fine arts. This was given institutional shape in the form of a full-fledged Institute of Fine Art within Dhaka University, originally established in 1848. The institute has since trained large groups of painters, sculptors, and commercial artists. Some of the country’s painters have earned considerable fame abroad.


Classical forms of Indo-Iranian and South Indian dance have been adopted in Bangladesh dance art form. In ballets, folk forms and themes also abound. Limited practice of folk, tribal and social dances are also in vogue. Among the tribal dances, the Monipuri and Santal are best-known. Institutions like the Bulbul Academy of Fine Arts and the Shilpakal Academy have helped popularise dance dramas and other forms of Performing Arts. Music in Bangladesh can be divided into three distinct categories-classical, folk and modern. Classical music, both vocal and instrumental, is rooted in the sub continental tradition refined during early Turkish rule in the Sub-Himalayan region. Folk music, nurtured through the ages by village poets and mendicants, are rich in devotional mysticism and love-lore. The best known forms are Bhatiali, Baul, Marfati, Murshidi and Bhawaiya. Modern Bengali Music has blended Western and Middle-eastern traits with traditional forms. Bangla songs are particularly rich in lyrics, with famous poets contributing to their subtlety both in words and tunes. Contemporary music and orchestration has a marked influence of the West. Bangladesh poets, essayists, short story, writers and novelists have contributed significantly to enriching the Bangla language and literature.



President Iajuddin Ahmed
Chief Adviser Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed

Quick Facts

Official Name
The People's Republic of Bangladesh

Location
south Asia, between 20034' and 26038' north latitude and between 880 01' and 920 41' east longitude, consists of flat fertile alluvial land.

Capital City
Dhaka Metropolitan - Area 522 sq km

Population

137 million.

Ethnic groups

Mixed group of Proto Austroloids/Dravidians, Mongoloids and Aryans

Language

Bangla (national), English is generally understood and widely spoken.

Major Cities

Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna, Sylhet, Barisal, Mymensingh, Comilla.

Religion

Islam

National Days

Martyrs Day (February 21), Independence Day (March 26) Victory Day (December 16)

National Symbols

Royal Bengal Tiger, Doel, Jackfruit, Water Lily

Government

Parliamentary Republic

Head of Government

Headed by Chief Adviser

Head of State

Headed by President.

Food

Rice, vegetables, pulses, fish and meat

Principal crops

Rice, whet, jute, tea, tobacco and sugarcane
Mineral resources: Natural gas, limestone, hard rock, coal, lignite, silica sand, white clay, radio active sand, etc

Currency

Taka (Tk.) (US$1 = 68 TK

GDP (2004-2005)

US$ 61 billion

Per Capita GDP

US$ 470

Exports (US$)

US$ 8.65 billion (2004-2005)

Imports (US$)

US$ 13.10 billion (2004-2005)

Foreign Exchange Reserve

US$ 3 billion (2005)

Industries

Jute, tea, textiles, garments, paper, newsprint, fertilizer, leather and leather goods, sugar, cement, fish processing, pharmaceuticals, chemical industries, etc.

Major Trading Partners
USA, EU countries, India, China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, UAE




Star Mosque in Dhaka City

National Monument, Savar, Dhaka

National Assembly Building, Dhaka