Bangladesh was previously part of Pakistan and was known as East Pakistan. This country is the leading textile exporter among the OIC member countries, surpassing both Turkey and Pakistan. The Royal Bengal Tiger is the national animal that symbolises royalty, fury and fearlessness.
Having its own uniqueness in every single aspect with the strategic location on the world’s map, the People’s Republic of Bangladesh has become an independent country after the separation from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Bangladesh has been a member country of the OIC since 1974, three years after its independence. Dhaka is the capital city of Bangladesh and Bengali is the official language for the majority. The Bangladesh country name is the combination of two Bengali words, “Bangla” and “Desh” which mean the country or the land where the Bengali language is spoken in the area.
|Population||162 Million (2017)|
|Area||1,47,470 square km|
|Major Language (s)||Bengali|
|Major Religion (s)||Islam|
|Life Expectancy||Male:69 years ; Female:70 years|
|Currency||Bangladeshi Taka (BDT)|
|Literacy Rate||Youth :83.18% ; Adult : 61.38%|
|GDP Per Capita||USD 1358.78 (2016)|
The history of Bangladesh started in 1947, when East and West Pakistan separated from India as the impact of the religious differences in the particular regions. Pakistan was lead by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Muslim League leader, who demanded the partition from India as to have an independent Muslim majority country. The partition achieved its success. Pakistan achieved its independence on 14th of August 1947 while India’s was on the next day.
However, Pakistan had split into two regions; namely as West Pakistan and East Pakistan. The west province is situated in the west of India bordering Afghanistan. The east was separated by 1,500km of Indian territory bordering with present day Myanmar. East Pakistan, later named Bangladesh, achieved its independence from Pakistan on 26th of March 1971, after nine months of liberation war with Pakistan. Today, Bangladesh is led by President Md Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
This unique country is located strategically on the Indian sub-continent. It borders India on the west and the north, the Bay of Bengal on the south and Myanmar on the southeast. Bangladesh has four main cities: Dhaka, Khulna, Barisal and Chittagong. This country is divided into two areas of deltaic and hilly regions.
Dhaka is the capital city where the Padma River and the Jamuna Rivers meet. There are 700 rivers in Bangladesh and the main rivers can be divided into five: Jamuna-Brahmaputra, Padma- Ganges, Suma-Meghna, Padma-Meghna and Karnaphuli. The rivers are the sources of living where people use them for drinking, fishing, transportation and cultivation.
The extensive network of rivers in the country with the high rate of humidity and the flat alluvial plain terrain make Bangladesh a good place to grow many types of agricultural products such as rice, wheat, jute, tobacco, sugarcane, pulses, oilseeds, spices, potato, vegetables, banana, coconut, jackfruit, timber and bamboo.
The tea plantations are plentifully grown in the north and southeast regions where the climate is dry and the landscape is hilly. Approximately 16 per cent of this country is covered by the woodland and forest, especially in Chittagong Hill Tracts.
In terms of climate, Bangladesh is considered one of the most humid places because it has 81 per cent annual humidity plus high annual average rainfall (average of 200.5 mm). Because of this, the country has many agricultural products. In addition, these products have taken their place to be among the most exported commodities after frozen food items. The agricultural products consist of tea, vegetables, tobacco, cut flowers and foliage, fruits as well as spices.
Moreover, Bangladesh is a four season country and at the same time experiences monsoon season from July until September. Spring lasts from February until March, summer lasts from April until June, autumn lasts from October until November and winter lasts one month from December to January.
SOCIETY AND CULTURE
Inhabited by 125 million people in 55,813 square miles of land, Bangladesh has a colourful culture and wonderful societies. The majority of Bangladeshis are Muslim, followed by the Hinduism as the second major religion. Additionally, some practise Buddhism and Christianity, but these are considered minority religions.
Bengali or Bangla is the prominent ethnicity in the country with 98 per cent of people falling under this ethnic category. Bangla is the major spoken language and it is divided into sadhu basha (the formal language) and cholit basha (the common language). Other languages and dialects are spoken by the ethnic minority groups.
Islam is the major religion practised in Bangladesh, thus it can be said that the Bangladeshis celebrate two Eid annually. The first Eid is after the fasting month Ramadhan (Eid Ul-Fitr) and the second is on the 10th day of Dzulhijjah (Eid Ul-Adha). The Hindus celebrate Durga Puja which is celebrated not only in this country, but also across South Asia. The Buddhists and the Christians also celebrate special religious days such as the Buddha Purnima and Christmas day respectively. Apart from the religious festivals, there are some festivals that are related to the country itself. They are the International Mother Language Day (21st of February), Independence Day (26th of March), Victory Day of Bangladesh (16th of December), Pahela Baishakh (14th of April) and Pohela Falgoon (The first day of spring).
In terms of clothing, the Bangladeshi women wear the saree while the men wear lungi and Panjabi. These clothing items are the national dress, whereas the tribal Bangladeshis’ clothes are slightly different. The Muslim men wear Panjabi or pajama and the Hindus wear dhuti. It can be concluded that the Bangladeshi clothing is influenced by the Indian culture.
The education system in Bangladesh can be divided into three types: general, madrasha and technical and vocational. From these three types there are five levels of studies: primary (from 6 to 10 years old), junior secondary (from 11 to 13 years old), secondary (from 14 to 15 years old), higher secondary (from 16 to 17 years old) and tertiary. The tertiary level is divided into vocational programmes of four years in diploma of engineering, Fazil (two years programme) and Kamil (two years programme) levels, Bachelor’s degree (two years programme) and the higher education (master and doctorate).
The private schools in Bangladesh use English language as the medium of instruction while the government supported schools use the national language. There are many medical, law and engineering colleges and polytechnics. Approximately 11 government universities and 20 private universities are fully functional in Bangladesh. Some of the prominent universities are University of Dhaka (1921) which is called the “Oxford of the East”, the University of Rajshahi (1953), the University of Chittagong (1966), Jahangirnagar University (1970) on the outskirts of Dhaka, the Islamic University (1980) in Kushtia, the Bangladesh Agricultural University (1961) in Mymensingh and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (1962) in Dhaka.
The fertile land makes a better place for agricultural activities, the hilly area makes the best place for tea plantation, the good networks and rivers make the best source for the fishing activities. These characteristics are all in People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh’s economy has increased continuously since 1995 until the recent year based on the GDP per capita. The latest GDP per capita (2016) is USD 1358.78 compared to the previous year which was USD 1210.16. This shows that Bangladesh has developed the economy and improved the productions in the country itself. Bangladesh is a leading textile exporter. Bangladesh has good geographical factors, the agriculture and fishing sectors also take the lead to be the highly exported products after the after textiles.
The principle export products of Bangladesh consist of readymade garments, raw jute, jute goods, tea, shrimp, fish, finished leather and leather goods, flower, fruits and vegetables, ceramic-ware, handicrafts, newsprint, pharmaceuticals and spices. It exports them to the other countries and the United States is the largest recipient of exported products from Bangladesh. Bangladesh imports products primarily from Europe and North America (the United States 13.9%, Germany 12.9%, the United Kingdom 8.9%, France 5% and Spain 4.7%). Evidently, it can be concluded that Muslim countries have the strength and high potential in economy activities as they can export their products to even reach non-Muslim countries.
The unemployment rate in Bangladesh has improved although the changes have been slow. Based the on the data obtained, the unemployment rate decreased from 4.2 per cent to 4.1 per cent in 2015 and remained unchanged in 2016. Indeed, this is a good indicator that this country can create more economic advancement and possibly be the example for other Muslim countries to strive towards better enhancement.
Sundarbans which is located on the southwest coast serves as the best and popular tourist destination because it is home to the worldrenowned Royal Bengal Tiger. The natural mangrove forest is the best place for the floras and faunas to thrive and offer a beautiful environment for visitors to enjoy. Also, it provides a source of living for the local people.
The richness in nature and beauty in scenery make Bangladesh attractive to tourists and there are many options available to them. Hilly areas such as Bandarban, Khagrachari, Chittagong and Rangamati are perfect for nature lovers. In addition, several museums were built and display the history of Bangladesh: Tajhan Rajbari Museum and Begum Rokeya Museum in Rangpur and Barendra Museum in Rajshahi. Somapura Mahavihara in Paharpur is a UNESCO World Heritage Site attraction. It is an archaeological area with 177 cells and a Buddhist stupa in the middle. The rooms are utilised by the monks to stay and meditate.