Bangladesh (“The country of Bengal”) officially the People’s Republic of Bangladesh is a country in South Asia. It is bordered with India and Myanmar. Nepal, Bhutan and China are the nearest country of Bangladesh. Bangladesh is the world’s eighth most populous country with the area of147,570 km². Dhaka is the capital and the largest city of the country. Chittagong is the country’s largest port. Bangladesh forms the largest and easternmost part of the Bengal region. Bangladeshis include people from a good range of ethnic groups and religions. Bengali is the official language of Bangladesh. The 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. in the northeastern and southeastern regions of the country is covered with evergreen forest.
Bangladesh has many islands and a coral reef. World’s longest sea beach, Cox’s Bazar Beach is located here. 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 endangered Bengal tigers, the national animal.The Greeks and Romans identified the region as a powerful kingdom of the historical subcontinent, in the 3rd century BCE. Archaeological research has found several ancient cities in Bangladesh, which enjoyed 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. It was also a notable center of the global muslin and silk trade. The Partition of British India made East Bengal a part of the Dominion of Pakistan; and renamed it as East Pakistan. The region witnessed the Bengali Language Movement in 1952 and the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. A presidential government was in place between 1975 and 1990, and later to parliamentary democracy. The country continues to face challenges in the areas of poverty, education, healthcare and corruption.Bangladesh is one of the largest textile exporters in the world and the major trading partners are the European Union, the United States, China, India, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. With its strategically geographic location Southern, Eastern and Southeast Asia, ithas great importance for regional connectivity and cooperation. It is a founding member of SAARC, BIMSTEC, and the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Forum for Regional Cooperation and the Bangladesh Bhutan India Nepal Initiative. It is also a member of the Commonwealth nations, OIC and the World Trade Organization. Bangladesh is one of the largest contributors to United Nations peacekeeping forces.
In Bangladesh human habitation was started over 20000 years ago and found remnants of cooper age settlements back 4000 years. Ancient Bengal was settled by Austroasiatics, Tibeto-Burmans, Dravidians and Indo-Aryans by the waves of migration. Archaeological evidence confirms that by the second millennium BCE, rice-cultivating communities lived in the area. By the 11th century people lived in systemically-aligned housing, buried their dead.They created copper ornaments and black and red pottery. The Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers were used for transportation and on the Bay of Bengal permitted maritime trade. In 1879, Alexander Cunningham identified Mahasthangarh as the capital of the Pundra Kingdom. Greek and Roman records of the old Gangaridai Kingdom, which blocked red the invasion of Alexander the Great are linked to the fort city in Wari-Bateshwar. The site is also identified as the trading center of Souanagoura listed on Ptolemy’s world map. Roman geographers noted a large seaport in southeastern Bengal, which is the current port of Chittagong region. Medieval Buddhist and Hindu states ruled Bangladesh and they are including the Vanga, Samatata and Pundra kingdoms, the Maurya and Gupta Empires, Shashanka’s kingdom, the Varman dynasty, the Khadga and Candra dynasties, the Pala Empire, the Sena dynasty. The earliest form of the Bengali language began to emerge during the eighth century.
Early muslim explorers and missionaries anchored in Bengal in first millennium CE. The Islamic conquest of Bengal began with the 1204 invasion by Bakhtiar Khilji.
After incorporating Bengal to the Delhi Sultanate, Khilji waged a military campaign in Tibet. Bengal was ruled by the Delhi Sultanate for a century by governors from the Khilji, Mamluk, Balban and Tughluq dynasties. During the 14th century, an independent Bengal Sultanate was established by rebel governors. The sultanate’s ruling houses included the Ilyas Shahi, Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah, Hussain Shahi, Suri and Karrani dynasties. The era saw the introduction of distinct mosque architecture and the tangka currency. The Bengal Sultanate was visited by explorers Ibn Battuta and others. During the late 16th century, the Baro-Bhuyan ruled eastern Bengal; its leader was the Mansad-e-Ala,. The Khan dynasty is considered local heroes for resisting North Indian invasions with their river navies.
In the 17th century Bengal was ruled by the Mughal Empire during the reign of Emperor Akbar. The Mughals established Dhaka as a fort city and commercial center of metropolises. The Mughals expelled the Arakanese from Chittagong In 1666. Mughal Bengal attracted foreign traders for its muslin and silk goods. the Armenians and Portuguese were a notable merchant community. During the 18th century, the Nawabs of Bengal became rulers of the area. The Nawabs forged alliances with European colonial companies, which made the region relatively prosperous early in the century.The Bengali Muslim population was a product of conversion and religious evolution. Islamic cosmology played a significant role upgrading the Bengali Muslim comminity. By the 15th century, Muslim poets were writing in the Bengali language and they are included Daulat Qazi, Abdul Hakim and Alaol. After the battleof Plassey with nawab siraj-ud-daulah Bengal was the first region of the Indian subcontinent conquered by the British East India Company.The region was administrated by the Presidency of Fort William until 1858. A notable aspect of company rule was the Permanent Settlement, which established the feudal zamindari system. A conservative Islamic cleric, Haji Shariatullah, sought to overthrow the British. Several towns in Bangladesh participated in the Indian Mutiny and pledged allegiance to the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, who was later exiled to neighboring Burma.
The failed Indian Mutiny led to the creation of the British Indian Empire as a crown colony, and the first railway was built in 1862. During the late 19th century, novelists, social reformers and feminists came out from Muslim Bengali society. Electricity and municipal water systems were launched in the 1890s. East Bengal’s economy was important to the British specially its jute and tea. The British established tax-free river ports, such as the Port of Narayanganj, and large seaports like the Port of Chittagong. Social tensions also increased under British rule between wealthy Hindus and the Muslim-majority population. By the Muslim aristocracy, the British government created the province of Eastern Bengal and Assam in 1905. The All India Muslim League was formed in Dhaka during the 1906 against the Hindu growing community. In 1947 Mountbatten Plan outlined the partition of British India. And after a major voting the partition was happened. After the partition the Dominion of Pakistan was created on 14 August 1947.Pakistani army started to oppress and loot the east Bengal. They practiced extreme economical discrimination.
The Bengali population was angered when Prime Minister-elect Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was prevented from taking office. Civil disobedience erupted across East Pakistan, with the pro-independence rally in Dacca on 7 March 1971. The Bangladeshi flag was raised for the first time on 23 March, Pakistan’s Republic Day and the independence of the nation was declared by the father of the nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 26th march. During the night of 25 March, the Pakistani military junta led by Yahya Khan launched Operation Searchlight held Rahman in military custody. The Pakistan Army massacred Bengali students, intellectuals, politicians, civil servants and military defectors in the genocide of 1971. Several million refugees fled to neighboring India. They killed estimated three million people on the war of liberation.The Bangladesh movement was supported by prominent political and cultural figures in the West, including Ted Kennedy, George Harrison, Ocampo and Andre Malraux. The Concert for Bangladesh 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 organized by Harrison and Indian Bengali sitarist Ravi Shankar.
After the declaration of independence Bangladesh nationalists formed the Mukti Bahini (the Bangladeshi National Liberation Army). The Provisional Government of Bangladesh was established on 17 April 1971. Due to Seikh Mujibur Rahman’s detention, the acting president was Syed Nazrul Islam. Tajuddin Ahmad was Bangladesh’s first prime minister. The military wing of the provisional government was Led by General M. A. G. Osmani and eleven sector commanders, the forces held the Bengali countryside during the war. and conducted wide-ranging guerrilla operations against Pakistani forces. Neighboring India and its leader, Indira Gandhi provided crucial support to the Bangladesh Forces. The nine-month war ended with the surrender of Pakistan’s military to the Bangladesh-India Allied Forces on 16 December 1971. Under international pressure, Pakistan released Rahman from imprisonment on 8 January 1972. Indian troops were withdrawn by 12 March 1972, three months after the war ended. By the time of its admission to UN membership in August 1972, the new state was recognized by 86 countries and Pakistan recognized Bangladesh in 1974.
The market-based economy of Bangladesh is the 46th largest in the world and 33rd largest by purchasing power parity. According to the IMF, Bangladesh’s economy is the second fastest growing major economy. Dhaka and Chittagong are the main financial centers of Bangladesh. The financial sector of Bangladesh is the second largest in the subcontinent.In the last decade Bangladesh averaged a GDP growth of 6.5%. The country has focused on export-oriented industrialization, and the key export sectors include textiles, shipbuilding, fish and seafood, jute and leather goods.
Bangladesh has developed a lot in self-sufficient industries like pharmaceuticals, steel and food processing. Bangladesh’s telecommunication industry developed huge growth over the years, receiving high investment from foreign companies. Bangladesh is Asia’s seventh largest gas producer. Offshore exploration activities are increasing in its maritime territory in the Bay of Bengal. It also has large deposits of limestone. The government started to promote the Digital Bangladesh scheme as part of its efforts to develop the country’s growing information technology sector.Bangladesh is strategically important for the economies of Northeast India, Nepal and Bhutan. Bangladeshi seaports give maritime access for these landlocked regions. The powerful China also views Bangladesh as a potential gateway for its landlocked southwest, including Tibet, Sichuan and Yunnan. Bangladesh’s economy faces challenges of infrastructure problem, insufficient power and gas supplies, bureaucratic corruption, political instability, natural calamities and a lack of skilled workers.
You May Also Read