The BANGLADESH PORTAL
09:15, Saturday April 27, 2013 (UTC) • 15:15, Saturday April 27, 2013 (BST) • Boishakh 14, 1420
Bangladesh, officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia. It is bordered by India on three sides and Myanmar to the southeast; the Bay of Bengal forms the southern coastline. Together with the Indian state of West Bengal, it comprises the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal. The name Bangladesh means "Country of Bengal" and is written in Bengali as বাংলাদেশ and pronounced [ˈbaŋlad̪eʃ]. The exact origin of the word Bangla or Bengal is unknown.
The borders of Bangladesh were set by the Partition of India in 1947, when it became the eastern wing of Pakistan (East Pakistan), separated from the western wing by 1,600 km (1,000 miles). Despite their common religion, the ethnic and linguistic gulf between the two wings was compounded by an apathetic government based in West Pakistan. This resulted in the independence of Bangladesh in 1971 after a bloody war, supported by India. The years following independence have been marked by political turmoil, with thirteen different heads of government, and at least four military coups.
The population of Bangladesh ranks seventh in the world, but its area of approximately 144,000 km2 is ranked ninety-third. It is the third largest Muslim-majority nation, but has a slightly smaller Muslim population than the Muslim minority in India. It is also one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Geographically dominated by the fertile Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta, the country has annual monsoon floods, and cyclones are frequent. Bangladesh is one of the founding members of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), BIMSTEC, and a member of the OIC and the D-8.
Shahbag (also Shahbaugh, Bengali: শাহবাগ Shabag; [ˈʃabaɡ]) is a major neighbourhood and a police precinct or Thana in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. It is also a major public transport hub, and serves as a junction between two contrasting sections of the city—Old Dhaka and New Dhaka—which lie, respectively, to its north and south. Developed in the 17th century during Mughal rule in Bengal, when Old Dhaka was the provincial capital and a centre of the flourishing muslin industry, the neighborhood was originally named Bagh-e-Badshahi (Persian: Garden of the Master Kings). In the mid-19th century, the construction of buildings in and around Shahbag ushered in the development of New Dhaka as a provincial centre of the British Raj and ended a century of decline brought on with the passing of Mughal rule.
Shahbag is home to the nation's leading educational and public institutions, including the University of Dhaka, the oldest and largest public university in Bangladesh, and the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, the largest public university for technological studies in the country. Shahbag hosts many street markets and bazaars, and since the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent country in 1971, the Shahbag area has become a venue for celebrating major festivals, such as the Bengali New Year and Basanta Utsab.
The Thana area, with Dhaka University at its centre, has seen the debut of some of the major political movements in the nation's history, including the All India Muslim Education Conference in 1905, the Bengali Language Movement in 1952 and the Six point movement in 1966. It was here, on March 7, 1971, that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman delivered a historic speech calling for the independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan, and here too, later that year, that the Pakistani Army surrendered in the Liberation War of Bangladesh. The area has since become a staging ground for protests by students and other groups. (more...)
Where in Bangladesh...
|Jatiyo Sangsad Bhaban is the National Assembly Building of Bangladesh, located in the capital Dhaka. It was created by architect Louis I. Kahn and is one of the largest legislative complexes in the world. It houses all parliamentary activities of Bangladesh.
|Photo credit: Karl Ernst Roehl
Did you know...
Dr. Muhammad Yunus (Bengali: মুহাম্মদ ইউনুস, pronounced Muhammôd Iunus) (born June 28, 1940) is a Bangladeshi banker and economist. A former professor of economics, he is famous for his successful application of the concept of microcredit, the extension of small loans to entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans. Yunus is also the founder of Grameen Bank, which specializes in providing credit to the poor.
The success of the Grameen model has inspired similar efforts throughout the developing world and even in industrialized nations, including the United States. The Grameen model of micro financing has been emulated in 23 countries. Many, but not all, microcredit projects also retain its emphasis on lending specifically to women. More than 96% of Grameen loans have gone to women, who suffer disproportionately from poverty and who are more likely than men to devote their earnings to their families.
In 2006, Yunus and the bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, "for their efforts to create economic and social development from below." Yunus himself has received several other international honors, including the ITU World Information Society Award, Ramon Magsaysay Award, the World Food Prize and the Sydney Peace Prize. He is the author of Banker to the Poor and a founding board member of Grameen Foundation. Yunus recently showed interest in launching a political party in Bangladesh, Nagorik Shakti (Citizen Power), but later discarded the plan. He is one of the founding members of Global Elders. (more...)