Portal:Bangladesh

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The BANGLADESH PORTAL
15:11, Thursday, September 29, 2016 (UTC) • 21:11, Thursday September 29, 2016 (BST) • Ashwin 14


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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 "The land 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.


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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...)

Bangladesh News

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  • Apr 5: Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus loses his final appeal in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh against his dismissal from his own Grameen micro-finance bank; the bank thought him too old for the job. (BBC)

Archive of old items

Where in Bangladesh...

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Wari-Bateshwar is the site of an ancient fort city dating back to 450 BC. This 2,500 years old site is a significant archaeological discovery that challenges the earlier notions about the existence of early urban civilisation in Bangladesh. Do you know where in Bangladesh is Wari-Bateshwar ruins?
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Wari-Bateshwar ruins
The site is about 75km from Dhaka situated near the Wari and Bateshwar villages in the Belabo Upazila of Narsingdi District under Dhaka Division in the north-eastern part of Bangladesh.


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On Language Movement Day of 1953, two of the greatest leaders of the history of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (3rd from right) and Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani (4th from right) participated in the morning procession (known as Probhat Ferry) to protest the killing of students on the same date the previous year.
Photo credit: Rama's Arrow
Did you know...

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Bengal Tiger

  • ... that in December 2014 up to 350,000 litres (77,000 imp gal) of oil was spilt (pictured) after an oil tanker collided with a cargo vessel in the Sundarbans, Bangladesh?
  • ...that boats crammed with people from both India and Bangladesh, flying the flags of their respective countries, converge on the Ichamati River, the international border, to immerse the idols after Durga Puja?
  • ...that in Hindu mythology, after Lakshmindara, son of Chand Sadagar, died of snakebite on his wedding night, his bride Behula accompanied his corpse on a raft floating in a river?


Selected biography

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Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore (7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941) was a Bengali poet, Brahmo Samaj (syncretic Hindu monotheist) philosopher, visual artist, playwright, composer, and novelist whose works reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A cultural icon of Bengal and India, he became Asia's first Nobel laureate when he won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature.

A Pirali Bengali Brahmin from Calcutta (Kolkata), India, Tagore first wrote poems at age eight. He published his first substantial poetry — under the pseudonym Bhanushingho ("Sun Lion") — in 1877 and wrote his first short stories and dramas at age sixteen. His home schooling, life in Shilaidaha, and travels made Tagore a nonconformist and pragmatist ; however, growing disillusionment with the British Raj caused Tagore to back the Indian Independence Movement and befriend Mahatma Gandhi. Despite losing virtually his entire family and his sorrow at witnessing Bengal's decline, his life's work — Visva-Bharati University — endured.

Tagore's works included Gitanjali (Song Offerings), Gora (Fair-Faced), and Ghare-Baire (The Home and the World), while his verse, short stories, and novels — many defined by rhythmic lyricism, colloquial language, meditative naturalism, and philosophical contemplation — received worldwide acclaim. Tagore was also a cultural reformer and polymath who modernised Bangla art by rejecting strictures binding it to classical Indian forms. Two songs from his rabindrasangeet canon are now the national anthems of Bangladesh and India: the Amar Shonar Bangla and the Jana Gana Mana.

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