The BANGLADESH PORTAL
20:28, Tuesday, September 1, 2015 (UTC) • 2:28, Wednesday September 2, 2015 (BST) • Bhadro 18
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.
The 1970 Bhola cyclone was a devastating tropical cyclone that struck East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and India's West Bengal on November 12, 1970. It was the deadliest tropical cyclone ever recorded, and one of the deadliest natural disasters in modern times. Up to 500,000 people lost their lives in the storm, primarily as a result of the storm surge that flooded much of the low-lying islands of the Ganges Delta. This cyclone was the sixth cyclonic storm of the 1970 North Indian Ocean cyclone season, and was also the most powerful, reaching a strength equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane.
The cyclone formed over the central Bay of Bengal on November 8 and travelled north, intensifying as it did so. It reached its peak with winds of 185 km/h (115 mph) on November 12, and made landfall on the coast of East Pakistan that night. The storm surge devastated many of the offshore islands, wiping out villages and destroying crops throughout the region. The city of Thana, Tazumuddin, was the most severely affected, with over 45% of the population of 167,000 killed by the storm.
The Pakistani government was severely criticized for its handling of the relief operations following the storm, both by local political leaders in East Pakistan and in the international media. The opposition Awami League gained a landslide victory in the province, and continuing unrest between East Pakistan and the central government triggered the Bangladesh Liberation War, which concluded with the creation of the state of Bangladesh. (more)
Where in Bangladesh...
Did you know...
- ...that the haor located in north-eastern Bangladesh, is a bowl-shaped depression with such vast stretches of turbulent water that it is thought of as a sea during a monsoon?
- ... that James Long, an Anglican missionary in India, was jailed for publishing the play Nil Darpan?
- ...that the first episode of talk show Shomoyer Kotha drew media attention when a former U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh jokingly commented that Bangladeshis sometimes tend to be conspiratorial?
- ... that attackers broke the legs and hands of journalist Tipu Sultan after he implicated a Bangladeshi MP in an arson attack on a girls' school?
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...)