Portal:Bangladesh/Selected article archive/2008

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Bangladesh Portal selected article archive
2007 - 2008

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Archive of Selected article items[edit]

December 2008[edit]

Dhaka (previously Dacca; Bengali: ঢাকা Đhaka [ɖʱaka]) is the capital of Bangladesh and the Dhaka District. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka and its metropolitan area have a population exceeding 9 million, making it the largest city in Bangladesh and one of the most populous cities in the world.

Under Mughal rule, the city was also known as Jahangir Nagar. The modern city was largely developed by British authorities and soon became the second-largest city in Bengal after Kolkata. With the partition of India, Dhaka became the administrative capital of East Pakistan before becoming the capital of an independent Bangladesh in 1972. During this period Dhaka witnessed extensive political turmoil, including many periods of martial law, the declaration of Bangladesh's independence, military suppression and devastation from war and natural calamities.

Modern Dhaka is the centre of political, cultural and economic life in Bangladesh, enjoying the highest literacy rate amongst other Bangladeshi cities and a diverse economy. While the urban infrastructure is the most developed in the country, Dhaka suffers from severe challenges such as pollution, congestion, supply shortages, poverty and crime. In recent decades Dhaka has seen a modernisation of transport, communications and public works. The city is attracting considerable foreign investment, greater volumes of commerce and trade and an increasing influx of people from across the nation. (more...)

November 2008[edit]

Fazle Hasan Abed

BRAC (Bengali: ব্র্যাক), (formerly known as the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee), based in Bangladesh, is one of the world's largest development oriented non-governmental organizations. Established by Fazle Hasan Abed in 1972 soon after the liberation of Bangladesh, BRAC is currently present in all 64 districts of Bangladesh, with over 7 million micro-finance group members, 37,500 non-formal primary schools and more than 70,000 health volunteers. BRAC is the largest NGO by number of staff employing over 120,000 people, the majority of whom are women. BRAC operates various programs such as those in microfinance and education in over nine countries across Asia and Africa, reaching more than 110 million people. The organization is 80% self-funded through a number of commercial enterprises that include a dairy and food project and a chain of retail handicraft stores called ‘Aarong.’ BRAC maintains offices in 14 countries throughout the world, including BRAC USA and BRAC UK. BRAC is a few years into their initiative to operate in ten African countries in the next ten years.

BRAC tackles poverty from a holistic viewpoint, transitioning individuals from being aid recipients to becoming empowered citizens in control of their own destinies. Over the years, BRAC has organized the isolated poor and learned to understand their needs by piloting, refining and scaling up practical ways to increase their access to resources, support their entrepreneurship and empower them to become active agents of change. Women and girls have been the central analytical lens of BRAC’s anti-poverty approach; BRAC recognizes both their vulnerabilities and thirst for change. BRAC always strives to find practical and scalable approaches to eradicate poverty wherever it is. (more...)

October 2008[edit]

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...)

September 2008[edit]

Grameen Bank Head-office at Mirpur-2, Dhaka

The Grameen Bank (Bengali: গ্রামীণ ব্যাংক) is a microfinance organization started in Bangladesh that makes small loans (known as microcredit) to the impoverished without requiring collateral. The system is based on the idea that the poor have skills that are under-utilized. The bank also accepts deposits, provides other services, and runs several development-oriented businesses including fabric, telephone and energy companies. The organization and its founder, Muhammad Yunus, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.

Muhammad Yunus, the bank's founder, earned a doctorate in economics from Vanderbilt University in the United States. He was inspired during the terrible Bangladesh famine of 1974 to make a small loan of $27 to a group of 42 families so that they could create small items for sale without the burdens of predatory lending.

The Grameen Bank (literally, "Bank of the Villages", in Bengali) is the outgrowth of Muhammad Yunus' ideas. The bank began as a research project by Yunus and the Rural Economics Project at Bangladesh's University of Chittagong to test his method for providing credit and banking services to the rural poor. In 1976, the village of Jobra and other villages surrounding the University of Chittagong became the first areas eligible for service from Grameen Bank. The Bank was immensely successful and the project, with government support, was introduced in 1979 to the Tangail District (to the north of the capital, Dhaka). The bank's success continued and it soon spread to various other districts of Bangladesh and in 1983 it was transformed into an independent bank by the legislature of Bangladesh. Bankers from ShoreBank, a community development bank in Chicago, helped Yunus with the official incorporation of the bank under a grant from the Ford Foundation. The bank's repayment rate was hit following the 1998 flood of Bangladesh before recovering again in recent years.

The Bank today continues to expand across the nation and still provides small loans to the rural poor. As of mid-2006, Grameen Bank branches number over 2,100. Its success has inspired similar projects around the world.


August 2008[edit]

Curzon Hall, University of Dhaka

Universities in Bangladesh are mainly categorized into three different types — Public (government owned and subsidized), Private (private sector owned universities), and International (operated and funded by international organizations such as the Organisation of the Islamic Conference).

University of Dhaka, established in 1921, is the oldest university of the country. Bangladeshi universities are affiliated with the University Grants Commission (UGC), a commission created according to the Presidential Order (P.O. No 10 of 1973) of the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh.

The list of universities in Bangladesh is classified by the three types universities further segmented according to their locations. The locations are given according to divisions, the topmost administrative unit in Bangladesh. It is notable that, out of the 6 divisions Dhaka Division houses 57 out of a total of 83, of them 51 in Dhaka, the capital city. Most universities focus on general studies, meaning a diverse mix of curriculum, business studies, engineering or technology. Seven universities have specialized curricula focused on Islamic studies (2), agricultural sciences (2), medical sciences (1), Veterinary (1)and women's studies (1). Along with the universities their short names, mostly acronyms, are provided as nicks. (more)

July 2008[edit]

The Bhola cyclone

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)

June 2008[edit]

Procession march held on 21 February 1952 in Dhaka

The Bengali Language Movement (Bengali: ভাষা আন্দোলন; Bhasha Andolon), also known as the Language Movement, was a political effort in Bangladesh (then known as East Pakistan), advocating the recognition of the Bengali language as an official language of Pakistan. Such recognition would allow Bengali to be taught in schools and used in government affairs.

When the state of Pakistan was formed in 1947, its two regions, East Pakistan (also called East Bengal) and West Pakistan, were split over cultural, geographical, and linguistic lines. In 1948, the Government of Pakistan ordained Urdu as the sole national language, sparking extensive protests among the Bengali-speaking majority of East Pakistan. Facing rising sectarian tensions and mass discontent with the new law, the government outlawed public meetings and rallies. The students of the University of Dhaka and other political activists defied the law and organised a protest on 21 February 1952. The movement reached its climax when police killed student demonstrators on that day. The deaths provoked widespread civil unrest. After years of conflict, the central government relented and granted official status to the Bengali language in 1956. In 1999, UNESCO declared 21 February International Mother Language Day, in tribute to the Language Movement and the ethno-linguistic rights of people around the world.

The Language Movement catalysed the assertion of Bengali national identity in Pakistan, and became a forerunner to Bengali nationalist movements, including the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. In Bangladesh, 21 February is observed as Language Movement Day, a national holiday. (more...)

May 2008[edit]

RU Admin Building

Rajshahi University or University of Rajshahi (Bengali: রাজশাহী বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়, Rajshahi Bishshobiddalôe) is a public university located in Rajshahi, a city in northern Bangladesh. Rajshahi University was established in 1953, the second university to be established in what was then East Pakistan. The university's forty-seven departments are organised into eight faculties. Rajshahi University is located in a 753 acres (3 km2) campus in Motihar, 3 kilometres (2 mi) from the Rajshahi city center. With 25,000 students and close to 1000 academic staff, it is one of the largest universities in Bangladesh. In addition to hosting programs in the arts, sciences, agriculture, social sciences, business studies and medical sciences, the university houses a number of institutes of higher studies.

The university is run according to the Rajshahi University Act of 1973. The act, passed in 1973, allows the university considerably more autonomy than most other peer institutions. The president of Bangladesh is the de facto Chancellor of the university, but his role is mainly ceremonial. The highest official after the Chancellor is the Vice-Chancellor, selected by the senate of the university every four years. The Vice-Chancellor, as of 2007, is M Altaf Hossain. Other important officers of the university include the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, the registrar, the controller of examinations and the proctor. The proctor is in direct charge of student activities and is the official with most direct contact with the students. The most important statutory bodies of the university are the senate, the academic council and the syndicate. As a public institution, most of Rajshahi University's funding comes from the government. The University Grants Commission (UGC) is the body responsible for allocating funds to all public universities. In the 2005–06 fiscal year, the UGC granted 59 crore taka (around US$10 million) to the university; the university was expected to raise another 3 crore taka from its internal resources.


April 2008[edit]

The Sitakunda range

Sitakunda (Bengali: সীতাকুণ্ড Shitakunḍo IPA: /ʃit̪akunɖo/) is an upazila, or administrative unit, in the Chittagong District of Bangladesh. Sitakunda is one of the oldest sites of human habitation in Bangladesh. It is also the home of the country's first eco-park, as well as alternative energy projects, specifically wind energy and geothermal power.

Ecocomic development in Sitakunda is largely driven by the Dhaka–Chittagong Highway and the railway. Though Sitakunda is predominantly an agricultural area, it also has the largest ship breaking industry in the world. The industry has been accused of neglecting workers' rights, especially concerning work safety practices and child labor. It has also been accused of harming the environment, particularly by causing soil contamination. Sitakunda's ecosystems are further threatened by deforestation, over-fishing, and groundwater contamination. The upazila is also susceptible to natural hazards such as earthquakes, cyclones, and storm surges. It lies on one of the most active seismic faults in Bangladesh, the Sitakunda–Teknaf fault.

Sitakunda is renowned for its numerous Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist shrines. It has 280 mosques, 8 mazars, 49 Hindu temples, 3 ashrams, and 3 Buddhist temples. Among its notable temples are the Chandranath Temple (a Shakti Peetha or holy pilgrimage site), Vidarshanaram Vihara (founded by the scholar Prajnalok Mahasthavir), and the Hammadyar Mosque (founded by Sultan Ghiyasuddin Mahmud Shah). These pilgrimage sites along with the hill range and the eco-park are the attractions of Sitakunda as a tourist destination. Despite its diverse population, the area has seen communal strife, including attacks on places of worship. There have been reports of activity by the Islamic militant group Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh since the early 2000s. (more)

March 2008[edit]

This is a list of cricketers who have captained the Bangladeshi cricket team for at least one One Day International. Bangladesh's greatest ODI victory was beating Australia on 18 June 2005. Other teams they have beaten are Pakistan and Scotland (both in the 1999 Cricket World Cup), Kenya in 1998/9, Zimbabwe (once in 2003/4, three times in 2004/5), India (once in 2004/5, once in the 2007 Cricket World Cup), Sri Lanka (once in 2005/6), South Africa (once in the 2007 Cricket World Cup) and Ireland (thrice in 2007/08).

Bangladeshi ODI captains
Number Name Played Won Tied Lost No result
1 Gazi Ashraf 7 0 0 7 0
2 Minhajul Abedin 2 0 0 2 0
3 Akram Khan 15 1 0 14 0
4 Aminul Islam 16 2 0 14 0
5 Naimur Rahman 4 0 0 4 0
6 Khaled Mashud 24 0 0 22 2
7 Khaled Mahmud 15 0 0 15 0
8 Habibul Bashar 33 8 0 25 0
9 Rajin Saleh 2 0 0 2 0
10 Mohammad Ashraful 12 3 0 9 0
Grand total 172 39 0 131 2

February 2008[edit]

Bengali or Bangla (IPA: About this sound [ˈbaŋla] ) is an Indo-Aryan language of the eastern Indian subcontinent, evolved from the Magadhi Prakrit, Pāli and Sanskrit languages. Bengali is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal. With nearly 230 million total speakers, Bengali is one of the most widely spoken languages (ranking 5th or 6th in the world).

The Bengali language, with its long and rich literary tradition, serves to bind together a culturally diverse region. In 1952, when Bangladesh used to be East Pakistan, this strong sense of identity led to the Bengali Language Movement, in which several people braved bullets and died on February 21. This day has now been declared as the International Mother Language Day.

Bengali is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal. Around 98% of the total population of Bangladesh speak Bengali as a native language. There are also significant Bengali-speaking communities in immigrant populations in the Middle East, West and Malaysia. Bengali is the national and official language of Bangladesh and one of the 23 national languages recognised by the Republic of India. It is the official language of the state of West Bengal and the co-official language of the state of Tripura, Cachar,Karimganj and Hailakandi Districts of southern Assam and the union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Bengali speakers make the majority in Neil Island and Havelock Island. It was made an official language of Sierra Leone in order to honour the Bangladeshi peacekeeping force from the United Nations stationed there. The national anthems of both India and Bangladesh were written in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore. (more...)

January 2008[edit]


Banglapedia is the national encyclopedia of Bangladesh, available in print, in CD-ROM format and online. It is written both in Bengali and in English. Its chief editor is Sirajul Islam and is published by the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. It is planned to be updated every two years. The goal of this ten-volume reference work, initiated in 1998, is to inquire, interpret and integrate the lived experiences and achievements of the people of Bangladesh from ancient times to date. More than 6,000 entries were contributed by over 1,200 writers and specialists. The project was at a cost of taka 80 million, to which UNESCO made a contribution under the participation programme through Bangladesh National Commission for UNESCO. More than 8,000 sets of the Banglapedia have sold out in advance, earning Asiatic Society of Bangladesh Taka 30 million.

The project, conceptually and territorially, interprets the term Bangladesh to mean successively ancient Eastern India, Suba Bangla, Shahi Bangalah, Mughal Suba Bangla, Bengal Presidency, Bengal Province, East Bengal, East Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Banglapedia entries are compiled and edited in six different editorial categories, namely, arts and humanities, history and heritage, state and governance, society and economy, natural sciences and biological sciences, in addition to a gazetteer group focusing on districts and upazilas. It covers, on the physical plane, the rise of the Bengal Delta, and its evolution to date. Attention has been given, on the human plane, to the changing features of the formation of the delta's janapada or human settlements. That includes the rise and fall of kingdoms, invasions from within and beyond and their implications, dynastic rules and administration, as well as other aspects of Bangladesh's past and present. Extensive coverage has been given to political geography, religion, literature, art and architecture, folk practices and institutions, indigenous and colonial administration, politics, society, economy, ethnicity, and the sciences. (more...)