Historical Background

Remnants of civilization in the greater Bengal region date back four thousand years, when the region was settled by Dravidian, Tibeto-Burman, and Austro-Asiatic peoples. The exact origin of the word `Bangla’ or `Bengal’ is unknown, though it is believed to be derived from Bang (Sanskrit Vanga), the Dravidian-speaking tribe that settled in the area around the year 1000 BC.
The Kingdom of Gangaridai was founded as early as in the seventh century BC, which later merged with Bihar under the Magadha, Nanda, Mauryan and Sunga Empires. Bengal was later part of the Gupta Empire and Harsha Empire from the third to the sixth centuries AD. Following its collapse, a dynamic Bangalee named Shashanka founded an impressive yet short-lived kingdom. Shashanka is considered the first independent king in the history of Bangladesh. After a period of anarchy, the Buddhist Pala dynasty ruled the region for four hundred years commonly referred to as the `Golden Age of Bengal’. This was followed by a shorter reign of the Hindu Sena dynasty.
Islam was introduced to Bengal in the twelfth century by Arab Muslim merchants and Sufi missionaries, and subsequent Muslim conquests helped spread Islam throughout the region. Bakhtiar Khilji, a Turkic general, defeated Lakshman Sen of the Sena dynasty and conquered large parts of Bengal in the year 1204.
The region was ruled by dynasties of Sultans and land lord Bhuiyans for the next few hundred years. By the 16th century, the Mughal Empire controlled Bengal, and Dhaka became an important provincial centre of the Mughal administration. European traders arrived late in the 15th century, and their influence grew until the British East India Company gained control of Bengal following the Battle of Palashi in 1757. The bloody rebellion of 1857, known as the Sepoy Mutiny, resulted in transfer of authority to the Crown, with a British viceroy running the administration in British India.
Between 1905 and 1911, an abortive attempt was made to divide the province of Bengal into two zones, with Dhaka as the capital of the eastern zone. When India was partitioned in 1947 Bengal was partitioned again along religious lines with the western part going to India and the eastern part joining Pakistan as province called East Bengal (later renamed East Pakistan), with its capital in Dhaka. Dissatisfaction with the Centre over economic and cultural issues continued to rise even from the days of partition through the 1950s and 1960s, during which the Awami League emerged as the political voice of the Bangalees under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The 6-points programme launched by Bangabandhu in 1966 crystallised into the demand for autonomy which led to the electoral victory for Awami League in the first ever general election in Pakistan in 1970. Following putting off the summoning of Parliament and consequent decline to hand over power by Pakistani Junta, Bangabandhu made his historic declaration on 7 March, 1971 about the struggle for freedom and the struggle for independence. In the early hours of 26th March 1971, as the Pakistan Army unleashed its genocide across Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman formally declared the independence of Bangladesh and directed everyone to fight till the elimination of the last soldier of the Pakistan Army. Awami League leaders set up a provisional government, which formally took oath at Mujib Nagar in Kushtia district inside Bangladesh on 17 April 1971. The War of Liberation that started with the resistance on 26 March lasted for nine months. The Mukti Bahini (freedom force) was made up of Bangalee regulars and guerrillas. More than 3 million Bangalees were martyred and millions were injured during the war of liberation. The war ended in a decisive victory for Bangladesh when the Pakistan Army surrendered to the joint command of Bangladesh-India forces on 16 December 1971.
When a war ravaged country was going through massive reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts and marching forward as an independent, secular country to fulfill the aspirations of the people, on 15 August 1975, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was brutally murdered along with most of his family members by military adventurists and elements opposed to the guiding ethos of our freedom movement and the tide of history was turned back.
A series of bloody coups and counter-coups in the following three months saw the ascent to power of Maj. Gen. Ziaur Rahman, who founded the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and reinstated religion based sectarian politics. General Zia’s rule ended when he was assassinated in 1981 by elements of the military. Lt. Gen. Hossain Mohammad Ershad assumed power in a bloodless coup in 1982 and ruled until 1990, when he was forced to resign in the face of a popular anti-autocratic movement. Since then, Bangladesh has reverted to a parliamentary democracy.
In the wake of rampant corruption, disorder and uncertainty about the credibility of general election under a caretaker government that conducted itself in a clearly partisan manner, on 11 January 2007, a new caretaker government was appointed to administer the next general election. The new caretaker government held the general election on 29 December 2008 which were acknowledged internationally as free, fair and credible. The grand alliance led by the Awami League won the election with a landslide victory and formed the government on 6 January 2009.
In the wake of successful completion of the term of the Awami League led Government in 2013, a new free and fair election took place on 5 January 2014. The people of the country reiterated their faith in democracy and the politics of development led by Sheikh Hasina. The grand alliance led by the Awami League won a landslide victory in the election and formed the government to continue her progressive politics of development.
The 5 January 2014 election victory of the grand alliance led by the Awami League has been a reiteration of the people’s faith in democracy and a celebration of an inclusive, secular ethos. The government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina got elected consecutively for the third term(total four terms) following general elections held on 30 December,2018 turining Sheikh Hasina as the longest serving Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh-An Introduction

Know Bangladesh
Bangladesh is located in the north-eastern part of South Asia. The majestic Himalayas stand some distance to the north, while in the south lays the Bay of Bengal. West Bengal borders on the west and in the east lies the hilly and forested regions of Tripura, Mizoram (India) and Myanmar. These picturesque geographical boundaries frame a low lying plain of about 1,47,570 square kilometer, criss-crossed by innumerable rivers and streams. Mighty rivers are Padma (Ganges), Brahmaputra (Jamuna), Meghna and Karnafuli.
Bangladesh offers many tourist attractions, including archaeological sites, historical mosques and monuments, longest natural beach in the world, picturesque landscape, hill forests and wildlife, rolling tea gardens and tribes. The rich flora and fauna and colorful tribal life is very enchanting. Each part of the country offers distinctly different topography, flavors and delicacies. It is home to the Royal Bengal Tiger, freshwater pink dolphins, historical temples made of red earth.
Some of popular known tourist attractions are: Srimangal, where miles of tea gardens are located, Mainamati, Mahasthangarh, Paharpur for archaeology, Rangamati, Kaptai and Cox's Bazar for sight seeing, and the Sundarbans for wild life and the largest Mangrove forest of the world, and, Foy's Lake for scenic beauty. To know more about tourism of activities in Bangladesh, please click here.

Country Profile

History of Bangladesh
The 13th and 15th Century
From the 13th century A.D. the Buddhists and Hindus were swamped by the flood of Muslim conquerors and the tide of Islam up to 18th century. Sometimes there were independent rulers like the Hussain Shahi and Ilyas Shahi dynasties, while at other times they ruled on behalf of the Imperial seat of Delhi. From the 15th century, the Europeans, namely Portuguese, Dutch, French and British traders exerted an economic influence over the region. British political rule over the region began in 1757 A.D., when the last Muslim ruler of Bengal was defeated at Palassey. In 1947 the subcontinent was partitioned into India and Pakistan. Present Bangladesh became the Eastern Wing of the then Pakistan. But the movement for autonomy of East Pakistan started within a couple of years because of language and cultural differences and economic disparity between the two wings.
The Language Movement
The Language Movement of 1952 to recognize Bangla as one of the state languages may be termed as the first step towards independence.Political and economic deprivation of the Bengalees prompted Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Father of the Nation, to put forward in 1966 his historic six points, the "Magna Carta" which in effect structured the foundation for East Pakistan's future independence.
The War of Liberation
In the 1970 elections, even though the Awami League emerged as the largest party in Pakistan Parliament, it was not allowed to form the government by the ruling military junta. In the backdrop of a non-cooperation movement launched against the military regime by Awami League.
Bangabandhu declared at a historic public meeting held at Ramna Race Course (renamed Suhrawardy Uddyan) on 7 March, 1971, attended by around 2 million people, "The struggle this tune is the struggle for freedom, the struggle this tune is the struggle for independence." It was a defacto declaration of independence. Thus in a preplanned manner on 25th March 1971. The Pakistan army embarked on what may be termed as history's worst genocide. A military crackdown was ordered, and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib was arrested and taken away to West Pakistan. But just before he was arrested he sent out a call for the liberation war to begin. Known as the Declaration of (i.e. War of Independence, this hurriedly written historic document read as follows: "Pak Army suddenly attacked EPR Base at Pilkhana, Rajarbagh Police Line and killing citizens. Street battles are going on in every street of Dacca. Chittagong. I appeal to the nations of the world for help. Our freedom fighters are gallantly fighting with the enemies to free the motherland. I appeal and order you all in the name of Almighty Allah to fight to the last drop of blood to liberate the country. Ask Police, EPR, Bengal Regiment and Ansar to stand by you and to fight. No compromise. Victory is ours. Drive out the enemies from the holy soil of motherland. Convey this message to all Awami League leaders, workers and other patriots and lovers of freedom. May Allah bless you. Joy Bangla".
Independence After nine months of war, the Pakistani occupation forces surrendered in Dhaka on 16th December. 1971 after killing an estimated three million people. Due to the heroic resistance and supreme sacrifices of the valiant freedom fighters Bangladesh finally became an independent sovereign state.
Father of the Nation Bangahandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was the founder- President of Bangladesh. He was subsequently assassinated on 15th August, 1975 by a group of conspirators.

Bangladesh Fast Facts

Official Name: People's Republic of Bangladesh
Nationality : Bangladeshi
Capital: Dhaka
Weekends: Friday & Saturday, some govt and non-govt offices remain open on Saturdays.
International Dialing Code: +880
Standard Time : BST (GMT +6 Hours)

Historical Dates

Independence Day: 26th March
Victory Day: 16th December
Martyr's Day: 21st February (Also recognized as the International Mother Language Day)

Geography

Geographical Location:Latitude between 20°34' and 26°38' North Longitude between 88°01' and 92°41' East
Area: 147,570 sq. km. (land: 133,910 sq km, water: 10,090 sq km)
Boundaries: North - India (West Bengal and Meghalaya)
West - India (West Bengal)
East - India (Tripura and Assam) and Myanmar
South-Bay of Bengal.
Total: 4,246 km (border countries: Burma 193 km, India 4,053 km) Coastline: 580 km
Maritime boundary: Contiguous zone: 18 nm
Continental shelf: up to the outer limits of the continental margin
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm
Terrain: Mostly flat alluvial plain; hilly in southeast 7 Divisions - Chittagong, Khulna, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Barisal, Rangpur 64 Districts 487 Subdistricts/Upazillas Principal Rivers: Padma, Meghna, Jamuna, Surma, Brahmaputra, Karnaphuli, Teesta, Sitalakhya, Rupsha, Madhumati, Gorai, Mahananda etc.

Climate
Climate Variation: Sub-tropical monsoon
Average Temperature: Winter 11° C - 20° C (October - February) Summer 21° C - 38° C (March - September) Rainfall : 1,100 mm to 3,400 mm (June - August)
Humidity: Highest 99% (July) Lowest 36% (December & January)

Demography

Population: 150 million (2011 Census Report by BBS) Literacy Rate: 60% Language: Bangla (national language) spoken by 95% English is widely understood and spoken. Religion: Muslims - 86.6%, Hindus - 12.1%, Buddhists - 0.6%, Christians -0.4%, Others -0.3%. Age Structure: 0-14 years#33.8% (male 23,069,242#female 21,995,457) 15-64 years: 62.8% (male 42,924,778; female 40,873,077) 65 years and over: 3.4% (male 2,444,314; female 2,069,816) Population Growth Rate: 1.59% Birth Rate / 1000 : 25.12 births/1,000 population Death Rate / 1000 : 8.47 deaths/1,000 population Gender at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 1.18 male(s)/female total population: 1.05 male(s)/female Fertility Rate: 2.72 children born/woman Ethnic Groups: Bengalis (98%) Other indigenous minority (2%) including Chakmas, Marmas, Santals, Garos, Manipuri, Tripura, and Tanchangya.

Economy

Recognitions: Bangladesh is one of the members of the Developing 8 and considered as the Next Eleven Economy of the world in 20 coined by Goldman Sachs.
GDP: $1,044 (per capita in 2013)
Poverty Level: 25% (People living with $2 per day)
Foreign Grant Dependency: 2%
Principal Crops: Rice, Jute, Tea, Wheat, Sugarcane, Pulses, Mustard, Potato, Vegetables.
Principal Industries: Garments & Textiles (2nd largest in the world), Tea, Ceramics, Cement, Leather, Jute (largest producer in the world), Chemical, Fertilizer, Shrimp Processing, Sugar, Paper, Electric and Electronics, Medicine, Fishing.
Principal Exports: Garments, Knitwear, Frozen Shrimps, Tea, Leather and Leather products, Jute and Jute products, Ceramics, IT Outsourcing, etc.
Principal Imports: Wheat, Fertilizer, Petroleum goods, Cotton, Edible Oil etc.
Principal Minerals: Natural gas,oil, Coal, white clay, glass sand etc.
Electricity: 220 Volts AC in all cities and towns
Currency: Taka (BDT, Symbol = ৳) 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 in notes and # 50,25,10,5,1 in coins.
Exchange Rate Labour Force: 54 million
Male: 40 million
Female: 14 million
(Ref: BES-2011) Agriculture: 48.4 percent
Industry: 24.3 percent
Others: 27.3 percent
Transportation Methods:
Road, Air, Rail, Waterways (More information) Export Processing Zones (EPZs):
Dhaka, Uttara, Adamjee, Chittagong, Comilla, Ishwardi, Karnaphuli, and Mongla.


Achievements in MDGs and taking action for SDGs

Reduction of Headcount Poverty : Down from 38.4% in 2006 to 23.2% in 2016 Reduction of Extreme Poverty Rate : Down from 24.2% in 2006 to 12.1% in 2016, Infant Mortality : Dropped from 45 in 2006 to 28 in 2016 (per 1000 live births)
Maternal Mortality : Decreased from 3.37 in2006 to 1.78 in 2016 (per 1000) Equitable Access in education (NER : 97.7 percent), reduction of dropouts
Sustainable Development Goals are in tandem with 'Vision-2021' and 'Vision-2041' 'Whole of Society' approach to ensure wider participation of NGOs, development partners, private sector, media and CSOs in the process of formulation of Acting Plan and implementation of the SDGs
SDGs Implementation and Monitoring Committee' formed under the Prime Minister's Office to facilitate and implementation of SDGs Acting Plan.
Bangladesh is now a food self sufficient nation Total production of food crops was increased from 27.8 million metric tonnes to 38.8 million metric tonnes in FY 16 In global ranking Bangladesh is 3rd in producing vegetables 4th in producing fresh water fishes and 7th in producing mangoes.

Success in Health

Bangladesh has set the target to attain universal healthcare by 2032 Per capita health expenditure is US$ 30.83 in 2014, an increase from $16 in 2000 Life expectancy has gone up to 71.6 years (2016)
Over 16,400 community clinics to enhance basic health care at the grassroots level 30,000 satellite clinics for maternal and child healthcare around the country High vaccination coverage (EPI) globally acclaimed for reducing child mortality Innovation and technology based digitalized healthcare increased accessibility to health service via mobile phone, telemedicine service, hospital automation, online population health registry and digital training facility for health care professionals.


Global Projections-Where Bangladesh Can Go

Bangladesh's GDP is expected to be US$322 bn by 2021 (World Bank)
Bangladesh would emerge as 28th largest economy by 2030 and 23rd by 2050 (PWC)
The Miracle of East : Bangladesh is one of next 11 economics with great investment opportunities (Goldman Sachs)
"Bangladesh is poised to be the Next Asian tiger" (Former Chief Economist of the World Bank Mr. Kaushik Basu) Bangladesh was the best performer in South Asia after India (World Investment Report 2017)

Power Generation

Government has set a target to ensure electricity for all by 2021 Electricity generation stands 15,379 MW in FY17 from 5,245 MW in FY06 (per capita generation from 220 kwh to 407 kwh).
Target is 24,000 MW by 2021 Electricity coverage is 78% which was less than 50% ten years ago Government is aiming for 7 solar parks to be implemented by IPPS connecting to the national grid (2.76% of total electricity generation is from renewable sources) More than 4.5 million solar home systems have been installed in the rural areas bringing electricity at the doorsteps of 20 million people living in the off-grid areas Government has set a target to produce 10% power from renewable energy source by 2021


Attainment of the Eligibility to Graduate to Developing Country

Attainment of the eligibility to graduate to a developing country (by 2024) as announced by the UNCDP on 16 March,2018

More Information

Useful Links