Coordinates: 23°48′N 90°18′E / 23.8°N 90.3°E / 23.8;
Republic of Bangladesh
Anthem: "Amar Sonar Bangla" (Bengali)
"My Golden Bengal"
March: "Notuner Gaan"
"The Song of Youth"
Government Seal of Bangladesh
and largest city
23°42′N 90°21′E / 23.700°N 90.350°E / 23.700; 90.350
Ethnic groups (2011)
Unitary parliamentary republic
• Prime Minister
• House Speaker
• Chief Justice
Syed Mahmud Hossain
Formation and independence
• East Bengal
14 August 1947
• East Pakistan
14 October 1955
26 March 1971
16 December 1971
4 November 1972
147,570 km2 (56,980 sq mi) (92nd)
• Water (%)
• 2016 estimate
• 2011 census
1,106/km2 (2,864.5/sq mi) (10th)
$748.811 billion (31st)
• Per capita
FY 2017-18 estimate
$275 billion (43rd)
• Per capita
medium · 139th
Taka (৳) (BDT)
BS দদ-মম-বববব (CE−594)
Drives on the
ISO 3166 code
This article contains Bengali text. Without proper rendering support,
you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols.
Bangladesh (/ˌbæŋɡləˈdɛʃ, ˌbɑːŋ-/ ( listen);
Bengali: বাংলাদেশ Bāṃlādēśa
[ˈbaŋlad̪eʃ] ( listen), lit. "The country of Bengal"),
officially the People's
Republic of Bangladesh
Gaṇaprajātantrī Bāṃlādēśa), is a country in South Asia. It
shares land borders with
Myanmar (Burma). Nepal,
China are located near
Bangladesh but do not share a border with it.
The country's maritime territory in the
Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal is roughly equal
to the size of its land area.
Bangladesh is the world's eighth
most populous country.
Dhaka is its capital and largest city, followed
by Chittagong, which has the country's largest port.
the largest and easternmost part of the
Bangladeshis include people from a range of ethnic groups and
religions. Bengalis, who speak the official Bengali language, make up
98% of the population. The politically dominant Bengali Muslims
make the nation the world's third largest Muslim-majority country.
Islam is the official religion of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is covered by the
Bengal delta, the largest delta
on Earth. The country has 700 rivers and 8,046 km (5,000 miles)
of inland waterways. Highlands with evergreen forests are found in the
northeastern and southeastern regions of the country.
many islands and a coral reef. The longest unbroken sea beach, Cox's
Bazar Beach, is located here. It is home to the Sundarbans, the
largest mangrove forest in the world. The country's biodiversity
includes a vast array of plant and wildlife, including endangered
Bengal tigers, the national animal.
The Greeks and Romans identified the region as Gangaridai, a powerful
kingdom of the historical Indian subcontinent, in the 3rd century BCE.
Archaeological research has unearthed several ancient cities in
Bangladesh, which enjoyed international trade links for millennia.
Bengal Sultanate and Mughal
Bengal transformed the region into a
Islamic imperial power between the 14th and 18th
centuries. The region was home to many principalities that made use of
their inland naval prowess. It was also a notable center of
the global muslin and silk trade. As part of British India, the region
was influenced by the
Bengali renaissance and played an important role
in anti-colonial movements. The Partition of British
India made East
Bengal a part of the Dominion of Pakistan; and renamed it as East
Pakistan. The region witnessed the
Bengali Language Movement
Bengali Language Movement in 1952
Bangladesh Liberation War
Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. After independence was
achieved, a parliamentary republic was established. A presidential
government was in place between 1975 and 1990, followed by a return to
parliamentary democracy. The country continues to face challenges in
the areas of poverty, education, healthcare and corruption.
Bangladesh is a middle power and a developing nation. Listed as one of
the Next Eleven, its economy ranks 46th in terms of nominal gross
domestic product (GDP) and 29th in terms of purchasing power parity
(PPP). It is one of the largest textile exporters in the world. Its
major trading partners are the European Union, the United States,
China, India, Japan,
Malaysia and Singapore. With its strategically
vital location between Southern, Eastern and Southeast Asia,
Bangladesh is an important promoter of regional connectivity and
cooperation. It is a founding member of SAARC, BIMSTEC, the
Myanmar Forum for Regional Cooperation and the
Nepal Initiative. It is also a member of the
Commonwealth of Nations, the Developing 8 Countries, the OIC, the
Indian-Ocean Rim Association, the Non Aligned Movement, the Group of
77 and the World Trade Organization.
Bangladesh is one of the largest
United Nations peacekeeping
United Nations peacekeeping forces.
2.1 Early and medieval periods
2.2 Colonial period
2.3 Union with Pakistan
2.4 War of Independence
Republic of Bangladesh
2.5.1 First parliamentary era
2.5.2 Presidential era and coups (1975–1991)
2.5.3 Current parliamentary era (1991–present)
3.1 Administrative geography
4.1 Legal system
4.3 Foreign relations
4.4 Human rights
5.2 Energy and infrastructure
5.3 Science and technology
6.1 Urban centres
7.1 Visual arts
7.3 Women in Bangladesh
7.5 Performing arts
7.10 Media and cinema
7.11 Museums and libraries
8 See also
10 Cited sources
11 Further reading
12 External links
Main article: Names of Bengal
The etymology of
Bangladesh (Country of Bengal) can be traced to the
early 20th century, when Bengali patriotic songs, such as Namo Namo
Bangladesh Momo by Kazi Nazrul
Islam and Aaji Bangladesher Hridoy
by Rabindranath Tagore, used the term. The term
often written as two words, Bangla Desh, in the past. Starting in the
1950s, Bengali nationalists used the term in political rallies in East
Pakistan. The term Bangla is a major name for both the
and the Bengali language. The earliest known usage of the term is the
Nesari plate in 805 AD. The term Vangaladesa is found in 11th
century South Indian records.
The term gained official status during the Sultanate of
Bengal in the
Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah proclaimed himself as the
Shah of Bangala" in 1342. The word Bangla became the most
common name for the region during the
Islamic period. The Portuguese
referred to the region as Bengala in the 16th century.
The origins of the term Bangla are unclear, with theories pointing to
Bronze Age proto-Dravidian tribe, the
Austric word "Bonga" (Sun
god), and the
Iron Age Vanga Kingdom. The Indo-
Desh is derived from the
Sanskrit word deśha, which means "land" or
"country". Hence, the name
Bangladesh means "Land of Bengal" or
"Country of Bengal".
Main article: History of Bangladesh
Early and medieval periods
Seal of the King Shashanka, who created the first separate political
entity in a United Bengal, called the Gauda Kingdom
Buddha and Bodhisattvas, 11th century, Pala Empire
Stone Age tools found in
Bangladesh indicate human habitation for over
20,000 years, and remnants of
Copper Age settlements date back
4,000 years. Ancient
Bengal was settled by Austroasiatics,
Tibeto-Burmans, Dravidians and Indo-Aryans in consecutive waves of
migration. Archaeological evidence confirms that by the second
millennium BCE, rice-cultivating communities inhabited the region. By
the 11th century people lived in systemically-aligned housing, buried
their dead, and manufactured copper ornaments and black and red
pottery. The Ganges,
Meghna rivers were natural
arteries for communication and transportation, and estuaries on
Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal permitted maritime trade. The early
Iron Age saw the
development of metal weaponry, coinage, agriculture and
irrigation. Major urban settlements formed during the late Iron
Age, in the mid-first millennium BCE, when the Northern Black
Polished Ware culture developed. In 1879, Alexander Cunningham
Mahasthangarh as the capital of the Pundra Kingdom
mentioned in the Rigveda.
Somapura Mahavihara grew up during the Pala Empire, which
originated in the region of Bengal
Greek and Roman records of the ancient
Gangaridai Kingdom, which
(according to legend) deterred the invasion of Alexander the Great,
are linked to the fort city in Wari-Bateshwar. The site is also
identified with the prosperous trading center of Souanagoura listed on
Ptolemy's world map. Roman geographers noted a large seaport in
southeastern Bengal, corresponding to the present-day Chittagong
Hindu states which ruled
Bangladesh included the
Samatata and Pundra kingdoms, the Maurya and Gupta Empires, the
Varman dynasty, Shashanka's kingdom, the Khadga and Candra dynasties,
the Pala Empire, the Sena dynasty, the
Harikela kingdom and the Deva
dynasty. These states had well-developed currencies, banking,
shipping, architecture and art, and the ancient universities of
Mainamati hosted scholars and students from other parts
China was a noted scholar who resided at the
Somapura Mahavihara (the largest monastery in ancient India), and
Atisa traveled from
Tibet to preach Buddhism. The earliest
form of the
Bengali language began to the emerge during the eighth
Sixty Dome Mosque
Sixty Dome Mosque built during the
is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Early Muslim explorers and missionaries arrived in
Bengal late in the
first millennium CE. The
Islamic conquest of
Bengal began with the
1204 invasion by Bakhtiar Khilji; after annexing
Bengal to the Delhi
Sultanate, Khilji waged a military campaign in Tibet.
Bengal was ruled
Delhi Sultanate for a century by governors from the Mamluk,
Balban and Tughluq dynasties. During the 14th century, an independent
Bengal Sultanate was established by rebel governors. The sultanate's
ruling houses included the Ilyas Shahi, Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah,
Hussain Shahi, Suri and Karrani dynasties, and the era saw the
introduction of a distinct mosque architecture and the tangka
Arakan region was brought under Bengali hegemony. The
Bengal Sultanate was visited by explorers Ibn Battuta, Admiral Zheng
He and Niccolo De Conti. During the late 16th century, the Baro-Bhuyan
(a confederation of Muslim and
Hindu aristocrats) ruled eastern
Bengal; its leader was the Mansad-e-Ala, a title held by Isa Khan
and his son Musa Khan. The Khan dynasty are considered local heroes
for resisting North Indian invasions with their river navies.
Lalbagh Fort, a landmark built during the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire controlled
Bengal by the 17th century. During the
reign of Emperor Akbar, the Bengali agrarian calendar was reformed to
facilitate tax collection. The Mughals established
Dhaka as a fort
city and commercial metropolis, and it was the capital of Mughal
Bengal for 75 years. In 1666, the Mughals expelled the Arakanese
from Chittagong. Mughal
Bengal attracted foreign traders for its
muslin and silk goods, and the Armenians were a notable merchant
community. A Portuguese settlement in
Chittagong flourished in the
southeast, and a
Dutch settlement in Rajshahi
Dutch settlement in Rajshahi existed in the north.
During the 18th century, the Nawabs of
Bengal became the region's de
facto rulers. The Nawabs forged alliances with European colonial
companies, which made the region relatively prosperous early in the
Bengali Muslim population was a product of conversion and
religious evolution, and their pre-
Islamic beliefs included
Buddhism and Hinduism. The construction of mosques,
Islamic academies (madrasas) and Sufi monasteries (khanqahs)
facilitated conversion, and
Islamic cosmology played a significant
role in developing
Bengali Muslim society. Scholars have theorized
Bengalis were attracted to
Islam by its egalitarian social order,
which contrasted with the
Hindu caste system. By the 15th century,
Muslim poets were writing in the Bengali language. Notable medieval
Bengali Muslim poets included Daulat Qazi, Abdul Hakim and Alaol.
Syncretic cults, such as the
Baul movement, emerged on the fringes of
Bengali Muslim society. The
Persianate culture was significant in
Bengal, where cities like
Sonargaon became the easternmost centers of
Bengal Presidency, British Raj, Partition of Bengal
(1905), and Eastern
Bengal and Assam
The 1906 All
India Muhammadan Educational Conference in Dacca, Eastern
Bengal and Assam
After the 1757 Battle of Plassey,
Bengal was the first region of the
Indian subcontinent conquered by the British East
India Company. The
company formed the Presidency of Fort William, which administered the
region until 1858. A notable aspect of company rule was the Permanent
Settlement, which established the feudal zamindari system. A number of
famines, including the great
Bengal famine of 1770, occurred under
company rule. Several rebellions broke out during the early 19th
century (including one led by Titumir), but British rule displaced the
Muslim ruling class. A conservative
Islamic cleric, Haji Shariatullah,
sought to overthrow the British by propagating
Several towns in
Bangladesh participated in the
Indian Mutiny and
pledged allegiance to the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur
Shah Zafar, who
was later exiled to neighboring Burma.
Prime Ministers of
Bengal A. K. Fazlul Huq,
Khawaja Nazimuddin and H.
The challenge posed to company rule by the failed
Indian Mutiny led to
the creation of the
British Indian Empire
British Indian Empire as a crown colony, and the
first railway was built in 1862.
Syed Ahmed Khan
Syed Ahmed Khan and Ram Mohan Roy
promoted modern and liberal education on the subcontinent, inspiring
Aligarh movement and the
Bengal Renaissance. During the late 19th
century, novelists, social reformers and feminists emerged from Muslim
Electricity and municipal water systems were
introduced in the 1890s; cinemas opened in many towns during the early
20th century. East Bengal's plantation economy was important to the
British Empire, particularly its jute and tea. The British established
tax-free river ports, such as the Port of Narayanganj, and large
seaports like the Port of Chittagong.
Social tensions also increased under British rule, particularly
between wealthy Hindus and the Muslim-majority population. The
Permanent Settlement made millions of Muslim peasants tenants of Hindu
estates, and resentment of the
Hindu landed gentry grew. Supported
by the Muslim aristocracy, the British government created the province
Bengal and Assam in 1905; the new province received
increased investment in education, transport and industry. However,
the first partition of
Bengal created an uproar in
Calcutta and the
Indian National Congress. In response to growing
India Muslim League was formed in
Dhaka during the 1906 All
India Muhammadan Educational Conference. The British government
reorganized the provinces in 1912, reuniting East and West
making Assam a second province.
India Muslim League's
Lahore Resolution Working Committee, in
Bengal was represented by
A. K. Fazlul Huq
A. K. Fazlul Huq and Khawaja
The Raj was slow to allow self-rule in the colonial subcontinent. It
Bengal Legislative Council in 1862, and the council's
native Bengali representation increased during the early 20th century.
Bengal Provincial Muslim League was formed in 1913 to advocate
civil rights for
Bengali Muslims within a constitutional framework.
During the 1920s, the league was divided into factions supporting the
Khilafat movement and favoring cooperation with the British to achieve
self-rule. Segments of the Bengali elite supported Mustafa Kemal
Ataturk secularist forces. In 1929, the All
Association was formed in the
Bengal Legislative Council to counter
the influence of the
Hindu landed gentry, and the Indian Independence
Pakistan Movements strengthened during the early 20th century.
Morley-Minto Reforms and the diarchy era in the legislatures
of British India, the British government promised limited provincial
autonomy in 1935. The
Bengal Legislative Assembly, British India's
largest legislature, was established in 1937.
Although it won a majority of seats in 1937, the
boycotted the legislature.
A. K. Fazlul Huq
A. K. Fazlul Huq of the Krishak Praja Party
was elected as the first Prime Minister of Bengal. In 1940 Huq
supported the Lahore Resolution, which envisaged independent states in
the northwestern and eastern Muslim-majority regions of the
subcontinent. The first Huq ministry, a coalition with the Bengal
Provincial Muslim League, lasted until 1941; it was followed by a Huq
coalition with the
Hindu Mahasabha which lasted until 1943. Huq was
succeeded by Khawaja Nazimuddin, who grappled with the effects of the
Burma Campaign, the
Bengal famine of 1943 and the Quit
In 1946, the
Bengal Provincial Muslim League won the provincial
election, taking 113 of the 250-seat assembly (the largest Muslim
League mandate in British India). H. S. Suhrawardy, who made a final
futile effort for a United
Bengal in 1946, was the last premier of
Union with Pakistan
Main articles: Partition of
Bengal (1947), East Bengal, and East
On 3 June 1947
Mountbatten Plan outlined the partition of British
India. On 20 June, the
Bengal Legislative Assembly met to decide on
the partition of Bengal. At the preliminary joint meeting, it was
decided (120 votes to 90) that if the province remained united it
should join the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. At a separate
meeting of legislators from West Bengal, it was decided (58 votes to
21) that the province should be partitioned and West
join the Constituent Assembly of India. At another meeting of
legislators from East Bengal, it was decided (106 votes to 35) that
the province should not be partitioned and (107 votes to 34) that East
Bengal should join the
Constituent Assembly of Pakistan
Constituent Assembly of Pakistan if
partitioned. On 6 July, the
Sylhet region of Assam voted in a
referendum to join East Bengal.
Cyril Radcliffe was tasked with
drawing the borders of
Pakistan and India, and the Radcliffe Line
established the borders of present-day Bangladesh. The Dominion of
Pakistan was created on 14 August 1947.
Dominion of Pakistan
Dominion of Pakistan in 1947, with
East Bengal its eastern part
East Bengal, with
Dhaka its capital, was the most populous province of
the 1947 Pakistani federation (led by Governor General Muhammad Ali
Jinnah, who promised freedom of religion and secular democracy in the
East Bengal was also Pakistan's most cosmopolitan
province, home to peoples of different faiths, cultures and ethnic
groups. Partition gave increased economic opportunity to East
Bengalis, producing an urban population during the 1950s.
Khawaja Nazimuddin was East Bengal's first chief minister with
Frederick Chalmers Bourne its governor. The All
Pakistan Awami Muslim
League was formed in 1949 as a centre-left alternative to the
Pakistan Muslim League. In 1950, the
East Bengal Legislative Assembly enacted land reform, abolishing the
Permanent Settlement and the zamindari system. The 1952 Bengali
Language Movement was the first sign of friction between the country's
geographically-separated wings. The Awami Muslim League was renamed
Awami League in 1953. The first constituent
assembly was dissolved in 1954; this was challenged by its East
Bengali speaker, Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan. The United Front coalition
swept aside the Muslim League in a landslide victory in the 1954 East
Bengali legislative election. The following year,
East Bengal was
East Pakistan as part of the
One Unit program and the province
became a vital part of the Southeast
Asia Treaty Organization.
Female students march in defiance of the
Section 144 prohibition on
assembly during the
Bengali Language Movement
Bengali Language Movement in early 1953.
Pakistan adopted its first constitution in 1956. Three
its Prime Minister until 1957: Nazimuddin,
Mohammad Ali of Bogra
Mohammad Ali of Bogra and
Suhrawardy. None of the three completed their terms, and resigned from
Pakistan Army imposed military rule in 1958, and Ayub Khan
was the country's strongman for 11 years. Political repression
increased after the coup. Khan introduced a new constitution in 1962,
replacing Pakistan's parliamentary system with a presidential and
gubernatorial system (based on electoral college selection) known as
Basic Democracy. In 1962
Dhaka became the seat of the National
Assembly of Pakistan, a move seen as appeasing increased Bengali
nationalism. The Pakistani government built the controversial
Kaptai Dam, displacing the
Chakma people from their indigenous
homeland in the
Chittagong Hill Tracts. During the 1965
Fatima Jinnah lost to Ayub Khan despite support
from the Combined Opposition alliance (which included the Awami
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 blocked cross-border
transport links with neighboring
India in what is described as a
second partition. In 1966,
Awami League leader Sheikh Mujibur
Rahman announced a six point movement for a federal parliamentary
U.S. Chief Justice
Earl Warren meets Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan, the
plaintiff in Federation of
Pakistan v. Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan.
According to senior
World Bank officials,
Pakistan practiced extensive
economic discrimination against East Pakistan: greater government
spending on West Pakistan, financial transfers from East to West
Pakistan, the use of East Pakistan's foreign-exchange surpluses to
finance West Pakistani imports, and refusal by the central government
to release funds allocated to
East Pakistan because previous spending
had been under budget;
East Pakistan generated 70 percent of
Pakistan's export revenue with its jute and tea. Sheikh Mujibur
Rahman was arrested for treason in the Agartala Conspiracy Case, and
was released during the 1969 uprising in
East Pakistan which resulted
in Ayub Khan's resignation. General
Yahya Khan assumed power,
reintroducing martial law.
Ethnic and linguistic discrimination was common in Pakistan's civil
and military services, in which
Bengalis were under-represented.
Fifteen percent of Pakistani central-government offices were occupied
by East Pakistanis, who formed 10 percent of the military.
Cultural discrimination also prevailed, making
East Pakistan forge a
distinct political identity.
Pakistan banned Bengali literature
and music in state media, including the works of Nobel laureate
Rabindranath Tagore. A cyclone devastated the coast of East
Pakistan in 1970, killing an estimated 500,000 people, and the
central government was criticized for its poor response. After the
December 1970 elections, calls for the independence of East Bengal
became louder; the Bengali-nationalist
Awami League won 167 of 169
East Pakistani seats in the National Assembly. The League claimed the
right to form a government and develop a new constitution, but was
strongly opposed by the Pakistani military and the
Party (led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto).
War of Independence
Bangladesh Liberation War
2013 Shahbag protests
2013 Shahbag protests demanding the death penalty for the war
criminals of the 1971
Bangladesh Liberation War
National Martyrs’ Memorial, in memory of the freedom fighters
The Bengali population was angered when
Prime Minister-elect Sheikh
Mujibur Rahman was prevented from taking the office. Civil
disobedience erupted across East Pakistan, with calls for
independence. Rahman addressed a pro-independence rally of nearly
2 million people in Dacca on 7 March 1971, where he said, "This time
the struggle is for our freedom. This time the struggle is for our
Bangladeshi flag was raised for the first time on
23 March, Pakistan's
Republic Day. During the night of 25 March,
the Pakistani military junta led by
Yahya Khan launched Operation
Searchlight (a sustained military assault on East
Pakistan) and held Rahman in military custody.
 Sheikh Mujib however, before his arrest made the
Bangladeshi Independence on March 26. The Pakistan
Army, with help from supporting militias, massacred Bengali students,
intellectuals, politicians, civil servants and military defectors in
Bangladesh genocide. Several million refugees fled to
neighboring India. Estimates of the number killed during the war range
from 300,000 to three million. Global public opinion turned
Pakistan as news of the atrocities spread; the Bangladesh
movement was supported by prominent political and cultural figures in
the West, including Ted Kennedy, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Joan
Victoria Ocampo and André Malraux. The Concert for
Bangladesh was held at
Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden in New York City to raise
Bangladeshi refugees. The first major benefit concert in
history, it was organized by Harrison and Indian Bengali sitarist Ravi
Bangladesh Liberation War, Bengali nationalists declared
independence and formed the
Mukti Bahini (the
Liberation Army). The
Provisional Government of Bangladesh
Provisional Government of Bangladesh was
established on 17 April 1971, converting the 469 elected members of
the Pakistani national assembly and East Pakistani provincial assembly
into the Constituent Assembly of Bangladesh. The provisional
government issued the Proclamation of
Bangladeshi Independence, which
was the country's interim constitution and declared "equality, human
dignity and social justice" as its fundamental principles. Due to
Rahman's detention, the acting president was Syed Nazrul Islam.
Tajuddin Ahmad was Bangladesh's first prime minister. The military
wing of the provisional government was the
Bangladesh Forces. Led by
M. A. G. Osmani
M. A. G. Osmani and eleven sector commanders, the forces held
the Bengali countryside during the war and conducted wide-ranging
guerrilla operations against Pakistani forces. Neighboring
Indira Gandhi (a longtime nemesis of Pakistan), provided
crucial support to the
Bangladesh Forces and intervened in support of
the provisional government on 3 December 1971. The
Soviet Union and
United States dispatched naval forces to the
Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal in a
Cold War standoff during the Indo-Pakistani War. The nine-month war
ended with the surrender of Pakistan's military to the
India Allied Forces on 16 December 1971. Under
Pakistan released Rahman from imprisonment on
8 January 1972 and he was flown by the
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force to a
million-strong homecoming in Dacca. Indian troops were
withdrawn by 12 March 1972, three months after the war ended.
The cause of
Bangladeshi self-determination was recognized around the
world. By the time of its admission to UN membership in August
1972, the new state was recognized by 86 countries. Pakistan
Bangladesh in 1974 after pressure from most of the Muslim
Republic of Bangladesh
First parliamentary era
Prime Minister Bangabandhu
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and U.S. president
Gerald Ford in 1974
The constituent assembly adopted Bangladesh's constitution on 4
November 1972, establishing a secular, multiparty parliamentary
democracy. The new constitution included references to socialism, and
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman nationalized major industries in
1972. A major reconstruction and rehabilitation program was
Awami League won the country's first general election in
1973, securing a large majority in the Jatiyo Sangshad. Bangladesh
joined the Commonwealth of Nations, the UN, the
OIC and the
Non-Aligned Movement, and Rahman strengthened ties with India. Amid
growing agitation by the opposition
National Awami Party
National Awami Party and National
Socialist Party, he became increasingly authoritarian. Rahman amended
the constitution, giving himself more emergency powers (including the
suspension of fundamental rights). The
Bangladesh famine of 1974 also
worsened the political situation.
Presidential era and coups (1975–1991)
Military coups in Bangladesh
Ziaur Rahman and First Lady
Khaleda Zia with the Dutch royal
family in 1979
In January 1975,
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman introduced one-party socialist
rule under BAKSAL. Rahman banned all newspapers except four
state-owned publications, and amended the constitution to increase his
power. He was assassinated during a coup on 15 August 1975. Martial
law was declared, and the presidency passed to the usurper Khondaker
Mostaq Ahmad for four months. Ahmad is widely regarded as a quisling
by Bangladeshis. Tajuddin Ahmad, the nation's first prime
minister, and four other independence leaders were assassinated on 4
November 1975. Chief Justice
Abu Sadat Mohammad Sayem was installed as
president by the military on 6 November 1975.
Bangladesh was governed
by a military junta led by the
Chief Martial Law Administrator for
three years. In 1977, Army chief
Ziaur Rahman became president. Rahman
reinstated multiparty politics, privatized industries and newspapers,
established BEPZA and held the country's second general election in
1979. A semi-presidential system evolved, with the Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP) governing until 1982. Rahman was assassinated
in 1981, and was succeeded by Vice President Abdus Sattar. Sattar
received 65.5 percent of the vote in the 1981 presidential
After a year in office, Sattar was overthrown in the 1982 Bangladesh
coup d'état. Chief Justice
A. F. M. Ahsanuddin Chowdhury was
installed as president, but army chief
Hussain Muhammad Ershad
Hussain Muhammad Ershad became
the country's de facto leader and assumed the presidency in 1983.
Ershad lifted martial law in 1986. He governed with four successive
prime ministers (Ataur Rahman Khan, Mizanur Rahman Chowdhury, Moudud
Ahmed and Kazi Zafar Ahmed) and a parliament dominated by his Jatiyo
Party. General elections were held in 1986 and 1988, although the
latter was boycotted by the opposition BNP and Awami League. Ershad
pursued administrative decentralization, dividing the country into 64
districts, and pushed Parliament to make
Islam the state religion in
1988. A 1990 mass uprising forced him to resign, and Chief Justice
Shahabuddin Ahmed led the country's first caretaker government as part
of the transition to parliamentary rule.
Current parliamentary era (1991–present)
Popularly known as the "Battling Begums"; the two women have ruled
Bangladesh as prime ministers since 1991.
After the 1991 general election, the twelfth amendment to the
constitution restored the parliamentary republic and Begum Khaleda Zia
became Bangladesh's first female prime minister. Zia, a former first
lady, led a BNP government from 1990 to 1996. In 1991 her finance
minister, Saifur Rahman, began a major program to liberalize the
Awami League initiative, the BNP introduced a system of
caretaker governments to oversee the transfer of power. Justice
Muhammad Habibur Rahman
Muhammad Habibur Rahman was the first Chief Adviser of Bangladesh, and
oversaw the 1996 election. The Awami League, led by Sheikh Hasina, won
the seventh general election. Hasina's first term was highlighted by
Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord and a
treaty with India. The second caretaker government, led by Chief
Adviser Justice Latifur Rahman, oversaw the eighth general election in
2001 which returned Begum Zia and the BNP to power. The second Zia
ministry saw improved economic growth, but political turmoil gripped
the country between 2004 and 2006. A radical Islamist militant group,
the JMB, carried out a series of bombings. Amid widespread political
Bangladeshi military urged President
Iajuddin Ahmed to
impose a state of emergency and a caretaker government, led by
technocrat Fakhruddin Ahmed, was installed.
Emergency rule lasted for two years, until the ninth general election
in 2008 which returned
Sheikh Hasina and the
Awami League to power. In
2010, the Supreme Court ruled martial law illegal and affirmed secular
principles in the constitution. The following year, the Awami League
abolished the caretaker-government system. The 2014 general election
was boycotted by the BNP, giving the
Awami League a decisive victory.
Main article: Geography of Bangladesh
A satellite image showing the topography of Bangladesh
The geography of
Bangladesh is divided between three regions. Most of
the country is dominated by the fertile Ganges-
Brahmaputra delta; the
northwest and central parts of the country are formed by the Madhupur
and the Barind plateaus. The northeast and southeast are home to
evergreen hill ranges. The
Ganges delta is formed by the confluence of
Ganges (local name Padma or Pôdda),
Brahmaputra (Jamuna or
Meghna rivers and their respective tributaries. The
Ganges unites with the Jamuna (main channel of the Brahmaputra) and
later joins the Meghna, finally flowing into the Bay of Bengal.
Bangladesh has 57 trans-boundary rivers, making the resolution of
water issues to be politically complicated, in most cases, as the
country is a lower riparian state to India.
Bangladesh is predominately rich fertile flat land. Most parts of it
is less than 12 m (39.4 ft) above sea level, and it is
estimated that about 10% of its land would be flooded if the sea level
were to rise by 1 m (3.28 ft). 17% of the country is
covered by forests and 12% is covered by hill systems. The country's
haor wetlands are of significance to global environmental science.
In southeastern Bangladesh, experiments have been done since the 1960s
to 'build with nature'. Construction of cross dams has induced a
natural accretion of silt, creating new land. With Dutch funding, the
Bangladeshi government began promoting the development of this new
land in the late 1970s. The effort has become a multi-agency endeavor,
building roads, culverts, embankments, cyclone shelters, toilets and
ponds, as well as distributing land to settlers. It was expected that
by fall 2010, the program would have allotted some 27,000 acres
(10,927 ha) to 21,000 families. With an elevation of
1,064 m (3,491 ft), the highest peak of
Keokradong, near the border with Myanmar.
Main article: Administrative geography of Bangladesh
Further information: Divisions of Bangladesh, Districts of Bangladesh,
and Upazilas of Bangladesh
Bangladesh is divided into eight administrative
divisions, each named after their respective divisional
headquarters: Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna, Mymensingh,
Rajshahi, Rangpur, and Sylhet.
Divisions are subdivided into districts (zila). There are 64 districts
in Bangladesh, each further subdivided into upazila (subdistricts) or
thana. The area within each police station, except for those in
metropolitan areas, is divided into several unions, with each union
consisting of multiple villages. In the metropolitan areas, police
stations are divided into wards, which are further divided into
There are no elected officials at the divisional or district levels,
and the administration is composed only of government officials.
Direct elections are held in each union (or ward) for a chairperson
and a number of members. In 1997, a parliamentary act was passed to
reserve three seats (out of 12) in every union for female
Administrative Divisions of Bangladesh
1 January 1993
1 January 1829
1 January 1829
1 October 1960
14 September 2015
1 January 1829
25 January 2010
1 August 1995
Main article: Climate of Bangladesh
Climate change is causing increasing river erosion in Bangladesh,
threatening an estimated 20 million people
Bangladesh has a tropical monsoon climate
Straddling the Tropic of Cancer, Bangladesh's climate is tropical with
a mild winter from October to March, and a hot, humid summer from
March to June. The country has never recorded an air temperature below
0 °C (32 °F), with a record low of 1.1 °C
(34.0 °F) in the north west city of
Dinajpur on 3 February
1905. A warm and humid monsoon season lasts from June to October
and supplies most of the country's rainfall.
Natural calamities, such as floods, tropical cyclones, tornadoes, and
tidal bores occur almost every year, combined with the effects of
deforestation, soil degradation and erosion. The cyclones of 1970 and
1991 were particularly devastating, the latter killing some 140,000
In September 1998,
Bangladesh saw the most severe flooding in modern
world history. As the Brahmaputra, the
Meghna spilt over
and swallowed 300,000 houses, 9,700 km (6,000 mi) of road
and 2,700 km (1,700 mi) of embankment, 1,000 people
were killed and 30 million more made homeless, 135,000 cattle
killed, 50 km2 (19 sq mi) of land destroyed and
11,000 km (6,800 mi) of roads damaged or destroyed.
Effectively, two-thirds of the country was underwater. The severity of
the flooding was attributed to unusually high monsoon rains, the
shedding off of equally unusually large amounts of melt water from the
Himalayas, and the widespread cutting down of trees (that would have
intercepted rain water) for firewood or animal husbandry.
Bangladesh is now widely recognised to be one of the countries most
vulnerable to climate change. Natural hazards that come from increased
rainfall, rising sea levels, and tropical cyclones are expected to
increase as climate changes, each seriously affecting agriculture,
water and food security, human health and shelter. It is believed
that in the coming decades the rising sea level alone will create more
than 20 million climate refugees.
Bangladesh is prone to floods, tornadoes and cyclones. Also,
there is evidence that earthquakes pose a threat to the country, and
that tectonics have caused rivers to shift course suddenly and
dramatically. It has also been shown that rainy-season flooding in
Bangladesh, on the world's largest river delta, can push the
underlying crust down by as much as 6 centimetres, and possibly
Bangladeshi water is frequently contaminated with arsenic because of
the high arsenic content of the soil—up to 77 million people are
exposed to toxic arsenic from drinking water.
The scientists have come to agree that by 2050, a 3 feet rise in sea
levels will inundate some 20 percent of the land and displace more
than 30 million people.
Wildlife of Bangladesh
Wildlife of Bangladesh and Fauna of Bangladesh
Bengal tiger, the national animal, in the Sundarbans
Axis deer in the Sunderbans
Bangladesh ratified the Rio
Convention on Biological Diversity
Convention on Biological Diversity on 3
May 1994. As of 2014[update], the country was set to revise its
Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.
Bangladesh is located in the Indomalaya ecozone. Its ecology includes
a long sea coastline, numerous rivers and tributaries, lakes,
wetlands, evergreen forests, semi evergreen forests, hill forests,
moist deciduous forests, freshwater swamp forests and flat land with
tall grass. The
Bangladesh Plain is famous for its fertile alluvial
soil which supports extensive cultivation. The country is dominated by
lush vegetation, with villages often buried in groves of mango,
jackfruit, bamboo, betel nut, coconut and date palm. The country
has up to 6000 species of plant life, including 5000 flowering
plants. Water bodies and wetland systems provide a habitat for
many aquatic plants. Water lilies and lotuses grow vividly during the
monsoon season. The country has 50 wildlife sanctuaries.
Bangladesh is home to much of the Sundarbans, the world's largest
mangrove forest, covering an area of 6,000 km2 in the southwest
littoral region. It is divided into three protected sanctuaries–the
South, East and West zones. The forest is a UNESCO World Heritage
Site. The northeastern
Sylhet region is home to haor wetlands, which
is a unique ecosystem. It also includes tropical and subtropical
coniferous forests, a freshwater swamp forest and mixed deciduous
forests. The southeastern
Chittagong region covers evergreen and semi
evergreen hilly jungles. Central
Bangladesh includes the plainland Sal
forest running along the districts of Gazipur,
Tangail and Mymensingh.
St. Martin's Island
St. Martin's Island is the only coral reef in the country.
Bangladesh has an abundance of wildlife in its forests, marshes,
woodlands and hills. The vast majority of animals dwell within a
habitat of 150,000 km2. The
Bengal tiger, clouded leopard,
saltwater crocodile, black panther and fishing cat are among the chief
predators in the Sundarbans. Northern and eastern Bangladesh
is home to the Asian elephant, hoolock gibbon,
Asian black bear
Asian black bear and
oriental pied hornbill.
Chital deer are widely seen in southwestern woodlands. Other
animals include the black giant squirrel, capped langur,
sambar deer, jungle cat, king cobra, wild boar, mongooses, pangolins,
pythons and water monitors.
Bangladesh has one of the largest
Irrawaddy dolphins and
Ganges dolphins. A 2009 census
Irrawaddy dolphins inhabiting the littoral rivers of
Bangladesh. The country has numerous species of amphibians (53),
reptiles (139), marine reptiles (19) and marine mammals (5). It also
has 628 species of birds.
Several animals became extinct in
Bangladesh during the last century,
including the one horned and two horned rhinoceros and common peafowl.
The human population is concentrated in urban areas, hence limiting
deforestation to a certain extent. Rapid urban growth has threatened
natural habitats. Though many areas are protected under law, a large
Bangladeshi wildlife is threatened by this growth. The
Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act was enacted in 1995. The
government has designated several regions as Ecologically Critical
Areas, including wetlands, forests and rivers. The
Project and the
Bangladesh Bear Project are among the key initiatives
to strengthen conservation.
Main article: Politics of Bangladesh
Bangabhaban, the residence of the president of Bangladesh
Constitution of Bangladesh
Constitution of Bangladesh established a unitary,
Westminster-style parliamentary republic with universal suffrage. A
member of parliament supported by a parliamentary majority (usually
the chair of the largest party) is the Prime Minister, the head of
government and of the cabinet.
Bangladesh is governed by a 350-member
parliament, known as the Jatiyo Sangshad. Three hundred of its members
are elected on a first past the post basis, and 50 seats are reserved
for female nominees by political parties. Although parliamentary
elections are scheduled every five years, they have often been delayed
by political crises, emergency rule or martial law. The President of
Bangladesh is the head of state. From 1975 to 1990 the presidency had
executive powers, but it has been reduced to a largely-ceremonial role
by the Twelfth Amendment to the constitution.
In 2011, the Fifteenth Amendment mandated the "highest punishment" for
usurpers. The amendment was controversial for abolishing the
caretaker-government system, which had been a neutral administration
during election periods since the 1990s. The 2014 national
election was boycotted by the largest opposition party, which argued
that a free election could not be held without a neutral interim
Jatiyo Sangshad is restrained from holding
no-confidence motions, floor crossing and free votes by Article 70 of
the constitution. Human-rights violations have increased due to the
growing power of security forces—particularly the Rapid Action
Battalion, which is accused of arbitrary arrests, summary executions
and forced disappearances.
Main article: Laws in Bangladesh
Supreme Court of Bangladesh
Bangladesh's legal system is based on common law, and its principal
source of laws are acts of Parliament. The
includes a list of all laws in force in the country. The code begins
in 1836, and most of its listed laws were crafted under the British
Raj by the
Bengal Legislative Council, the
Assembly, the Eastern
Bengal and Assam Legislative Council, the
Imperial Legislative Council
Imperial Legislative Council and the Parliament of the United Kingdom;
one example is the 1860 Penal Code. From 1947 to 1971, laws were
enacted by Pakistan's national assembly and the East Pakistani
Constituent Assembly of Bangladesh
Constituent Assembly of Bangladesh was the country's
provisional parliament until 1973, when the first elected Jatiyo
Sangshad was sworn in. Although most of Bangladesh's laws were
compiled in English, after a 1987 government directive laws are now
primarily written in Bengali. Marriage, divorce and inheritance are
governed by Islamic,
Hindu and Christian family law. The judiciary is
often influenced by legal developments in the Commonwealth of Nations,
such as the doctrine of legitimate expectation.
The Supreme Court of Bangladesh, including its High Court and
Appellate Divisions, is the high court of the land. The head of the
judiciary is the Chief Justice of Bangladesh, who sits on the Supreme
Court. The courts have wide latitude in judicial review, and judicial
precedent is supported by the Article 111 of the constitution. The
judiciary includes district and metropolitan courts, which are divided
into civil and criminal courts. Due to a shortage of judges, the
judiciary has a large backlog. The
Bangladesh Judicial Service
Commission is an independent body responsible for judicial
appointments, salaries and discipline.
Bangladesh Armed Forces
Bangladesh UN Peacekeeping Force
Bangladesh UN Peacekeeping Force deployments
Bangladesh Armed Forces
Bangladesh Armed Forces have inherited the institutional framework
British military and the British Indian Army. It was
formed in 1971 from the military regiments of East Pakistan. In 2012
the army strength was around 300,000, including reservists, the
Air Force (22,000) and the Navy (24,000). In addition to
traditional defence roles, the military has supported civil
authorities in disaster relief and provided internal security during
periods of political unrest. For many years,
Bangladesh has been the
world's largest contributor to
UN peacekeeping forces. In February
2015, the country made major deployments to Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus,
Darfur, the Democratic
Republic of Congo, the Golan Heights, Haiti,
Liberia and South Sudan.
Bangladesh Navy has the third-largest fleet (after
Thailand) of countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal, including
guided-missile frigates, submarines, cutters and aircraft. The
Bangladesh Air Force
Bangladesh Air Force is equipped with several Russian multi-role
Bangladesh cooperates defensively with the United States
Armed Forces, participating in the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and
Training (CARAT) exercises. Ties between the
Bangladeshi and the
Indian military have increased, with high-level visits by the military
chiefs of both countries. Eighty percent of Bangladesh's
military equipment comes from China.
Main article: Foreign relations of Bangladesh
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) meeting
in 1985 in
Dhaka (l-r, top row: the presidents of
Pakistan and the
Maldives, the king of Bhutan, the president of Bangladesh, the prime
minister of India, the king of
Nepal and the president of Sri Lanka).
Bangladesh was the initiator to found SAARC.
The first major intergovernmental organization joined by Bangladesh
Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations in 1972. The country joined the United
Nations in 1974, and has been elected twice to the UN Security
Humayun Rashid Choudhury was elected president of
UN General Assembly
UN General Assembly in 1986.
Bangladesh relies on multilateral
diplomacy in the World Trade Organization. It is a major contributor
to UN peacekeeping, providing 113,000 personnel to 54 UN missions in
the Middle East, the Balkans, Africa and the Caribbean in 2014.
In addition to membership in the Commonwealth and the United Nations,
Bangladesh pioneered regional cooperation in South Asia.
a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional
Cooperation (SAARC), an organization designed to strengthen relations
and promote economic and cultural growth among its members. It has
hosted several summits, and two
Bangladeshi diplomats were the
Bangladesh joined the Organization of
Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in
1973. It has hosted the summit of
OIC foreign ministers, which
addresses issues, conflicts and disputes affecting Muslim-majority
Bangladesh is a founding member of the Developing 8
Countries, a bloc of eight Muslim-majority republics.
Japan is Bangladesh's largest economic-aid provider, and the countries
have common political goals. The
United Kingdom has
longstanding economic, cultural and military links with Bangladesh.
United States is a major economic and security partner, including
its largest export market and foreign investor. Seventy-six percent of
Bangladeshis viewed the
United States favorably in 2014, one of the
highest ratings among Asian countries. The
European Union is
Bangladesh's largest regional market, conducting public diplomacy and
providing development assistance.
Relations with other countries are generally positive. Shared
democratic values ease relations with Western countries, and similar
economic concerns forge ties to other developing countries. Despite
poor working conditions and war affecting overseas Bangladeshi
workers, relations with Middle Eastern countries are friendly and
bounded by religion and culture; more than a million
employed in the region. In 2016, the king of
Saudi Arabia called
Bangladesh "one of the most important Muslim countries".
Prime Minister of Bangladesh
Prime Minister of Bangladesh
Sheikh Hasina and President of Russia
Vladimir Putin in Moscow, 2013
Bangladesh's most politically-important bilateral relationship is with
neighboring India. In 2015, major Indian newspapers called Bangladesh
a "trusted friend".
India are South Asia's largest
trading partners. The countries are forging regional economic and
infrastructure projects, such as a regional motor-vehicle agreement in
South Asia and a coastal shipping agreement in the Bay of
Bangladesh relations have a shared cultural heritage and
democratic values and a history of support for Bangladeshi
independence. Despite political goodwill, border killings of
Bangladeshi civilians and the lack of a comprehensive water-sharing
agreement for 54 trans-boundary rivers are major issues. In 2017,
China in refusing to condemn Myanmar's
atrocities against the Rohingya, which contradicted with Bangladesh's
demand for recognizing
Rohingya human rights. However, the Indian
air force delivered aid shipments for
Rohingya refugees in
Bangladesh. The rise of
Hindu extremism and
Islamophobia in India
has also affected Bangladesh. The
Bangladeshi beef and leather
industries have seen increased prices due to the Indian BJP
Hindu nationalist campaign against the export of beef and
Bangladesh relations date to the 1950s and are relatively warm,
despite the Chinese leadership siding with
Bangladesh's war of independence.
bilateral relations in 1976 which have significantly strengthened, and
the country is considered a cost-effective source of arms for the
Bangladeshi military. Since the 1980s 80 percent of Bangladesh's
military equipment has been supplied by
China (often with generous
credit terms), and
China is Bangladesh's largest trading partner. Both
countries are part of the BCIM Forum.
US Secretary of State
US Secretary of State
John Kerry and
Foreign Minister of Bangladesh
Foreign Minister of Bangladesh A.
H. Mahmud Ali in Dhaka, 2016
The neighbouring country of
Myanmar was one of first countries to
recognize Bangladesh. Despite common regional interests,
Myanmar relations have been strained by the Rohingya
refugee issue and the isolationist policies of the
In 2012, the countries came to terms at the International Tribunal for
the Law of the Sea over maritime disputes in the Bay of Bengal.
In 2016 and 2017, relations with
Myanmar again strained as over
Rohingya refugees entered
Bangladesh after atrocities. The
parliament, government and civil society of
Bangladesh have been at
the forefront of international criticism against
Myanmar for military
operations against the Rohingya, which the
United Nations has
described as ethnic cleansing.
Bangladesh have a US$550 million trade relationship,
particularly in Pakistani cotton imports for the
Bangladeshi and Pakistani businesses have invested
in each other, diplomatic relations are strained because of Pakistani
denial of the 1971
Bangladeshi aid agencies work in many developing countries. An example
is BRAC in Afghanistan, which benefits 12 million people in that
Bangladesh has a record of nuclear nonproliferation as a
party to the
Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). It is a state party to the
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Bangladeshi foreign policy is influenced by the principle of
"friendship to all and malice to none", first articulated by Bengali
H. S. Suhrawardy
H. S. Suhrawardy in 1957. Suhrawardy led East and
Pakistan to join the Southeast
Asia Treaty Organization, CENTO
and the Regional Cooperation for Development.
Human rights in Bangladesh
Bangladesh are enshrined in the country's constitution.
However, government and security forces have flouted constitutional
principles and have been accused of human rights abuses.
ranked "partly free" in Freedom House's Freedom in the World
report, but its press is ranked "not free". According to the
British Economist Intelligence Unit, the country has a hybrid regime:
the third of four rankings in its
the third-most-peaceful South Asian country in the 2015 Global Peace
Civil society and media in
Bangladesh have been attacked
by the ruling
Awami League government and
Bangladeshi law-enforcement agencies, including the Rapid Action
Battalion (pictured), have been accused of human-rights abuses.
According to National Human Rights Commission chairman Mizanur Rahman,
70% of alleged human-rights violations are committed by
law-enforcement agencies. Targets have included Nobel Peace Prize
Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank, secularist bloggers and
independent and pro-opposition newspapers and television networks. The
United Nations is concerned about government "measures that restrict
freedom of expression and democratic space".
Bangladeshi security forces, particularly the Rapid Action Battalion
(RAB), have received international condemnation for human-rights
abuses (including enforced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial
killings). Over 1,000 people have been said to have been victims of
extrajudicial killings by RAB since its inception under the last
Bangladesh Nationalist Party
Bangladesh Nationalist Party government. The RAB has been called
a "death squad" by
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty
International, which have called for the force to be
disbanded. The British and American governments have been
criticized for funding and engaging the force in counter-terrorism
Bangladeshi government has not fully implemented the Chittagong
Hill Tracts Peace Accord. The Hill Tracts region remains heavily
militarized, despite a peace treaty with indigenous people forged by
the United People's Party of the
Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Secularism is protected by the constitution of Bangladesh, and
religious parties are barred from contesting elections; however, the
government is accused of courting religious extremist groups. Islam's
ambiguous position as the de facto state religion has been criticized
by the United Nations. Despite relative harmony, religious
minorities have faced occasional persecution. The
Hindu and Buddhist
communities have experienced religious violence from
Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing (Shibir).
Islamic far-right candidates peaked at 12 percent of the vote in 2001,
falling to four percent in 2008.
Homosexuality is outlawed by
section 377 of the criminal code, and is punishable by a maximum of
According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, an estimated 1,531,300
people are enslaved in modern-day Bangladesh, or 0.95% of the
population. A number of slaves in
Bangladesh are forced to work
in the fish and shrimp industries.
Main article: Corruption in Bangladesh
Bangladesh was 14th on Transparency International's 2014 Corruption
Perceptions Index. In 2015, bribes made up 3.7 percent of the
national budget. The country's Anti-Corruption Commission was
active during the 2006–08
Bangladeshi political crisis, indicting
many leading politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen for graft. After
it assumed power in 2009, the
Awami League government reduced the
commission's independent power to investigate and prosecute. Land
administration was the sector with the most bribery in 2015,
followed by education, police and water supply.
Economy of Bangladesh
Economy of Bangladesh and List of companies of
Dhaka, the commercial and financial hub of the country, is the largest
economic centre in eastern South Asia.
Bangladesh, a developing country with a market-based mixed economy, is
one of the
Next Eleven emerging markets. Its per-capita income was
US$1,190 in 2014, with a GDP of $209 billion.
Bangladesh has the
third-largest South Asian economy (after
India and Pakistan) and the
second-highest foreign-exchange reserves (after India). The
Bangladeshi diaspora contributed $15.31 billion in remittances in
Shirt production line in a
Bangladesh is the
world's second-largest textile exporter, after China.
During its first five years of independence
socialist policies, an
Awami League blunder. The
subsequent military regime and BNP and Jatiya Party governments
restored free markets and promoted the country's private sector. In
1991, finance minister
Saifur Rahman introduced a programme of
economic liberalization. The
Bangladeshi private sector has rapidly
expanded, with a number of conglomerates driving the economy. Major
industries include textiles, pharmaceuticals, shipbuilding, steel,
electronics, energy, construction materials, chemicals, ceramics, food
processing and leather goods.
Export-oriented industrialization has
increased, with fiscal year 2014–15 exports increasing by 3.3% over
the previous year to $30 billion, although Bangladesh's trade deficit
ballooned by over 45% in this same time period. Most export
earnings are from the garment-manufacturing industry.
has social enterprises, including the Nobel Peace Prize-winning
Grameen Bank and BRAC (the world's largest non-governmental
However, an insufficient power supply is a significant obstacle to
Bangladesh's economic development. According to the World Bank, poor
governance, corruption and weak public institutions are also major
challenges. In April 2010, Standard & Poor's gave Bangladesh
a BB- long-term credit rating, below India's but above those of
Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Bangladesh headquarters in Dhaka
The country is notable for its soil fertility land, including the
Sylhet Division and the
Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Agriculture is the largest sector of the economy, making up 18.6
percent of Bangladesh's GDP in November 2010 and employing about 45
percent of the workforce. The agricultural sector impacts
employment generation, poverty alleviation, human resources
development and food security. More
Bangladeshis earn their living
from agriculture than from any other sector. The country is among the
top producers of rice (fourth), potatoes (seventh), tropical fruits
(sixth), jute (second), and farmed fish (fifth).
Bangladesh is the seventh-largest natural gas producer in Asia, ahead
of neighboring Myanmar, and 56 percent of the country's electricity is
generated by natural gas. Major gas fields are located in the
northeastern (particularly Sylhet) and southern (including
Petrobangla is the national energy company. The
American multinational corporation Chevron produces 50 percent of
Bangladesh's natural gas. According to geologists, the Bay of
Bengal contains large, untapped gas reserves in Bangladesh's exclusive
Bangladesh has substantial coal reserves, with
several coal mines operating in the northwest.
Jute exports remain significant, although the global jute trade has
shrunk considerably since its World War II peak.
Bangladesh has one of
the world's oldest tea industries, and is a major exporter of fish and
Bangladesh's textile and ready-made garment industries are the
country's largest manufacturing sector, with 2014 exports of $25
billion. Leather-goods manufacturing, particularly footwear, is
the second-largest export sector. The pharmaceutical industry meets 97
percent of domestic demand, and exports to many countries.
Shipbuilding has grown rapidly, with exports to Europe.
Steel is concentrated in the port city of Chittagong, and the ceramics
industry is prominent in international trade. In 2005
the world's 20th-largest cement producer, an industry dependent on
limestone imports from northeast India.
Food processing is a major
sector, with local brands such as
PRAN increasing their international
market share. The electronics industry is growing rapidly,
particularly the Walton Group. Bangladesh's defense industry
Bangladesh Ordnance Factories and the
Bangladeshi economist and
Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus
with the former presidents of Peru
The service sector accounts for 51 percent of the country's GDP.
Bangladesh ranks with
Pakistan as South Asia's second-largest banking
Chittagong Stock Exchanges are the
country's twin financial markets. Bangladesh's telecommunications
industry is one of the world's fastest-growing, with 114 million
cellphone subscribers in December 2013, and Grameenphone,
BTTB are major companies. Tourism is developing,
with the beach resort of
Cox's Bazar the center of the industry. The
Sylhet region, home to Bangladesh's tea country, also hosts a large
number of visitors. The country has three UNESCO World Heritage Sites
(the Mosque City, the
Vihara and the Sundarbans) and five
Microfinance was pioneered in
Bangladesh by Muhammad Yunus. In 2015,
the country had over 35 million microcredit borrowers.
Main article: Transport in Bangladesh
Transport is a major sector of the economy. Aviation has grown
rapidly, and includes the flag carrier
Biman Bangladesh Airlines
Biman Bangladesh Airlines and
other privately owned airlines.
Bangladesh has a number of airports:
three international and several domestic and
STOL (short takeoff and
landing) airports. The busiest, Shahjalal International Airport
Dhaka with major destinations.
Bangladesh has a 2,706-kilometre (1,681-mile) rail network operated by
Bangladesh Railway. The total length of the country's road
and highway network is nearly 21,000-kilometre (13,000-mile).
It has one of the largest inland waterway networks in the world,
with 8,046 kilometres (5,000 miles) of navigable waters. The
southeastern port of
Chittagong is its busiest seaport, handling over
$60 billion in annual trade (more than 80 percent of the country's
export-import commerce). The second-busiest seaport is Mongla.
Bangladesh has three seaports and 22 river ports.
Top maritime and inland ports
Port of Chittagong
Port of Pangaon
Port of Mongla
Port of Dhaka
Port of Narayanganj
Port of Ashuganj
Port of Payra
Energy and infrastructure
Main articles: Energy in Bangladesh, Natural gas and petroleum in
Bangladesh, Telecommunications in Bangladesh, and Water supply and
sanitation in Bangladesh
Coal and natural-gas fields in Bangladesh, 2011
Bangladesh had an installed electrical capacity of 10,289 MW in
January 2014. About 56 percent of the country's commercial energy
is generated by natural gas, followed by oil, hydropower and coal.
Bangladesh has planned to import hydropower from
Nepal. Nuclear energy is being developed with Russian support in
Ruppur Nuclear Power Plant
Ruppur Nuclear Power Plant project. The country ranks fifth
worldwide in the number of renewable energy green jobs, and solar
panels are increasingly used to power urban and off-grid rural
An estimated 98 percent of the country's population had access to
improved water sources in 2004 (a high percentage for a
low-income country), achieved largely through the construction of hand
pumps with support from external donors. However, in 1993 it was
discovered that much of Bangladesh's groundwater (the source of
drinking water for 97 percent of the rural population and a
significant share of the urban population) is naturally contaminated
Another challenge is low cost recovery due to low tariffs and poor
economic efficiency, especially in urban areas (where water revenue
does not cover operating costs). An estimated 56 percent of the
population had access to adequate sanitation facilities in 2010.
Community-led total sanitation, addressing the problem of open
defecation in rural areas, is credited with improving public health
since its introduction in 2000.
Science and technology
Main article: Science and technology in Bangladesh
Information technology in Bangladesh and Biotechnology and
genetic engineering in Bangladesh
Fazlur Rahman Khan
Fazlur Rahman Khan was the designer of the
Sears Tower in USA the
tallest building in the world at its time. A sculpture honoring Khan
at the Sears tower.
Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, founded
in 1973, traces its roots to the
East Pakistan Regional Laboratories
Rajshahi (1965) and
Bangladesh's space agency, SPARRSO, was founded in 1983 with
assistance from the United States.
Bangladesh plans to launch the
Bangabandhu-1 communications satellite in 2018. The Bangladesh
Atomic Energy Commission operates a
TRIGA research reactor at its
atomic-energy facility in Savar. In 2015,
Bangladesh was ranked
the 26th global IT outsourcing destination.
Demographics of Bangladesh
Demographics of Bangladesh and Bengalis
Source: OECD/World Bank
Estimates of the
Bangladeshi population vary, but 2016 UN data
suggests 163 million. The 2011 census estimated 142.3 million,
much less than 2007–2010 estimates of Bangladesh's population
(150– 170 million).
Bangladesh is the world's
eighth-most-populous nation. In 1951, its population was 44
Bangladesh is the most densely-populated large country
in the world, ranking 11th in population density when small countries
and city-states are included.
The country's population-growth rate was among the highest in the
world in the 1960s and 1970s, when its population grew from 65 to
110 million. With the promotion of birth control in the 1980s,
Bangladesh's growth rate began to slow. Its total fertility rate is
now 2.55, lower than India's (2.58) and Pakistan's (3.07). The
population is relatively young, with 34 percent aged 15 or younger and
five percent 65 or older. Life expectancy at birth was estimated at 70
years in 2012. Despite the rapid economic growth, 43% of the
country still lives below the international poverty line on less than
$1.25 per day.
Bengalis are 98 percent of the population. Of Bengalis, Muslims
are the majority, followed by Hindus, Christians and Buddhists.
Adivasi population includes the Chakma, Marma, Tanchangya,
Tripuri, Kuki, Khiang, Khumi, Murang, Mru, Chak, Lushei, Bawm,
Bishnupriya Manipuri, Khasi, Jaintia, Garo, Santal, Munda and Oraon
Chittagong Hill Tracts region experienced unrest and an
insurgency from 1975 to 1997 in an autonomy movement by its indigenous
people. Although a peace accord was signed in 1997, the region remains
Bangladesh is home to a significant
Ismaili community. It hosts
many Urdu-speaking immigrants, who migrated there after the partition
Stranded Pakistanis were given citizenship by the Supreme
Court in 2008.
An estimated over 670,000
Rohingya refugees from
Myanmar live in
refugee camps in
Cox's Bazar District in the southeast. The
region has received influxes of
Rohingya refugees during Burmese
military crackdowns in 1978, 1991, 2012 and 2016.
Ethnic groups in Bangladesh
Aryan e.g. Bengalis
Austric e.g. Khasi people
Dravidian e.g. Kurukh people
Tibeto-Burman e.g. Marma people
Further information: List of cities and towns in Bangladesh
Largest cities or towns in Bangladesh
Dhaka is Bangladesh's capital and largest city. Cities with a
corporation and mayoral elections include
Chittagong, Khulna, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Barisal, Rangpur,
Gazipur. Other major cities elect a chairperson; they include
Mymensingh, Gopalganj, Jessore, Bogra, Dinajpur, Saidpur, Narayanganj
and Rangamati. Mayors and chairs are elected for five-year terms.
Main article: Languages of Bangladesh
More than 98 percent of
Bengalis speak Bangla as their
native language. Dialects of Bangla are spoken in some parts
of the country, which include non-standard dialects (sometimes viewed
as separate languages) such as Chatgaiya,
Sylheti and Rangpuri.
Pakistani Biharis, stranded since 1971 and living in Bangladeshi
camps, speak Urdu.
Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, living in
Bangladeshi camps since 1978, speak Rohingya. Several indigenous
minority languages are also spoken.
Bangla is the official language, but English is sometimes used
secondarily for official purposes (especially in the legal system).
Although laws were historically written in English, they were not
translated into Bangla until 1987. Bangladesh's constitution and laws
now exist in English and Bangla. English is used as a second
language by the middle and upper classes, and is widely used in higher
Main article: Religion in Bangladesh
Bangladesh in 2011
Islam is the largest and the official state religion of
Bangladesh, followed by 90 percent of the population. The
country is home to most Bengali Muslims, the second-largest ethnic
group in the Muslim world. Most
Bangladeshi Muslims are Sunni,
Shia and Ahmadiya. About four percent are
Bangladesh has the fourth-largest
Muslim population in the world, and is the third-largest
Muslim-majority country (after
Indonesia and Pakistan). Sufism
has a lengthy heritage in the region. The largest gathering of
Bangladesh is the Bishwa Ijtema, held annually by the
Tablighi Jamaat. The Ijtema is the second-largest Muslim congregation
in the world, after the Hajj.
Hinduism is followed by 9.5 percent of the population; most are
Bengali Hindus, and some are members of ethnic minority groups.
Bangladeshi Hindus are the country's second-largest religious group
and the third-largest
Hindu community in the world, after those in
India and Nepal. Hindus in
Bangladesh are fairly evenly distributed,
with concentrations in Gopalganj, Dinajpur, Sylhet, Sunamganj,
Mymensingh, Khulna, Jessore,
Chittagong and parts of the Chittagong
Hill Tracts. Despite their dwindling numbers, Hindus are the
second-largest religious community (after the Muslims) in Dhaka.
Buddhism is the third-largest religion, at 0.3 percent. Bangladeshi
Buddhists are concentrated among ethnic groups in the
Tracts (particularly the Chakma, Marma and Tanchangya peoples), and
Chittagong is home to a large number of Bengali Buddhists.
Christianity is the fourth-largest religion, at 0.2 percent.
Constitution of Bangladesh
Constitution of Bangladesh declares
Islam the state religion, but
bans religion-based politics. It proclaims equal recognition of
Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and people of all faiths. In 1972,
Bangladesh was South Asia's first constitutionally-secular
U. S. State Department
U. S. State Department describes
Bangladesh as a
secular, pluralistic democracy.
Religion in Bangladesh
Baitul Mukarram National Mosque
Dhakeshwari National Temple
Buddha Dhatu Jadi
Archdiocese of Dhaka
Main article: Education in Bangladesh
Bangladesh has a low literacy rate, which was estimated at 66.5
percent for males and 63.1 percent for females in 2014. The
country's educational system is three-tiered and heavily subsidized,
with the government operating many schools at the primary, secondary
and higher-secondary levels and subsidizing many private schools. In
the tertiary-education sector, the
Bangladeshi government funds over
15 state universities through the University Grants Commission.
The education system is divided into five levels: primary (first to
fifth grade), junior secondary (sixth to eighth grade), secondary
(ninth and tenth grade), higher secondary (11th and 12th grade) and
tertiary. Five years of secondary education end with a Secondary
School Certificate (SSC) examination; since 2009, the Primary
Education Closing (PEC) examination has also been given. Students who
pass the PEC examination proceed to four years of secondary or
matriculation training, culminating in the SSC examination.
Bangladeshi schoolchildren performing onstage
Students who pass the PEC examination proceed to three years of
junior-secondary education, culminating in the Junior School
Certificate (JSC) examination. Students who pass this examination
proceed to two years of secondary education, culminating in the SSC
examination. Students who pass this examination proceed to two years
of higher-secondary education, culminating in the Higher Secondary
School Certificate (HSC) examination.
Education is primarily in Bengali, but English is commonly taught and
used. Many Muslim families send their children to part-time courses or
full-time religious education in Bengali and Arabic in madrasas.
Bangladesh conforms with the
Education For All (EFA) objectives, the
Millennium Development Goals
Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and international declarations.
Article 17 of the
Bangladesh Constitution provides that all children
between the ages of six and ten years receive a basic education free
Universities in Bangladesh
Universities in Bangladesh are of three general types: public
(government-owned and -subsidized), private (privately owned
universities) and international (operated and funded by international
Bangladesh has 34 public, 64 private and two
Bangladesh National University
Bangladesh National University has the
largest enrollment, and the University of
Dhaka (established in 1921)
is the oldest.
Islamic University of Technology, commonly known as
IUT, is a subsidiary of the Organisation of the
(OIC, representing 57 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and South
Asian University for Women
Asian University for Women in
Chittagong is the preeminent
South Asian liberal-arts university for women, representing 14 Asian
countries; its faculty hails from notable academic institutions in
North America, Europe, Asia,
Australia and the Middle East. BUET,
RUET are Bangladesh's four public engineering
DUET are two specialized engineering
BUTex specializes in textile engineering, and DUET
offers higher education to diploma engineers. The NITER is a
specialized public-private partnership institute which provides higher
education in textile engineering. Science and technology universities
include SUST, PUST, JUST and NSTU.
Bangladeshi universities are
accredited by and affiliated with the University Grants Commission
(UGC), created by Presidential Order 10 in 1973.
Medical education is provided by 29 government and private medical
colleges. All medical colleges are affiliated with the Ministry of
Health and Family Welfare.
Bangladesh's 2015 literacy rate rose to 71 percent due to education
modernization and improved funding, with 16,087 schools and 2,363
colleges receiving Monthly Pay Order (MPO) facilities. According to
education minister Nurul
Islam Nahid, 27,558 madrasas and technical
and vocational institutions were enlisted for the facility. 6,036
educational institutions were outside MPO coverage, and the government
enlisted 1,624 private schools for MPO in 2010.
Main article: Health in Bangladesh
Health and education levels remain relatively low, although they have
improved as poverty levels have decreased. In rural areas, village
doctors with little or no formal training constitute 62 percent of
healthcare providers practising "modern medicine"; formally-trained
providers make up four percent of the total health workforce. A Future
Health Systems survey indicated significant deficiencies in the
treatment practices of village doctors, with widespread harmful and
inappropriate drug prescribing. Receiving health care from
informal providers is encouraged.
A 2007 study of 1,000 households in rural
Bangladesh found that direct
payments to formal and informal healthcare providers and indirect
costs (loss of earnings because of illness) associated with illness
were deterrents to accessing healthcare from qualified providers.
A community survey of 6,183 individuals in rural
Bangladesh found a
gender difference in treatment-seeking behaviour, with women less
likely to seek treatment than to men. The use of skilled birth
attendant (SBA) services, however, rose from 2005 to 2007 among women
from all socioeconomic quintiles except the highest. A health
watch, a pilot community-empowerment tool, was successfully developed
and implemented in south-eastern
Bangladesh to improve the uptake and
monitoring of public-health services.
Bangladesh's poor health conditions are attributed to the lack of
healthcare provision by the government. According to a 2010 World Bank
report, 2009 healthcare spending was 3.35 percent of the country's
GDP. The number of hospital beds is 3 per 10,000 population.
Government spending on healthcare that year was 7.9 percent of the
total budget; out-of-pocket expenditures totaled 96.5 percent.
Malnutrition has been a persistent problem in Bangladesh, with the
World Bank ranking the country first in the number of malnourished
children worldwide. Twenty-six percent of the population
(two-thirds of children under the age of five) are
undernourished, and 46 percent of children are moderately or
severely underweight. Forty-three to 60 percent of children under
five are smaller than normal; one in five preschool children are
vitamin-A deficient, and one in two are anemic. More than 45
percent of rural families and 76 percent of urban families were below
the acceptable caloric-intake level.
Main articles: Culture of Bangladesh, Culture of Bengal, and Bengali
A sculpture at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka
The recorded history of art in
Bangladesh can be traced to the 3rd
century BCE, when terracotta sculptures were made in the region. In
classical antiquity, a notable school of sculptural Hindu, Jain and
Buddhist art developed in the
Pala Empire and the Sena dynasty.
Islamic art evolved since the 14th century. The architecture of the
Bengal Sultanate saw a distinct style of domed mosques with complex
niche pillars that had no minarets. Mughal Bengal's most celebrated
artistic tradition was the weaving of
Jamdani motifs on fine muslin,
which is now classified by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage.
Jamdani motifs were similar to Iranian textile art (buta motifs) and
Western textile art (paisley). The
Jamdani weavers in
Ivory and brass were also widely used in
Pottery is widely used in Bengali culture.
The modern art movement in
Bangladesh took shape during the 1950s,
particularly with the pioneering works of Zainul Abedin. East Bengal
developed its own modernist painting and sculpture traditions, which
were distinct from the art movements in West Bengal. The Art Institute
Dhaka has been an important center for visual art in the region. Its
Bengali New Year
Bengali New Year parade was enlisted as an intangible cultural
heritage by UNESCO in 2016.
Bangladesh has produced many of South Asia's leading painters,
including SM Sultan, Mohammad Kibria, Shahabuddin Ahmed, Kanak Chanpa
Chakma, Kafil Ahmed, Saifuddin Ahmed, Qayyum Chowdhury, Rashid
Choudhury, Quamrul Hassan,
Rafiqun Nabi and Syed Jahangir, among
Novera Ahmed and
Nitun Kundu were the country's pioneers of
Chobi Mela is the largest photography festival in Asia.
Bangladeshi English literature
Rabindranath Tagore, author of the national anthem, and Kazi Nazrul
Islam, the National Poet
The Bangla Academy
The oldest evidence of writing in
Bangladesh is the Mahasthan Brahmi
Inscription, which dates back to the 3rd century BCE. In the
Sanskrit literature thrived in the region. Bengali
Magadhi Prakrit in the 11th century.
Bengali literature is a millennium-old tradition; the
the earliest examples of Bengali poetry. Sufi spiritualism inspired
Bengali Muslim writers. During the
Bengal Sultanate, medieval
Bengali writers were influenced by Arabic and Persian works. Syed
Alaol was a noted secular poet and translator. The
Chandidas are an
example of the
Bangladeshi folk literature that developed during the
Middle Ages. The
Bengal Renaissance shaped the emergence of modern
Bengali literature, including novels, short stories and science
Rabindranath Tagore was the first non-European laureate of
Nobel Prize in Literature
Nobel Prize in Literature and is described as the Bengali
Shakespeare. Kazi Nazrul
Islam was a revolutionary poet who
espoused spiritual rebellion against colonialism and fascism. Begum
Rokeya was a pioneer of Bengali writing in English, with her early of
work of feminist science fiction. Other renaissance icons included
Michael Madhusudan Dutt and Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay.
Syed Mujtaba Ali
Syed Mujtaba Ali is noted for his cosmopolitan Bengali
Humayun Ahmed was a popular writer of modern
Bangladeshi magical realism and science fiction. Shamsur Rahman was
the poet laureate of
Bangladesh for many years.
Jasimuddin was a
renowned pastoral poet. Farrukh Ahmed, Sufia Kamal,
Kaiser Haq and
Nirmalendu Goon are important figures of modern
Notable writers of
Bangladeshi novels include Mir Mosharraf Hossain,
Akhteruzzaman Elias, Syed Waliullah, Shahidullah Kaiser, Shawkat
Osman, Selina Hossain, Taslima Nasreen, Haripada Datta, Razia Khan,
Anisul Hoque, Al Mahmud, Bipradash Barua, Tahmima Anam, Neamat Imam,
Monica Ali, and Zia Haider Rahman. Many
Bangladeshi writers, such as
Muhammad Zafar Iqbal,
K. Anis Ahmed
K. Anis Ahmed and
Farah Ghuznavi are acclaimed
for their short stories.
Ekushey Book Fair
Ekushey Book Fair and
Dhaka Literature Festival, organized
by the Bangla Academy, are among the largest literary festivals in
Women in Bangladesh
Main article: Women in Bangladesh
Irene Khan, the first female Secretary General of Amnesty
Although, as of 2015[update], several women occupied major political
office in Bangladesh, its women continue to live under a patriarchal
social regime where violence is common. Whereas in
Pakistan women participate less in the workforce as their education
increases, the reverse is the case in Bangladesh.
Bengal has a long history of feminist activism dating back to the 19th
Begum Rokeya and Faizunnessa Chowdhurani played an important
role in emancipating
Bengali Muslim women from purdah, prior to the
country's division, as well as promoting girls' education. Several
women were elected to the
Bengal Legislative Assembly in the British
Raj. The first women's magazine, Begum, was published in 1948.
Bangladeshi female workforce participation stood at 26%.
Women dominate blue collar jobs in the
Bangladeshi garment industry.
Agriculture, social services, healthcare and education are also major
Bangladeshi women, while their employment in white
collar positions has steadily increased.
Main article: Architecture of Bangladesh
The architectural traditions of
Bangladesh have a 2,500-year-old
Terracotta architecture is a distinct feature of
Islamic Bengali architecture reached its pinnacle in the
Pala Empire, when the Pala School of Sculptural Art established grand
structures such as the Somapura Mahavihara.
Islamic architecture began
developing under the
Bengal Sultanate, when local terracotta styles
influenced medieval mosque construction. The Adina Mosque of united
Bengal was the largest mosque built on the Indian subcontinent.
Sixty Dome Mosque
Sixty Dome Mosque was the largest medieval mosque built in
Bangladesh, and is a fine example of Turkic-Bengali architecture. The
Mughal style replaced indigenous architecture when
Bengal became a
province of the
Mughal Empire and influenced the development of urban
Kantajew Temple and
Dhakeshwari Temple are excellent
examples of late medieval
Hindu temple architecture. Indo-Saracenic
Revival architecture, based on Indo-
Islamic styles, flourished during
the British period. The zamindar gentry in
Bangladesh built numerous
Indo-Saracenic palaces and country mansions, such as the Ahsan Manzil,
Tajhat Palace, Dighapatia Palace,
Puthia Rajbari and Natore Rajbari.
Architecture of Bangladesh
Hindu temple: Kantajew Temple
Bengal Sultanate architecture: Mosque built in 1490
Bungalow (Bengali) Style:
Chittagong Circuit House
Indo-Saracenic: Rose Garden Palace
Modern (Brutalist): Sangsad Bhaban
High rise hotel
Bengali vernacular architecture is noted for pioneering the bungalow.
Bangladeshi villages consist of thatched roofed houses made of natural
materials like mud, straw, wood and bamboo. In modern times, village
bungalows are increasingly made of tin.
Islam was the pioneer of
Bangladeshi modern architecture. His
varied works set the course of modern architectural practice in the
Islam brought leading global architects, including Louis
Kahn, Richard Neutra, Stanley Tigerman, Paul Rudolph, Robert Boughey
and Konstantinos Doxiadis, to work in erstwhile East Pakistan. Louis
Kahn was chosen to design the National Parliament Complex in
Sher-e-Bangla Nagar. Kahn's monumental designs, combining regional red
brick aesthetics, his own concrete and marble brutalism and the use of
lakes to represent Bengali geography, are regarded as one of the
masterpieces of the 20th century. In more recent times, award-winning
Rafiq Azam have set the course of contemporary
architecture by adopting influences from the works of
Islam and Kahn.
Runa Laila, a leading playback singer of
South Asia since the 1960s,
is based in Bangladesh
Theatre in Bangladesh
Theatre in Bangladesh includes various forms with a history dating
back to the 4th century CE. It includes narrative forms, song and
dance forms, supra-personae forms, performances with scroll paintings,
puppet theatre and processional forms. The Jatra is the most
popular form of Bengali folk theatre. The dance traditions of
Bangladesh include indigenous tribal and Bengali dance forms, as well
as classical Indian dances, including the Kathak,
Odissi and Manipuri
The music of
Bangladesh features the
Baul mystical tradition, listed
by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Numerous lyric-based musical traditions, varying from one region to
the next, exist, including Gombhira,
Bhatiali and Bhawaiya. Folk music
is accompanied by a one-stringed instrument known as the ektara. Other
instruments include the dotara, dhol, flute, and tabla. Bengali
classical music includes
Tagore songs and Nazrul geeti.
a rich tradition of Indian classical music, which uses instruments
like the sitar, tabla, sarod and santoor.
Textile arts of Bangladesh
Textile arts of Bangladesh and
Muslin trade in Bengal
A woman wearing jamdani in 1787.
Bengal has manufactured textiles for
many centuries, as recorded in ancient hand-written and printed
Nakshi Kantha is a centuries-old embroidery tradition for quilts,
said to be indigenous to eastern
Bengal (i.e. Bangladesh). The sari is
the national dress for
Bangladeshi women. Mughal
Dhaka was renowned
for producing the finest
Muslin saris, including the famed
Jamdani, the weaving of which is listed by UNESCO as one of the
masterpieces of humanity's intangible cultural heritage.
Bangladesh also produces the
Rajshahi silk. The shalwar kameez is also
widely worn by
Bangladeshi women. In urban areas some women can be
seen in western clothing. The kurta and sherwani are the national
Bangladeshi men; the lungi and dhoti are worn by them in
informal settings. Aside from ethnic wear, domestically tailored suits
and neckties are customarily worn by the country's men in offices, in
schools and at social events.
The handloom industry supplies 60–65% of the country's clothing
demand. The Bengali ethnic fashion industry has flourished in the
changing environment of the fashion world. The retailer
Aarong is one
of the most successful ethnic wear brands in South Asia. The
development of the
Bangladesh textile industry, which supplies leading
international brands, has promoted the production and retail of modern
Western attire locally, with the country now having a number of
expanding local brands like Westecs and Yellow.
Bangladesh is the
world's second largest garments exporter.
Among Bangladesh's fashion designers,
Bibi Russell has received
international acclaim for her "Fashion for Development" shows.
Bengali cuisine and
The majority of restaurants offering
South Asian cuisine
South Asian cuisine in Britain
are owned by British Bangladeshis. Pictured here is a restaurant in
London named after the
Surma River of northeastern Bangladesh
White rice is the staple of
Bangladeshi cuisine, along with many
vegetables and lentils.
Rice preparations also include Bengali
biryanis, pulaos, and khichuris. Mustard sauce, ghee, sunflower oil
and fruit chutneys are widely used in
Bangladeshi cooking. Fish is the
main source of protein in Bengali cuisine. The
Hilsa is the national
fish and immensely popular across Bangladesh. Other kinds of fish
eaten include rohu, butterfish, catfish, tilapia and barramundi. Fish
eggs are a gourmet delicacy. Seafood holds an important place in
Bengali cuisine, especially lobsters, shrimps and dried fish. Meat
consumption includes chicken, beef, mutton, venison, duck and squab.
In Chittagong, Mezban feasts are a popular tradition featuring the
serving of hot beef curry. In Sylhet, the shatkora lemons are used to
marinate dishes. In the tribal Hill Tracts, bamboo shoot cooking is
Bangladesh has a vast spread of desserts, including
distinctive sweets like Rôshogolla, Rôshomalai, Chomchom, Mishti Doi
and Kalojaam. Pithas are traditional boiled desserts made with rice or
Halwa is served during religious festivities. Naan, paratha,
luchi and bakarkhani are the main local breads.
Black tea is offered
to guests as a gesture of welcome. Kebabs are widely popular across
Bangladesh, particularly seekh kebabs, chicken tikka and shashliks.
Bangladesh shares its culinary heritage with the neighboring Indian
state of West Bengal. The two regions have several differences,
however. In Muslim-majority Bangladesh, meat consumption is greater;
whereas in Hindu-majority West Bengal, vegetarianism is more
Bangladeshi diaspora dominates the South Asian
restaurant industry in many Western countries, particularly in the
Public holidays in Bangladesh
Public holidays in Bangladesh and List of festivals in
Bengali New Year
Bengali New Year parade
Pohela Boishakh, the Bengali new year, is the major festival of
Bengali culture and sees widespread festivities. Of the major holidays
celebrated in Bangladesh, only
Pohela Boishakh comes without any
preexisting expectations (specific religious identity, culture of
gift-giving, etc.). Unlike holidays like Eid al-Fitr, where dressing
up in lavish clothes has become a norm, or
Christmas where exchanging
gifts has become an integral part of the holiday,
Pohela Boishakh is
really about celebrating the simpler, rural roots of the Bengal. As a
result, more people can participate in the festivities together
without the burden of having to reveal one's class, religion, or
financial capacity. Other cultural festivals include Nabonno, and
Poush Parbon both of which are Bengali harvest festivals.
The Muslim festivals of Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Milad un Nabi,
Muharram, Chand Raat, Shab-e-Barat; the
Hindu festivals of Durga Puja,
Janmashtami and Rath Yatra; the
Buddhist festival of Buddha Purnima,
which marks the birth of Gautama Buddha, and Christian festival of
Christmas are national holidays in
Bangladesh and see the most
widespread celebrations in the country.
Alongside are national days like the remembrance of 21 February 1952
Language Movement Day
Language Movement Day (International Mother Language Day),
Independence Day and Victory Day. On
Language Movement Day, people
congregate at the Shaheed Minar in
Dhaka to remember the national
heroes of the Bengali Language Movement, and at the Jatiyo Smriti
Soudho on Independence Day and Victory Day to remember the national
heroes of the
Bangladesh Liberation War. These occasions are observed
with public ceremonies, parades, rallies by citizens, political
speeches, fairs, concerts, and various other public and private
events, celebrating the history and traditions of Bangladesh. TV and
radio stations broadcast special programs and patriotic songs, and
many schools and colleges organise fairs, festivals, and concerts that
draw the participation of citizens from all levels of Bangladeshi
Main article: Sports in Bangladesh
Bangladesh cricket team
Bangladesh cricket team celebrating the fall of a wicket against
Cricket is one of the most popular sports in Bangladesh, followed by
football. The national cricket team participated in their first
Cricket World Cup in 1999, and the following year was granted elite
Test cricket status. They have however struggled, recording only ten
test match victories: one against Australia, one against England, one
Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, five against
Zimbabwe (one in 2005,
one in 2013 in Zimbabwe, and three in 2014), two in a 2–0 series
victory over the
West Indies in the
West Indies in 2009. Six of
Bangladesh's ten test match victories came in between the years 2014
The team has been more successful in One Day International cricket
(ODI). They reached the quarter-final of the 2015
Cricket World Cup.
They also reached the semi-final of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.
Pakistan in a home ODI series in 2015 followed by
home ODI series wins against
India and South Africa. They also won
home ODI series by 4–0 in 2010 against
New Zealand and whitewashed
them in the home ODI series in 2013. In July 2010, they celebrated
their first-ever win over
England in England. In late 2012, they won a
five-match home ODI series 3-2 against a full-strength West Indies
National team. In 2011,
Bangladesh successfully co-hosted the ICC
Cricket World Cup 2011 with
India and Sri Lanka. They also hosted the
2014 ICC World Twenty20
2014 ICC World Twenty20 championship.
Bangladesh hosted the
on four occasions in 2000, 2012, 2014, and 2016. In 2012
Sri Lanka but lost the final game against
Pakistan. However, it was the first time
Bangladesh had advanced to
the final of any top-class international cricket tournament. They
reached the final again at the 2016
Asia Cup. They participated at the
2010 Asian Games
2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, defeating
Afghanistan to claim their
Gold Medal in the first-ever cricket tournament held in the Asian
Sakib Al Hasan
Sakib Al Hasan is No.1 on the ICC's
all-rounder rankings in all three formats of the cricket.
Football is also a popular sports in Bangladesh. Though the men's team
has not attained much success, the women's team has proven successful.
In 2017 the
Bangladeshi Under-15 Gils won the 2017 SAFF U-15 Women's
Kabaddi – very popular in
Bangladesh – is the national game.
Other popular sports include field hockey, tennis, badminton,
handball, basketball, volleyball, chess, shooting, angling. The
National Sports Council
National Sports Council regulates 42 different sporting
Bangladesh has five grandmasters in chess. Among
Niaz Murshed was the first grandmaster in South Asia. In another
achievement, Margarita Mamun, a Russian rhythmic gymnast of
Bangladeshi origin, won gold medal in
2016 Summer Olympics
2016 Summer Olympics and became
world champion in 2013 and 2014.
Media and cinema
Media of Bangladesh
Media of Bangladesh and Cinema of Bangladesh
Bangladesh Film Censor Board felt the film
Matir Moina was too
sensitive to be screened in
Bangladesh due to some religious
Bangladeshi press is diverse, outspoken and privately owned. Over
200 newspapers are published in the country.
Bangladesh Betar is the
state-run radio service. The British Broadcasting Corporation
operates the popular
BBC Bangla news and current affairs service.
Bengali broadcasts from
Voice of America
Voice of America are also very popular.
Bangladesh Television (BTV) is the state-owned television network.
There more than 20 privately owned television networks, including
several news channels.
Freedom of the media
Freedom of the media remains a major concern,
due to government attempts at censorship and the harassment of
The cinema of
Bangladesh dates back to 1898, when films began
screening at the Crown Theatre in Dhaka. The first bioscope on the
subcontinent was established in
Dhaka that year. The
Family patronized the production of several silent films in the 1920s
and 30s. In 1931, the
East Bengal Cinematograph Society released the
first full-length feature film in Bangladesh, titled the Last Kiss.
The first feature film in East Pakistan, Mukh O Mukhosh, was released
in 1956. During the 1960s, 25–30 films were produced annually in
Dhaka. By the 2000s,
Bangladesh produced 80–100 films a year. While
Bangladeshi film industry has achieved limited commercial success,
the country has produced notable independent filmmakers. Zahir Raihan
was a prominent documentary-maker who was assassinated in 1971. The
Tareque Masud is regarded as one of Bangladesh's outstanding
directors due to his numerous productions on historical and social
issues. Masud was honored by
FIPRESCI at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival
for his film The Clay Bird. Tanvir Mokammel, Mostofa Sarwar Farooki,
Humayun Ahmed, Alamgir Kabir, and Chashi Nazrul
Islam are some of the
prominent directors of
Museums and libraries
Museums in Bangladesh and List of libraries in
Bangladesh National Museum
Bangladesh National Museum in Dhaka
Northbrook Hall, a public library opened in 1882 with rare book
collections from the British Raj
Varendra Research Museum
Varendra Research Museum is the oldest museum in Bangladesh. It
houses important collections from both the pre-
Islamic and Islamic
periods, including the sculptures of the Pala-Sena School of Art and
the Indus Valley Civilization; as well as Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian
manuscripts and inscriptions. The Ahsan Manzil, the former residence
of the Nawab of Dhaka, is a national museum housing collections from
the British Raj. It was the site of the founding conference of the All
India Muslim League and hosted many British Viceroys in Dhaka.
Tajhat Palace Museum preserves artifacts of the rich cultural
heritage of North Bengal, including Hindu-
Buddhist sculptures and
Islamic manuscripts. The
Mymensingh Museum houses the personal antique
collections of Bengali aristocrats in central Bengal. The Ethnological
Chittagong showcases the lifestyle of various tribes in
Bangladesh National Museum
Bangladesh National Museum is located in Ramna, Dhaka
and has a rich collection of antiquities. The Liberation War Museum
Bangladeshi struggle for independence and the 1971
In ancient times, manuscripts were written on palm leaves, tree barks,
parchment vellum and terracotta plates and preserved at monasteries
known as viharas. The
Hussain Shahi dynasty established royal
libraries during the
Bengal Sultanate. Libraries were established in
each district of
Bengal by the zamindar gentry during the Bengal
Renaissance in the 19th century. The trend of establishing libraries
continued until the beginning of World War II. In 1854, four major
public libraries were opened, including the
Bogra Woodburn Library,
the Rangpur Public Library, the
Jessore Institute Public Library and
Barisal Public Library.
Northbrook Hall Public Library was established in
Dhaka in 1882 in
honour of Lord Northbrook, the Governor-General. Other libraries
established in the British period included the Victoria Public
Library, Natore (1901), the Sirajganj Public Library (1882), the
Rajshahi Public Library (1884), the
Comilla Birchandra Library (1885),
Shah Makhdum Institute Public Library,
Rajshahi (1891), the
Noakhali Town Hall Public Library (1896), the Prize Memorial Library,
Sylhet (1897), the
Chittagong Municipality Public Library (1904) and
the Varendra Research Library (1910). The Great
Association was formed in 1925. The Central Public Library of
Dhaka was established in 1959. The
National Library of Bangladesh was
established in 1972. The World Literature Center, founded by Ramon
Magsaysay Award winner Abdullah Abu Sayeed, is noted for operating
numerous mobile libraries across
Bangladesh and was awarded the UNESCO
Jon Amos Comenius Medal.
Index of Bangladesh-related articles
Outline of Bangladesh
^ "NATIONAL SYMBOLS→National march".
Bangladesh Tourism Board.
Bangladesh: Ministry of Civil Aviation & Tourism. In 13 January
1972, the ministry of
Bangladesh has adopted this song as a national
marching song on its first meeting after the country's
^ a b "Article 3. The state language". The Constitution of the
Republic of Bangladesh. bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd. Ministry of
Law, The People's
Republic of Bangladesh. Retrieved 1 February
^ a b জানুন [Discover Bangladesh] (in Bengali). National Web
Portal of Bangladesh. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
^ a b জানুন [Bangladesh] (PDF) (in Bengali). US department
^ "Health Bulletin 2016" (PDF). Directorate General of Health Services
(DGHS). p. 13. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
^ a b "World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision". ESA.UN.org
(custom data acquired via website).
United Nations Department of
Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved 10
^ Data Archived 4 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine.. Census –
Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.
^ a b c "Bangladesh". World Economic Outlook Database. IMF.
^ Article in
^ "Gini Index". World Bank. Archived from the original on 9 February
2015. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
^ "Human Development Report 2016" (PDF).
United Nations Development
Programme. 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
^ Jha, Saurav (30 December 2016). "The
Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
Naval Arms Race".
The Diplomat. Tokyo. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
^ Frank E. Eyetsemitan; James T. Gire (2003). Aging and Adult
Development in the Developing World: Applying Western Theories and
Concepts. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 91.
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Bangladesh court upholds
religion of the state". Al Jazeera.
^ a b "
Bangladesh dismisses case to drop
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^ "Bara-Bhuiyans, The – Banglapedia". en.Banglapedia.org. Retrieved
19 September 2017.
^ a b "
Isa Khan – Banglapedia". en.Banglapedia.org. Retrieved 19
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^ a b Ahmed, Salahuddin (2004). Bangladesh: Past and Present. APH
Publishing. p. 23. ISBN 978-81-7648-469-5.
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Medieval India. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 135.
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A country study. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. September
1988. Retrieved 1 December 2014. Historians believe that Bengal, the
area comprising present-day
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Bengal, was settled in about 1000 B.C. by Dravidian-speaking peoples
who were later known as the Bang. Their homeland bore various titles
that reflected earlier tribal names, such as Vanga, Banga, Bangala,
Bangal, and Bengal.
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Mediating for commerce". Diplomat. Ankara, Turkey. After the First
World War when the great leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk started his war
of independence, the people of
Bengal were very spontaneous in giving
all sorts of support. To the extent that there is evidence that the
womenfolk donated their own bangles and gold ornaments, and the funds
were used for the establishment of a bank, the construction of the
parliament building and the purchase of armaments and ammunitions to
help the war of liberation. As you know our national poet, Nazrul
Islam, was the first foreigner to write an epic poem about Mustafa
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(Editorial). Retrieved 19 September 2017.
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"Bangladesh". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency.
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1 As the "Turkish Cypriot State".
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