National Perliament Building
Bangladesh at a glance
Official Name: The People's Republic of Bangladesh.
Location: Latitude between 20°34' and 26°39' North. Longitude between 88°00' and 92°41' East. Area: 1,43,998 Sq.km.
Boundary:Bounded by India from the North, East & West and by the Bay of Bengal, Myanmar (Burma) from the South.
Time: GMT +6 hours.
HISTORY: The area that is now Bangladesh has a rich historical and cultural past, combining Dravidian, Indo-Aryan, Mongol/Mughul, Arab, Persian, Turkic, and West European cultures. Residents of Bangladesh, about 98% of who are ethnic Bengali and speak Bangla, are called Bangladeshis. Urdu-speaking, non-Bengali Muslims of Indian origin, and various tribal groups, mostly in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, comprise the remainder. Most Bangladeshis (about 88%) are Muslims, but Hindus constitute a sizable (11%) minority. There also are a small number of Buddhists, Christians, and animists. English is spoken in urban areas and among the educated. The history of Bangladesh has been one of extremes, of turmoil and peace, prosperity and destitution. It has thrived under the glow of cultural splendour and suffered under the ravages of war. The earliest mention of Bangladesh is found in the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata (the story of Great Battle-9th century B.C). Evidence also suggests that there was a strong Mongoloid presence as well. Soon after, in the 5th and 6th centuries B.C. came the Aryans from Central Asia and the Dravidians from Western India. Then came the Guptas, Paals, Senas, who were Buddhist and Hindus. From the 13th century A.D. the flood of Muslim invaders and the tide of Islam upto l8th century swamped the Buddhist and Hindus. Sometimes there were independent rulers like the Hussain Shahi and Ilyas Shahi dynasties while at other times they ruled on behalf of the imperial seat of Delhi. From 15th century the Europeans, namely; Portuguese, Dutch, French and British traders exerted an economic influence over the region. British political rule over the region began in 1757 A.D. when the last Muslim ruler of Bengal was defeated at Palassey. After the end of the British rule In1947 the country was partitioned into India and Pakistan. Present Bangladesh became the Eastern Wing of the then Pakistan. But the movement for autonomy for East Pakistan started within a couple of years because of linguistic and cultural difference and economic disparity between the two wings. The seeds of independence were sown through the Language Movement of 1952 to recognize Bangla as a state language. Ultimately then, the East Pakistan emerged as a sovereign and independent state of Bangladesh in 1971 after nine month-long the bloodiest war in modern history of Liberation (starting on 26 March 1971) under the leadership of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. On December 16, 1971, Pakistani forces surrendered, and Bangladesh-meaning "Bengal nation"--was born; the new country became a parliamentary democracy under a 1972 constitution.
PEOPLE AND CULTURE: The Bengal region has a multifaceted folk heritage, enriched by its ancient animist, Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim roots. Weaving, pottery and terracotta sculpture are some of the earliest forms of artistic expression. The best-known literature of Bangladesh is the work of the great Bengali poets Rabindranath Tagore and Nazrul Islam. Folk theatre is common at the village level and usually takes place during harvest time or at Melas (village fairs). There are many folk dances, but classical dance is largely borrowed from Indian models and is frowned upon by the more severe religious leaders. Bangladesh's Muslims and Hindus live in relative harmony. The Muslim majority has religious leaders, piers, whose status straddles the gap between that of a bishop and that of a sage. Hinduism in Bangladesh lacks the pomp and awe of the Indian version, but consequently Hindu ceremonies are rarely conducted in the depths of temples to which access is restricted. People here are very willing for you to watch and even participate. Buddhists today form only a tiny minority of the population. It's worth noting that the Bangladeshi pride in ancestry is balanced by the Islamic slant of the country's intellectual life, which tends to deny the achievements of the preceding Hindu and Buddhist cultures. A typical Bangladeshi meal consists of beef (or sometimes mutton, chicken, fish or egg) and vegetables cooked in a hot spicy sauce with mustard oil, yellow watery lentils (dal) and plain rice. Fish is part of the staple diet; however, over-fishing has led to a scarcity of river fish and more sea fish are appearing on menus. Alcoholic drinks are not widely available; head for five-star hotels and ritzier restaurants when you want a tipple.
RELIGION: The four major religions in the country are Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. The Muslims constitute about 88 percent of the population and the Hindus about 10 percent. The Constitution guarantees religious and cultural freedom to all citizens
GOVERNMENT: The country is officially known as the People's Republic of Bangladesh and has a Parliamentary form of Government. The President is the head of the state. The Prime Minister heads the Government. The country is divided into six divisions (regions), namely; Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Barisal, Sylhet and Khulna. There are 64 districts, 460 thanas (police station), and 85,650 villages under six divisions. Besides there are 38 thanas (Police station) that mostly fall in metropolitan cities or other urban areas.LEGISLATURE :Bangladesh has a 330 seat Parliament called 'Jatiya Sangsad'. Three hundred members are directly elected and the other thirty members reserved for women are elected by the three hundred Members of the Parliament (MPs). Legislative power is exercised by the Parliament.
CLIMATE: Bangladesh has a tropical monsoon climate. There are basically four seasons in a year - Winter (December - February), Summer (March-May), Monsoon (June-September) and Autumn (October-November). The temperature across the country ranges between 13.5°C and 26.5°C in winter months. Annual rainfall varies from 160 cm to 200 cm in the west, 200 cm to 400 cm in the southeast and 250 cm to 400 cm in the northeast.
FLORA: The tropical climate has made the country luxuriant in vegetation. The villages are usually buried in groves of Mango, Banana, Jackfruit, Coconut, Palm, Bamboo, and other useful trees. Forests cover about 17 percent of the land area. Herbs and shrubs grow everywhere. Most of the hilly regions are covered with forests. The largest forest is the Sundarbans, which stretches along the southwestern seaboard and provides sanctuary to the famous Royal Bengal Tiger.FAUNA: A variety of wild animals are found in the forests. The Elephant, Clouded Leopard, Leopard cat, Rhesus monkey, Wild boar, Spotted Deer, Samber, Wild Dog, South Himalayan black Bear are few of them. Of the 200 species of mammals, the pride of place goes to the Royal Bengal Tiger found in the Sundarbans. Among the bovine animals, Buffalo, Ox and Bison are commonly seen. There are about 150 species of reptiles. Common reptiles include the Sea Turtle, River Tortoise, Mud Turtle, Crocodile, Python, Rat snake and Cobra. There are hundreds of species of birds, and fresh water fishes are abundant in both quantity and category. Of the 525 recorded species of birds, 350 are resident, of which are migratory that appear only in winter. The number of species of marine and fresh water fish total around 200.
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