Bangladesh, in full, is The People’s Republic of Bangladesh. It is the republic of southern Asia, in the northeastern portion of the Indian subcontinent, bordered on the west, north, and east by India, on the southeast by Burma, and on the south by the Bay of Bengal. The area of the country is 55,598 square miles. The capital and largest city of Bangladesh is Dhaka.
Geographically, historically, and culturally, Bangladesh forms the larger and more populous part of Bengal, the remainder of which constitutes the neighboring Indian state of West Bengal. From 1947 to 1971 the region of Bangladesh was a province of Pakistan. On March 26, 1971 leaders of East Pakistan declared their independence as a nation of Bangladesh while fighting a war against the central Pakistani government. Bangladesh was soon recognized by most other nations. Bangladesh was admitted to the United Nations in 1974.
Most of Bangladesh lies within the broad delta formed by the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers and is exceedingly flat, low-lying, and has annual flooding. Much fertile soil is deposited by the floodwaters. The only significant area of hilly terrain, constituting less than one-tenth of the nation’s territory, is the Chittagong. Rivers are an important feature of the landscape in Bangladesh.
The climate of Bangladesh is of the tropical monsoon variety. In all areas about 80 percent of the annual rainfall typically occurs in the monsoon period, which lasts from late May to mid-October. Annual precipitation ranges from about 55 inches along the country’s
east central border, to more than 200 inches in the far northeast. Bangladesh is subject to cyclones, originating over the Bay of Bengal, in the periods of April to May and September to November. Bangladesh also has many floods during the monsoon season. Bangladesh has warm temperatures throughout the year, with relatively little variation from month to month. January tends to be the coolest month and May the warmest. In Dhaka the average January temperature is about 66. F, and the average May temperature is about 84..
The population of Bangladesh in 1991 was 109,876,977, making Bangladesh the world’s eighth most populous country. There is about 1976 people per square mile. Most of the people of Bangladesh are young. Over 45 percent are under the age of 15, and only about 3 percent are 65 or older. Life expectancy at birth is about 51 years.
The major cities of Bangladesh are: Dhaka, the capital, with a population of over 3,397,190 people; the Chittagong, the leading port, with a population of 1,364,000; the Khulna, a rapidly growing center for small-scale industry, has a population of 545,849; Narayanganj, the inland port for Dhaka, with a population of 268,950; and the Rajshahi which is located in a silk-producing area, has a population of 299,670.
The people of Bangladesh declared their independence as the nation of Bangladesh on March 26, 1971, while fighting a war against the central Pakistani government. The separation from Pakistan took place on December 16, 1971. Bangladesh was admitted to the United Nations in 1974. The country’s government was formed in January 1972. Bangladsh has a parliamentary form of Government. The president is the head of the state. The Government is headed by the prime Minister. The national language, Bengali, is the first language of more than 98 percent of the population. It is written in its own script, derived from that of Sanskrit. Urdu and Burmese are also spoken by few percent of population. English is also spoken and understood. Islam is the main religion. It is the faith of about 85 percent of the population. Hindus makes up most of the remainder, and the country has small communities of Buddhists, Christians, and animists.
Elementary education is free, but at least one-third of all children are not enrolled in school. Poor school attendance is a major reason for a literacy rate of only 35 percent for Bangladeshis aged 15 and older. In the period 1989 to 1990, the country had about 45,000
elementary schools, with a total annual enrollment of some 11.3 million pupils, and about 10,000 secondary schools, with a combined yearly enrollment of about 3 million. Bangladesh has several universities, the largest of which is the University of Dhaka. Others
include Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and Jahangirnagar University, both are in Dhaka. Bangladesh Agricultural University in Mymensingh. The University of Chittagong and the National University, Khulna University. Some colleges include Bangladesh College of Textile Technology in Dhaka. The Bangladesh Institute of technology. Some private universities have been established during ’90s. Higher cultural life is concentrated in Dhaka, which is where the Bangla Academy is devoted to the promotion and development of the Bengali language and literature. The country’s largest library is part of the University of Dhaka, and the Bangladesh National Museum, also in Dhaka, is noted for its art and archaeology collections.
A secular parliamentary form of democracy was established by the 1972 constitution, but it was suspended in late 1974 and replaced in January 1975 by a presidential form of government. In February 1991 a parliament of 300 members was elected. 30 additional seats were subsequently filled by indirect ballot. Constitutional provisions abolishing presidential government and restoring a parliamentary
democracy, headed by a prime minister, were approved by parliament in August 1991 and ratified in September. The highest tribunal in Bangladesh is the supreme court, which is divided into a high court and an appellate division. The chief justice and the other justices
of the supreme court are appointed by the president.
The national flower of Bangladesh is the Water Lily. It is surrounded by two sheaves of rice on the National Emblem. The Doel is the national bird. Bangladesh s flag has a green background with a red circle on the middle . The circle is a sun (blood shed for freedom) on a green field (fertile nature of country and Islam). About 35 daily
newspapers in Bengali and nine English-language dailies are published in Bangladesh, mainly in Dhaka. Radio Bangladesh and Bangladesh Television are under government direction. About 4 million radio receivers, 480,000 television sets, and 206,000 telephones were in use in 1990.
The National Anthem translated is:
Forever your skies, your air set my heart in tune
As if it were a flute.
Makes me wild with joy
Ah, what a thrill!
In autumn, O mother mine,
In the full blossomed paddy fields
I have seen spread all over sweet smiles.
Ah, what a beauty, what shades, what an affection
And what a tenderness!
What a quilt have you spread at the feet of banyan trees
And along the banks of rivers!
O mother mine, words from your lips
Are like nectar to my ears.
Ah, what a thrill!
If sadness, O mother mine, casts a gloom on your face,
eyes are filled with tears!
Nearly 40 percent of the gross domestic product is from agriculture. Most farms are small, and per-capita output is low. Rice is the leading food crop in all areas and accounts for at least five-sixths of the cultivated area. Pulses, the main source of
vegetable protein, are the most important food crop after rice. Various oilseeds, wheat, potatoes, sweet potatoes, sugarcane, bananas, mangoes, and pineapples also are raised. The main cash crop is jute. Jute is a plant used to make burlap and twine. It is grown throughout the annually flooded portions of the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta. Tea, the second most valuable cash crop, is grown almost only in the northeast, around Sylhet.
More than 90 percent of Bangladesh’s electricity is generated in thermal plants using either coal, natural gas, or petroleum products, and most of the rest is produced by hydroelectric facilities, including a large installation on the Karnaphuli River. In 1990 Bangladesh consumed about 8 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity.
Recapping on what was stated earlier, the capital and largest city of Bangladesh is Dhaka, the population is 109,876,977. The national language is bengali. Bangladesh is hit by monsoons year round. Education is free. Under half of the gross domestic product is from agriculture. Bangladesh has a 300 seat parliment, and the chief justice and the other justices of the supreme court are appointed by the president.