What is Bangladesh?

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Bangladesh (The Peoples Republic of Bangladesh) was once known as East Pakistan, which was a region controlled by (and politically and economically bullied by) West Pakistan. The name "Bangladesh" means "Country of Bengal" in the official Bengali language. Together with the Indian state of West Bengal, it makes up the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal.

Bangladesh has a long history spanning thousands of years. A land replete with history, it finally achieved independence in the year 1971 after a protracted 9-month war (the Bangladesh Liberation War).

After many years of exploitation, both politically and economically, the Bengali national sentiments led to the massive victory of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the Pakistan National Elections of 1970. The ruling oligarchs in West Pakistan balked at having to give up the reigns of power to East Pakistanis. This led to armed resistance in which nationalists were supported by India, eventully leading to the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. (December 3 - 16, 1971). Although the independence of Bangladesh had been formally declared on March 26, 1971, the war actually established this as a political fact. More than 90,000 Pakistani POW's were repatriated to West Pakistan.

Geography


Bangladesh is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma (Myanmar) to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south.
The borders of present-day Bangladesh were established with the partition of Bengal and India in 1947, when the region became the eastern wing of the newly-formed Pakistan. However, it was separated from the western wing by 1,600 kilometres (1,000 mi) as the two Pakistans were on opposite sides of India.
Geographically the country straddles the fertile Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta and is subject to annual monsoon floods and cyclones

History of the State

Political and linguistic discrimination as well as economic neglect led to popular agitations against West Pakistan, which led to the war for independence in 1971 and the establishment of Bangladesh, with the help of India. However, the new state had to endure famines, natural disasters and widespread poverty, as well as political turmoil and military coups. The restoration of democracy in 1991 has been followed by relative stability and economic progress. However, political rule has been suspended under emergency law since January 11, 2007.

Bangladesh is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, SAARC, BIMSTEC, the OIC, and the D-8. As the World Bank notes in its July 2005 Country Brief, the country has made significant progress in human development in the areas of literacy, gender parity in schooling and reduction of population growth.However, Bangladesh continues to face a number of major challenges, including widespread political and bureaucratic corruption, and discrimination against women and religious and ethnic minorities.
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