What is Bangladesh?

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2014-06-04 17:59:06

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


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



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


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