Monday, August 31, 2009
Winds are mostly from the north and northwest in the winter, blowing gently at one to three kilometers per hour in northern and central areas and three to six kilometers per hour near the coast. From March to May, violent thunderstorms, called northwesters by local English speakers, produce winds of up to sixty kilometers per hour. During the intense storms of the early summer and late monsoon season, southerly winds of more than 160 kilometers per hour cause waves to crest as high as 6 meters in the Bay of Bengal, which brings disastrous flooding to coastal areas.
Heavy rainfall is characteristic of Bangladesh. With the exception of the relatively dry western region of Rajshahi, where the annual rainfall is about 160 centimeters, most parts of the country receive at least 200 centimeters of rainfall per year. Its location just south of the foothills of the Himalayas, where monsoon winds turn west and northwest, the region of Sylhet in northeastern Bangladesh receives the greatest average precipitation.
About 80 percent of Bangladesh's rain falls during the monsoon season. The monsoons result from the contrasts between low and high air pressure areas that result from differential heating of land and water. During the hot months of April and May hot air rises over the Indian subcontinent, creating low-pressure areas into which rush cooler, moisture-bearing winds from the Indian Ocean. This is the southwest monsoon, commencing in June and usually lasting through September. Dividing against the Indian landmass, the monsoon flows in two branches, one of which strikes western India. The other travels up the Bay of Bengal and over eastern India and Bangladesh, crossing the plain to the north and northeast before being turned to the west and northwest by the foothills of the Himalayas.
Natural calamities, such as floods, tropical cyclones, tornadoes, and tidal bores--destructive waves or floods caused by flood tides rushing up estuaries--ravage the country, particularly the coastal belt, almost every year. Between 1947 and 1988, thirteen severe cyclones hit Bangladesh, causing enormous loss of life and property. In May 1985, for example, a severe cyclonic storm packing 154 kilometer-per-hour winds and waves 4 meters high swept into southeastern and southern Bangladesh, killing more than 11,000 persons, damaging more than 94,000 houses, killing some 135,000 head of livestock, and damaging nearly 400 kilometers of critically needed embankments. Annual monsoon flooding results in the loss of human life, damage to property and communication systems, and a shortage of drinking water, which leads to the spread of disease.
There are no precautions against cyclones and tidal bores except giving advance warning and providing safe public buildings where people may take shelter. Adequate infrastructure and air transport facilities that would ease the sufferings of the affected people had not been established by the late 1980s. Efforts by the government under the Third Five-Year Plan were directed toward accurate and timely forecast capability through agrometeorology, marine meteorology, oceanography, hydrometeorology, and seismology. Necessary expert services, equipment, and training facilities were expected to be developed under the United Nations Development Programme.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
“In India, even though the effect of Hindu nationalism is dying away slowly, in Bangladesh Islamic fundamentalism is rising. Now in Bangladesh you have to show that you are dedicated towards the Islamic cause in order for you to get votes. On the other hand, in India a political party has to show that it is secular in order to get the votes of undecided voters."
"India has made some mistakes as well," he adds.
"However, each and every mistake had been overstated in Bangladeshi newspapers and propagated by the Jamaat-e-Islam.
There are some mistakes from the Indian side.
1. Around the border the Indian army was responsible for shooting at some innocent people. The Jamaat-e-Islam and the ruling BNP propagated this incident as 'India Bangladeshi-der mere kete sesh kore dicche.' To tell you the truth, that isn't the case. More people die in Bangladesh due to disease. They also forget to mention that BDR itself has killed some Indian soldiers in a barbaric way.
2. “India was actually responsible for the water problem through the Farraka dam. From the legal side, even though "Bangladesh cannot touch India as water is considered a resource of particular countries, for the sake of moral understanding India should have been more careful regarding this problem. This water problem has caused various environmental problems in Bangladesh."
3. “There are some stupid fanatic Hindus in India who talk about independent Bangabhumi, that they would break India and create an independent Hindu republic," says Tagore.
"According to the secular people of Bangladesh and other sources, there might be no more than 100 people supporting this movement. What they do is as soon as Hindus are attacked in Bangladesh, they spout some anti-Bangladeshi remarks on the border.”
"BNP portrays them as having 10,000 soldiers ready to take over Bangladesh. They also accuse India of not catching them. Well, how can you catch something if it doesn't exist?" he asks.
"Along with hatred against India, the hatred against Hindus has risen alarmingly as well. The Jaamat knows that the minority won't vote for them and they need to alienate the minority", he concludes.
"India loses nothing by accommodating its neighbours," says former Bangladesh foreign secretary Mommahed Mohsin, quoting late Indian national security adviser and former foreign secretary J N Dixit. "But sadly, instead, it prefers to use a patronising tone."
Most people in Bangladesh agree that the growing anti-India feeling in their country mirrors the rise of the Jaamat.
Despite being accused of war crimes, and despite holding a Pakistani passport, Abdul Majid's mentor, Golam Azam, was pardoned and allowed to return to Bangladesh as the Jaamat leader in 1977 by General Zia-ur Rahman.
Following an uproar against Azam after the restoration of democracy in 1990, a case was lodged against him for heading the Jaamat while holding Pakistani passport. But the supreme court ruled that he was a Bangladeshi by birth, and restored his citizenship.
"The Jaamat has been consistently and virulently anti-India, long before Bangladesh was born. Khaleda Zia knows that she won the election because of her hard-line position against India," says an Indian official. "While she may or may not personally support their more radical demands like the imposition of Sharia law, she is politically beholden to them, and hence dare not antagonise them," the official adds.
"Besides, she seems far too busy running down Hasina to bother about such mundane things like running the nation," he says.
"She also hopes that by fanning the flames of anti-Indian sentiment she will be able to distract attention from the more pressing problems plaguing the nation. The problem, as far as India is concerned, is that she uses her ultimate weapon with aplomb: Absolute denial."
Friday, August 28, 2009
Bangladesh is a subtropical country with a short winter. You need to wear light clothes at most times while in winter a sweater or something warm might be reasonable.
Bangladesh is primarily a Muslim and conservative country and so there are certain things one should not wear. Female visitors should maintain a conservative dress standard and avoid showing much flesh beyond head, hands, and feet. Long lightweight skirts with a cotton blouse tend to work best for business situations. Immodest dress may attract unsolicited attention.
A cotton lungi and a jersey called kurta are the common attire for men in rural areas. A lungi is a loop of cloth, somewhat like a very, very loose skirt or a sarong. It hangs from the waist to the ankles and is gathered in front at the waist and twisted into a sort of half knot, with the ends tucked in so they won't unravel.
If a Bengali boy wants to run, swim, fish, or play, he can pull the bottom of the lungi up and tuck it into his waist, ready for action. On special occasions, they may wear a pajama-panjabi. In the urban areas men have, however, largely adapted to western costume.
Sari is women's universal dress, both in the cities and countryside. A sari a long piece of cloth that they wrap around their waist, tucking it in at the waist, then wrapping it around their shoulders. Usually they also wear a blouse. The top part of the sari can rest around the back of the neck or be pulled over the top of the head, leaving the face uncovered. Some girls and some women wear a Salwar Kameez.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Date Day Fajr Shurooq Zhuhr Asr Maghrib Eshaa
Monday, August 24, 2009
The country has an area of 144,000 square kilometers and extends 820 kilometers north to south and 600 kilometers east to west. Bangladesh is bordered on the west, north, and east by a 2,400-kilometer land frontier with India and, in the southeast, by a short land and water frontier with Burma. On the south is a highly irregular deltaic coastline of about 600 kilometers, fissured by many rivers and streams flowing into the Bay of Bengal. The territorial waters of Bangladesh extend 12 nautical miles, and the exclusive economic zone of the country is 200 nautical miles.
Roughly 80 percent of the landmass is made up of fertile alluvial lowland called the Bangladesh Plain. The plain is part of the larger Plain of Bengal, which is sometimes called the Lower Gangetic Plain. Although altitudes up to 105 meters above sea level occur in the northern part of the plain, most elevations are less than 10 meters above sea level; elevations decrease in the coastal south, where the terrain is generally at sea level. With such low elevations and numerous rivers, water--and concomitant flooding--is a predominant physical feature. About 10,000 square kilometers of the total area of Bangladesh is covered with water, and larger areas are routinely flooded during the monsoon season.
Only exceptions to Bangladesh's low elevations are the Chittagong Hills in the southeast, the Low Hills of Sylhet in the northeast, and highlands in the north and northwest. The Chittagong Hills constitute the only significant hill system in the country and, in effect, are the western fringe of the north south mountain ranges of Burma and eastern India. The Chittagong Hills rise steeply to narrow ridge lines, generally no wider than 36 meters, 600 to 900 meters above sea level. At 1,046 meters, the highest elevation in Bangladesh is found at Keokradong, in the southeastern part of the hills. Fertile valleys lie between the hill lines, which generally run north-south. West of the Chittagong Hills is a broad plain, cut by rivers draining into the Bay of Bengal, which rises to a final chain of low coastal hills, mostly below 200 meters, that attain a maximum elevation of 350 meters. West of these hills is a narrow, wet coastal plain located between the cities of Chittagong in the north and Cox's Bazar in the south.
About 67 percent of Bangladesh's nonurban land is arable. Permanent crops cover only 2 percent, meadows and pastures cover 4 percent, and forests and woodland cover about 16 percent. The country produces large quantities of quality timber, bamboo, and sugarcane. Bamboo grows in almost all areas, but high-quality timber grows mostly in the highland valleys. Rubber planting in the hilly regions of the country was undertaken in the 1980s, and rubber extraction had started by the end of the decade.
A variety of wild animals are found in the forest areas, such as in the Sundarban on the southwest coast, which is the home of the world famous Royal Bengal Tiger. The alluvial soils in the Bangladesh Plain are generally fertile and are enriched with heavy silt deposits carried downstream during the rainy season.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
The traditional music in Bangladesh shares the perspectives of that of the Indian sub-continent. Music in Bangladesh can be divided into three distinct categories -classical, folk and modern. The classical music, both vocal and instrumental is rooted in the remote past of the sub-continent. Ustad Alauddin Khan and Ustad Ayet Ali Khan are two names in classical instrumental music who are internationally known.
The store of folk song abounds in spiritual lyrics of Lalan Shah, Hasan Raja, Romesh Shill and many anonymous lyricists. Bangla music arena is enriched with Jari, Shari, Bhatiali, Murshidi and other types of folk songs. Rabindra Sangeet and Nazrul Sangeet are Bengalis’ precious heritage. Modern music is also practiced widely. Contemporary patterns have more inclinations to west. Pop song and band groups are also coming up mainly in Dhaka City.
Bangladesh has a good number of musical instruments originally of its own. For instances Banshi (bamboo flute), Dhole (wooden drums), Ektara (a single stringed instrument), Dotara (a four stringed instrument), Mandira (a pair of metal bawls used as rhythm instrument), Khanjani, Sharinda etc. Now-a-days western instruments such as Guitar, Drums, Saxophone, Synthesizer etc. are being used alongside country instruments.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Located on the blue Bay of Bengal in Bangladesh, Cox's Baxar has the longest sandy beaches in the world. Mostly unknown to the world outside Bangladesh, Cox's Bazar's golden-sand beaches by the crystal clear waters are great for sunbathing, surfing, beach holidays and water sports. Many fascinating and beautiful Buddhist temples and indigenous Buddhist tribes can also be found in the area around Cox's Bazar.
Long beaches, Buddhist temples and villages around Cox's Bazar
The wonderful, long gold-sand beach by the crystal-blue waters of the Bay of Bengal is the main attraction in Cox's Bazar. The beach is said to be the longest in the world as it stretches 120 kilometers from the mouth of the Bakkhali River to Teknaf. The beach has good opportunities for water sports and sunbathing.
The main beach in Cox's Bazar is called Laboni Beach. There are numerous small shops along the beach for affordable shopping in Cox's Bazar. Located approximately 20 kilometers from the city, Himcari Beach has wonderful waterfalls. A more peaceful Inani Beach is located 35 kilometers from the city and has good opportunities for swimming and picnic. A calm, tropical paradise with a diverse underwater world, Saint Martin's Coral Island is located 10 kilometers from the mainland and offers best spots for diving around Cox's Bazar.
The 120 kilometer long beaches in Cox's Bazar are one of the major attractions in the area, but there are good sightseeing opportunities as well. The area around Cox's Bazar is rich in beautiful Buddhist temples. The Aggameda Khyang is a large Buddhist monastery with large and small bronze Buddha images and old manuscripts. Ramu is a typical Buddhist village where you can explore the traditional Bangladeshi way of life with fishermen and craftsmen. Ramu is located approximately 16 kilometers from Cox's Bazar. The area contains many Buddhist temples with large Buddha statues of bronze, silver, gold and other metals. Popular purchases in the village are handicrafts and handmade cigars.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Local dishes are normally far better and more exotic. Curries of many kinds around, cooked with proper spices and hot curry powders, including Korma, Rezala, Bhoona and Masala Gosht, Chicken, mutton, beef, fish and prawns, Chicken Afghani, Chicken Baghdadi, Chicken Kashmiri, Chicken Tikka, boti kabab, shutli kabab and a variety of fish curries should be tried. Rice in the form of pulao, biriani-with rice and mutton or chicken and khichuri are available in any reasonable restaurant. Those who do not care for rice dishes can try mughlai parata, plain parata or naan, which go very well with curries. Seafood and sweet-water fish are available in most of the towns. Fish-lovers should not miss smoked hilsa, fresh bhetki and chingri malaikari, Prawn dopyaza.
Chai - the milky sweet tea available almost everywhere.
Lassi - the refreshing yogurt drink. Green coconut water is a fine, safe and refreshing drink. International soft drinks, such as Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Fanta, 7-up, Mirinda, Sun Crest and Sprite are readily available. Hard drinks are available in big hotels and selected restaurants. On Fridays drinking in public areas is not recommended for foreigners.
Misti Dhohi, sweetened yogurt, Halua: a common dessert ranging from egg halua to carrot, sooji or wheat cream, almond, pistachio, nuts and so on, Sandesh: milk based dessert, one of the best available, Zorda: sweetened rice with nuts, Firni: rice flour cooked in milk, sugar and flavoring, Rasgolla & Kalojam: Two popular milk based desserts and made with sugar, flour and ghee, Ros Malai: round sweets floating in thick milk, Pitha: a blanket term for cakes or pastries including specific varieties such as chitoi, dhupi, takti, andosha, pufi, bhafa and pua.
Mangoes, Lichees, Bananas, Papayas, Jackfruit, Watermelon, Pineapple, Coconut and Oranges.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Dhaka is located in the geographic center of the country. It is in the great deltaic region of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers. The city is within the monsoon climate zone, with an annual average temperature of 25 deg C and monthly means varying between 18 deg C in January and 29 deg C in August. Nearly 80% of the annual average rainfall of 1,854 mm occurs between May and September.
Dhaka is located in one of the world's leading rice- and jute-growing regions. Its industries include textiles and food processing, especially rice milling. A variety of other consumer goods are also manufactured here. The Muslim influence is reflected in the more than 700 mosques and historic buildings found throughout the city. The University of Dhaka and several technical schools and museums are located here.
Dhaka city is known as the city of mosque, muslin and rickshaws. It has attracted travellers from far and near through ages. Dhaka as the capital of Bangladesh has grown into a busy city of about ten million people with an area of about 1353 sq. km. Having a happy blending of old and new architectural trends, Dhaka has been developing fast as a modern city and is throbbing with activities in all spheres of life. It is the center of industrial, commercial, cultural, educational and political activities for Bangladesh.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Nestled in the picturesque Surma Valley amidst scenic tea plantations and lush green tropical forests, Sylhet is a prime attraction for all tourists visiting Bangladesh. Lying between the Khasia and the Jaintia hills on the north, and the Tripura hills on the south, Sylhet breaks the monotony of the flatness of this land by a multitude of terraced tea gardens, rolling countryside and the exotic flora and fauna. Here the thick tropical forests abound with many species of wild life, scented orange groves and luxuriant pineapple plantations spread their aroma around the typical hearth and homes of the Manipuri Tribal maidens famous for their dance.
Women carrying freshly plucked tea leaves
The Sylhet valley is formed by a beautiful, winding pair of rivers named the Surma and the Kushiara both of which are fed by innumerable hill streams from the north and the south. The valley has a good number of haors which are big natural depressions. During winter these haors are vast stretches of green land, but in the rainy season they turn into a turbulent sea. These haors provide a sanctuary to the millions of migratory birds who fly from across the Himalayas to escape the severe Siberian winters.
Sylhet has also a very interesting and rich history. Before the conquest by the Muslims, it was ruled by local chieftains. In 1303, the great Saint Hazrat Shah Jalal came to Sylhet from Delhi with a band of 360 disciples to preach Islam and defeated the then Raja Gour Gobinda, Sylhet thus became a district of saints, shrines and daring but virile people.
Its rich potentialities became easily attractive and the 18th century Englishmen made their fortune in tea plantation. About 80 km. from Sylhet town connected by road and rail, Srimangal, which is known as the tea capital of Bangladesh, is the actual tea centre of the area. For miles and miles around, the visitor can see the tea gardens spread like a green carpet over the plain land or on the sloping hills. A visit to the tea plantation in Sylhet is a memorable experience. Sylhet, the tea granary of Bangladesh, not only has over 150 tea gardens but also proudly possesses three largest tea gardens in the world both in area and production.
Sylhet also famous for some important things such as:
- The Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal
- Shahi Eidgah
- Gour Gobinda Fort
- Haripur Gas Field and other spots
- Manipuri Dance
- Guided Tours & Accommodation
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The word shonar literally means made of gold, but in the song shonar Bangla may be interpreted to either express the preciousness of Bengal or a reference to the colour of paddy fields before harvest.
The song was written in 1906 during the sad period of Bangabhango - when Bengal was very unfortunately divided in two halves by the British government based on religion.
This song, along with a host of others, was written to rekindle the unified spirit of Bengal.
It is said that the music of this song was inspired by the Baul singer Gagan Harkara's song Kothay Pabo Tare.
The first 10 lines of this song constitute the national anthem of Bangladesh. It was adopted in 1972 after the independence of Bangladesh.
Amar shonar Bangla,
Ami tomake bhalobashi.
My beloved Bengal
My Bengal of Gold,
I love you.
Chirodin tomar akash,
Amar prane bajae bashi.
Forever your skies,
Your air set my heart in tune
As if it were a flute.
Phagune tor amer bone
Ghrane pagol kore,
Mori hae, hae re,
Oghrane tor bhora khete
Ami ki dekhechhi modhur hashi.
In spring, O mother mine,
The fragrance from your mango groves
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.
Ki sneho, ki maea go,
Ki ãchol bichhaeechho
Nodir kule kule!
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!
Amar kane lage,
Mori hae, hae re,
Ma, tor bodonkhani molin hole,
Ami noeon jole bhashi.
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,My eyes are filled with tears!
Sunday, August 16, 2009
The leader of the party that wins the most seats is usually appointed prime minister by the president election results : Shahabuddin AHMED elected president without opposition; percent of National Parliament vote - NA Legislative branch: unicameral National Parliament or Jatiya Sangsad elections: last held 12 June 1996 election results: percent of vote by party - AL 33.87%, BNP 30.87%; seats by party - AL 178, BNP 113, JP 33, JI 3, other 2, election still to be held 1; note - the elections of 12 June 1996 brought to power an Awami League government for the first time in twenty-one years; held under a neutral, caretaker administration, the elections were characterized by a peaceful, orderly process and massive voter turnout, ending a bitter two-year impasse between the former BNP and opposition parties that had paralyzed National Parliament and led to widespread street violence Judicial branch: Supreme Court, the Chief Justices and other judges are appointed by the president Political parties and leaders: Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Khaleda Ziaur Rahman; Awami League, Sheikh Hasina Wajed; Jatiyo Party, Hussain Mohammad Ershad; Jamaat-E-Islami, Motiur Rahman Nizami; Bangladesh Communist Party, Saifuddin Ahmed Manik International organization participation: AsDB, C, CCC, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINURSO, NAM, OIC, SAARC, UN, UNAVEM III, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNMIBH, UNMIH, UNMOP, UNMOT, UNOMIG, UNOMIL, UNPREDEP, UNTAES, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador-designate Khwaja Mohammad SHEHABUDDIN chancery.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Over 90% of the country is composed of alluvial plains less than 10m above sea level, making it an inviting proposition to flood-prone rivers and tidal waves. The only relief from these low-lying plains occurs in the north-east and south-east corners where modest hills rise to an average height of around 240m and 600m respectively.
About two-thirds of Bangladesh is fertile arable land and a little over 10% remains forested. The country is home to the Royal Bengal tiger, leopards, Asiatic elephants, and a few remaining black bears. There are also plenty of monkeys, langurs, gibbons, otters and mongooses. Reptiles include the sea tortoise, mud turtle, river tortoise, pythons, crocodiles and a variety of bloody unpleasant poisonous snakes. There are more than 600 species of birds: the best known is the mynah but the most spectacular are the kingfishers and fishing eagles.
Climate of Bangladesh is subtropical and tropical with temperatures ranging from an average daytime low of 21°C in the cold season to a top of 35°C in the hot season. Bangladesh has three main seasons: the monsoon or 'wet' season from late May to early October; the 'cold' season from mid-October to the end of February; and the 'hot' season from mid-March to mid-May. There is also a 'cyclone season' - May to June and October to November.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
During the British rule, education was mainly reserved for the wealthy class. The language of pedagogy was English as schools were run by religious nuns and other British people. The few natives who were fortunate to receive education were either from wealthy families or whose family had ties with the British governing body. For one to receive higher education, such as a university degree, to become a professional, one had to attend schools in England. Such was the case of the famous Indian Mahatma Gandhi who traveled to London to study law. As native people were treated as second-class citizens, education was largely deprived from the general population.
After the British had left the Indian Subcontinent, the territory presently known as Bangladesh came under Pakistani regime as the state of East Pakistan. Education during this period was still very scarce but those who had the means of acquiring it were no longer considered second-class citizens. The state language, however, was Urdu: the mother tongue of Pakistan. In the region of East Pakistan, the native language was Bengali and not Urdu. Hence, a conflict over language was eminent.
School systems were still largely functioned in the English language as few schools, such as the Holy Cross and numerous Cadet Colleges, were still taught by the British and the nuns. However, in order to obtain government jobs, one had to know Urdu as it was the state language. Bengalis did not want to learn Urdu as the felt obliged to submit their rights to the Pakistanis. As such, after a long and bloody language movement, Bengalis were given the practice the language Bengali in their own homeland. So, to recap, during the Pakistani era, the educational system was mainly to indoctrinate students to the Urdu language.
After the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971, the People's Republic of Bangladesh became an independent nation free to choose its own educational destiny. As Bangladesh was, and still is, a secular state, many forms of education were permitted to co-exist. The formidable British system was, and still is, largely practiced. In fact, presently, the Bangladeshi system of education is divided into three different branches. Students are free to choose anyone of them provided that they have the means. These branches are: a) The English Medium, b) The Bengali Medium, and c) The Religious Branch.
Compulsory primary education, free education for girls up to class ten, stipends for female students, food-for educational total literacy movement and nationwide integrated education are some of the major programs being the government in the education sector.
There are 11 government universities and approximately 20 private universities in Bangladesh. Specialized universities are Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Bangladesh Agricultural University and Bangabandhu Shaikh Mujib Medical University. The number of government and non-government medical colleges stand at 1, 3 and 5 respectively. There are 4 engineering colleges, 2845 colleges, institutes, 12553 secondary schools, and 78595 primary schools.
To make higher education accessible to all, an Open University has been set up in the country. A National University has also been set up to serve as an affiliating university college across the country.
Alongside the general system of education parallel system known as Madrasha education which offers Islamic education to Muslim boys and girls. Hindus and Buddhists also receive religious education at institutes called Tol and Chatuspathi.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Bangladesh is a new state in an ancient land. It has been described by an American political scientist as "a country challenged by contradictions." On the face of it, the recent twists and turns of her history are often inconsistent. It is neither a distinct geographical entity, nor a well-defined historical unit. Nevertheless, it is the homeland of the ninth largest nation in the world whose groping for a political identity was protracted, intense and agonizing. The key to these apparent contradictions lies in her history. Thus, to understand Bangladesh's current situation, one must learn of its history.
In 1757, Bangladesh fell under the British rule as the East Indian Company, a mercantile company of England, took over the region of Bengal defeating the then ruler Nawab Siraj-ud Daulah through conspiracy. In the long run, the British rule in South Asia contributed to the transformation of the traditional society in various ways. The introduction of British law, modern bureaucracy, new modes of communication, the opening of the local market to international trade and, perhaps most importantly, the English language and a modern education system opened new horizons for development in various spheres of life. However, British rule over the South Asian region, including Bangladesh, lasted only till 1947 when India gained its independence.
Soon after, Pakistan separated from India because of religious differences. As Muslims predominantly populated Bangladesh, it only seemed fair for it join Pakistan as the state of East Pakistan. Nevertheless, the people of the Province of East Pakistan declared their independence as the nation of Bangladesh on March 26, 1971, after fighting a savage war against the central Pakistani government for basic rights like language and culture.
Events since the independence, there have been an endless struggle by the central government to preserve a unified balance of cultures and languages of the rural parts of the country. This struggle also hampered in the modernization of the unforgivable mixture, which makes the fabric of the country. Added to all this was the overwhelming growth of the population, which was expanding faster than any hope of economic progress.
Faced with overpowering odds, the government had very little help from education. Schools were abundant but fewer than half the children attended school and half of them would drop out after grade five. Only one in five students would make it to the secondary schools and a meager one in twenty-five to the university. Yet, there was a serious overproduction of graduates leading to serious problems of unemployment. This system not only failed to meet the evident needs of daily survival, it even worked against rural development and agricultural improvement. Education designed for a 'back to the countryside' had no chance of success, for that is what the young were struggling desperately to get away from through education.
Bangladesh is still faced with a similar problem. The illiteracy rate of the country is extremely high but those who do graduate from universities are nevertheless left unemployed or underemployed.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Bangladesh is one of the largest Muslim countries in the world. Most Bangladeshi Muslims are Sunnis, but there is a small Shia community. Among religious festivals of Muslims Eidul-Fitr, Eidul-Azha, Eiday Miladunnabi, Muharram etc. are prominent. The contention that Bengali Muslims are all descended from lower-caste Hindus who were converted to Islam is incorrect; a substantial proportion are descendants of the Muslims who reached the subcontinent from elsewhere.
Hinduism is professed by about 12 percent of the population. Durga Puja, Saraswati Puja, Kali Puja etc. are Hindu festivals.
Biharis, who are not ethnic Bangali, are Urdu-speaking Muslim refugees from Bihar and other parts of northern India. They numbered about 1 million in 1971 but now had decreased to around 600,000. They once dominated the upper levels of the society. They sided with Pakistan during the 1971 war. Hundreds of thousands of Biharis were repatriated to Pakistan after the war.
Tribal race constitutes less than 1 percent of the total population. They live in the Chittagong Hills and in the regions of Mymensingh, Sylhet, and Rajshahi. The majority of the tribal population lives in rural areas. They differ in their social organization, marriage customs, birth and death rites, food, and other social customs from the people of the rest of the country. They speak Tibeto-Burman languages. In the mid-1980s, the percentage distribution of tribal population by religion was Hindu 24, Buddhist 44, Christian 13, and others 19.
The Santals live in the northwestern part of Bangladesh. They obey a set of religious beliefs closely similar to Hinduism. The Khasais live in Sylhet in the Khasia Hills near the border with Assam, and the Garo and Hajang in the northeastern part of the country.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Drama in Bangladesh has an old tradition and is very popular. In Dhaka more than a dozen theater groups have been regularly staging locally written plays as well as those adopted from famous writers, mainly of European origin. Popular theatre groups are Dhaka Theatre, Nagarik Nattya Sampraday and Theatre. In Dhaka, Baily Road area is known as 'Natak Para' where drama shows are regularly held. Public Library Auditorium and Museum Auditorium are famous for holding cultural shows.
Classical forms of the sub-continent predominate in Bangladeshi dance. The folk, tribal and Middle Eastern traits are also common. Among the tribal dances, particularly popular are Monipuri and Santal. Rural girls are in the habit of dancing that does not require any grammar or regulations. Bangla songs like jari and shari are presented accompanied with dance of both male and female performers.
Jatra (Folk Drama) is another vital chapter of Bengali culture. It depicts mythological episodes of love and tragedy. Legendary plays of heroism are also popular, particularly in the rural areas. In near past jatra was the biggest entertainment means for the rural Bengalis and in that sense for 80% of the population since the same percentage of the population lived in rural Bangladesh. Now a day’s jatra has been placed in the back seat in the entertainment era. Gradually western culture is occupying the place of traditional culture like jatra.
The symbols and sounds of Islam, such as the call to prayer, punctuate daily life. Bangladeshi conceptualizes themselves and others fundamentally through their religious heritage. For example, the nationality of foreigners is considered secondary to their religious identity.
Islam is a part of everyday life in all parts of the country and every single village has at least a small mosque and an imam (prophet). Prayer is supposed to be performed five times daily, but only the committed uphold that standard. Friday afternoon prayer is often the only time that mosques become crowded.Throughout the country there is a belief in spirits that inhabit natural spaces such as trees, hollows, and riverbanks. These beliefs are derided by Islamic religious authorities.
The imam is associated with a mosque and is an important person in both rural and urban society, leading a group of followers. The imam's power is based on his knowledge of the Koran and memorization of phrases in Arabic. An imam's power is based on his ability to persuade groups of men to act in conjunction with Islamic rules. In many villages the imam is believed to have access to the supernatural, with the ability to write charms that protect individuals from evil spirits, imbue liquids with holy healing properties, or ward off or reverse of bad luck.
Rituals and Holy Places
The primary Islamic holidays in Bangladesh include: Eid-ul-Azha (the tenth day of the Muslim month Zilhaj), in which a goat or cow is sacrificed in honor of Allah; Shob-i-Barat (the fourteenth or fifteenth day of Shaban), when Allah records an individual's future for the rest of the year; Ramadan (the month Ramzan), a month-long period of fasting between dawn and dusk; Eid-ul-Fitr (the first day of the month Shawal, following the end of Ramzan), characterized by alms giving to the poor; and Shob-i-Meraz (the twenty-seventh day of Rajab), which commemorates the night when Mohammed ascended to heaven. Islamic holidays are publicly celebrated in afternoon prayers at mosques and outdoor open areas, where many men assemble and move through their prayers in unison.
Death and the After life
Muslims believe that after death the soul is judged and moves to heaven or hell. Funerals require that the body be washed, the nostrils and ears be plugged with cotton or cloth, and the body be wrapped in a white shroud. The body is buried or entombed in a brick or concrete structure.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Shopping Hours: Generally Sat-Thurs 0900-2000, Fri 0900-1230 and 1400-2000 (shops in tourist districts often stay open later).
Gold and Silver: A wide range of gold and silver ornaments, silver filigree work is considered by many travelers to be unparalleled. Pink Pearl: Pink pearls are the best buy in Dhaka. These natural products are unparallel in luster.
Brass and Copperware: Among the best buys here are brass and copperware trays, wall decorations; vases etc. all are hand made with fine engravings and filigree work. Products made from the hides and skins of animals and reptiles, intricate wood carvings, cane and bamboo products, conch shell, bangles, embroidered quilts, jamdani and silk fabrics can also be bought. These are available in DIT market and a number of exclusive shops in New Elephant Road, Dhaka.
Duty- free Shopping: Duty free sales and display centers run by Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation are located in Dhaka, Zia International Airport, Mohakhaii and Sylhet Airport. These shops enjoy the reputation of being well established with a wide range of goods at unbeatable prices. Goods available include wines and spirits, perfumes, cigarettes, hi-fi stereo and audio-visual equipment, Cameras, Watches and a range of household appliances. All purchases must be paid for in foreign currency.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
For higher GDP growth, investments in both public and private sectors will need to be accelerated. The prevailing political and economic stability has greatly encouraged investment in the private sector. The trend of foreign direct investment is very encouraging.
The government is committed to market economy and has been pursuing policies for supporting and encouraging private investment and eliminating unproductive expenditures in the public sector. A number of measures have been taken to strengthen the planning system and intensify reforms in the financial sector. The present government believes that wastage of resources is a far greater obstacle to development than inadequacy of resources.
It is common knowledge that many development efforts in the past years turned into exercises in futility because of inefficiency and corruption in high places. Terrorism was allowed to paralyse law and order. Administration was over centralized at the cost of local government institutions. The government has, therefore, decided to decentralize administration in the quickest possible time.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Bangladeshi women habitually wear Saris. Jamdani was once world famous for it's most artistic and expensive ornamental fabric. Mostly, a fine and artistic type of cloth was well-known worldwide. Naksi Kantha, embroidered quilted patchwork cloth produced by the village women, is still familiar in villages and towns simultaneously. A common hairstyle is Beni (twisted bun) that Bengali women are fond of. Traditionally males wear Panjabis, Fatuas and Pajamas. Hindus wear Dhoti for religious purposes.
Languages in Bangladesh
The official language is Bangla, also known as Bengali. It is the first language of more than 98 percent of the population. It is written in its own script, derived from that of Sanskrit. Many people in Bangladesh also speak English and Urdu.
Bangla vocabulary shows many influences. These include a strong Islamic influence seen in the greetings of "Assala-mulaikum" (Peace be unto you) and "Khoda hafez" (God Bless you) and nouns from the Arab world such as "dokan" (shop), "tarikh"(date), and "bonduk" (gun).
English has also had an influence on Bangla. During the days of the Raj many words of English origin such as "tebil" (table), "tiffin" entered Bangla. In more recent time the ever rising global nature of English has lead to words such as "television", "telephone", "video" and "radio" being adopted by Bangla. However, unlike India, there has never been the need for English as a lingua franca and thus Bangla is the state language of Bangladesh.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Kabaddi is a very popular game in Bangladesh, especially in the villages and, for that; it is also called the 'game of rural Bengal'.
In some areas kabaddi is also known as ha-du-du. But despite its popularity ha-du-du had no definite rules and it used to be played with different rules in different areas. Ha-du-du was given the name kabaddi and the status of National Game in 1972.
Bangladesh Amateur Kabaddi Federation was formed in 1973. It framed rules and regulations for the game. Bangladesh first played kabaddi test in 1974 with a visiting Indian team, which played test matches with the district teams of Dhaka, Tangail, Dinajpur, Jessore, Faridpur and Comilla. In 1978, the Asian Amateur Kabaddi Federation was formed at a conference of delegates from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan in the Indian town of Villai.
In 1979, a return test between Bangladesh and India was held at different places of India including Bombay, Hyderabad, and Punjab. The Asian Kabaddi Championship was successfully arranged in 1980 and India emerged as the champion and Bangladesh as the runners-up.
Bangladesh became runners-up again in 1985 in Asian Kabaddi Championship held in Jaipur, India. The other teams included in the tournament were Nepal, Malaysia and Japan. Kabaddi was included for the first time in Asian Games held in Beijing in 1990. Bangladesh took part in it and won silver medal.
While intruding into the opponents' area the player clearly and audibly repeats the word 'kabaddi' without break and without releasing the breath. The time for the match comprises two halves of 20 minutes each and 5 minutes break in between.
A team earns one point by throwing out each one player of the opposite side. Two extra points are added as bonus when all players of the opponent party are out. The team that earns the greater number of points in the stipulated time wins the game.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Shadheenata Dibash, or Independence Day (26 March), marks the day when Bangladesh declared itself separate from Pakistan. The event is marked with military parades and political speeches.
Poila Boishakh, the Bengali New Year, is celebrated on the first day of the month of Boishakh (generally in April). Poetry readings and musical events take place. May Day (1 May) celebrates labor and workers with speeches and cultural events.
Bijoy Dibosh, or Victory Day (16 December), commemorates the day in 1971 when Pakistani forces surrendered to a joint Bangladeshi–Indian force.