Bangladesh, officially the People’s Republic of Bangladesh (Bengali: গণপ্রজাতন্ত্রী বাংলাদেশ Gônôprôjatôntri Bangladesh), is a country in South Asia, located on the fertile Bengal delta. It is bordered by the Republic of India to its north, west and east, by the Union of Myanmar (Burma) to its south-east and by the Bay of Bengal to its south. It is separated from the Democratic Republic of Nepal and the Kingdom of Bhutan by the narrow Indian Siliguri Corridor. Together with the neighbouring Indian state of West Bengal, it makes up the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal. The name Bangladesh means “Country of Bengal” in the official Bengali language. There are 7 divisions, 64 distritcs in our country.
The borders of modern Bangladesh took shape during the Partition of Bengal and British India in 1947, when the region became the eastern wing of the newly formed state of Pakistan. Due to political exclusion, ethnic and linguistic discrimination, and economic neglect by the politically dominant western wing, a combination of popular agitation, nationalism and civil disobedience led to the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971 which resulted in the separation and Independence of the region from Pakistan and the formation of an independent Bangladesh. After independence, the new state proclaimed a secular multiparty democracy. The country endured decades of poverty, famine, political turmoil and numerous military coups. The restoration of democracy in 1991 was followed by a period of relative calm and economic progress although the country’s main political parties remain bitterly polarized.
Bangladesh is a parliamentary republic with an elected parliament called the Jatiyo Sangshad. With a population of more than 160 million people in a territory of 56,977 sq mi, Bangladesh is the world’s eighth most populous country, as well as one of the world’s most densely populated countries. The Bengalis form the country’s predominant ethnic group, whereas the indigenous peoples in northern and southeastern districts form a significant and diverse ethnic minority. The Bengal delta region has a rich and diverse cultural heritage. The four largest religions in the country are Islam (89%), Hinduism (9%), Buddhism (1%) and Christianity (0.5%).
Bangladesh is identified as a Next Eleven economy. According to the United Nations in 2010, the country is making major strides in human development, including significant progress in the areas of gender equity, universal primary education, women empowerment, reducing population growth, food production, health and renewable energy. The poverty rate has declined considerably since independence, and per-capita income has doubled from 1975 levels. Major cities such as Dhaka and Chittagong have been the driving forces behind much of the recent growth. However, the country continues to face a number of major political and social challenges, including endemic bureaucratic and political corruption, widespread poverty, political instability, overpopulation and vulnerability to global climate change.
Bangladesh is a pioneer and founding member of SAARC. It is the world’s largest contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations. It is a founding member of the Developing 8 Countries and BIMSTEC and a member of the Commonwealth, the OIC, the NAM and the G-77.
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