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NATIONAL ANTHEM My Bengal of gold, I love you Forever your skies, your air set my heart in tune As if it were a flute, In spring, Oh mother mine, the fragrance from Your mango-groves make me wild with joyAh, what a thrill! In autumn, Oh 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! Oh mother mine, words from your lips is like Nectar to my ears! Ah, what a thrill! If sadness, Oh mother mine, casts a gloom on your face, My eyes are filled with tears!

NATIONAL SYMBOLS OF BANGLADESH Anthem: Animal: Bird: Fish: Flower: Fruit: Sports:

“Amar Shonar Bangla” “Royal Bengal Tiger” “Oriental Magpie Robin” “Hilsa” “White water Lily” “Jackfruit” “Kabadi”


Emblem of the Government The National of People's Republic of Bangladesh (Jatio Sangshad bhaban)


Martyrs (Shaheed Minar)


Memorial National (Jatio Smriti Soudho)

NationalBeast Royal Bengal Tiger

NationalBird Magpie robin (Doel)

NationalFlower Water Lily (Shapla)

NationalFruite Jackfruit (Kathal)


The national flag of Bangladesh is bottle green in color and rectangular in size with the length to width ratio of 10:6. It bears a red circle on the background of green. The color in the background represents the greenery of Bangladesh while the red circle symbolizes the rising sun and the sacrifice of lives in our freedom fight. The national flag was designed by Kamrul Hasan. Prescribed sizes of the flag for buildings are 305cm X 183cm, 152cm X 91cm and 76cm X 46cm and for vehicles are 38cm X 23cm and 25cm X 15cm.

NATIONAL PARLIAMENT OF BANGLADESH Jatiyo Sangshad or National Assembly is the national parliament of Bangladesh. The current parliament of Bangladesh contains 300 seats, the occupants of which are called Members of Parliament or MPs. The parliament itself is housed in the Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban an architectural masterpiece designed by Louis Kahn.


Kazi Nazrul Islam was born on the 25th May 1898 at Churulia in the district of Burdwan, West Bengal, India.A most versatile and prolific genius of this part of the world, he worked in multiple literary genres producing and astonishing corpus of literary works in Bangla. His works include at least 50 books of poetry and songs, 4000 songs and ghazals, 6 books of stories and novels, 3 books of translations 53 plays, verse-plays and operas, 2 movie scripts, 5 books of essays and other kinds of prose writings.The poet died at Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh as National poet on the 29th August 1976.


INTRODUCTION Bangladesh is a low-lying country with a total area of 56,977 square miles or 147,570 square kilometers. It is mostly surrounded by Indian Territory except for small strip in the southeast by Myanmar and south by Bay of Bengal. Most of its area is relatively flat lying. The only significant uplands are in the northeast and southeast of the country. Bangladesh has a tropical monsoon climate marked by sweltering temperatures and high humidity. The Union Council is the lowest administrative unit. Each Union comprises about 20,000 inhabitants. Generally 7-10 Union cluster into a Thana (Police Station). Several Thanas form a District. There are about 560 thanas and 64 districts in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has an agrarian economy. Jute and rice are the main cash crops. Other crops are tea, sugarcane, oilseeds, fruits, spices, vegetables, wheat, potatoes, tobacco and cotton. The major industries are jute processing, cotton, garments, steel and pharmaceutical.

National Flag of Bangladesh

BASIC INFORMATION OF BANGLADESH Official Name: The People's Republic of Bangladesh Capital City: Dhaka (Metropolitan area 302.91 sq. Kilometers) Divisional Headquarters: 1) Dhaka 2) Chittagong 3) Barishal 4) Khulna 5) Rajshahi 6) Sylhet

Districts: 64 (Sixty Four) Police Stations: 496 (Four Hundred Ninety Six) City Corporation: 4 Municipally: 119 Union Parishad: 4,472 Standard Time: GMT + 6 hours Important Industries: Jute, Sugar, Paper, garments, Fertilizer, Cigarette, Cement, Newsprint, Fishing & Food processing, Leather & Leather goods, Timber, Pharmaceutical Chemical Industry, Ceramic Industries etc.

Export Items: Raw jute and products, Tea, Leather and Leather goods, Garments, Frozen Shrimps, Fish products, Newsprint, Paper, Naphtha, Furnish oil, Fertilizer, Computer Software etc.

Principal Imports: Wheat, Oil seeds, Crude Petroleum, Raw Cotton, Edible Oil, Petroleum Products, Fertilizer, Cement, Staple fibers, Yarn, Iron & Steel, Capital goods Raw materials/Chemicals for drugs etc.

Seaports: Chittagong & Mongla. Inland River ports: Dhaka, Narayanganj, Chandpur, Barisal, Khulna, Bhairab, Sirajgonj etc.

Airports: International: Zia Intl. Airport-Dhaka, Patenga Airport-Chittagong, Osmani Intl. AirportSylhet.

Domestic: Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Cox's Bazar, Thakurgoan, Syedpur, Rajshahi, Jessoere & Barisal.

Principal Crops : Rice, Jute, Tea, Tobacco, Wheat, Sugarcane, Vegetables, Potato, Pulses etc.

Rainfall : 1194 mm to 3454 mm (Average during monsoon, June-August)

Climactic Variations: The climate of Bangladesh is tropical monsoon marked by Sweltering temperature and high humidity. Bangladesh has mainly four seasons: summer (March-May), Monsoon (JunSeptember), Autumn (Oct-Nov) and Winter (December-February)

Rivers: Padma, Bramhaputra, Jamuna, Meghna, Karnaphuli, Teesta, Arial Khan, Surma etc. (Total 230 rivers including tributaries)

MINERAL RESOURCES: Natural Gas, Limestone, Hard rock, Coal lignite, Silica Sand, White clay, Radio-active sand etc. (there is a strong possibilities of oil deposit)

Satellite Station : 1. Betbunia 2.Talibabad 3. Mohakhali.

Radio Stations: Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Khulna, Sylhet, Rangamati, Thakurgaon, Comilla,

T.V. Station: Dhaka, Chittagong.

Human Resources: A substantial manpower reserve well trained and skilled Engineers, Economists, Physicians, Chartered & qualified Accountants, IT Professionals, Technicians, Trained administrative and Managerial Personnel's, abundance of low cost, easily trainable and adoptable and hard Working intelligent and youthful labour force; Labour rates between 1.5 –3 US$ per day (8-10 hrs).

ECONOMY GDP - purchasing power parity

$187 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

5.2% (1999 est.)

GDP - per power parity

$1,470 (1999 est.)


GDP - composition by sector

agriculture: industry: services: 53% (1999 est.)

Population below poverty line

35.6% (FY95/96 est.)

Household income consumption percentage share

30% 17%

or lowest 10%: by highest 10%: 23.7% (1992)


Inflation rate (consumer prices)

9% (FY98/99 est.)

Labor force

56 million (1995-96) note: extensive export of labor to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Oman, Qatar, Malaysia, and Singapore

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture 63%, services 26%, industry 11% (FY95/96)

Unemployment rate

35.2% (1996)


revenues: $4.3 expenditures: $6.5 billion, expenditures of $NA (1997)


cotton textiles, jute, garments, tea processing, paper, newsprint, cement, chemical fertilizer, light engineering, sugar

Industrial production growth rate

2.5% (1997 est.)

Electricity - production

12.5 billion kWh (1999 est.)

Electricity - production by source

fossil hydro: nuclear:


billion including

98% 2% 0%


other: 0% (1999) Electricity - consumption

11.039 billion kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products

rice, jute, tea, wheat, sugarcane, potatoes; beef, milk, poultry, tobacco, pulses, oilseeds, spices, fruit


$5.1 billion (1998)

Exports - commodities

garments, jute and jute goods, leather, frozen fish and seafood

Exports - partners

US 33%, Germany 10%, UK 9%, France 6%, Italy 5% (1997)


$8.01 billion (1998)

Imports - commodities

machinery and equipment, chemicals, iron and steel, textiles, raw cotton, food, crude oil and petroleum products, cement

Imports - partners

India 12%, China 9%, Japan 7%, Hong Kong 6%, South Korea 6% (1997)


1 taka (Tk) = 100 paisa

Exchange rates

taka (Tk) per US$1 - 51.000 (January 2000), 49.085 (1999), 46.906 (1998), 43.892 (1997), 41.794 (1996), 40.278 (1995)

Fiscal year

1 July - 30 June


Country name

Conventional long form: People's Republic of Bangladesh Conventional short form: Bangladesh

Data code


Government type



4 November 1972, effective 16 December 1972, suspended following coup of 24 March 1982, restored 10 November 1986, amended many times

Legal system

Based on English common law


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

Chief of state: President Head of government: The Elected Prime Minister Cabinet: Cabinet selected by the prime minister and appointed by the president

Legislative branch

National Parliament or Jatiya Sangsad (330 seats; 300 elected by popular vote from single territorial constituencies, 30 seats reserved for women; members serve five-year terms)

Judicial branch

Supreme Court, the Chief Justices and other judges are appointed by the president -

Main parties

Political -

Awami Leader: Bangladesh Leader:

League or AL Sheikh Hasina Wajed Nationalist Party or BNP Khaleda Zia Jatiyo Party Leader: Hussain Mohammad Ershad Liberal Democratic Party or LDP Leader: Prof. Dr. A.Q.M. Badrudoza Chowdhury Jamaat-E-Islami Leader: Motiur Rahman Nizami

PEOPLE Population

129,194,224 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 36% (male 24,055,675; female 22,918,354) 15-64 years: 60% (male 39,924,040; female 37,992,459) 65 years and over: 4% (male 2,342,134; female 1,961,562) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate

1.59% (2000 est.)

Birth rate

25.44 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate

8.73 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate

-0.77 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 1.19 male(s)/female total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate

71.66 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: male: 60.4 female: 59.91 years (2000 est.)


years years

Total 2.85 children born/woman (2000 est.) fertility rate Nationality

noun: adjective: Bangladesh

Ethnic groups

Bengali 98%, Biharis 250,000, tribals less than 1 million


Muslim 88.3%, Hindu 10.5%, other 1.2%


Bangla (official), English


definition: age 15 and over can total population: male: 49.4% female: 26.1% (1995 est.)



read and 38.1%


D h a k a

B a r i s h a l



277 229


277 -


B o g r a

C h i t t a g o n g

C o m i l l a

D i n a j p u r

F a r i d p u r

J e s s o r e

K h u l n a

K u s h t i a

M y m e n s i n g h

N o a k h a l i

P a b n a

R a j s h a h i

R a n g p u r

R a n g a m a t i

S y l h e t

264 97 414

145 274

335 277 193

192 161

270 335

340 346

541 373 673

132 261

322 264 470

468 280

401 594

616 623

229 438 -

492 325 185

256 320

381 224 422

420 158

264 106

568 575


264 541 492


409 538

599 541 457

151 425

534 599

76 425



167 -

241 370

431 373 290

95 257

367 431

243 257


414 673 185

678 510 -

541 549

566 609 607

605 343

449 79

753 760


145 132 358

409 241 541


190 132 338

336 198

269 462

484 491


274 261 320

538 370 549

129 -

61 79 467

465 163

233 426

626 632


335 322 381

599 431 566

190 61


526 224

295 488

687 694


277 264 224

541 373 409

132 97

158 -

468 66

137 330

616 623


193 470 422

457 290 607

338 467

528 470 -

358 354

464 528

533 539


192 468 420

151 95 605

336 465

526 468 385


462 526

235 352


161 280 158

425 257 343

198 163

224 66 354

352 -

109 364

500 507


270 401 264

534 367 449

269 233

295 137 464

462 109


610 616


335 594 106

599 431 79

462 426

488 330 528

526 264

370 -

675 681


340 616 568

76 243 753

484 526

687 616 533

235 500

610 675



346 623 575

425 257 760

491 632

694 623 539

352 507

616 681

500 -


373 325

167 678 510


Values shown in Kilo Meter


158 528 470




























Bramhan Baria








Chapai Nawabgonj






Chittagong GPO




Chittagong Head 4100 Office











Cox's Bazar




Dhaka GPO








Dhaka Office



















Gazipur (Joydevpur)






Rajshahi City




Rajshahi GPO




























Khulna GPO








Khulna Office









Banga Bhaban




Dhaka Cantonment


Dhaka GPO


Dhaka Head Office


Dhaka Politechnic
















Mirpur Bazar


Mirpur Section-1


Mirpur Section-2




New Market




Sangsad Bhaban










DIVISION HEADQUARTERS  Dhaka  Chittagong  Barishal

 Khulna  Rajshahi  Sylhet

 Rangpur

DISTRICT OF BANGLADESH Bagerhat Jessore Netrokona Bandarban Jhalakathi Nilphamari Barguna Jhinaidah Noakhali Barisal Khagrachari Norail Barnmanbaria Khulna Pabna Bhola Kishoreganj Panchagarh Bogra Kurigram Patuakhali Chandpur

Kushtia Pirojpur Chittagong Lakshmipur Rajbari Chuadanga Lalmonirhat Rajshahi Comilla Madaripur Rangamati Cox's Bazar Magura Rangpur Dhaka Manikganj Satkhira Dinajpur Meherpur Shariyatpur Faridpur

Moulavibazar Sherpur Feni Munshiganj Sirajgonj Gaibandha Mymensingh Sunamganj Gazipur Naogaon Sylhet Gopalganj Narayangan Tangail Habiganj Narsingdi Thakurgaon Jaipurhat Natore Jamalpur Nawabgonj





NATIONAL DAYS OF BANGLADESH Pahela Baishakh The Bengali New Year day is gaily observed in the cities and villages throughout the country. This is a most important traditional day of the nation. Many fairs held in Dhaka as well as all other places. But the most colorful daylong gatherings are at Ramna Park, Dhaka. The main attraction of the day is "Panta Bhat" (watered rice) and "Hilsha Fish". Social and cultural organizations arrange different cultural functions.

Pahela Falgoon Another traditional day is Pahela Falgoon, the first day of spring, which is observed throughout the country by traditional festivities and colorful programs. Spring fairs, cultural programs and exchanges of greetings and gifts among friends and beloved ones mark the day. People from all walks of life throng the venues of different programs wearing traditional 'spring sarees' and 'Panjabi'. Other programs of the day include exchange of flowers, gifts and 'Rakhi-Bandhan'.

Shaheed Dibosh (Martyrs day) : 21st February 21st February of every year is observed throughout the country to pay respect and homage to the sacred souls of the martyr's of Language Movement of 1952. Blood was shed on this day near Dhaka Medical College Hospital area to establish Bangla as the state language of Bangladesh (then East Pakistan). All subsequent movements including struggle for independence owe their origin to the historic language movement. The Shahid Minar (Martyr's Monument) is the symbol of sacrifice for the mother tongue. The UNESCO has proclaimed the day as the International Mother Language Day to be observed globally in recognition of the sacrifices of the martyrs for establishing 'Bangla' (Bengali) as mother tongue. The celebration starts at zero hour and continues for the whole day. The monument is bedecked with flowers and wreaths. Social and cultural organizations arrange different programs including barefooted processions and singing session.

Independence Day : 26 March In March 26, Independence of Bangladesh was formally declared on the eve of a 9 month long war of Independence against Pakistan in the year 1971. After many years of exploitation, both politically and economically, the Bengali national sentiments led to the massive victory of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Awami League in the Pakistan National Elections of 1970. The ruling oligarchs in the then West Pakistan balked at having to give up the reigns of power to East Pakistanis. They stalled the installation of the newly elected parliament, and on the dark night of March 25, 1971 embarked on a genocidal reign of terror aimed at extinguishing all signs of Bengali nationalism. In the face of this, the inevitable declaration of independence was announced on 26th March.

The day, 26th March, is most befittingly observed everywhere of the country. The citizens of Dhaka and all other places wake up early in the morning with the booming of guns heralding the day. Leaders of Government and sociopolitical parties, freedom fighters and people of all level place floral wreaths at the National Memorial Monument at Savar. Cultural functions are held by different Socio-cultural organizations. At night the main public buildings are tastefully illuminated to give the capital city a dazzling look.

Bijoy Dibosh (Victory Day): 16 December On this day, after the nine month long independence war with Pakistan, the occupying armed forces of Pakistan formally surrendered to the freedom fighters of Bangladesh. After declaration of Independence, the fight was on for the people of Bangladesh to achieve independence. Lastly victory comes at a terrible price of 3 million people killed by the marauding armies of Pakistan. In this day, like the Independence day, people of all level place floral wreaths at the National Memorial Monument at Savar and cultural organizations arrange cultural functions.

Eid-ul-Fitre The biggest Muslim Festival observed throughout the Muslim world. This is held on the day following the Ramadan. The Ramadan is treated as the month of fasting. After fasting for the whole month, the day is very much desirable and enjoyable to the Muslim community. On this day all Muslims go to the Eidgah or Mosque for prayer. Everybody wears new dress, embrace each other, travel here and there all day long and enjoy tasty foods.

Eid-ul- Azha It is held marking the Hajj in Mokka on the 10th Zilhaj the moon month of the Muslims. Animals are sacrificed in reminiscence of Hazarat Ibrabim (AM) preparedness for the supreme sacrifice of his beloved son to Allah. In the morning everybody complete prayer and then sacrifice their selected animal(s) to the almighty. On this day the riches distribute meats and other foods to the poorer. Everybody visit their neighbor and relatives house and share meat and foods. This day teaches us sacrifice, love and affection.

Durga Puja Durga Puja is the biggest festival and has a great significance in Hindu mythology. Goddess Durga is the symbol of strength. The festival also symbolizes the victory of the good over evil. Mythology says, when evil Mohishashur disrupted everywhere and harassed everybody then the goddess Durga killed him and re-established peace in the earth and haven. Durga Puja continues for five days and each of the days has some special importance. During these days each and every house is decorated and illuminated attractively. This is the time to buy new dress and enjoy sweets. On these days we get together with our friends, family member & neighbors and express love for each other.


Janmastami is the birthday of Lord Krishna. Krishna was borne at such a time when his mother Jashada & father Bashudev were in the prison of evil Kangso. According to the Hindus mythology, when mischief and evils started disquieting the human and destroying truth then Lord Krishna appeared at the earth with an aim to save the truth, salvage the pious and destroy the false and evils. On this day Hindus implore for the blessings of Krishna. Everybody gets together, express love and affection to each other.

Buddho Purnima Buddhists commemorate the birth and enlightenment of Buddha. This occurs on the first fullmoon of the Bengali month of Baishakh.

Christmas Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ

HISTORY OF BANGLADESH Pre-historic Bengal Stone tools provide the earliest evidence of human settlements. Prehistoric stone implements have been discovered in various parts of West Bengal in the districts of Midnapur, Bankura and Burdwan. But it is difficult to determine, even approximately, the time when people using them first settled in Bengal. It might have taken place ten thousand years (or even more) ago. The original settlers spoke non-Aryan languages—they may have spoken Austric or Austro-Asiatic languages like the languages of the present-day Kola, Bhil, Santal, Shabara and Pulinda peoples. At a subsequent age, peoples speaking languages from two other language families—Dravidian and Tibeto-Burman—seem to have settled in Bengal. Archaeological discoveries during the 1960s furnished evidence of a degree of civilisation in certain parts of Bengal as far back as the beginning of the first millennium BC, perhaps even earlier. The discoveries at Pandu Rajar Dhibi in the valley of the Ajay River (near Bolpur) in Burdwan district and in several other sites on the Ajay, Kunar and Kopai Rivers have thrown fresh light on Bengal's prehistory. Pandu Rajar Dhibi represents the ruins of a trading township, which carried on trade not only with the interior regions of India, but also— possibly indirectly—with the countries of the Mediterranean.

Bengal in mythology Some deprecatory references indicate that the early people in Bengal were different in ethnicity and culture from the Vedic beyond the boundary of Aryandom and who were classed as 'Dasyus’. The Bhagavata Purana classes them as sinful people while Dharmasutra of Bodhayana prescribes expiatory rites after a journey among the Pundras and Vangas. Mahabharata speaks of Paundraka Vasudeva who was lord of the Pundrasand who allied himself with Jarasandha against Krishna. Mahabharata also speaks of Bengali kings called Chitrasena and Sanudrasena who were defeated by Bhima, Kalidas mentions Raghu defeated a coalition of Vanga kings who were defeated by Raghu and Raghu established a victory column in the Gangetic delta.

Proto-history and Pre-history Geological evidence indicates that much of Bangladesh was formed 1 to 6.5 million years ago during the tertiary era. Human habitation in this region is, therefore, likely to be very old. The implements discovered in Deolpota village in the neighbouring state of West Bengal suggest that paleolithic civilization in the region existed about one hundred thousand years ago. The evidence of paleolithic civilization in Bangladesh region is limited to a stone implement in Rangamati and a hand axe in the hilly tip of Feni district. They are likely to be 10,000 to 15,000 years old. New stone age in the region lasted from 3,000 B C to 1,500 B C. Neolithic tools comparable to Assam group were found at Sitakunda in Chittagong. Hand axes and chisels showing close affinity to neolithic industries in West Bengal, Bihar and Orissa have been discovered at Mainamati near Comilla. The thinly forested laterite hills in eastern Bengal dotted with fertile valleys provided a congenial environment for neolithic settlements. However, the archaeological evidence on transition from stone age to metal age in this region is still missing.

Overseas Colonization The Vanga Kingdom was a powerful seafaring nation of Ancient India. They had overseas trade relations with Java, Sumatra and Siam (modern day Thailand). According to Mahavamsa, the Vanga prince Vijaya Singha conquered Lanka (modern day Sri Lanka) in 544 BC and gave the name "Sinhala" to the country. Bengali people migrated to the Maritime Southeast Asia and Siam (in modern Thailand), establishing their own colonies there.

Gangaridai Empire Though north and west Bengal were part of the Magadhan empire southern Bengal thrived and became powerful with her overseas trades. In 326 BCE, with the invasion of Alexander the Great the region again came to prominence. The Greek and Latin historians suggested that Alexander the Great withdrew from India anticipating the valiant counter attack of the mighty Gangaridai empire that was located in the Bengal region. Alexander, after the meeting with his officer, Coenus, was convinced that it was better to return. Diodorus Siculus mentions Gangaridai to be the most powerful empire in India whose king possessed an army

of 20,000 horses, 200,000 infantry, 2,000 chariots and 4,000 elephants trained and equipped for war. The allied forces of Gangaridai Empire and Nanda Empire (Prasii) were preparing a massive counter attack against the forces of Alexander on the banks of Ganges. Gangaridai according to the Greek accounts kept on flourishing at least up to the 1st century AD.

Asia in 323BC, the Nanda Empire and Gangaridai Empire in relation to Alexander's Empire and neighbors.

EARLY MIDDLE AGES The pre-Gupta period of Bengal is shrouded with obscurity. Before the conquest of Samudragupta Bengal was divided into two kingdoms: Pushkarana and Samatata. Chandragupta II had defeated a confederacy of Vanga kings resulting in Bengal becoming part of the Gupta Empire.

Gauda Kingdom By the sixth century, the Gupta Empire ruling over the northern Indian subcontinent was largely broken up. Eastern Bengal became the Vanga Kingdom while the Gauda kings rose in the west with their capital at Karnasuvarna (Murshidabad). Shashanka, a vassal of the last Gupta Empire became independent and unified the smaller principalities of Bengal (Gaur, Vanga, Samatata) and vied for regional power with Harshavardhana in northern India. But this burst of Bengali power did not last beyond his death, as Bengal descended afterwards into a period marked by disunity and foreign invasion.

The Pala dynasty Main article: Pala Empire

Pala Empire under Dharmapala

Pala Empire under Devapala

Pala dynasty were the first independent Buddhist dynasty of Bengal. The name Pala (Modern Bengali: পাল pal) means protector and was used as an ending to the names of all Pala monarchs. The Palas were followers of the Mahayana and Tantric schools of Buddhism. Gopala was the first ruler from the dynasty. He came to power in 750 in Gaur by a democratic election. This event is recognized as one of the first democratic elections in South Asia since the time of the Mahā Janapadas. He reigned from 750-770 and consolidated his position by extending his control over all of Bengal. The Buddhist dynasty lasted for four centuries (750-1120 AD) and ushered in a period of stability and prosperity in Bengal. They created many temples and works of art as well as supported the Universities of Nalanda and Vikramashila. Somapura Mahavihara built by Dharmapala is the greatest Buddhist Vihara in the Indian Subcontinent.

Somapura Mahavihara in Bangladesh is the greatest Buddhist Vihara in the India Subcontinent, built by Dharmapala. The empire reached its peak under Dharmapala and Devapala. Dharmapala extended the empire into the northern parts of the Indian Subcontinent. This triggered once more for the control of the subcontinent. Devapala, successor of Dharmapala, expanded the empire to

cover much of South Asia and beyond. His empire stretched from Assam and Utkala in the east, Kamboja (modern day Afghanistan) in the north-west and Deccan in the south. According to Pala copperplate inscription Devapala exterminated the Utkalas, conquered the Pragjyotisha (Assam), shattered the pride of the Huna, and humbled the lords of Gurjara, Pratiharas and the Dravidas.

Buddha and Bodhisattvas, 11th century, Pala Empire The death of Devapala ended the period of ascendancy of the Pala Empire and several independent dynasties and kingdoms emerged during this time. However, Mahipala I rejuvenated the reign of the Palas. He recovered control over all of Bengal and expanded the empire. He survived the invasions of Rajendra Chola and the Chalukyas. After Mahipala I the Pala dynasty again saw its decline until Ramapala, the last great ruler of the dynasty, managed to retrieve the position of the dynasty to some extent. He crushed the Varendra rebellion and extended his empire farther to Kamarupa, Orissa and Northern India. The Pala Empire can be considered as the golden era of Bengal. Never had the Bengali people reached such height of power and glory to that extent. Palas were responsible for the introduction of Mahayana Buddhism in Tibet, Bhutan and Myanmar. The Pala had extensive trade as well as influence in south-east Asia. This can be seen in the sculptures and architectural style of the Sailendra Empire (present-day Malaya, Java, Sumatra).

Sena Dynasty The Palas were followed by the Sena dynasty who brought Bengal under one ruler during the twelfth century. Vijay Sen the second ruler of this dynasty defeated the last Pala emperor Madanapala and established his reign. Ballal Sena introduced caste system in Bengal and made Nabadwip the capital. The fourth king of this dynasty Lakshman Sen expanded the empire beyond Bengal to Bihar. Lakshman fled to eastern Bengal under the onslaught of the muslims without facing them in battle. The Sena dynasty brought a brief period of revival of Hinduism in bengal. A popular myth comprehended by some Bengali authors about

Jayadeva, the famous Sanskrit poet of Odisha(then known as the Kalingan Empire)and author of Gita Govinda, was one of the Pancharatnas (meaning 5 gems) in the court of Lakshman Sen.It remains a myth though as there remains no evidence to suggest so.

LATE MIDDLE AGES - ARRIVAL OF ISLAM Islam made its first appearance in Bengal during the twelfth century AD when Sufi missionaries arrived. Later occasional Muslim invaders reinforced the process of conversion by building mosques, madrassas and Sufi Khanqah. Beginning in 1202 a military commander from the Delhi Sultanate, Bakhtiar Khilji, overran Bihar and Bengal as far east as Rangpur, Bogra and the Brahmaputra River. The defeated Laksman Sen and his two sons moved to a place then called Vikramapur (present-day Munshiganj District), where their diminished dominion lasted until the late thirteenth century.

TURKIC RULE Khilji maliks The period after Bakhtiar Khilji's death in 1206 devolved into infighting among the Khiljis representative of a pattern of succession struggles and intra-empire intrigues during later Turkic regimes. Ghiyasuddin Iwaz Khalji prevailed and extended the Sultan's domain south to Jessore and made the eastern Bang province a tributary. The capital was made at Lakhnauti on the Ganges near the older Bengal capital of Gaur. He managed to make Kamarupa and Trihut pay tribute to him. But he was later defeated by Shams-ud-Din Iltutmish.

Mameluk rule The weak successors of Iltutmish encouraged the local governors to declare independence. Bengal was sufficiently remote from Delhi that its governors would declare independence on occasion, styling themselves as Sultans of Bengal. It was during this time that Bengal earned the name "Bulgakpur" (land of the rebels). Tughral Togun Khan added Oudh and Bihar to Bengal. Mughisuddin Yuzbak also conquered Bihar and Oudh from Delhi but was killed during an unsuccessful expedition in Assam. Two Turkic attempts to push east of the broad Jamuna and Brahmaputra rivers were repulsed, but a third led by Mughisuddin Tughral conquered the Sonargaon area south of Dhaka to Faridpur, bringing the Sen Kingdom officially to an end by 1277. Mughisuddin Tughral repulsed two massive attacks of the sultanate of Delhi before finally being defeated and killed by Ghiyas ud din Balban.

Mahmud Shahi dynasty Mahmud Shahi dynasty started when Nasiruddin Bughra Khan declared independence in Bengal. Thus Bengal regained her independence back. Nasiruddin Bughra Khan and his successors ruled Bengal for 23 years finally being incorporated into Delhi Sultanate by Ghyiasuddin Tughlaq.

Ilyas Shahi dynasty

Sixty Dome Mosque in Mosque city of Bagerhat was built in the 15th century and is the largest historical mosque in Bangladesh, as well as a World Heritage site. Shamsuddin Iliyas Shah founded an independent dynasty that lasted from 1342-1487. The dynasty successfully repulsed attempts by Delhi to conquer them. They continued to reel in the territory of modern-day Bengal, reaching to Khulna in the south and Sylhet in the east. The sultans advanced civic institutions and became more responsive and "native" in their outlook and cut loose from Delhi. Considerable architectural projects were completed including the massive Adina Mosque and the Darasbari Mosque which still stands in Bangladesh near the border. The Sultans of Bengal were patrons of Bengali literature and began a process in which Bengali culture and identity would flourish. The Ilyas Shahi Dynasty was interrupted by an uprising by the Hindus under Raja Ganesha. However the Ilyas Shahi dynasty was restored by Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah. The dynasty was finally overthrown by the Habshi (Abyssinian) slaves of the sultanate.

Hussain Shahi dynasty The Habshi rule gave way to the Hussain Shahi dynasty that ruled from 1494-1538. Alauddin Hussain Shah, considered as the greatest of all the sultans of Bengal for bringing cultural renaissance during his reign. He extended the sultanate all the way to the port of Chittagong, which witnessed the arrival of the first Portuguese merchants. Nasiruddin Nasrat Shah gave refuge to the Afghan lords during the invasion of Babur though he remained neutral. However Nusrat Shah made a treaty with Babur and saved Bengal from a Mughal invasion. The last Sultan of the dynasty, who continued to rule from Gaur, had to contend with rising Afghan activity on his northwestern border. Eventually, the Afghans broke through and sacked the capital in 1538 where they remained for several decades until the arrival of the Mughals.


Suri dynasty Sher Shah Suri established the Sur dynasty in Bengal. After the battle of Chausa he declared himself independent Sultan of Bengal and Bihar. Sher Shah was the only Muslim Sultan of Bengal to establish an empire in northern India. The Delhi Sultanate Islam Shah appointed Muhammad Khan Sur as the governor of Bengal. After the death of Islam Shah, Muhammad Khan Sur became independent. Muhammad Khan Sur was followed by Ghyiasuddin Bahadur Shah and Ghyiasuddin Jalal Shah. The Pashtun rule in Bengal remained for 44 years. Their most impressive achievement was Sher Shah's construction of the Grand Trunk Road connecting Sonargaon, Delhi and Peshawar.

Karrani dynasty The Sur dynasty was followed by the Karrani dynasty. Sulaiman Khan Karrani annexed Orissa to the Muslim sultanate permanently. Daoud Shah Karrani declared independence from Akbar which led to four years of bloody war between the Mughals and the Pashtuns. The Mughal onslaught against the Pashtun Sultan ended with the battle of Rajmahal in 1576, led by Khan Jahan. However, the Pashtun and the local landlords (Baro Bhuyans) led by Isa Khan resisted the Mughal invasion.


The Lalbagh Fort was developed by Shaista Khan. Bengal came once more under the control of Delhi as the Mughals conquered it in 1576. At that time Dhaka became a Mughal provincial capital. But it remained remote and thus a difficult to govern the region especially the section east of the Brahmaputra River remained outside the mainstream of Mughal politics. The Bengali ethnic and linguistic identity further crystallized during this period, since the whole of Bengal was united under an able and longlasting administration. Furthermore its inhabitants were given sufficient autonomy to cultivate their own customs and literature.

In 1612, during Emperor Jahangir's reign, the defeat of Sylhet completed the Mughal conquest of Bengal with the exception of Chittagong. At this time Dhaka rose in prominence by becoming the provincial capital of Bengal. Chittagong was later annexed in order to stifle Arakanese raids from the east. A well-known Dhaka landmark, Lalbagh Fort, was built during Aurangzeb's sovereignty. History repeated itself as the frontier Bengal province broke off from a Delhi-based empire around the time Aurangzeb's death in 1707. Murshid Quli Khan ended Dhaka's century of grandeur as he shifted the capital to Murshidabad ushering in a series of independent Bengal Nawabs. Nawab Alivardi Khan showed military skill during his wars with the Marathas. He completely routed the Marathas from Bengal. He crushed an uprising of the Afghans in Bihar and made the British pay 150,000 Tk for blocking Mughal and Armenian trade ships.

Europeans in Bengal Portuguese traders and missionaries were the first Europeans to reach Bengal in the latter part of the fifteenth century. They were followed by representatives from the Netherlands, France, and the British East India Company. The Mughal Subahdar of Bengal Kasim Khan Mashadi completely destroyed the Portuguese forces in the Battle of Hoogly (1632). About 10,000 Portuguese men and women died in the battle and 4,400 were sent captive to Delhi. During Aurangzeb's reign, the local Nawab sold three villages, including one then known as Calcutta, to the British. Calcutta was Britain's first foothold in Bengal and remained a focal point of their economic activity. The British gradually extended their commercial contacts and administrative control beyond Calcutta to the rest of Bengal. Job Charnock was one of the first dreamers of a British empire in Bengal. He waged war against the Mughal authority of Bengal which led to the Anglo-Mughal war for Bengal (1686–1690). Shaista Khan, the Nawab of Bengal, defeated the British in the battles of Hoogly as well as Baleshwar and expelled the British from Bengal. Captain William Heath with a naval fleet moved towards Chittagong but it was a failure and he had to retreat to Madras.

CONTRIBUTION OF BANGLADESH TO ANCIENT CIVILISATION Bangladesh is the frontier of South Asian civilization. It is the natural bridge between South and South East Asia. Because of its location, Bangladesh was the intermediary in trade and commerce between the South Asian sub-continent and the Far East. This region, as a distinguished historian observed, "played an important part in the great cultural association between the diverse civilizations of Eastern and South Eastern Asia which forms such a distinguished feature in the history of this great continent for nearly one thousand and five hundred years." Tradition has it that Sri Lanka was colonized by a Bengalee Prince Vijayasingha who established the first political organization in that island. Gadadhara, another Bengalee, founded a kingdom in the Madras state in South India Bangladesh region also played a seminal role in disseminating her beliefs, art and architecture in the wider world of Asia. The Bengali missionaries preached Mahayana Buddhism in the Indonesian archipelago. Kumaraghosha, the royal preceptor of the Sailendra emperors of Java, Sumatra and Malaya peninsula, was born in Gauda. The Bengali scholar Santirakshit was one of the founders of the Buddhist monastic order in Tibet. The great Buddhist sage

Dipankara Srijnana, also known as Atish (10th-l1th century) reformed the monastic order in Tibet. The Bengalee scholars Shilabhadra, Chandragomin, Abhayakaragupta, Jetari and Jnanasrimitra were venerated as great theologians in the Buddhist world. Ancient Bangladesh also witnessed the flowering of temple, stupa and monastic architecture as well as Buddhist art and sculpture. There was discernible influence of the Pala art of Bengal on Javanese art. There was a close affinity between the scripts used on certain Javanese sculptures and proto-Bengali alphabet. A group of temples in Burma were built on the model of Bangladeshi temples. The architecture and iconographic ideas of Bengal inspired architects, sculptors and artists in Cambodia and the Indonesian archipelago. The influence of Pala art in Bengal could be easily traced in Nepalese and Tibetan paintings, as well as in Tang Art of China.

EVOLUTION OF MEDIAEVAL BENGAL (1204-L757) The Middle age in Bengal coincided with the Muslim rule. Out of about 550 years of Muslim rule, Bengal was effectively ruled by Delhi-based all India empires for only about two hundred years. For about 350 years Bengal remained virtually independent. The Muslim rule in Bengal is usually divided into three phases. The first phase which lasted from 1204 to 1342 witnessed the consolidation of Muslim rule in Bengal. It was characterized by extreme political instability. The second phase which spanned the period 1342 to 1575 saw the emergence of independent local dynasties such as the Ilyas Shahi dynasty (1342-1414), the dynasty of King Ganesha (1414-1442) and Husain Shahi dynasty (l493-1539). The third phase which lasted from 1575 to 1757 witnessed the emergence of a centralized administration in Bengal within the framework of the Mughal empire. The Mughal viceroys in Bengal curbed the independence of powerful landlords who were known as Bara Bhuiyas and suppressed the Portuguese pirates who frequently interfered with the flow of foreign trade. There were two major achievements of Muslim rule in the region. First, prior to Muslim rule in this area, Bengal was an ever-shifting mosaic of principalities. The natural limits of Bengal were not clearly perceived till its political unification by the Ilyas Shahi rulers in the fourteenth century. The political unification of Bengal was thus a gift of the Muslim rulers. Secondly, the political unity fashioned by the Muslim rulers also promoted linguistic homogeneity. Unlike their predecessors, the Muslim rulers were ardent patrons of Bengali language and literature. Prior to Muslim rule, the Bengali vernacular was despised for its impurities and vulgarities by Hindu elites who were the beneficiaries and champions of Sanskrit education. The spread of Islam challenged the spiritual leadership of upper caste Hindus. The intense competition between Islam and resurgent Hinduism in the form of Vaisnavism for capturing the imagination of unlettered masses resulted in an outpouring of their stirring messages in the vernacular. The Muslim rule in Bengal also witnessed the gradual expansion of Islam in this region. Contrary to popular beliefs, the Muslim rulers in Bengal were not in the least idealists and proselytizers; they were primarily adventurers whose sole aim was to perpetuate their own rule. The preponderance of the Muslims in Bangladesh region stands out in striking contrast to signal failure of the Muslims in converting local people in other parts of north and south India. The distribution of Muslims in different regions of South Asia clearly contradicts the hypothesis that the patronage of the temporal authority was the most crucial variable in the spread of Islam. If this hypothesis was correct there would have been Muslim preponderance

in areas around the seats of Muslim rule in North India. The fact that the Muslims remained an insignificant minority in the Delhi region where they ruled for more than six hundred years clearly suggests that Islam in South Asia was not imposed from above. In Bengal also, the share of Muslims in the total population was higher in areas remote from the seats of Muslim rule. Islam was propagated in the Bangladesh region by a large number of Muslim saints who were mostly active from the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries. Among these missionaries Hazrat Shah Jalal, Rasti Shah, Khan Jahan Ali, Shaikh Sharafuddin Abu Tawamah, Shah Makhdoom Ruposh, Shaikh Baba Adam Shahid, Shah Sultan Mahisawar, Shaikh Alauddin Alaul Huq, Shah Ali Bagdadi, etc. deserve special mention. While similar Muslim missionary activities failed in other regions of South Asia, Islam ultimately succeeded in penetrating deeply into Bengal because the social environment of this region was congenial to the diffusion of a new religion. In much of South Asia, strong village communities were impenetrable barriers to the spread of alien faiths. In Bengal, the corporateness of village institutions was weak in eastern areas; it gradually increased towards the western areas. The distribution of Muslim population also followed similar spatial pattern in this region. The Muslims in Bengal were concentrated in the eastern areas and the share of Hindu population was much higher in western areas. The Muslim rule in Bengal contributed to economic polarization and cultural dichotomy. Except the brief interludes of the northern Indian empires, pre-Muslim Bengal was ruled by local potentates. Most of the Muslim rulers either acted as agents of Delhi or tried to use Bengal as a stepping stone for attaining political authority in Delhi. Economic exploitation intensified during this period owing to transfer of resources to north India. The main victims of this exploitative system were locally converted Muslims and low caste Hindus. The sole aim of the Muslim rulers was to mobilize as much resources as possible. The size of the immigrant Muslim ruling elite was small. Furthermore, different factions of the ruling elite did not trust each other. Consequently, Muslim rule in Bengal became, in effect, a coalition of immigrant Muslims and upper caste Hindus The gradual process of conversion to Islam in Bengal resulted in an intense interaction between Islam and Hinduism. At the folk level, however, there was less confrontation and more interaction between Hinduism and Islam. A syncretic tradition developed around the cult and pantheons of pirs. The actual practices of local Muslim converts were an anathema to both Hindu and Muslim religious leaders. The orthodox Hindus, despite their political reconciliation with Muslim rulers, despised the local Muslims as untouchables (Mlechhas). The Muslim religious leaders were equally scornful of the customs and practices of local converts. Hated by immigrant religious leaders for their ways of life and by the local aristocracy for their adherence to an alien faith, local converts faced a dichotomy of faith and habitat which found expression in an emotional conflict between religion and language. This dichotomy can be traced in Bengali literature as early as the fourteenth century. 'Those who are born in Bengal but hate Bengali language", asserted the seventeenth century poet Abdul Hakim "had doubtful parentage. Those who are not satisfied with their mother tongue should migrate to other lands".


The Bangladesh region reached the zenith of economic affluence during the mediaeval period. It was known as one of the most prosperous lands in the world. The Moorish traveller Ibn Batuta who visited Bengal in the fourteenth century described Bengal as the wealthiest and cheapest land of the world and states that it was known as "a hell full of bounties". In the same vein, the seventeenth century French traveller Francois Bernier observed: "Egypt has been represented in every age as the finest and most fruitful country in the world, and even our modern writers deny that there is any other land so peculiarly favoured by nature; but the knowledge I have acquired of Bengal, during two visits paid to that Kingdom inclines me to believe that pre-eminence ascribed to Egypt is rather due to Bengal". Because of her fertile land and abundance of seasonal rainfall, Bengal was a cornucopia of agricultural products. Famines and scarcity were virtually unknown as compared to other areas of Asia. Bengal was the focal point of free trade in the Indian Ocean since the 14th century. She was the virtual store-house of silk and cotton not only of India and neighbouring countries but also of Europe. The Dhaka region used to produce the finest cotton in the world. A very large quantity of cotton cloth was produced in different areas of Bengal. The best and well-known variety of textile was muslin produced in Dhaka. Some of the muslins were so fine that, as the seventeenth century traveller Tavernier notes, "even if a 60 cubit long turban were held you would scarcely know what it was that you had in your hand". Some of the muslins were so fine that a full size muslin could be passed through a small ring. Bangladesh also had extensive export of silk clothes. According to Tavernier, Bengal silks were exported to other parts of India, Central Asia, Japan and Holland. The Bangladesh region was also one of the largest producers of sugar. The sugar from this region used to be exported to other parts of South Asia and the Middle East.

BRITISH RULE IN BANGLADESH (1757-1947) The greatest discontinuity in the history of Bengal region occurred on June 23, 1757 when the East India Company - a mercantile company of England became the virtual ruler of Bengal by defeating Nawab Siraj-ud Daulah through conspiracy. Territorial rule by a trading company resulted in the commercialization of power. The initial effects of the British rule were highly destructive. As the historian R.C. Dutt notes, "the people of Bengal had been used to tyranny, but had never lived under an oppression so far reaching in its effects, extending to every village market and every manufacturer's loom. They had been used to arbitrary acts from men in power, but had never suffered from a system which touched their trades, their occupations, their lives so closely. The springs of their industry were stopped, the sources of their wealth dried up". The plunder of Bengal directly contributed to the industrial revolution in England. The capital amassed in Bengal was invested in the nascent British industries. Lack of capital and fall of demand, on the other hand, resulted in deindustrialization in the Bangladesh region. The muslin industry virtually disappeared in the wake of the British rule. In the long run, the British rule in South Asia contributed to transformation of the traditional society in various ways. The introduction of British law, a modern bureaucracy, new modes of communication, the English language and a modern education system, and the opening of the local market to international trade opened new horizons for development in various spheres of life. The new ideas originating from the West produced a ferment in the South Asian mind. The upshot of this ferment were streams of intellectual movements which have often been compared to the Renaissance. Furthermore, the Pax Britannica imposed on South

Asia created an universal empire that brought different areas of the sub-continent closer to each other. The British rule in Bengal promoted simultaneously the forces of unity and division in the society. The city-based Hindu middle classes became the fiery champions of all-India based nationalism. At the same time, the British rule brought to surface the rivalry between the Hindus and Muslims which lay dormant during the five hundred years of Muslim rule. The class conflict between Muslim peasantry and Hindu intermediaries during the Muslim rule was diffused by the fact that these intermediaries themselves were agents of the Muslim rulers. Furthermore, the scope of exploitation was limited in the subsistence economy of preBritish Bengal. The economic exploitation of the British provoked an intense reaction against the Raj in Bengal. However, the grievances against the British rule varied from community to community. The Hindu middle class, which styled itself as the bhadralok, was the greatest beneficiary of the British rule. The Hindu middle class primarily originated from trading classes, intermediaries of revenue administration and subordinate jobs in the imperial administration. On the contrary, the establishment of the British rule deprived the immigrant Muslim aristocracy (ashraf) of state patronage. The immigrant Muslim - upper caste Hindu coalition which characterized the Muslim rule was replaced by a new entente of the British and the caste Hindus. The new land settlement policy of the British ruined the traditional Muslim landlords. The Muslim aristocracy which had hitherto been disdainful of their native co-religionists sought the political support of the downtrodden Muslim peasantry (atraf) who were exploited by Hindu landlords and moneylenders. The Muslim elite in Bengal manipulated to their advantage the social insecurity of the less privileged without giving up their exclusiveness. The conflict between Muslim peasants and Hindu landlords was reinforced by the rivalry between Hindu and Muslim middle classes for the patronage of the imperial rulers. In the nineteenth century, both Hindu and Muslim middle classes expanded significantly. The Muslim middle class did not remain confined to traditional aristocracy which consisted primarily of immigrants from other Muslim countries. The British rule in Bengal contributed to the emergence of a vernacular elite from among locally converted Muslims in the second half of the nineteenth century. This was facilitated by a significant expansion of jute cultivation in the Bangladesh region. The increase in jute exports benefited the surplus farmers (Jotedars) in the lower Bengal where the Muslims were in a majority. The economic affluence of surplus farmers encouraged the expansion of secular education among local Muslims. For example, the number of Muslim students in Bengal increased by 74 percent between 1882-83 and 1912-13. Faced with the economic and cultural domination of the Hindu intermediaries in Bengal (bhadralok), the ashraf (traditional Muslim aristocracy), the newly created Muslim jotedars who constituted the vernacular elite and Muslim peasants (atraf) closed ranks. Despite their outward unity, the coalition of various Muslim interest groups in Bengal was fragile. The interests and ideological orientations of these groups were dissimilar. Unlike the jotedars and peasants, the ashraf in Bengal spoke Urdu. The vernacular Muslim elites and peasants in Bengal wanted agrarian reforms; the ashraf was a staunch proponent of absentee landlordism. The Muslim vernacular elite and atraf identified themselves with the local culture and language, the ashraf was enthralled by Islamic universalism. The internal contradictions of the Muslim society in Bengal were naturally mirrored in their political life.

Initially, the leadership of the Muslim community in Bengal belonged to ashraf for two reasons. First, the size of the vernacular elite was too small in the beginning of the twentieth century and the vernacular elite itself tried to imitate the traditional aristocracy. Secondly, because of the institutional vacuum in the rural areas, it was very difficult to mobilise politically Muslim masses in the Bengal region. The easiest means of arousing such masses was to appeal to religious sentiments and emotions. In this charged atmosphere the natural leadership of the Muslim masses in Bengal lay with the immigrant ashraf who monopolized the religious leadership.

The rivalry between Muslim ashraf and Hindu bhadralok first surfaced in the political arena, when the British partitioned the province of Bengal in 1905 for administrative reasons. The nascent Muslim middle class under the leadership of the Muslim Nawab of Dhaka supported the partition in the hope of getting patronage of the British rulers. To the Hindu bhadralok who had extensive economic interests on both sides of partitioned Bengal, the move to separate the Bengali-speaking areas in East Bengal and Assam was a big jolt. They viewed it as a sinister design to weaken Bengal which was the vanguard of struggle for independence. The bhadralok class idolized the "Golden Bengal". Though initially the anti-partition movement was non-violent, the dark anger of the Hindu middle class soon found its expression in terroristic activities. The emotionally charged atmosphere culminated in communal riots. The partition of Bengal ultimately turned out to be a defeat for all. The Raj had to eat the humble pie and annul the partition in 1911. To the Muslims, the annulment of the partition was a major disappointment. It virtually shook their faith in the British rulers. To the Hindu bhadralok of Bengal, the annulment was a pyrrhic victory. "The net result of these developments in Bengal during the first decade of this century, so far as the bhadralok leadership of Bengal was concerned, lay in the exposure of its isolation, its inner contradictions and the essentially opportunistic character of its politics".

The communal politics of confrontation and violence which erupted during the partition of Bengal was interrupted by a brief honeymoon during the non-cooperation movement led by the Indian National Congress and the Khilafat movement of the Indian Muslims in the second decade of 20th century. Bengal witnessed in the twenties the emergence of the charismatic; leadership of Chitta Ranjan Das who had the foresight to appreciate the alienation of the Muslim middle classes. In 1923 Das signed a pact with Fazlul Huq, Suhrawardy and other Muslim leaders. This pact which is known as the Bengal Pact provided guarantees for due representation of Muslims in politics and administration. The spirit of Hindu-Muslim rapprochement evaporated with the death of C.R. Das in 1925. However, even if Das were alive he might not have succeeded in containing the communal backlash. The communal problem was not unique to Bengal, it became the main issue in all India politics. As the communal tension mounted in the 1930s, the Muslim ashraf in Bengal which had close ties with the Muslim leadership in other parts of the sub-continent pursued a policy of communal confrontation.

The Bengal Presidency of British India at its greatest extent in 1858


Raja Ram Mohan Roy is regarded as Rabindranath Tagore is Asia's first Nobel laureate and the "Father of the Bengal composer of Jana Gana Mana the national anthem of India as well as Amar Shonar Bangla the national Renaissance." anthem of Bangladesh. The Bengal Renaissance refers to a social reform movement during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Bengal during the period of British rule. The Bengal renaissance can be said to have started with Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1775–1833) and ended with Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941). Nineteenth century Bengal was a unique blend of religious and social reformers, scholars, literary giants, journalists, patriotic orators and scientists, all merging to form the image of a renaissance, and marked the transition from the 'medieval' to the 'modern

THE ROAD TO PAKISTAN The Pakistan Resolution of 1940 at Lahore was the outcome of the political confrontation between Hindus and Muslims. The Lahore Resolution demanded that geographically contiguous units "be demarcated into regions which should be constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary so that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority should be grouped to constitute "Independent States" in which the constitutional units be autonomous and sovereign". From the constitutional point of view, the Lahore Resolution asserted that South Asia consisted of many nations and not of two nations. It was, in effect, a blueprint for the balkanization of South Asia and not merely for its partition into two units. The fervour for the Lahore Resolution sprang not merely from the disillusion of the Muslims with the Hindu leadership. It was also facilitated by the vagueness of the Resolution which promised everything to everybody. The vernacular Muslim elites in Bengal maintained that the Lahore Resolution was legally a charter for a Muslim dominated independent and sovereign Bengal. The immigrant Muslim ashraf in Bengal thought that the Lahore Resolution was a mandate for merging geographically dispersed Muslim majority areas into an Islamic state. Ultimately the demands of the vernacular Muslim elite for an independent Bengal was opposed by both the ashraf and the Hindu middle class. Ironically the formal decision for partition of Bengal was taken not by Muslim but by Hindu leaders who fought for an undivided Bengal four decades ago. The partition of the South Asian sub-continent into two independent states in 1947 was a defeat for the British policy. It partially undid the PaxBritannica which was the greatest achievement of the Raj. Nevertheless, the partition forestalled the balkanization of the subcontinent which would have swept away the entire political structure which was so labouriously built by the British rulers. The eastern areas of Bengal were constituted into a province of Pakistan and her political boundaries were drawn up arbitrarily. The Birth of Bangladesh and Resolution of the Identity Crisis Pakistan, which emerged constitutionally as one country in 1947, was in fact "a double country", the two wings were not only separated from each other by more than one thousand miles, they were also culturally, economically and socially different. "The cure, at least as far as the East Bengalis were concerned, proved to be worse than the disease". The relationship between the East and the West wings of Pakistan was the mirror image of the Hindu-Muslim relations in the undivided sub-continent. The creation of East Pakistan did not resolve the identity crisis of the majority people in the Bangladesh region. The political leadership in Pakistan was usurped by the ashraf and their fellow-travellers. The spread of secular education and monetization of the rural economy swelled the ranks of the vernacular elite who was intensely proud of the local cultural heritage. This compounded the dichotomy of language and religion. As a recent scholar rightly observes, "The Bengali love affair with their language involves a passionate ritual that produces emotional experiences seldom found in other parts of the world". The Language Movement during 1948-52 which demanded the designation of Bengali as the state language of Pakistan undermined the authority of the ashraf and reinforced the role of the vernacular elite. In British India, the Muslims of Bengal united under the banner of Islam to escape from the exploitation of Bengali Hindus who shared the same mother tongue. In the united Pakistan, the Bengalis of East Pakistan reasserted their cultural and linguistic identity to resist the exploitation of their co-religionists

who spoke in a different language. Though history repeated itself in Pakistan, the lessons learnt from Hindu-Muslim confrontation were forgotten. Neither in undivided India nor in united Pakistan, the dominant economic classes agreed to sacrifice their short-term interests. Democratic verdicts were brushed aside and economic disparity between the two wings widened under the aegis of military dictatorships in Pakistan. The disintegration of united Pakistan is not, therefore, in the least surprising. However, the way in which Bangladesh was born is unique to South Asia. Bangladesh was the product of a sanguinary revolution. The Pakistan army had to be defeated physically in 1971 to establish the new state. The birth of Bangladesh resolved the dichotomy between religion and habitat, and between extra-territorial and territorial loyalties by recognizing both the facts as a reality in the life of the new nation.

POLITICAL DYNAMICS IN ANCIENT BENGAL (326 B.C. TO 1204 A.D.) The earliest historical reference to organized political life in the Bangladesh region is usually traced to the writings on Alexander's invasion of India in 326 B.C. The Greek and Latin historians suggested that Alexander the Great withdrew from India anticipating the valiant counter attack of the mighty Gangaridai and Prasioi empires which were located in the Bengal region. It is not, however, clearly known who built these empires. Literary and epigraphic evidence refer to the rise and fall of a large number of principalities in the region which were variously known as Pundra Vardhana (northern Bangladesh), Gauda (parts of West Bengal and Bangladesh), Dandabhukti (southern West Bengal), Karna Subarna (part of West Bengal), Varendra (northern Bangladesh), Rarh (southern areas of West Bengal), Summha Desa (south-western West Bengal), Vanga (central Bangladesh), Vangala (southern Bangladesh), Harikela (North-East Bangladesh), Chandradwipa (Southern Bangladesh), Subarnabithi (central Bangladesh), Navyabakashika (central and southern Bangladesh), Lukhnauti (North Bengal and Bihar) and Samatata (Eastern Bangladesh) There are two schools of opinion regarding the political evolution of ancient Bengal. According to one school, the Bangladesh region in the ancient period was an integral part of mighty empires in north India. These historians maintain Gangaridai and Prasioi empires were succeeded by the Mauryas (4th to 2nd century B.C.), the Guptas (4th-5th century A.D.), the empire of Sasanka (7th century A.D.), the Pala empire (750-1162 A.D.), and the Senas (1162-1223 A.D.). Specially, the Pala empire which lasted for more than four hundred years and reached its zenith in eighth and ninth centuries under the leadership of Dharmapala and Devapala is cited as an example of Bengal's political genius. The revisionist historians are of the opinion that the traditional interpretation overstates the role of all-India empires in the political life of the Bangladesh region. They maintain that epigraphic evidence suggests that only some of the areas which now constitute Bangladesh were occasionally incorporated in the larger empires of South Asia. In their view, political fragmentation and not empire was the historical destiny of Bangladesh region in the ancient times. Inscriptions attest to the existence of a succession of independent kingdoms in southern and eastern Bengal. These local kingdoms included the realms of Vainyagupta (6th century), the Faridpur kings (6th century), the Bhadra dynasty (circa 600-650 A D), Khadaga dynasty (circa 650-700 AD), Natha and Rata dynasty (750-800 A D ), the rulers of Harikela (circa 800-900), Chandra dynasty (circa 900-1045 A D), Varman dynasty (circa 1080-1150 A D), and Pattikera dynasty (circa 1000-1100 A D).

Opinions differ on the reasons for political fragmentation in Bengal. Some scholars attribute it to Bangladesh's topography specially to difficulties in negotiating its swamps and marshes, its unending maze of rivers and creeks and dislocations caused by the Bengali rainy season. Others emphasize the frontier character of the region which attracted from north India a continuous stream of rebel, heretics, and malcontents who destabilized the political life. Some scholars maintain that political fragmentation was fostered by a lack of corporate life at the village level. Specially, the village organizations were weakest in the eastern and southern areas; the corporateness of villages gradually increased in the western areas. Political fragmentation was, therefore, endemic in eastern and southern areas which now constitute Bangladesh. The primacy of the individual in social life and the concomitant institutional vacuum in Bangladesh region was not, however, an unmitigated shortcoming. The weakness of social, political and economic institutions provided a congenial environment for freedom of religion. The Buddhist rulers continued to rule Bengal long after the resurgence of Brahmanism in the rest of north India. Nowhere in South Asia were the deviations from the Brahmanical orthodoxy so glaring as in the Bengal zone. The esoteric cults like Vajrayana, Shajayana, Kalachakrayana, Nathism, the Bauls and the folk cults flourished in pre-Muslim Bengal. Throughout history, small kingdoms blossomed and withered like wild flowers in this region. In an environment characterized by weak political institutions, heresy, heterodoxy and alien faiths thrived in defiance of the Brahmanical orthodoxy.

POLITICS: 1954 - 1970 The first election for East Bengal Provincial Assembly was held between 8 March and 12 March 1954. The Awami Muslim League, Krishak-Sramik Party and Nezam-e-Islam formed the United Front, on the basis of 21-points agenda. Notable pledges contained in the 21-points were: • • • • •

making Bengali one of the main state languages autonomy for the province reforms in education independence of the judiciary making the legislative assembly effective

The United Front won 215 out of 237 Muslim seats in the election. The ruling Muslim League got only nine seats. Khilafat-E-Rabbani Party got one, while the independents got twelve seats. Later, seven independent members joined the United Front while one joined the Muslim League. There were numerous reasons for the debacle of the Muslim League. Above all, the Muslim League regime angered all sections of the people of Bengal by opposing the demand for recognition of Bangla as one of the state languages and by ordering the massacre of 1952. The United Front got the opportunity to form the provincial government after winning absolute majority in the 1954 election. Of the 222 United Front seats, the Awami Muslim League had won 142, Krishak-Sramik Party 48, Nezam-i-Islam 19, and Ganatantri Dal 13.

The major leaders of the United Front were Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy and Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani of Awami Muslim League and A. K. Fazlul Huq of Krishak-Sramik Party. Suhrawardy and Bhasani did not take part in the election and Fazlul Huq was invited to form the government. But a rift surfaced at the very outset on the question of formation of the cabinet. The unity and solidarity among the component parties of the United Front soon evaporated. Finally, on 15 May, Fazlul Huq arrived at an understanding with the Awami Muslim League and formed a 14-member cabinet with five members from that party. But this cabinet lasted for only fourteen days. The Muslim League could not concede defeat in the elections in good grace. So, they resorted to conspiracies to dismiss the United Front government. In the third week of May, there were bloody riots between Bengali and nonBengali workers in different mills and factories of East Bengal. The United Front government was blamed for failing to control the law and order situation in the province. Fazlul Huq was then quoted in an interview taken by The New York Times correspondent John P Callaghan and published in a distorted form that he wanted the independence of East Bengal. Finally, on 29 May 1954, the United Front government was dismissed by the central government and Governor's rule was imposed in the province, which lasted till 2 June 1955. Curiously enough within two months of his sacking, Fazlul Huq was appointed the central Home Minister. As Home Minister, Fazlul Huq utilised his influence to bring his party to power in East Bengal. Naturally, the United Front broke up. The Muslim members of the United Front split into two groups. In 1955 the Awami Muslim League adopted the path of secularism and non-communalism, erased the word 'Muslim' from its nomenclature and adopted the name "Awami League". Great differences began developing between the two wings of Pakistan. While the west had a minority share of Pakistan's total population, it had the largest share of revenue allocation, industrial development, agricultural reforms and civil development projects. Pakistan's military and civil services were dominated by the fair-skinned, Persian-cultured Punjabis and Afghans. Only one regiment in the Pakistani Army was Bengali. And many Bengali Pakistanis could not share the natural enthusiasm for the Kashmir issue, which they felt was leaving East Pakistan more vulnerable and threatened as a result.


Bengali Language Movement procession march held on 21 February 1952 in Dhaka.

The question as to what would be the state language of Pakistan was raised immediately after its creation. The central leaders and the Urdu-speaking intellectuals of Pakistan declared that Urdu would be the state language of Pakistan, just as Hindi was the state language of India. However, Bengalis strongly resisted attempts to impose Urdu as the sole official language of Pakistan, and the students and intellectuals of East Pakistan, demanded that Bengali (Bangla) be made one of the state languages, arguing that it was in any case the native language of the majority (54% native speakers as opposed to 7% native Urdu speakers) in the whole of Pakistan. The Bengali Language Movement began in 1948 and reached its climax in a demonstration on 21 February 1952 at which several demonstrators were killed by police. After a lot of controversy over the language issue, the final demand from East Pakistan was that Bangla must be the official language and the medium of instruction in East Pakistan, and that for the central government it would be one of the state languages along with Urdu. The first movement on this issue was mobilised by Tamaddun Majlish headed by Professor Abul Kashem. Gradually many other non-communal and progressive organisations joined the movement, which finally turned into a mass movement, and ended in the adoption of Bengali as one of the state languages of Pakistan.

21 FEBRUARY UNESCO's declaration of 21st February as the International Mother Language Day has brought fresh glory and prestige to Bangladesh which is making significant strides towards peace, progress and prosperity at home and discharging international obligations abroad. After 1952, the people of Bangladesh have been observing every year the 21st day of February as their glorious and unforgettable Language Martyrs Day. What happened on 21st February 1952 is widely known. Still let me very briefly recount the fateful happenings of that day and the circumstances that led to and followed them. In August 1947, a new state called Pakistan, comprising two far-flung wings in the west and east, separated by 1600 kilometers of foreign territory, emerged on the world map. The ideological basis of that strange phenomenon was the absurd and pernicious two nation theory of Mr. Jinnah that ignored such basic elements as language and culture and considered religion as a bond strong and sufficient enough to transform a people into a nation. The language of the people of eastern wing of Pakistan, and they were the majority, was Bangla. It had a rich tradition of literature of over a thousand years. The Bangalees also had a highly developed culture that had little in common with the culture of the people of western wing of Pakistan. The Bangalees' love for and attachment to their language and culture were great and when in 1952 the neo-colonial, power-hungry, arrogant rulers of Pakistan declared that 'Urdu and Urdu alone would be the state language of Pakistan, they sowed the seed of its future disintegration.

The people of the then East Pakistan, particularly the students, rose in angry protest against the vicious undemocratic designs of the government. Those designs really amounted to the destruction of Bangla language and culture and imposition of the language and culture of the people of western wing on the people of eastern wing. The reaction was strong and spontaneous. The government decided to quell protests by brute force. The police opened fire on 21st February 1952 on unarmed peaceful protesters, most of whom were students, resulting in the death, among others, of Rafiq, Barkat, Jabbar and Salam. As the news of those deaths spread, the entire people of the eastern wing felt greatly involved emotionally. Those who lost their lives to uphold the prestige defend the rights of their mother-language became hallowed martyrs. Their sacrifice at once tragic glorious and the indignation of the people against an autocratic government had far reaching effect. 21st February became a symbol and attained mythic properties, it nourished the concepts of democracy and secularism. It also contributed significantly to the flowering of Bangalee nationalism. It led to the dawning of the realization in the minds of the Bangalees that they constituted a separate nation and their destiny lay not with Pakistan but elsewhere as an independent country. The subsequent democratic mass movements of the late fifties, throughout the sixties and the seventies, and finally the struggle for independence and the war of liberation owed a great deal to 21st February. From 1953 onwards, starting from 21st February 1953, the immortal 21st February has been observed as a great national event all over Bangladesh, and also beyond the frontiers of Bangladesh: in several places of India, UK, USA, Canada and elsewhere, wherever there is a sizeable concentration of Bangla speaking people. Yet so long, it has been mainly a national event of Bangladesh. But with the declaration of 21st February as the International Mother Language Day, it has transcended the national borders of Bangladesh and acquired an international significance and a global dimension. At the initiative of the United Nations and its various organs, a number of specific days have been declared over the years as international days for observance by the people of the whole world. All these days highlight some values, events and issues and are intended to generate a healthy awareness in the people of the world about them with the ultimate aim of making this world a better place to live in for the entire human population. Thus we have the international literacy day, international women's day. international children's day, the international day for eradication of racial discrimination, international day for ensuring pure drinking water, international habitat day, international day for preservation of environment and many others. Some of these international days are linked with certain specific events that took place in some specific countries. While observing these days, the people of the world recall those events and those countries as a matter of course. The world is thus brought closer providing peoples of the world with the chance to get out of their insularity. International Mother Language Day is particularly significant in the sense that it has a cultural importance. From now on, 21st February — so long observed in Bangladesh as the Bangla Language Martyrs' Day — will be observed here simultaneously as the Bangla Language Martyrs' Day and the International Mother Language Day. And in nearly 200 countries of the world, various peoples speaking various languages and belonging to various national cultures will observe 21st February as the International Mother Language Day. They will naturally celebrate their own mother languages, but while doing so, it is more than likely

that they will refer to Bangladesh and the Language Movement launched by her people that reached a climactic point on 21st February 1952. The declaration made by the UNESCO in November 1999 designating 21st February as the International Mother Language Day has placed Bangladesh on the cultural map of the world with a highly positive image. We, people of Bangladesh, should now do all that we can to further develop our mother language Bangla in all branches of knowledge so that it can play a worthy role in the community of world languages. We shall love, cherish and promote Bangla, our own mother language, but we shall not indulged in any kind of chauvinism. While devotedly serving our own language, we shall respect the languages of all the peoples of the world make 21st February - The International Mother Language Day - a great day, to be observed worldwide in the new century and the millennium that we have recently stepped into. Long live 21st February the International Mother Language Day!

GEO-POLITICAL HISTORY OF BANGLADESH Pre-historic > Ancient >> Samtata, Harikel‌ > Buddhism > Hinduism > Muslim Conquest >> Mughal Amal > British Colony (200 years) > India Sub-continent > East Pakistan > Bangladesh. Bangladesh became one of the last large nation states in 1971 when it seceded from Pakistan. Prior to the creation of Pakistan in 1947, Bangladesh was a part of India which was ruled by the British and Mughal Empires. Since independence, the government has experienced periods of democratic and military rule. The father of the country and its first prime minister was Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. His daughter Sheikh Hasina Wazed is currently the prime minister, as leader of the Awami League. The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party is led by Begum Khaleda Zia, who is the widow of the revered freedom fighter and former ruler Ziaur Rahman.


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INDEPENDENCE Main article: Bangladesh Liberation War

Illustration showing military units and troop movements during the war. After the Awami League won all the East Pakistan seats of the Pakistan's National Assembly in the 1970-71 elections, West Pakistan opened talks with the East on constitutional questions about the division of power between the central government and the provinces, as well as the formation of a national government headed by the Awami League. The talks proved unsuccessful, however, and on March 1, 1971, Pakistani President Yahya Khan indefinitely postponed the pending National Assembly session, precipitating massive civil disobedience in East Pakistan. On March 2, 1971, a group of students, led by A S M Abdur Rob, student leader & VP of DUCSU (Dhaka University Central Students Union) raised the new (proposed) flag of Bangla under the direction of Swadhin Bangla.

On March 3, 1971, student leader Sahjahan Siraj read the Sadhinotar Ishtehar (Declaration of independence) at Paltan Maidan in front of Bangabandhu Shaikh Mujib along with student and public gathering.

On March 7, there was a historical public gathering in Paltan Maidan to hear the guideline for the revolution and independence from Shaikh Mujib, the frontier leader of movement that time. Although he avoided the direct speech of independence as the talks were still underway, he influenced the mob to prepare for the separation war. The speech is still considered a key moment in the war of liberation, and is remembered for the phrase, "Ebarer Shongram Muktir Shongram, Ebarer Shongram Shadhinotar Shongram...." ("This time, the revolution is for freedom; this time, the revolution is for liberation....")

FORMAL DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE After the military crackdown by the Pakistan army began on the night of March 25, 1971 Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was arrested and the political leaders dispersed, mostly fleeing to neighbouring India where they organized a provisional government afterwards. Before being held up by the Pakistani Army Sheikh Mujibur Rahman gave a hand note of the declaration of the independence of Bangladesh and it was circulated amongst people and transmitted by the then East Pakistan Rifles' wireless transmitter. Bengali Army Major Zia-Ur-Rahman captured Kalurghat Radio Station in Chittagong and read the declaration of independence of Bangladesh. On 27th march Major Zia read the declaration of independence on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, "I, Major Zia-ur-Rahman, who hereby declare the independence of Bangladesh, on behalf of our great national leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman".

The Bangladesh Government was formed in Meherpur, (later renamed as Mujibnagar a place adjacent to the Indian Border). Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was announced to be the head of the state. Tajuddin Ahmed became the prime minister of the government. There the war plan was sketched. A war force was established named "Muktibahini". M. A. G. Osmani was assigned as the Chief of the force. The land sketched into 11 sectors under 11 sector commanders. Along with this sectors on the later part of the war Three special forces were formed namely Z Force, S Force and K Force. These three forces name were derived from the initial letter of the commandar's name. The training and most of the arms-ammunitions were arranged by the Meherpur government which were supported by India. As fighting grew between the Pakistan Army and the Bengali Mukti Bahini ("freedom fighters"), an estimated ten million Bengalis, mainly Hindus, sought refuge in the Indian states of Assam, Tripura and West Bengal.The crisis in East Pakistan produced new strains in Pakistan's troubled relations with India. The two nations had fought a war in 1965, mainly in the west, but the refugee pressure in India in the fall of 1971 produced new tensions in the east. Indian sympathies lay with East Pakistan, and on December 3, 1971, India intervened on the side of the Bangladeshis. On December 16, 1971, Pakistani forces surrendered, and Bangla Desh ("Country of Bangla") was finally established the following day. The new country changed its name to Bangladesh on January 11, 1972 and became a parliamentary democracy under a constitution. Shortly thereafter on March 19 Bangladesh signed a friendship treaty with India.

POLITICAL LIEDERS Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, 1972-75 Sheikh Mujibur Rahman came to office with immense personal popularity but had difficulty transforming this popular support into the political strength needed to function as head of government. The 1972 constitution adopted as state policy the Awami League (AL) four basic principles of nationalism, secularism, socialism, and democracy. The first parliamentary elections were held in March 1973, with the Awami League winning a massive majority. The new Bangladesh government focused on relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction of the economy and society. In December 1974, in the face of continuing economic deterioration and mounting civil disorder, Mujib proclaimed a state of emergency, limited the powers of the legislative and judicial branches, banned all the newspaper except four government supported papers, and introduced one-party system baning all the other parties. Despite some improvement in the economic situation during the first half of 1975, criticism of Mujib grew. In August 1975, Mujib, and most of his family, were assassinated by midlevel army officers. A new government, headed by former Mujib associate Khandakar Moshtaque Ahmed, was formed.

Ziaur Rahman, 1975-81 Successive military coups resulted in the emergence of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ziaur Rahman ("Zia") as strongman. In the historic 7 November 1975, "Jatiyo Biplob O Shanghoti Dibosh" the army captured the power freed Major Zia. He pledged the army's support to the civilian government headed by President Chief Justice Sayem. Acting at Zia's behest, Sayem dissolved Parliament, and instituted the Martial Law Administration (MLA). In November 1976, Zia became Chief Martial Law Administrator (CMLA) and assumed the presidency upon Sayem's forced retirement five months later, promising national elections in 1978. As President, Zia announced a 19-point program of economic reform and began dismantling the MLA. Zia won a five-year term in June 1978 elections, with 76% of the vote. Democracy and constitutional order were fully restored when the ban on political parties was lifted, new parliamentary elections were held in February 1979. The AL and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), founded by Zia, emerged as the two major parties. In May 1981, Zia was assassinated in Chittagong by dissident elements of the military. The conspirators were either taken into custody or killed. Vice President Justice Abdus Sattar was sworn in as acting president, and elected president as the BNP's candidate six months later. Sattar followed the policies of his predecessor and retained essentially the same cabinet.

Hussain Mohammed Ershad, 1982-90 In March 1982 Army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. H.M. Ershad suspended the constitution and declared martial law citing pervasive corruption, ineffectual government, and economic mismanagement. The following year, Ershad assumed the presidency, and won overwhelming public support for his regime in a national referendum in March 1985, although turnout was small. Political life was liberalized through 1985 and 1986, and the Jatiya (National) Party was established as Ershad’s vehicle for the transition back to democracy. Parliamentary elections were held in May 1986, but were boycotted by the BNP, now led by President Zia's widow, Begum Khaleda Zia. The Jatiya Party won a modest majority of the 300 elected seats in the National Assembly. The participation of the Awami League—led by the late President Mujib's daughter, Sheikh Hasina Wajed— lent the elections some credibility, despite widespread charges of voting irregularities. Ershad retired from military service in preparation for the presidential elections in October 1986, and won 84% of the vote. Protesting that martial law was still in effect, both the BNP and the AL refused to put up opposing candidates. In November 1986, martial law was lifted, and the opposition parties took their elected seats in the National Assembly. In July 1987, after the government hastily pushed through a bill to include military representation on local administrative councils, the opposition walked out of Parliament. As

the opposition organized protest marches and nationwide strikes, the government arrested scores of opposition activists. After declaring a state of emergency, Ershad dissolved Parliament and scheduled fresh elections for March 1988. The elections were held despite an opposition boycott, and the ruling Jatiya Party won 251 of the 300 seats. The Parliament passed a large number of bills, including in June 1988 a controversial constitutional amendment making Islam Bangladesh's state religion. On December 6, 1990, following general strikes, increased campus protests, public rallies, and a general disintegration of law and order, Ershad resigned. On February 27, 1991, an interim government headed by Acting President Chief Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed oversaw what most observers believed to be the nation's most free and fair elections to that date.

Khaleda Zia, 1991-96 BNP won a plurality of seats and formed a government with Khaleda Zia, widow of Ziaur Rahman, becoming prime minister. The electorate approved changes to the constitution, formally re-creating a \In March 1994, controversy over a parliamentary byelection, which the opposition claimed the government had rigged, led to general strikes and an indefinite boycott of Parliament by the opposition. In late December 1994, the opposition resigned en masse from Parliament, and pledged to boycott national elections scheduled for February 15, 1996.

In February, Khaleda Zia was re-elected by a landslide in voting boycotted by the three main opposition parties. In March 1996, following escalating political turmoil, the Parliament amended the constitution to allow a neutral caretaker government to assume power and conduct new parliamentary elections.

Sheikh Hasina, 1996-2001 Main article: Sheikh Hasina Elections were held in June 1996 which were found by international and domestic election observers to be free and fair. The Awami League won a plurality of the seats, and formed the government with support from the Jatiya Party of deposed president Ershad. AL leader Sheikh Hasina became Prime Minister. In June 1999, the BNP and other opposition parties again began to boycott Parliament, and stage nationwide general strikes. A four-party opposition alliance formed at the beginning of 1999 announced that it would boycott parliamentary byelections and local government.

Caretaker Government, Oct 2006-Jan 2009 See also: Fakhruddin Ahmed On January 3, 2007, the Awami League announced it would boycott the January 22 parliamentary elections. The AL planned a series of countrywide general strikes and transportation blockades. On January 11, 2007, President Iajuddin Ahmed declared a state of emergency, resigned as Chief Adviser, and indefinitely postponed parliamentary elections. On January 12, 2007, former Bangladesh Bank governor Fakhruddin Ahmed was sworn in as the new Chief Adviser, and ten new advisers (ministers) were appointed. Under emergency provisions, the government suspended certain fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution and detained a large number of politicians and others on suspicion of involvement in corruption and other crimes. The government announced elections would occur in late 2008. As of November 19, 2008, elections were scheduled for December 8, 2008.

In the summer of 2007 the government arrested Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia, Bangladesh's two most influential political leaders, on charges of corruption. Hasina and Zia have challenged the cases filed against them under the Emergency Power Rules, which deny the accused the right to bail. While the cases are under judicial review, the two leaders continue to be imprisoned as of March 2008.

Grand Alliance January 2009-present On 19 November 2008 Awami League & Jatiya Party agreed to contest the elections jointly under the Caretaker Government to be held on 29 December 2008. Out of the 300 Constituencies in the Parliament, Ershad's Jatiya Party will contest from 49 seats and Awami League and members of a leftist wing Fourteen Party Coalition from the rest 250 seats. Thus the Grand Alliance emerged in Bangladesh; known as Mohajote in Bangla On December 29, 2008 Bangladesh went to the polls and the nation elected the Grand Alliance which was led by Sheikh Hasina's Awami League and backed by Hussain Mohammed Ershad's Jatiya Party. On the other hand Khaleda Zia's BNP-led Four Party Alliance plagued by allegations of Khaleda Zia's and her infamous son Tareq Rahman's corruption allegations, suffered the most embarrassing defeat ever in Bangladesh's history. Sheikh Hasina became Prime Minister and formed the government and a cabinet which included ministers from Jatiya Party although any post for Hussain Mohammed Ershad, is yet to be decided as the earlier agreed Presidency seems elusive. The mutiny of borderguards (BDR) took place from 25 to 27 February 2009. More than a thousand BDR soldiers took over the BDR headquarters, and held many of their officers hostage. By the second day fighting spread to 12 other towns and cities. The mutiny ended as the mutineers surrendered their arms and released the hostages after a series of discussions and negotiations with the government 52 army died in the incident.

STRUCTURE OF GOVERNMENT The Constitution of Bangladesh has formed the basis for the nation's political organization since it was adopted on November 4, 1972. Many abrupt political changes have caused suspension of the Constitution and have led to amendments in almost every section, including the total revision of some major provisions. It is notable, however, that every regime that came to power since 1972 has couched major administrative changes in terms of the Constitution and has attempted to legitimize changes by legally amending this basic document. According to the Constitution, the state has a positive role to play in reorganizing society in order to create a free and equal citizenry and provide for the welfare of all. The government is required to ensure food, shelter, clothing, medical care, education, work, and social security for the people. The government must also build socialism by implementing programs to "remove social and economic inequality" and "ensure the equitable distribution of wealth among citizens." These far-reaching goals represented the viewpoints of many members of the 1972 Constituent Assembly and the early Awami League (People's League) government, who were deeply influenced by socialist ideology. Another sector of public opinion, however, has always viewed private property and private enterprise as the heart of social and economic development. This viewpoint is also part of the constitutional principles of state policy, which equally recognize state, cooperative, and private forms of ownership. The Constitution thus mandates a high degree of state involvement in the establishment of socialism, although it explicitly preserves a private property system. In practice, the Constitution has supported a wide range of government policies, ranging from those of the nationalized, interventionist state of Mujib's time to the increasing deregulation and reliance on market forces under presidents Ziaur Rahman (Zia) and Ershad. The framers of the Constitution, after emerging from a period of intense repression under Pakistan, took great pains to outline the fundamental rights of citizens even before describing the government's structure. According to the section on fundamental rights, all men and women are equal before the law, without discrimination based on religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. The Constitution also guarantees the right to assemble, hold public meetings, and form unions. Freedom of speech and of the press are ensured. Persons who have been arrested must be informed of the charges made against them, and they must be brought before a magistrate within twenty-four hours. The Constitution, however, adds that these guarantees are subject to "any reasonable restrictions imposed by law," leaving open the possibility of an administrative decision to revoke fundamental rights. Furthermore, there is a provision for "preventive detention" of up to six months. Those being held under preventive detention do not have the

right to know the charges made against them, nor to appear before a magistrate, and a legal advisory board may extend this form of detention after seeing the detainee. The Constitution does not define the circumstances or the level of authority necessary for the revocation of constitutional guarantees or for the enforcement of preventive detention. During the many occasions of civil disorder or public protest that have marked Bangladeshi political life, the incumbent administration has often found it useful to suspend rights or jail opponents without trial in accordance with the Constitution. The Islamic religion was the driving force behind the creation of Pakistan, and it has remained an important component of Bangladeshi ideology. The Constitution as originally framed in 1972 explicitly described the government of Bangladesh as "secular," but in 1977 an executive proclamation made three changes in wording that did away with this legacy. The proclamation deleted "secular" and inserted a phrase stating that a fundamental state principle is "absolute trust and faith in the Almighty Allah." The phrase bismillah ar rahman ar rahim (in the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful) was inserted before the preamble of the Constitution. Another clause states that the government should "preserve and strengthen fraternal relations among Muslim countries based on Islamic solidarity." These changes in terminology reflected an overt state policy aimed at strengthening Islamic culture and religious institutions as central symbols of nationalism and at reinforcing international ties with other Islamic nations, including wealthy Arab oil-producing countries. Domestically, state support for Islam, including recognition of Islam as the state religion in the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution in June 1988, has not led to official persecution of other religions. Despite agitation by Jamaat e Islami (Congregation of Islam) and other conservative parties, there was no official implementation of sharia (Islamic law) as of mid-1988. The Constitution is patterned closely on the British and United States models inasmuch as it includes provisions for independent legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. When it first came into effect, the Constitution established a Britishstyle executive, with a prime minister appointed from a parliamentary majority as the effective authority under a titular president. In 1975 the Fourth Amendment implemented "Mujibism" (named for Mujib), mandating a single national party and giving the president effective authority, subject to the advice of a prime minister. The later governments of Zia and Ershad preserved the powers of the presidency and strengthened the office of the chief executive through amendments and their personal control of the highest office in the land. Because of this concentration of power in individual leaders, the Bangladeshi Constitution gives much greater authority to the executive branch than does the United States Constitution. In fact, the legislature and the courts have few constitutional avenues for checking presidential power, while the executive has many tools for dominating the other branches of the government.

LEGISLATURE The legislative branch of the government is a unicameral Parliament, or Jatiyo Sangsad (House of the People), which makes the laws for the nation. Members of Parliament, who must be at least twenty-five years old, are directly elected from territorial constituencies. Parliament sits for a maximum of five years, must meet at least twice a year, and must meet less than thirty days after election results are declared. The president calls Parliament into session. The assembly elects a speaker and a deputy speaker, who chair parliamentary activities. Parliament also appoints a standing committee, a special committee, a secretariat, and an ombudsman. Parliament debates and votes on legislative bills. Decisions are decided by a majority vote of the 300 members, with the presiding officer abstaining from voting except to break a tie. A quorum is sixty members. If Parliament passes a nonmoney bill, it goes to the president; if he disapproves of the bill, he may return it to Parliament within fifteen days for renewed debate. If Parliament again passes the bill, it becomes law. If the president does not return a bill to Parliament within fifteen days, it automatically becomes law. All money bills require a presidential recommendation before they can be introduced for debate in Parliament. Parliament has the ability to reject the national budget or to delay implementation. It is therefore in the best interests of the executive as well as the entire nation that budgets submitted to Parliament should be designed to please the majority of its members. The legislature is thus a potentially powerful force for enacting laws over the objections of the president or for blocking presidential financial initiatives. In practice, however, because most members of Parliament have been affiliated with the president's party, the legislature has typically served the interests of the president. The Bangladeshi and British parliaments have accommodated political parties in a similar manner. After elections, a single political party or a coalition of parties must form a government-- that is, they must form a block of votes within Parliament that guarantees the passage of bills they may introduce. Once a parliamentary majority is formed, the president chooses the majority leader as prime minister and appoints other members of the majority as cabinet ministers. Parliament can function for a full five-year term if a single party or coalition can continue to guarantee a majority. If, however, opposition members attract enough

votes to block a bill, the president can dissolve Parliament and call for new elections. In order to prevent widespread bribing of members, or the constant defection of members from one party to another, the Constitution declares that party members who abstain, vote against their party, or absent themselves lose their seats immediately. In practice, whenever Parliament has been in session, a single party affiliated with the president has been able to command a solid majority.

RELIGIOUS FAITHS Islam, the state religion, is the faith of 88 percent of the population, almost all of whom adhere to the Sunni branch. Hindus make up most of the remainder, and the country has small communities of Buddhists, Christians, and animists. 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. Hindus in Bangladesh are almost evenly distributed in all regions, with concentrations in Khulna, Jessore, Dinajpur, Faridpur, and Barisal. Biharis, who are not ethnic Bangalees, 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 live 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. Major tribes are the Chakmas, Maghs (or Marmas), Tipras, Murangs, Kukis and Santals. The tribes tend to intermingle and could be distinguished from one another more by differences in their dialect, dress, and customs than by tribal cohesion. Only the Chakmas and Marmas display formal tribal organization. They are of mixed origin but reflect more Bengali influence than any other tribe. Unlike the other tribes, the Chakmas and Marmas generally live in the highland valleys. Most Chakmas are Buddhists, but some practice Hinduism or Animism. 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.

Bangladesh contains the second largest (after Indonesia) Muslim population in the world. In 1981, 86.6 percent of the population was Muslim. The proportion of Muslims increased from 85.4 percent in 1974 to 86.6 percent in 1981. On the other hand, the proportion of Hindu population dropped from 13.5 percent in 1974 to 12.1 percent in 1981. The increase in proportion of Muslim population may be attributed to higher birth rate among the Muslims. Census records from 1872 to 1981 clearly indicate that birth rate among the Muslims was always higher than that of the Hindus. The Buddhists constituted about 0.6 percent of the population in both 1974 and 1981 censuses. There are about 175,000 Christians in Bangladesh. The percentage of Christians was about 0.3 percent.


Baitul Mukarram, the National Mosque of Bangladesh in Dhaka, was built in 1962 which resembles the Kaaba The Baitul Aman Mosque, located in Guthia, Wazirpur, in Barisal Islam is the largest religion of Bangladesh, the Muslim population is over 130 million (the Fourth-largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia, India and Pakistan), and constitute nearly 88% of the total population, based on the 2001 Census. Religion has always been a strong part of identity, but this has varied at different times. A survey in late 2003 confirmed

that religion is the first choice by a citizen for self-identification; atheism is extremely rare. Islam is the official religion of The People's Republic, as stated in the Constitution of Article 2A (inserted by the Constitution Eighth Amendment Act, 1988).The United Nations has recognised the country as mainly moderate Muslim democratic country,but however in recent years there has been an increase in Islamism among some political parties. The majority of Muslims in Bangladesh are Sunni, who mainly follow the Hanafi school of teachings, many follow the barelwi movement, and there are also large numbers of Sufis. There are also few people who are Ahmadiyya and Shi'a Muslims - most of those who are Shi'a reside in urban areas. The Shi'a observance commemorating the martyrdom of Ali's sons, Hasan and Husayn, are still widely observed by the nation's Sunnis, even though there are small numbers of Shi'as. he Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which is claimed to be nonMuslim by mainstream Muslim leaders, is estimated to be around 100,000, the community has faced discrimination because of their belief and have been persecuted in some areas. Islam arrived to the region of Bengal since the 13th century, mainly by the arrivals of Arab traders, Persian Saints nd conquests of the region. One of the notable Muslim saint was, Shah Jalal. He arrived in the region of Sylhet in 1303 with many other disciples to preach the religion to the people.


Khan Mohammad Mirdha's Mosque in Dhaka, built in 1706 (18th century old mosque). During the opening years of the 13th century, the Muslim conquest of Bengal took place, mainly as a sequel to Muhammad Ghori's expeditions late in 1192 spanning northern India. Syed Shanasiruddin was originally from Iraq but came to Bangladesh to spread the Islam. Early Arab Muslims however established commercial as well as religious contacts within the region before the conquest, mainly through the coastal regions as traders and primarily via the ports of Chittagong. Arab navigation in the region, was the result of the Muslim reign over the Indus delta. The activities of the Muslims were expanded along the entire coast of South Asia including the coasts of Bengal. The religion of Islam entered the region in many

different ways, the Muslim traders, the Turkish conquest and, the missionary activities of the Muslim Sufis. One of the authentications of the Arab traders present in the region was, the writings of Arab geographers, found in the mouth if the Meghna River located near Sandwip, on the Bay of Bengal. This evidence suggests that the Arab traders had arrived along the Bengal coast long before the Turkish conquest. The Arab writers also knew about the kingdoms of Samrup and Ruhmi, the latter being identified with the empire of Dharmapal of the Pala Empire.

One of the historical mosques, the 15th century old Sixty Pillar Mosque in Bagerhat. Muslim saints began to teach the Islamic principles of equality while the rulers took steps to build up Muslim culture on the basis of a casteless society. Many Buddhists and Hindus chose to identify themselves with the Muslims in order to be free from social injustice and to gain equality and good position in society. As a result of large-scale conversion, many local beliefs, not allowed by the Islamic dogma but useful in achieving compromise, found their ways into the Muslim society of Bengal. Between the 8th century and 12th century, the Buddhist dynasty known as the Pala Empire ruled Bengal. During that time, the majority of the population in Bengal were thought to be Buddhists. After the decline of the Pala dynasty, the Sena dynasty came to power. Sena rulers were Hindu dynasty that imposed Hinduism and the caste system rigidly. When the Muslim rulers came, many Buddhists and lower caste Hindus welcomed them and accepted Islam, and others became Muslims for the purpose of fitting in into society with other Muslims. The large scale conversion to Islam of the population of what was to become Bangladesh began in the thirteenth century and continued for hundreds of years. Conversion was generally collective rather than individual. Islam, attracted numerous Buddhists, and Hindus. Sufis were responsible for most conversions.

Shah Jalal

Entrance of the Shah Jalal Mazar in Sylhet Before the conquest by the Muslims, Sylhet was ruled by local chieftains. In 1303 the saint, Hazrat Shah Jalal, came to Sylhet from Delhi with a band of 360 disciples to preach Islam and defeated the Raja Gour Gobinda. As a result, Sylhet developed into a region that was home to numerous saints and Islamic shrines His uncle, Sheikh Kabir, one day gave Shah Jalal a handful of earth and asked him to travel to Hindustan with the instruction that he should settle down at whichever place in Hindustan whose soil matched completely in smell and color, and devote his life for the propagation and establishment of Islam there. Shah Jalal journeyed eastward and reached India in 1300, where he met with many great scholars and mystics. He arrived at Ajmer, where he met the great Sufi mystic and scholar, Pir Khawaja Gharibnawaz Muinuddin Hasan Chisty, who is credited with much of the spread of Islam in India. In Delhi, he met with Nizamuddin Auliya, another major Sufi mystic and scholar. During the later stages of his life, Shah Jalal devoted himself to propagating Islam to the masses. Under his guidance, many thousands of Hindus and Buddhists converted to Islam. Shah Jalal become so renowned that even the famed Ibn Battuta, whilst in Chittagong, was asked to change his plans and go to Sylhet to visit him. On his way to Sylhet, Ibn Batuta was greeted by several of Shah Jalal's disciples who had come to assist him on his journey many days before he had arrived. Once in the presence of Shah Jalal, Ibn Batuta noted that Shah Jalal was tall and lean, fair in complexion and lived by the masjed in a cave, where his only item of value was a goat from which he extracted milk, butter, and yogurt. He observed that the companions of the sheikh were foreign and known for their strength and bravery. He also mentions that many people would visit the sheikh and seek guidance. Shah Jalal was therefore instrumental in the spread of Islam throughout north east India including Assam.

Role of Sufism The tradition of Islamic mysticism known as Sufism appeared very early in Islam and became essentially a popular movement emphasizing worship out of a love of God rather than fear. Sufism stresses a direct, unstructured, personal devotion to God in place of the ritualistic, outward observance of the faith and "a Sufi aims to attain spiritual union with God through love An important belief in the Sufi tradition is that the average believer may use spiritual guides in his pursuit of the truth. Throughout the centuries many gifted scholars and numerous poets have been inspired by Sufi ideas. Sufi masters were the single most important factor in South Asian conversions to Islam, particularly in Bangladesh. Most Bangladeshi Muslims are influenced by Sufism. However, there are many movements who were against Sufism and are still active in Bangladesh today. These include the Deobandi and Wahabi or Salafi movements. The Qadiri, Naqshbandi, Chishti, Mojaddidi, Ahmadi, Mohammadi, Sohradi and Refai orders were among the most widespread Sufi orders in Bangladesh in the late 1980s. The beliefs and practices of the first two are quite close to those of orthodox Islam; the third, founded in Ajmer, India, is peculiar to religion in the subcontinent and has a number of unorthodox practices, such as the use of music in its liturgy. Its ranks have included many musicians and poets. Although a formal organization of ordained priests has no basis in Islam, a variety of functionaries perform many of the duties conventionally associated with a clergy and serve,

in effect, as priests. One group, known collectively as the Ulama, has traditionally provided the orthodox leadership of the community. The Ulama unofficially interpret and administer religious law. Their authority rests on their knowledge of Sharia, the corpus of Islamic jurisprudence that grew up in the centuries following the Prophet's death. The members of the Ulama include Maulvis, Imams, and Mullahs. The first two titles are accorded to those who have received special training in Islamic theology and law. A maulvi has pursued higher studies in a madrassa, a school of religious education attached to a mosque. Additional study on the graduate level leads to the title maulana. The madrassas are also ideologically divided in two mainstreams. The Ali'a Madrassa which has its roots in Aligarh movement of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan Bahadur and the other one is Quomi Madarassa which is very close to Deobandi schools in India and Pakistan founded by Haji Muhammad Abid of Deoband, India. This means the Ulamas are also not in full agreement about their interpretation of Islam, of its theology and law. In Bangladesh, where a modified Anglo-Indian civil and criminal legal system operates, there are no official sharia courts. Most Muslim marriages, however, are presided over by the qazi, a traditional Muslim judge whose advice is also sought on matters of personal law, such as inheritance, divorce, and the administration of religious endowments. In the late 1980s, the ulama of Bangladesh still perceived their function as that of teaching and preserving the Islamic way of life in the face of outside challenges, especially from modern sociopolitical ideas based on Christianity or communism. Any effort at modernization was perceived as a threat to core religious values and institutions; therefore, the ulama as a class was opposed to any compromise in matters of sharia. Many members of the ulama favored the establishment of an Islamic theocracy in Bangladesh and were deeply involved in political activism through several political parties.

Status of Religious Freedom The Constitution establishes Islam as the state religion but provides for the right to practice— subject to law, public order, and morality—the religion of one's choice. The Government generally respects this provision in practice; however, some members of the Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, and Ahmadiya communities experience discrimination. The Government (2001– 2006) led by an alliance of four parties Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, Islami Oikya Jote and Bangladesh Jatiyo Party banned the Ahmadiya literatures by an executive order. Family laws concerning marriage, divorce, and adoption differ depending on the religion of the person involved. There is also, Anglo-Indian Civil Law in some of these regards in parallel. There are no legal restrictions on marriage between members of different faiths but to get marriage registered under Muslim religious laws, the bride and the bride-groom must be Muslims by birth or by conversion. Under the Muslim Family Ordinance, female heirs inherit usually half of that inherited by male relatives, and wives have fewer divorce rights than husbands. Men are permitted to have up to four wives, although society strongly discourages polygamy, and it is practiced rarely. Laws provide some protection for women against arbitrary divorce and the taking of additional wives by husbands without the first wife's consent, but the protections generally apply only to registered marriages. Marriage is governed by family law of the respective

religions. In rural areas, marriages sometimes are not registered because of ignorance of the law. Under the law, a Muslim husband is required to pay his former wife a lump sum alimony fixed at the time of registraton of marriage and further variable amount of alimony for 3 months for maintenance, but this law is not always enforced in the rural areas.

Politicized Islam

Muslim students rally in Dhaka, protesting closures of madrasas Post-1971 regimes sought to increase the role of the government in the religious life of the people. The Ministry of Religious Affairs provided support, financial assistance, and endowments to religious institutions, including mosques and community prayer grounds (idgahs). The organization of annual pilgrimages to Mecca also came under the auspices of the ministry because of limits on the number of pilgrims admitted by the government of Saudi Arabia and the restrictive foreign exchange regulations of the government of Bangladesh. The ministry also directed the policy and the program of the Islamic Foundation Bangladesh, which was responsible for organizing and supporting research and publications on Islamic subjects. The foundation also maintained the Baitul Mukarram (National Mosque), and organized the training of imams. Some 18,000 imams were scheduled for training once the government completed establishment of a national network of Islamic cultural centers and mosque libraries. Under the patronage of the Islamic Foundation, an encyclopedia of Islam in the Bangla language was being compiled in the late 1980s. Another step toward further government involvement in religious life was taken in 1984 when the semiofficial Zakat Fund Committee was established under the chairmanship of the president of Bangladesh. The committee solicited annual zakat contributions on a voluntary basis. The revenue so generated was to be spent on orphanages, schools, children's hospitals, and other charitable institutions and projects. Commercial banks and other financial institutions were encouraged to contribute to the fund. Through these measures the government sought closer ties with religious establishments within the country and with Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Islam being the central component of national identity plays a significant role in the politics, life and culture of the people. Secular parties such as Awami League also mention "Allah is Great" as a slogan in their banners. When in June 1988 an "Islamic way of life" was

proclaimed for Bangladesh by constitutional amendment, very little attention was paid outside the intellectual class to the meaning and impact of such an important national commitment. Most observers believed that the declaration of Islam as the state religion might have a significant impact on national life, however. Aside from arousing the suspicion of the non-Islamic minorities, it could accelerate the proliferation of religious parties at both the national and the local levels, thereby exacerbating tension and conflict between secular and religious politicians. Unrest of this nature was reported on some college campuses soon after the amendment was promulgated. Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh (a.k.a 'Jamaat') is the largest Islamist political party in Bangladesh. This is one of the leading political party in Bangladesh and largest islamic party in subcontinent. The party joined the Bangladesh Nationalist Party to lead government and hold two key Ministries with Khaleda Zia's government. This party played a questionable role in Liberation War of Bangladesh. The current leader of the party, Motiur Rahman Nizami (as well as previous leaders, and other party members) participated in alongside the Pakistani army in perpetrating the 1971 Bangladesh atrocities as Razakars and members of the Al-Badr militias.

MUSLIM FESTIVALS: The main two Muslim festivals of Bangladesh are EID-UL FITR and EID-UL AZHA.


A girl Wearing Henna Eid-ul Fitr is a big Muslim festival that is observed after the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Eid means “happiness” or “joy”. Fitr means “to break the fast”. So, Eid-ul Fitr means the breaking of fasting period.After 30 days of fasting Muslim people celebrate Eid-ul-fitr with great joy and happiness. To celebrate this occasion Bangladeshi people prepare for a moth starting from the first day of Ramadan. Shopping for family and for the poor is part of this festival. Shopping malls are decorated on the occasion of Eid. On the night before Eid (In Bengali it is called Chand raat meaning moon sight night), Bangladeshi Muslim girls love to decorate their hands with henna. Exchange of Eid greeting cards among friends and relatives are also part of Eid in Bangladesh. Children make special handmade greeting cards for their special friends. Hiding the Eid dress from friends and collecting salami (cash gift) from elderly is the fun part of Eid among kids. Some folk customs like touching the feet of elderly people to show respect, salutation after sighting the new moon (as sign of Eid) and holding fare are in vogue in Muslim community. One of the main features of Eid festival in Bangladesh is preparing food and drinks. Both in urban and rural areas different delicious food items like semai, Jarda, Korma, polua are made. Home visit to relatives and friends are also part of the day. Different types of fairs also are held in different part of Bangladesh on the occasion of Eid. Boat race, kite flying, horse race, dance were held during 1930-1940 during the Eid in Dhaka. Eid procession got an importance in only in the present day.


''People watching a camel that will be sacrificed'' Eid-ul Azha, the second big festival for Muslim is observed by sacrificing animals specially cows, goats and camels. Eid-ul Azha is celebrated on 10 th Dhul hijja of the lunar Islamic calendar to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God. Before Eid-ul Azha cattle markets are held throughout the country. Those who can afford buy the animal before the Eid day. Like Eid-ul Fitr Eid congregations are held and Muslims offer their Eid prayer. After returning home they sacrifice the animal in the name of Allah. Those who offer sacrifice keep a portion of the meet for themselves and the rest of the meats are distributed among relatives and poor people. Some people slaughter the animals on the following day. Buying cloths, visiting friends, relatives, preparing rich foods are also part of Eid-ul Azha in Bangladesh.

Photo: Muslims are offering Eid prayers at Baitul Mukarram National mosque in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Muharram and Ashura Muharram is the first month of Islamic Calendar. It is one of the sacred months of the year in which fighting is prohibited. The word ‘Muharram’ is derived from ‘harm’ meaning forbidden. So it is called Muharram because fighting during this month was unlawful or forbidden. The tenth day of Muharram is called Yaumul-I Ashura, meaning ‘the tenth day’, and it is the day of voluntary fasting. Both shia and Sunni Muslim group fast during Muharram and on either ninth or eleventh day. Although the majority Muslims in Bangladesh are Sunni, there is a small number of Muslims belongs to Shia too. The date is very important for all Muslims because Hussein Bin Ali, the 3rd Imam Shiism, was killed on that day.

The Duration of Muharram festival is more or less ten days and the main festival takes place on the tenth day which is called Ashura. On that day a big fair takes place at Azimpur in Dhaka. A big procession from different Imambaras gathers at Husnabad of Azimpur. Then the processions are covered with black cloths and silently taken to the Hosaini Dalan, which is the main centre of the observance of Muharram in Dhaka. The main attraction of Muharram is its procession with a horse named ‘Duldul’ (The name of the horse on which Imam Hussein actually rode during the Karbala war), and thousands of flags in different colors. The procession chants persistently ‘Hai Hasan Hai Hussein’. Thousands of pigeons fly above the procession. At the front of the procession mourners revolve stick and show entertaining tricks with sword and at the rear people carry burning bricks.

Muharram procession from Husaini Dalan, Dhaka

BUDDHISM IN BANGLADESH Buddhism is the third largest religion in Bangladesh with about 0.7% of population adhering to Theravada Buddhism. Most of the practitioners are from the south-eastern district of Chittagong and Chittagong Hill Tracts.

Demographic overview Most of the followers of Buddhism in Bangladesh live in the south-eastern region, especially in the Chittagong and Comilla district. The leader was said to be Dip Barua, a promising, understanding,caring human being. There are also people of Arakanese descent living in the subtropical Chittagong Hill Tracts. Most of these people belong to the Chakma, Chak, Marma, Tenchungya and the Khyang, who since time immemorial have practiced Buddhism. Other tribals, notably those who practice Animism, have come under some Buddhist influence, and this is true in the case of the Khumi and the Mru, and to a lesser extent on the other tribes.

Buddhist population by district Buddhist Population across Bangladesh District Percentage (%)

Barisal Chittagong Comilla Dhaka Khulna Rajshahi Sylhet

< 0.06 12.65 0.55 0.03 < 0.08 0.23 0.2

Festival of Buddhists Buddha Purnima: The main festival of the Buddhists is Buddha Purnima or Baishakhi Purnima. It is celebrated on the day of the full moon in Bengali month Baishakh (AprilMay). It is believed by the Buddhists that three important events occurred in the life of Buddha on this day; his birth, his gaining enlightenment, and his death. On this day Buddhists arrange collective prayers and other religious ceremonies, recite stories of The Buddha and his disciples, organize socials and cultural events. The day is observed as a public holiday. Fairs are also held on the day at different villages in Bangladesh.

Prabarana Purnima: Probarana Purnima is another Buddhist festival, also known as Ashshini Purnima. Prabarana means both adopting wholly and forbidding. Prabarana is observed on the day of the full moon in the month of Ashshin (September-October). At the end of Prabarana, every Buddhist monasteries celebrates the festival of Kathin Chibar Dan. Kathin Chibar Dan means difficult (Kathin) cloth (Chibar: used by monks) donation (Dan). On this day, it usually takes 24 hours to prepare Kathin Chibar from thread processed by spinning jum cotton It is the biggest religious festival of the Buddhist people. The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and religious fervour. Millions of Buddhist devotees from the hill districts and other parts of the country gather during the occasion at Bana Bihar, an internationaly famous buddhists temple in Bangladesh in Rangamati Hill District . Moreover, Ministers, MPs and high officials also attend the festival. To enjoy the festival many people along with the Buddhists crowd at Bana Bihar . Devotees bring various gifts on this occasion and robes are given to the monks . Buddhists believe that on Probarana Purnima day Lord Buddha went to the abode of the gods, and, after blessing his mother, returned to earth.

Buddhists send fanus (hot air ballon) in the sky on the day of Prabarana Purnima The most attractive event on Probarana Purnima is making spacial hot-air balloons called â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Fanushâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and send them in the sky as a symbol of lighting up the sky.

CHRISTIANITY IN BANGLADESH: Christianity arrived in what is now Bangladesh during the late sixteenth to early seventeenth century CE, through the Portuguese traders and missionaries. Christians account for approximately 0.3% of the total population, with the largest majorities being Roman Catholic and Orthodox.

Christianity's first contact with the Indian subcontinent is attributed to Thomas the Apostle, who is said to have preached in Kerala. Although Jesuit priests were active at the Mughal courts in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the first Roman Catholic settlements in Bangladesh appear to have been established by the Portuguese, coming from their center in Goa on the west coast of India. During the sixteenth century the Portuguese settled in the vicinity of Chittagong, where they were active in piracy and slavery. In the seventeenth century some Portuguese moved to Dhaka. Serious Protestant missionary efforts began only in the first half of the nineteenth century. Baptist missionary activities beginning in 1816, the Anglican Oxford Mission, and others worked mainly among the tribal peoples of the Low Hills in the northern parts of Mymensingh and Sylhet. Many of the Christian churches, schools, and hospitals were initially set up to serve the European community. They subsequently became centers of missionary activities, particularly among the lower caste Hindus. The Ministry of Religious Affairs provided assistance and support to the Christian institutions in the country. In the late 1980s, the government was not imposing any restrictions on the

legitimate religious activities of the missions and the communities. Mission schools and hospitals were well attended and were used by members of all religions. The Christian community usually enjoyed better opportunities for education and a better standard of living. In the late 1980s, Christianity had about 600,000 adherents, mainly Roman Catholic, and their numbers were growing rapidly.

Festival of christians: Christmas Day ( Bara Din): Apart from the Hindus, Christians also observe the religious festivals of their own. Islam is the state religion in Bangladesh, but the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s constitution and secular laws guarantee religious freedom for the nearly 350,000 Christians in this nation of 140 million. The main festival of Christians is Christmas Day or birthday of Jesus Christ (PBUH), is celebrated on 25th December. In Bangladesh Christmas is referred as Bara Din (Big Day).

Local lay, religious and clergies gathered at pre-Christmas programme held on Dec 19, 2008, at Bottomely Schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ground in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The main characteristics of this day are special prayer in churches, arrangements of feasts, sharing gifts among families and friends. Like all other countries Bangladeshi Christians also decorate trees, branches and lights up their houses. Some churches host religious gatherings while other churches invite the community to join them in decorating Christmas tree and singing carols. Some churches also organize feasts after the services. The Christian village men cut down scores of banana trees and replant them in pairs along the paths to churches and outside their homes, for Christmas in Bangladesh. They bend over the huge leaves to make an arch, and then make small holes in the bamboo poles, fill them with oil and tie them across the arches. When the oil is lit the way to church is bright. The festival is celebrated throughout the country with due religious enthusiasm, love, joy and sharing in tune with the celebrations all across the world.

HINDUISM IN BANGLADESH Hinduism is the second largest religious affiliation in Bangladesh, covering 9.2% of the population, according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. In terms of population, Bangladesh is the third largest Hindu state in the world after India and Nepal. In nature, Bangladeshi Hinduism closely resembles the forms and customs of Hinduism practised in the neighbouring Indian state of West Bengal, with whicht Bangladesh (at one time known as East Bengal) was united until the partition of India in 1947. The Goddess (Devi) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; usually venerated as Durga or Kali â&#x20AC;&#x201C; is widely revered, often alongside her consort Shiva. The worship of Shiva has generally found adherents among the higher castes in Bangladesh. Worship of Vishnu (typically in the form of his avatars Rama or Krishna) more explicitly cuts across caste lines by teaching the fundamental oneness of humankind in spirit. Vishnu worship in Bengal expresses the union of the male and female principles in a tradition of love and devotion. This form of Hindu belief and the Sufi tradition of Islam have influenced and interacted with each other in Bengal. Both were popular mystical movements emphasizing the personal relationship of religious leader and disciple instead of the dry stereotypes of the brahmins or the ulama. As in Bengali Islamic practice, worship of Vishnu frequently occurs in a small devotional society (samaj). Both use the language of earthly love to express communion with the divine. In both traditions, the Bangla language is the vehicle of a large corpus of mystical literature of great beauty and emotional impact. Bangladeshi Hinduism admits worship of spirits and patron deities of rivers, mountains, vegetation, animals, stones, or disease. Ritual bathing, vows, and pilgrimages to sacred rivers, mountains, shrines, and cities are important practices. An ordinary Hindu will worship at the shrines of Muslim pirs, without being concerned with the religion to which that place is supposed to be affiliated. Hindus revere many holy men and ascetics conspicuous for their bodily mortifications. Some believe that they attain spiritual benefit merely by looking at a great holy man. The principle of ahimsa is expressed in almost universally observed rules against eating beef. By no means are all Bangladeshi Hindus vegetarians, but abstinence from all kinds of meat is regarded as a "higher" virtue. Brahmin or "Upper-caste" Bangladeshi Hindus, unlike their counterparts elsewhere in South Asia, ordinarily eat fish & chicken. This is similar to the Indian state of West Bengal, which being climatologically similar to Bangladesh, has led Hindus to consume fish as it is the only major source of protein (regardless of caste).

Hindu Population by administrative divisions Hindu Population across Bangladesh District

Percentage (%)













Hindu Festivals Hindu Festivals: I mentioned in my previous post that Bangladesh practices religious harmony where Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and Buddhists live together with common nationality. So, other religious festivals are also observed here with enthusiasm and festivity. After Muslims, Hindus are the second biggest religious community in Bangladesh. Here are some Hindu festivals you can see as a series of posts:

Janmastami: Two Hindu Kids dressed up as Lord Krishna and Radha Janmastami is an old festival in Bangladesh. Janmstami or the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna is celebrated in this region with great devotion and festivity. Colorful processions, gatherings, Geeta Jaggyam (special prayers), Kirtan (devotional songs) and Puja (worship) at Hindu temples are the main features of Janmastami. Most attractive aspect of Janmastami procession is the tradition of dressing up as Krishna, Radha and other characters from the life of Krishna in Bangladesh. Devotees gather at the temple from morning to offer their prayers to Lord Krishna. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna, the embodiment of God, descended to this world with a promise to establish love, truth and justice. It is said that Shrikrishna (Lord Krishna) was born on the eighth lunar day of the dark fortnight in the Bengali month of Bhadra (August-September). So this day is a very sacred day to the Hindus. In almost all the

regions of the subcontinent, this day is observed in some way or the other as a religious festival. It is a public holiday in Bangladesh.

Saraswati Puja:

Saraswati puja, Jagannath Hall, Dhaka University On the fifth lunar day of the bright night in the Bengali month of Magh (January-February), Saraswati Puja is held. Saraswati is the Goddess of learning. According to Hindu mythology Saraswati is the wife of Brahma, the creator. She is represented as fair and wearing a white sari and a garland of white beads. The whiteness symbolizes the purity of Saraswati. Saraswati is mounted on a swan carrying a kacchapi vina on her hand. As she is the Goddess of learning specially Hindu students worship her. During the Puja, Hindu students place their textbooks and pens on her alter with the sacred books. The Hindu devotees believe that an ignorant person can acquire knowledge through the blessing of Saraswati. All the academic institutions remain closed on that occasion. Tough Saraswati Puja is observed in the academic institutions; some Hindu families arrange worship at their home. The series of pujas that starts with Durga comes to an end with Saraswati Puja.

Kali Puja:

Kali, Source: Banglapedia: The National encyclopedia of Bangladesh

Hindus perform Kali Puja on the new moon day usually in the month of Kartik (OctoberNovember). According to Hindu myth Kali is the first of ten female energies of Shiva (the third God of the Hindu triad). Kali is also known as dark, four armed and wearing a string of human heads with blood dripping from them. Hindu mythology describes her as three eyed, with one eye in the center of her forehead. She stands on the chest of Shiva is circled by his worshipers. Kali Puja is held when asking for a special boon. In rural areas of Bangladesh people arrange Kali Puja jointly during an epidemic. He-goats, sheep, or buffaloes are sacrificed on that occasion. There are a number of kali temples in Dhaka and other parts of Bangladesh.

Laksmi Puja: Laksmi Puja is held on the full moon following Durga Puja. It is a religious festival of Hindus celebrating Laksmi, the Goddess of prosperity and good fortune. It is believed that on that

Devi Laksmi; Source: Banglapedia: The national Encyclopedia Of Bangladesh night The Goddess Laksmi visits houses to distribute blessings, rewarding those who keep awake whole night worshiping her.

Alpana design; Source: Banglapedia:The national Encyclopedia of Bangladesh

People decorate the floors and courtyards of their houses with Alpanas or floral designs with rice paste on the occasion of Lakshi Puja. They also decorate the path from the door of the houses to the alter of the goddess and the cowshed. The path is often marked with tiny footprints, made by dipping rounded fists in rice paste and stamping the ground with them which symbolizes Laksmi’s path. Distribution of foods, playing game , eating coconut and sweet balls made of fried or flattened rice, and drinking coconut water are the features of laksmi Puja. “Some people also perform a special Puja for Laksmi every Thursday. In some areas, Laksmi Puja is held at dusk on the day of the new moon in Kartik (October- Novemebr). Goddess Laksmi may be worshipped in the form of a statue or as a painted image on a pitcher or pot.” If you visit the Hindu houses in village area you will find a seat for Laksmi in their home as Laksmi is widely worshiped in Bangladesh and also in West Bengal. Durga Puja: The biggest and oldest Hindu festival in Bangladesh is Durga Puja, the return of Goddess in her natal home. It is an important religious festival for Hindus. Hindus participate in this festival with great enthusiasm and devotion in a series of events. These events of the festival are described in Banglapedia: The National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh as following: “On the occasion of Durga Puja

Devi Durga , the goddess is invoked on the sasthi, (sixth day, of Aswin or Kartik). Puja is offered on the shaptami, astami, navami or mahanavami, the seventh, eighth and ninth days. The image of the goddess is immersed in water on the dashami, tenth day. Preparation for the immersion of the Durga images start on the morning of dashami, but the immersions actually take place in the evening. Long processions of devotees carry the images of the goddess from various puja pandals to nearby ponds, canals, rivers etc, where they are immersed. The dashohara mela is held on this day. Wearing new dresses, members of the Hindu community congregate at the fair. Everyone exchanges greetings, and the young visit their elders to seek their blessings. Boat races are a special attraction of the fair.

There are three kinds of Durga Puja: a) Sattvik (esoteric), which includes meditation, yanja (elaborate rites during which mantras are chanted) and offerings of vegetarian dishes; b) Tamasik (unenlightened), which is meant for people of lower castes, during which there is no meditation, but which includes the recital of mantras and during which wine and meat are served; c) Rajasik (imperial), during which an animal is sacrificed and offerings made of nonvegetarian dishes. The recommended sacrificial animals are goat, lamb, buffalo, deer, pig, rhinoceros, tiger, iguana, tortoise, and fowl. Some scriptures even recommend human sacrifice. The goddess Durga is usually depicted with ten hands, though she may also be represented with four, eight, sixteen, eighteen or twenty hands. On the occasion of Durga Puja, images of the goddess are made of straw and clay. The images are then painted, either light golden, bright gold or red. In the past a few families, including the Tagore family of Jorasanko, used to attire the icon in costly saris and adorn it with gold ornaments before immersing it with all its finery. Puja is at times performed without an image of the goddess but with a darpan (a shiny, reflective metal piece, usually of brass) or with a book, a picture, a trishul (trident), arrow, kharga (falchion).â&#x20AC;? Though this is a Hindu festival people from all communities attend these festivals in Bangladesh.

THE LANGUAGE THE LINGUISTIC SITUATION The exact origin of the word Bangla or Bengal is unknown, though it is believed to be derived from the Dravidian-speaking tribe Bang/Banga that settled in the area around the year 1000 BCE.

International Mother Language Day: 21 February was proclaimed the international mother language day by UNESCO on 17 November 1999. International mother Language Day organization as the international reconition of Language Movement Day, which has been commemorated in Bangladesh since 1952, when anumber of Bangladesh university students were killed by the Pakistani police and army in Dhaka.


FAIRS AND FESTIVAL OF BANGLADESH Fairs: Main fair of Bangladesh – Pahela Baisakh (It is known as our traditional culture. It was customary to clear up all the annual dues on the last day of Chairtra. On the next day, or the first day of the New Year.)And other Amor Ekushey Grontho Mela etc.

Festivals Major festival of Bangladesh: Muslim: Hindu: Buddbists: Christian:

Eid-ul-Fitar, Eid-ul-Azha, Durga Puja, Kali Puja Sarasoti etc. Buddha Purnima, Maghi Purnima, Buddha Dev’s Puja etc. Boro Din, Easter, Good Friday.

FAIRS OF BANGLADESH Fairs are inseparable part of the traditional culture of the people of Bangladesh. Some fairs are organized because of their traditional values and social importance whereas others are simply for fun and amusement. The customary fairs in Bangladesh are usually organized annually for periods of three to five days and sometimes for up to an entire month. Different social values, religious spirit and other ideological factors are involved with some particular fairs. To the fair lovers of Bangladesh, a fair means fun and amusement, eating and buying a few things while walking in a crowded place and returning home with tired feet and get a satisfied heart at the end of the day. Fairs are an important part of our cultural heritage and, with changing times and tastes, have become more elaborate affairs than in the past. Fairs nowadays are not only limited to the rural areas but have gained popularity in the urban areas as well. In fact, they are more amusing in cities than in rural areas. Above all it is noticed that a structural change has taken place in the nature of fairs. Fairs are a remarkable aspect of culture not only in Bangladesh but also in cities, ports and villages and in other parts of the world. There is no reliable information about the historical origin of fairs but researchers claim that they started about 3000 years back. It is certain, though, that the early fairs expressed the collective joy of the ancient people. Today fairs are a mix of tradition and modernity. Fairs can be classified as follows: industrial fair, exhibition fair, trade fair, real estate fair, tourism fair, computer fair, fish fair, agricultural fair, book fair, Baisakhi fair, Paush fair, etc. At some fairs entrance is free and at others it is controlled by taking token money for entrance. Fairs in Baisakh are events that play a vital role in blending heritage with modernity. They enable people from all walks of life, irrespective of class and religion, to meet and interact. Fairs also publicize our rich tradition of folk art and crafts. One can easily become acquainted with Bangladeshi traditions, culture and folk art by visiting a fair. Fairs can also have a positive impact on our cultural mainstream. Some of the major fairs are described below. Baisakhi Mela Celebrations of Pahela Baisakh (First of Bangla Year) started from Emperor Akbar's reign. It was customary to clear up all the year's dues on the last day of Chaitra (the twelfth month of the Bengali calendar). On the following day, or the first day of the New Year, landlords would entertain their tenants with sweets. On this occasion fairs used to be organized there. In

due course the occasion became part of domestic and social life, and turned into a day of merriment. New year's festivities are closely linked with rural life in Bengal. Usually on the day everything is thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned. People bathe early in the morning and dress in fine clothes and go to visit relatives, friends and neighbours. Special foods are prepared to entertain guests. Baisakhi Melas are arranged in many parts of the country. Various agricultural products, traditional handicrafts, toys, cosmetics as well as various kinds of food and sweets are sold at these fairs. The fairs also provide entertainment, with singers and dancers staging Jatra, Pala gan, Kavigan, Jarigan, Gambhira Gan, Gazir Gan and Alkap Gan. Artistes present folk songs as well as Baul, marfati, Murshidi and Bhatiali songs. The most colourful New Year's Day festival takes place in Dhaka. Large numbers of people gather early in the morning under the Banyan Tree at Ramna Park where Chhayanat artistes open the day with Tagore's famous song, Eso he Baisakh eso eso..... (Come O Baisakh, come comeâ&#x20AC;Śâ&#x20AC;Ś..). A similar ceremony welcoming the new year is also held at the Institute of Fine Arts, Dhaka University. Students and teachers of the Institute take out a colourful procession and parade round the campus. Artistes present songs to welcome the New Year. People from all walks of life wear traditional Bengali dress: young women wear white sari with red borders and adorn themselves with bangles, flowers and tips. Men wear white pyjamas and panjabi. Many townspeople start the day with the traditional breakfast of panta bhat (cooked rice soaked with water overnight), green chillies, onion and fried Hilsa fish. Special programmes are broadcast and telecast on radio and television and special supplements are brought out by the newspapers. Baisakhi Meia is the mirror of our traditional culture. It is presumed that it was started about 600 years back. The number of about 600 years back. The number of Baisakhi Melas celebrated in different parts of Bangladesh is around 300-350. Though Baisakhi Melas are organised in a planned way in almost all cities of the country, originally they were very much rural based. Traditional handicrafts, hand-made cakes, special kinds of food stuff, sweets, potteries, bangles, pitchers and cane products are the main exhibits. The Baisakhi Mela is an ancient form of Bengali folk festival that continues to thrive in the modern age. It continues for three days, one week or even as long as one month. Amor Ekushey Grontho Mela (Book Fair) Amor Ekushey February is a historic day for the Bengali nation. On that day five valiant sons of this country laid down their lives to win recognition for Bangla as a State language. On 21st February of 1952 a massive procession was taken out, led by the Students Union of Dhaka University and people from all walks of life joined

spontaneously to protest against the declaration of Urdu as the sole State language of Pakistan. The police opened fire on the demonstrators when they reached the location of the present Shahid Minar. As a result, five people were killed and several others injured. Bangladesh is the only country in the world whose people fought for their mother tongue and dedicated their lives to have it recognized as a State language. For the above reason during 1996-97, UNESCO recognized 21st February as the International Mother Language Day. To commemorate this great day, a Grantha Mela or book fair was started on a small scale in 1974 and it was officially recognized in 1978. After the publishers' and booksellers' organization came together as a cooperative force in organizing the book fair, its popularity increased at a quick pace from 1989. The number of buyers and readers increased in the same manner. Now the Mela begins on 1st February and continues till the end of the month and it is the most popular fair in Bangladesh. Fair of Ashwin Sankranti One of the renowned fairs of Rajshahi is hold in a village of Durgapur upazila named Khulshi. The fair is held on the bank of the river for the first three days of the Bengali month of Ashwin. Nobody knows about its origins. According to the local people the age of the fair is around 200 years. Those from this area who are living away from the village come back to their village home during the fair instead of during Eid or the Puja festival. The main attraction of the fair is a circus. A special kind of sweet made of flour and sugar juice named Jilapi is very famous and is sold in huge quantities. Other attractions and exhibits are toys, household items, puffed rice, imitation jewellery, pottery and cosmetics. Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Amusement Fair The Children's Academy has been organizing a children's amusement fair since 1978 in Dhaka. Usually the fair is organized in the open space in front of the Academy. Many stalls full of books, science exhibits, cane products, handicrafts, pottery, hand stitched items, children's art and wall newspaper are the attractions of the fair. The fair lasts for 7 days and the main attraction is a children's drama competition. Many children's organizations of the country participate in this competition. Children themselves are the directors, actors and

actresses. An award is given to the best production. The fair is organized at a suitable time between the months of January and June. Baul Mela On the occasion of Lalon Shah's birthday, the folk singers (Bauls) perform Lalon's songs, usually under a banyan tree or on the bank of a river near a village and a group of people organize a fair at the spot. Rural musical instruments, handicrafts, pottery, light snacks and household items are available in the fair which runs for three days or in some places one week or even longer than that. At present, such fairs are also organized in urban areas and a good number of singers come from different parts of the country. Old and young, men and women, rich and poor participate in the fair with great enthusiasm.

Anthropological history of Human races Different ethic groups of Bangladesh Ethnically the Chakmas are Tibeto- Burman and are thus closely related to tribes in the in the foothills of Himalayas. Their ancestors came frome the Magadha Kingdom to settle in Arakan and most of them later moved to Bangladesh known as Coxâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bazar, Korpos Mohol and Tega- Toyong under the control of a king. Today, however, the power of the Chakma king Raja Debashish Roy, is merely symbolic History of Ethnic: The major pre-Aryan racial elements in Bengal were the proto-Austroloids. There is a striking similarity between the language of the aborigines of Bengal and the people in SouthEast Asia, the archipelago and the aborigines of Australia. The Dravidian languages of South India also belong to proto-Australoid group. Bangladesh, being the frontier of South Asia, also came into contact with the Mongoloid tribes who lived in the adjoining areas. The Mongoloid influence was dominant in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region where Chakmas and other tribes belong to this category. The Mongoloid influence is, however, limited in other areas. Scholars maintain that there is also a substratum of Negroid racial elements in the racial mix in this region. Thus Bengal was the home of mixed races long before the Aryans came. The Aryan influence in Bengal was primarily limited to upper castes. The gradual stages in the Aryanization of Bengal are not very clear. It appears that the Aryans brought the indigenous people into the framework of Aryan society. This is indicated by the fact that some of the indigenous tribes were classed at Khastriyas (the warrior class). The majority of these pre-Aryan tribes were classified as untouchables. The process of racial mix did not,

however, stop with the coming of Aryans. The Semitic traders from the Arab world frequently visited the coastal areas in the Middle Age.

ETHNIC CULTURE: o Traditional Dress: (Marma Woman) & Parlam: Lusai & Bom Upoja

o (Jumnach: Tanchanga Upojati)

o In memory of Buddha (Puja), Traditional dress: (Chakma girl) & G angguli: (Whole night â&#x20AC;&#x153;Palaganâ&#x20AC;? by Chakma & Tanchanga singer)

o Preview of Marriage Ceremony & Kathin Chibor Ceremony:

o House Design of “Mro & Chakma Upojati”

 Dance: “Longbai Aka” & “Ne-somui” (Marma Upojati) & “Bottle Dance” (Usui Upojati)

BEAUTIES OF BANGLADESH SEASON IN BANGLADESH: Season is one of the divisions of a year according to weather. Its number and features vary from country to country. In the desert regions . There is summer all the year round. But in Bangladesh. There are six seasons such as summer, the rainy season, early autumn, late autumn, winter and spring. These seasons come one after another in a regular cycle. Each season has its own beauty and features. Each of them appears with it's own beauty, color, sights and sounds. Traditionally Bangladeshis subdivide the year into six seasons: Grismo (summer) Barsha (rainy) Sharat (autumn) Hemanto (cool) Sheet (winter) Bashonto (spring)

For practical purposes, summer , rainy, and winter.




Barsa (June to August) Rainy Season




In Bangladesh, which has both the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest delta system and the greatest flow of river water to the sea, water rules the earth, and so the most important season of all is barsa, a time of lashing rains and tearing winds. In this season, 70 percent of the land is under water â&#x20AC;&#x201C;

water from rivers, the sea, rain, tidal waves, floods and the melting snows of the Himalayas. The rains are at first a welcome relief from the baking, dusty hot season. But as the rains continue, the land turns into a brown and watery mass, ever-changing in shape and texture. Fields and homes are flooded; people and animals have to move to higher ground. Food is reduced to pre-cooked rice, dal and jackfruit that ripen at this time. During the rains, most villages are isolated, accessible only by boat. The people become self-sufficient and depend on each other rather than the outside world. The rain has turned stagnant water fresh again. Children leap naked into ponds. Women swim in sarees. Men dive in wearing sarongs. It is during the rainy season that Bangladeshâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s main crop, jute, begins to ripen and is harvested. Farmers dive down to the roots to cut them. The stalks are placed on high ground to dry. Aside from the practical problems, the rains and water also inspire the poetry, art and songs of the people.

Photo: A family looks for shelter using a raft made of banana trees during the last Monsoon: 31 July 2007: Gaibandha, Bangladesh, Quddus Alam/DrikNews Linked from Shahidul News

Sarat (September to October) Autumn As September begins, the skies are blue and a cool wind blows. The land turns into a carpet of bright green rice shoots while the smell of drying jute invades the air. Flowers bloom, the rice ripens and the harvest begins. Blue, gold and green are the colours of sarat â&#x20AC;&#x201C; blue sky, golden sun and green vegetation from emerald to jade, pea to lime, shamrock to sea-green. In the green fields, white Siberian cranes, egrets and ducks hunt for food. Although the air is humid, there is a slight chill late at night.

Hemanto (October to November) Late autumn

Once the land has emerged from its watery grave, it is time to replant in new, fertile soil that is rich in nutrients. During this season, the land is at its luscious best. Festivals flourish to hail the harvest, the end of the floods, the coming of the new soil and the wonder of the rivers. The country’s troubadours are everywhere, dressed in bright clothes and singing for money. The land and its people come to life during hemanto, when the flowers bloom – jasmine, water lily, rose, magnolia, hibiscus and bougainvillea. By the season’s end, the air is no longer humid. Fresh scents replace the dry jute smell. Hemanto marks the start of the wedding season where receptions are held under red, blue, green or white tents.

Seet (November to December) Winter From mid-November to early January, the weather becomes more arid and less humid. The earth dries and dust forms. Warm clothes are pulled out. Young people play tennis, football, cricket and golf. Seet is also the season when people return to their ancestral villages, where they can experience once again the essence of Bangladesh – the harmony of man, beast, land, water and air.

Basanto (December to February) Spring The coolest days are from mid-December to February when the days are golden with light, the flowers are blooming and the nights and early mornings are chilly. Night guards wrap themselves up in shawls and blankets with scarves and hats pulled down over their ears. During basanto, the countryside hums with fairs, parades and commemorations. Arts festivals celebrate painting and handicrafts, poetry, music and drama. In Dhaka, basanto heralds the beginning of the social season with a frantic whirl of invitations to weddings, parties and dinners. Along with the cool weather comes the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s silly season â&#x20AC;&#x201C; politics. To a Bangladeshi, politics is what alcohol or sport is to other nations. Everyone gets involved.

Grisma (March to May) Summer Throughout basanto, the weather warms up a bit each day until March 1, when the heat starts intensifying more rapidly. The soil turns a dusty khaki and then almost white. There are lightening and thunder storms and sometimes, icy lumps of hail crash down. The rivers dry out and are difficult to navigate. Grisma is also the peak time for the brick industry. Bricks are used for building and are a substitute for stone and gravel in Bangladesh. In the cities, the humid air is laden with dust, brick grit and auto fumes. The sun is a round red globe, beating down relentlessly. Everyone waits for the rains and the beginning of another cycle of seasons.


An isolated low, dimpled range of hills, dotted -with more than 50 ancient Buddhist settlements of the 8th to 12th century A.D. known as Mainamati-Laimai range are extended through the centre of the district of Comilla. Salban Vihara, almost in the middle of the Mainamati-Lalmai hill range consists of 115 cells, built around a spacious courtyard with cruciform temple in the centre facing its only gateway complex to the north resembling that of the Paharpur Monastery.

Kotila Mura situated on a flaftened hillock, about 5 km north of Salban Vihara inside the Comilla Cantonment are is picturesque Buddhist establishment. Here three stupas are found side by side representing the Buddhist "Trinity" or three jewels i.e. the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Charpatra Mura is an isolated small oblong shrinesituated about 2.5 krn. north-west of kotila Mura stupas. The only approach to the shrine is from the East through agateway which leads to a spacious hall. The Mainamati site Museum has a rich and varied collection of copper plates, gold and silver coins and 86 bronze objects. Over 150 bronze statues havo been recovered mostly from the monastic cells, bronze stupas, stone sculptures and hundreds of terracotta plaques each measuring on an average of 9" higli and 8" to 12" wide. Mairiamati is only 114 km. from Dhaka City and is just a day's trip by road on way to Chittagong.


Located at a distance of 18 km. to the north of Bogra town. Mahasthangarh is the oldest archaeological site of Bangladesh on the western bank of river Karotoa. The spectacular site is an imposing landmark in the area having a fortified long enclosure. Beyond the fortified area, other ancient ruins fan out within a semi-circle of about 8-km. radius. Several isolated mounds, the local names of which are Govinda Bhita Temple, Khodai Pathar Mound, Mankalir Kunda, Parasuramer Bedi, Jiyat Kunda etc. surround the fortified city. This 3rd century BC archaeological site is still held to be of great sanctity by the Hindus. Every year (mid-April) and once in every 12 years (December) thousands of Hindu devotees join the bathing ceremony on the bank of river Karatoa. A visit to the Mahasthangarh site museum will open up for one a wide variety of antiquities, ranging from terracotta objects to gold ornaments and coins recovered from the site. Also noteworthy are the shrine of Shah Sultan Bulki Mahisawary and Gokul Medh in the neighborhood of Mahasthangarh.


In Paharpur, a small village 5 km. west of Jamalganj railway station in the greater Rajshahi district, the remains of the most important and the largest known monastery south of the Himalayas has bee excavated. This 8th century A.D. archaeological find covers approximately an area of 27 acres of land. The entire establishment occupies a quadrangular court, measuring more than 900 ft. and from 12fh to 15ft. in height with elaborate gateway complex on the north. There are 45 cells on the north and 44 in each of other three sides with a total number of 177 rooms. The architecture of the pyramidal cruciform temple is profoundly influenced by those of South-East Asia, especially Myanmar and Java. It had taken its name from a high mound, which looked like pahar or hillock. A site museum built recently houses the representative coactions of objects recovered from the area. The excavated findings have also been preserved at the Veranda Research museum at Rajshahi. The antiquities of the museum include terracotta plaques, images of different gods and goddesses, potteries, coins, inscriptions, ornamental bricks and other minor clay objects . It has been declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.


Sundarbans Located at about 320km. West of Dhaka. Here in the south, spread over an area of about 6000 sq. km. of delta swamps along the coastal belt of Khulna is the biggest mangrove forest, Sundarbans (beautiful forest) - the home of the Royal Bengal Tiger. These dense mangrove forests are criss-crossed by a network of rivers and creeks. One find here tides flowing in two directions in the same creek and often tigers swimming across a river or huge crocodiles basking in the sun. Other wildlife in this region is cheetahs, spotted deer, monkeys, pythons, wild bears and hyenas.

The forest is accessible by river from Khulna and Mongla. There are rest houses for the visitors to stay and enjoy the unspoiled nature with all its charm and majesty. Spending some times inside the forest can be a rare treat for the lovers of nature. BPC offers package tours to Sundarbans.

Cox's Bazar

Cox's Bazar beach is said to have the world's longest unbroken clean sandy beach. The 120 km length of the beach always attracts tourists from different parts of the world because of its smooth and soft carpeting of silvery sand sloping gently into the clean blue water of the Bay of Bengal. It is overlooked throughout by a picturesque range of forested green hills.

Cox's Bazar is famed for its calm and quiet, shark-free beach with the green trees and pretty hills on one side and the blue waves on the other. One, perhaps, does not come by many such seaside resorts around the globe. The beach is suitable for bathing, sunbathing and swimming. The beauty of the setting sun behind the waves of the sea is really breathtaking. Notable Tourist Attractions Cox's Bazar

Cox's Bazar, the tourist capital of Bangladesh, gets its name after Captain Cox, an administrator in the days of the British Raj. Besides the resplendent beach, Cox's Bazar offers such attractions as ornamented temples and pagodas, a Burmese market and a view of indigenous communities and their vibrant culture. Moreover, tourists may visit Moheshkhali, Sonadia, Kutubdia, Ramu, Ukhiya, Himchhari and Teknaf for their natural beauty, their beaches and an experience of tribal life and culture.


Moheshkhali is an island off the coast of Cox's Bazar. It has an area of 268 Sq. km. Through the centre of the island and along the eastern coastline rises a range of low hills, about 100 meters high.

In the coastal hills lies the old temple of Adinath, dedicated to Shiva, which becomes a place of pilgrimage during the month of Falgun (March). The western and northern coasts of the island form a low-lying tract that is fringed by mangrove forests. Tourists can reach this island by local motorboats called trawlers or by speedboat. By trawler, it takes an hour and a half and by speedboat only half an hour. Tourists will find interesting sights like mangrove forests, hilly areas, salt fields etc. This island is famous for its Buddhist Temple or Pagoda; a whole day can be spent sightseeing if one includes visits to Sonadia and some other nearby islands.


Sonadia is a crescent shaped island off the Cox's Bazar coast. The area of the island is about 9 sq. km. Its western coast is sandy and is rich in different kinds of shells. At the northern part of the island, there are beds of windowpane oysters. During winter, fishermen set up temporary camps on the island and dry sea fishes, which they catch from the sea. Every winter thousands of fishermen camp there and make large hauls. The island is also known as a paradise for migratory birds like ducks, sea-gulls, fowls and geese etc. During the winter season migratory birds in swarms are found crowding the beach, marshes and pools of the island.

Srimongal 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 center of the area. Srimongal is the place of tea gardens, hills and forest areas on the hills. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s is famous for the largest tea gardens of world covered by lush green carpet. One can have a look into the spectacular tea processing at Tea Research Institute. Bangladesh produces and exports a large quantity of high quality tea every year.

Most of the tea estates are in Sremongol. It is called "The land of two leaves and a bud". It is also called camellia, green carpet or Tea Mountain. There are a lot of tea estates including the largest one in the world. There are some hotels in Srimongol where you can stay, but if you can manage to stay in the Tea garden that will give you a different type of memorable experience. For that you will have to take the permission from the owner of any tea state.

The Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal Among the several places of historical interest in Sylhet town is the shrine of Saint Hazrat Shah Jalal. Even today, more than six hundred years after his death, the shrine is visited by innumerable devotees of every caste and creed, who make the journey from far away places. Legend says, the great saint who came from Delhi to preach Islam and defeated the then Hindu Raja (king) Gour Gobinda, transformed the witchcraft followers of the Raja into catfishes which are still alive in the tank adjacent to the shrine Swords, the holy Quran and the robes of the holy saint are still preserved in the shrine.

Madhabkunda Madhabkunda is surrounded by lush tea estates and is full of water lilies. There make an enchanting combination with the largest waterfall in Bangladesh. Every year thousands of tourists are drawn to Madhabkunda because of its natural beauty, especially in winter (NovFeb), when they may come for picnics or longer pleasure trips.

It is in the district of Moulvi Bazar, about 5 km from Dakhinbagh railway station, and 350 km from Dhaka city. Everywhere a lot of rubber & lemon plantations are seen to form a beautiful landscape.

About 3 km from Dakhinbagh Railway Station there is the famous waterfall of Madhabkunda which attracts large number of tourists every year. Manipuri Dance An interesting feature of Sylhet region is the aboriginal tribes such as the Tipperas, the Monipuris, Khasis and Garos who still live in their primitive ways in the hills, practicing their age-old rites, rituals, customs and traditions. During festivals such as, Rash Leela (Full-moon night in February) and Doljatra, the attractive young girls dressed in colorful robes, dance with the male members of their choice & love. The Monipuris perform their famous dance, based on allegorical love themes of the ancient mythology.

Jaflong,Tamabil Jaflong is one of the most attractive tourist spots in Sylhet division. It's about 60 km far from Sylhet town and takes two hours drive to reach there. Jaflong is also a scenic spot nearby amidst tea gardens and rate beauty of rolling stones from hills. It is situated besides the river Mari in the lap of Hill Khashia. The Mari river is coming from the great Himalayas of India, bringing million tons of stone boulders with its tide. You can watch the stone collection from the river in Jaflong as well as you can enjoy the boating in the river Mari. Jaflong is totally a hilly area of real natural beauty where hills are greenish with the forests. Tamabil Tamabil is the border area with India and is 05 km before Jaflong. If you intend to visit Shilong of India then you will have to cross this border by completing your customs formalities. To go to India you require valid Visa.

Situated amidst a splendid panorama, Tamabil is a border outpost on the Sylhet-Shilong Road, about 55 km away from Sylhet town. Besides the enchanting views of the area one can also have a glimpse of the waterfalls across the border from Tamabil. Nearby Jaflong is a scenic spot amidst tea gardens, where one can see stones that have rolled down the hills.

Sripur Sripur is another beautiful tourist spot where you can see the waterfall with great tide falling form the hills. Besides the enchanting views of the area, one can also have a glimpse of the waterfalls across the border of India. Very Big stones sometimes are coming in this waterfall in Sripur. After completion of visiting Jaflong and Tamabil you must visit Sripur on the way to go back to Sylhet. It’s only 7-8km from Jaflong on the same road to Sylhet a sub road entered into Sripur waterfall. Here you can see the stone collection and orange garden if you go inside Sripur crossing



Jointapur's Rajbari Jaintiapur is only 5 km. from Jaflong, a scenic spot amidst tea gardens. At about 35 km. northwest of Sylhet town, linked by rail, road and river is Chhatak, the seat of Assam Bengal Cement Factory, Chhatak is famous for orange garden. After complete Sripur on the way back to Sylhet don't miss to visit Jointika in Jointapur. Jaintapur was the capital of Jainta Kingdome at 18th century. Jainta Rajbari was the palace of Kings of Jainta, it’s just adjacent of Jainta Bazar. Though the condition of this king’s palace is already damaged enormously but a huge number of tourists visit here due to the historical background of Jainta Kingdom.

A lots of picnic parties goes to Jaintapur forests and also other areas of Jaflong, Sripur and Tamabil to enjoy a full day in the nature. So if you are planning to visit Jaflong you must cover up all these four places at a time and by the evening you come back to Sylhet for your night stay.

Kuakata It is a rare beauty spot at the southernmost tip of Patuakhali district. It has a wide sandy beach which affords one the unique opportunity of watching both the sunrise and the sunset. Kuakata is a place of pilgrimage for the Hindu and Buddhist Communities. Many devotees arrive here during the festival of Rush Purnima and Maghi Purnima.

St. Martin's Island

St. Martin's island is a beautiful coral island under Teknaf upazila. Local people call it Narikel Zinjira. It is also called the 'beauty spot of the Bay'. The 13 island is a tropical treasure, situated 17 km away from Teknaf, with beaches fringed with coconut palms, seashells and bountiful marine life. Visitors can see live corals here.

An overnight stay on St. Martin's island is really an extraordinary experience: you can lie in bed and listen to the murmuring of endless waves. It would be a bonanza for anyone to experience the beauty of the moonlit night on this island. Tourists may also plan a visit to Chhera dwip, which is close to St. Martin's island, and famous for its tranquil beauty.

Teknaf Teknaf is the southernmost upazila of Cox's Bazar district as well as Bangladesh. It is a small township on the Naf river at the end of the hilly region. It is an amazing place facing the green hills of Myanmar across the Naf river. One of the major attractions of Teknaf is a cruise by boat or sampan. The town and its surrounding areas provide visitors an opportunity to see the people and culture of the Arakan and Rakhain communities. Teknaf beach is an attractive tourist spot. Besides, there is another beautiful beach at Shahpari dwip at the farthest end of this upazila.

Himchhari It is located 18 km south of Cox's Bazar, along the beach. The broken hills and waterfalls here are unique. There is a hilltop resort from where the shore of the Bay of Bengal looks enchanting. It is located 18 km south of Cox's Bazar, along the beach. The broken hills and waterfalls here are unique. There is a hilltop resort from where the shore of the Bay of Bengal looks enchanting. The scenic beauty one can see while driving from Cox's Bazar to Himchhari - is Quite extraordinary, with lovely green hills on the left and the blue waves just on the right. The waterfall in Himchhari appears lively during the rainy season.

Birds of Bangladesh Doel The Doel or the magpie robin is the national bird of Bangladesh. One of the more familiar birds about towns and villages. Shy, silent and unobtrusive during non-breeding season, then skulking in shrubbery and only uttering plaintive swee-ee and harsh chur-r. Conspicuous during breeding season when male sings lustily from favourite tree-top or post, chiefly early mornings and late afternoons. Song punctuated by upward jerks of white fringed tail. Also very good mimic of other birds' calls. Breeding territories jealously guarded, and intruding males defied with puffing- out, strutting and much show of pugnacity.

Shalik The Shalik (myna) is a very common bird in Bangladesh. The common myna is about the size of an American robin. Its colors range from rich wine-brown on the lower breast to deep black on the head, neck, and upper breast. It has a splash of white on the lower edge of its wings, and its bill and legs are a bright yellow. This myna feeds on plants, insects, and worms. It often builds its nest in crevices of buildings. It is a noisy bird that is common about yards and buildings. It is often seen among chickens or perched on the backs of cattle. People have released the common myna into the wild in many tropical Pacific islands, including Hawaii, where the bird is now abundant.

Talking mynas are sometimes kept as pets. Many imitate the human voice and can talk, sing, and whistle.

Kingfisher The Machhhranga or the kingfisher is very common in riverine Bangladesh. Nine varieties of kingfishers have been recorded here including the brown-winged, white-collard, black-capped and the rare ruddy kingfisher.

Woodpecker The Kaththokra or the woodpecker can be found in twenty two species in the country, especially in the Sundarbans. The red cockaded woodpecker as seen in the picture is becoming rarer and identified as a vulnerable group, which is a classification just under endangered. source: Virtual Bangladesh

FLOWER OF BANGLADESH There are many different types of tropical flowers from all over the world, alot of these flowers come from hawaii where the year round warm tempurature make it easier for these types of flowers to flourish. There are many other places where the tempurature stays warm that other types of tropical flowers grow. Depending on what kind they are and where they natural grow will determine how much you are going to pay and what times of the year you can even get them. There are alot of places that use the popularity of these flowers to make alot of their export money. You can be expected to pay between $20 to $150 for a single tropical plant. This is because either the demand is so high or because the flower is so rare Alot of places that deal

with these flowers have also started making hybrids, these are basically two different flowers that have been spliced together to make one. This gives many benefits to both the people purchasing them and the people selling them. It benefits the person selling them because they can splice a rare flower to one that is easier to grow in a certain climate. The ways it benefits the people buying them is by making certain plants that only came in one color grow in different colors, it also makes the plant that it was made from to be more readily availible. There are many different types of tropical plants, and within those plants there are sub plants, these all relatively look the same but come in other colors and they also may look a little different. Alot of these plants are hybrids that have happened naturally with plants that live in the same areas. This happens when bugs cross pollenate plants, or when winds pick up the pollenation from one plant and it falls another type. There are many different species of plants that are considered tropical, some are even carnivorous. Carnivorous plants eat many different kinds of bugs, and if they get big enough they are even known to eat small frogs and other small animals. We will show you pictures of alot of different types of tropical plants in many different colors, and we'll also explain what type they are and where they have originated.

Beallara is often referred to as Bllra is a hybrid of four different types of orchid. These types are Brassia, Cochlioda,k Miltonia, and Odontoglossum. It is often called Howards Dream as well, and due to what it's been crossed between it is a much easier orchid to grow then many others. It does well in a range from cool to nearly warm weather (55F to low 90F). The Beallara orchid will bloom normally two times a year. As you can see the petals turn a very vibrant shade of purple with white and yellow mixed in. This is a very beautiful plant and with some care will last for a couple years.

The Miss Joachim Orchid is the flower of Singapore, it was found by Agnes Joachim in her fathers garden. She took it to the botanic gardens director for him to look at because it did not look like any of the other flowers that were in her fathers garden. There the director confirmed that it was a natural hybrid of the V. Hookerana and the V. Teres flowers. Those two were grown in the garden. The Vanda Hookerana normally grows in the swamps of singapore and needs alot of water to grow. This hybrid needs that amount of water as well as a lot of sunlight. The one good thing about this plant that it is easy to grow, every leaf that comes off the flower can sprout roots. William Bryan took back 28 cuttings of this orchid back to Hawaii with him and within ten years he had over 10,000 plants. The only bad thing is that it grows so fast and so good in tropical climates that within a couple years all of hawaii had this plant and noone wanted to buy them anymore. This is a very beautiful and tropical flower.

The Passiflora Caerulea flower is actually also known as the Common Passion Flower, and is native to South America, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina. This flower is very beautiful, and strong scented flower. The Passion Flower is often symbolized as the passion of Jesus. This

is because of it's shape and other characteristics. This flower can grow to be very large, between 15 and 20 m high, and 10 cm long, and wide. This flower is cultivated because the fruit produced from it is edible. It can be as sweet as blackberries, and it is said that a tea can be made from the leaves of this flower even though the leaves contain cyanide. It is said that most of the cyanide can be boiled off the leaves before drinking it.

Heliconia flowers are found in the tropical Americas, and the Pacific Ocean islands. Common names of these plants are the lobster-claws, wild plantains, or false bird of paradise. It is called the last one because it resembles the bird of paradise flower. A group of flowers usually grow on one stem in alternating directions. This flower is grown mostly for florist trade for landscaping in warm tropical climates. The Parrot Heliconia is one of the more popular ones because of the green-yellow flowers with black sports and red bracts. These resemble a parrot and that is where the name comes from. Other types of Heliconias are used for food, and nests in nature. Humming birds often use the flowers for nests and use the flowers also for food. These are a very popular tropical plant in the southern United States where the weather is typically warm.

The Barleria Cristata is also known as the Philippine Violet, Bluebell Barleria, or the Crested Philippine Violet. This flower grows in a wide area from Southern China to India. The Barleria Cristata is grown as a ornamental plant for gardens and landscaping, and has also become popular in hawaii as well. The flowers are usually violet, white, pink or a mixture of

those colors. The petals are oval in shape and there are generally 5 petals that grow on each flower. Known uses for this plant are in Thailand where it is used for tonics, diuretics and blood purifiers.

Nymphaeaceae is a name of flowering plants, they are often called water lillies because they only grow in water. There are two main types and those are hardy and tropical, although the hardy water lillies only grow during the day the tropical water lilies can grow during the day or the night. Tropical water lilies are the only to contain blue flowered plants. White water lilies are the national flower for Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and it is the state flower for Andhra Pradesh, India. It is also the birth flower for July. There are a few species of these flowers that have spread from there normal area of Mexico to parts of California where they are slowly taking over ponds and other bodies of water. They are hard to get rid of once they are in water. If you have any questions or comments for this site please contact us, we would like to hear any feedback you may have on tropical flowers.

FRUITS OF BANGLADESH Jackfruit Jackfruit

Jackfruit tree with fruit

Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae Division: Magnoliophyta Class: Magnoliopsida Order: Rosales Family: Moraceae Tribe: Artocarpeae Genus: Artocarpus Species: A. heterophyllus Binomial name Artocarpus heterophyllus The jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus or A. heterophylla) is a species of tree in the mulberry family (Moraceae), which is native to parts of South and Southeast Asia. It is the national fruit of Bangladesh. It is called Kanthal (কাঁ াঠাল) in Bangla, Chakka (ചക്ക) in Malayalam, Katahar (कटहर) in Nepali, Panasa (पनस) in Sanskrit, Katahal (कटहल) in Hindi, Nangka in Bahasa Indonesia,Halasu (ಹಲಸು) in Kannada, Panasa in Telugu, Pala in Tamil(is one of the three auspicious fruits of Tamil Nadu),Chakka in Malayalam language, Phanas in Marathi language and पणस in Konkani language. It is well suited to tropical lowlands. Its fruit is the largest tree borne fruit in the world, seldom less than about 25 cm (10 in) in diameter.

Cultivation and ecology

Jackfruit opened. The jackfruit has played a significant role in Indian agriculture for centuries. Archeological findings in India have revealed that jackfruit was cultivated in India 3000 to 6000 years ago. Findings also indicate that Indian Emperor Ashoka the Great (274â&#x20AC;&#x201C;237 BC) encouraged arbori-horticulture of various fruits including jackfruit. Varahamihira, the Indian astronomer, mathematician, and astrologer, wrote a chapter on the treatment of trees in his Brhat Samhita. His treatise includes a specific reference on grafting to be performed on trees such as jackfruit. The jackfruit is considered an invasive species in Brazil, specially in the Tijuca Forest National Park in Rio de Janeiro. The Tijuca forest is mostly an artificial secondary forest, whose planting began during the mid-nineteenth century, and jackfruit trees have been a part of the park's flora since its founding. Recently, the species expanded excessively, due to the fact that its fruits, once they had naturally fallen to the ground and opened, were eagerly eaten by small mammals such as the common marmoset and the coati. The seeds are dispersed by these animals, which allows the jackfruit to compete for space with native tree-species. Additionally, as the marmoset and coati also prey opportunistically on bird's eggs and nestlings, the supply of jackfruit as a ready source of food has allowed them to expand their populations, which has negatively impacted the local bird population. Between 2002 and 2007, 55,662 jackfruit saplings were destroyed in the Tijuca Forest area in a deliberate culling effort by the park's management.

Litchi LycheeJump to: navigation, Lychee

Lychee branch with ripe fruit

Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae (unranked): Angiosperms (unranked): Eudicots (unranked): Rosids Order: Sapindales Family: Sapindaceae Subfamily: Sapindoideae Genus: Litchi Species: L. chinensis Binomial name Litchi chinensis The lychee (usual English spelling) or laichi and lichu is the sole member of the genus Litchi in the soapberry family, Sapindaceae. It is a tropical and subtropical fruit tree. It is primarily found in China, India, Madagascar, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Southern Africa and Mexico. It is a fragranced fruit with a sweet taste. It is a medium-sized evergreen tree, reaching 15–20 m tall, with alternate pinnate leaves, each leaf 15–25 cm long, with 2-8 lateral leaflets 5–10 cm long; the terminal leaflet is absent. The newly emerging young leaves are a bright coppery red at first, before turning green as they expand to full size. The flowers are small, greenish-white or yellowish-white, produced in panicles up to 30 cm long.

Flowers at Samsing in Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India. The fruit is a drupe, 3–4 cm long and 3 cm in diameter. The outside is covered by a pink-red, roughly-textured rind that is inedible but easily removed. They are eaten in many different dessert dishes. The inside consists of a layer of sweet, translucent white flesh, rich in vitamin C, with a texture somewhat similar to that of a grape only much less moist. The edible flesh consists of a highly developed aril enveloping the seed. The center contains a single glossy brown nut-like seed, 2 cm long and 1–1.5 cm in diameter. The seed, similar to a buckeye seed, is not poisonous but should not be eaten. The fruit matures about 100 days after flowering. There are two subspecies:

• • •

Litchi chinensis subsp. chinensis. China, Indochina (Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia). Leaves with 4 to 8 (rarely 2) leaflets. Litchi chinensis subsp. philippinensis (Radlk.) Leenh. Philippines, Indonesia. Leaves with 2-4 (rarely 6) leaflets.

Cultivation and uses

lychee showing a peeled fruit

Lychees are extensively grown in China, and also elsewhere in South-East Asia, especially in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, southern Japan, and more recently in California, Hawaii, Texas, Florida, the wetter areas of eastern Australia and sub-tropical regions of South Africa, Israel and also in the states of Sinaloa and San Luis Potosí (specifically, in La Huasteca) in Mexico. They require a warm subtropical to tropical climate that is cool but also frost-free or with only very slight winter frosts not below -4°C, and with high summer heat, rainfall, and humidity. Growth is best on well-drained, slightly acidic soils rich in organic matter. A wide range of cultivars is available, with early and late maturing forms suited to warmer and cooler climates respectively. They are also grown as an ornamental tree as well as for their fruit.

Germinating Lychee seed with its main root.(about 3 months old)

A normal-sized seed(left) and a small-sized (Chicken tongue) seed(right) Lychees are commonly sold fresh in Vietnamese, Chinese and Asian markets, and in recent years, also widely in supermarkets worldwide. The red rind turns dark brown when the fruit is refrigerated, but the taste is not affected. It is also sold canned year-round. The fruit can be dried with the rind intact, at which point the flesh shrinks and darkens.

According to folklore, a lychee tree that is not producing much fruit can be girdled, leading to more fruit

Mango This article is about the fruit. For other meanings of the word, see Mango (disambiguation). Mango

Ripe Banganpalli mangoes from Guntur, India.

Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae Division: Angiospermae Class: Magnoliopsida Order: Sapindales Family: Anacardiaceae Genus: Mangifera Species: indica Mangoes belong to the genus Mangifera, consisting of numerous species of tropical fruiting trees in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. The mango is indigenous to India. Cultivated in many tropical and subtropical regions and distributed widely in the world, mango is one of the most extensively exploited fruits for food, juice, flavor, fragrance and color. In several cultures, its fruit and leaves are ritually used as floral decorations at weddings, public celebrations and religious ceremonies.

Cultivation and uses

Mango orchard in Multan, Pakistan

Unripe mangoes in a mango tree Mangoes have been cultivated in the Indian subcontinent for thousands of years and reached East Asia between the 5th-4th century BC. By the 10th century AD, cultivation had begun in East Africa, coming later to Brazil, West Indies and Mexico, where appropriate climate allows its growth. The 14th century Moroccan traveler, Ibn Battuta, reported it at Mogadishu. Mango is now cultivated in most frost-free tropical and warmer subtropical climates; nearly half of the world's mangoes are cultivated in India alone. Other cultivators include North, South and Central America, the Caribbean, south, west and central Africa, Australia, China, Pakistan and Southeast Asia. Many of its 1,000+ cultivars are easily cultivated, ranging from the "turpentine mango" (named for its strong taste of turpentine, which according to the Oxford Companion to Food some varieties actually contain) to the huevos de toro ("eggs of the bull", a euphemism for "bull's testicles", referring to the shape and size). Though India is the largest producer of mangoes, it accounts for less than one percent of the global mango trade, consuming most of its own output. Dwarf or semi-dwarf varieties serve as ornamental plants and can be grown in containers. A wide variety of diseases can afflict mangoes; see List of mango diseases.

Food Mango is generally sweet, although the taste and texture of the flesh varies across cultivars, some having a soft, pulpy texture similar to an over-ripe plum, while others flesh is firmer, like a cantaloupe or avocado. Some cultivars' flesh has a fibrous texture. Mango is consumed both as ripe fruit and as raw fruit (vegetable) In raw and pickle forms, the mango skin is consumed comfortably, whereas in fruits, the skin gets thicker and bitter and is usually not eaten. The ripe mango is commonly eaten fresh.

Banana Banana

Peeled, whole, and cross section

Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae (unranked): Angiosperms (unranked): Monocots (unranked): Commelinids Order: Zingiberales Family: Musaceae Genus: Musa Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red. In popular culture and commerce, "banana" usually refers to soft, sweet "dessert" bananas. Bananas from a group of cultivars with firmer, starchier fruit are called plantains. They are native to tropical Southeast Asia, and are likely to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea. Today, they are cultivated throughout the tropics. They are grown in at least 107 countries, primarily for their fruit, and to a lesser extent to make fiber and as ornamental plants.

'Cavendish' bananas are the main commercial cultivar Although fruit of wild species have large, hard seeds, virtually all culinary bananas have only tiny seeds. Bananas are classified either as dessert bananas (meaning they are yellow and fully ripe when eaten) or as green cooking bananas. Almost all export bananas are of the dessert types; however, only about 10â&#x20AC;&#x201C;15% of production is for export. The United States and European Union are the dominant importers.

Blackberry This article is about the fruit. For the mobile telephone/email device, see BlackBerry. For other uses, see Blackberry (disambiguation). Blackberry

Ripe, ripening and unripe blackberries on a bush

Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae Division: Magnoliophyta Class: Magnoliopsida Order: Rosales Family: Rosaceae Genus: Rubus Subgenus: Rubus (formerly Eubatus) Species • Rubus ursinus • Rubus argutus •

Rubus fruticosus Blackberry



The blackberry is an edible fruit produced by any of several species in the Rubus genus of the Rosaceae family. The fruit is not a true berry; botanically it is termed an aggregate fruit. The plants typically have biennial canes and perennial roots. Blackberries and raspberries are also called caneberries or brambles. It is a widespread, and well known group of over 375 species, many of which are closely related apomictic microspecies native throughout the temperate Northern hemisphere and South America.

Cultivation and uses Primary cultivation takes place in the state of Oregon located in the United States of America. Recorded in 1995 and 2006: 6,180 acres (25.0 km2) to 6,900 acres (28 km2) of blackberries, producing 42.6 to 41.5 million pounds, making Oregon the leading blackberry producer in the world. While Oregon may lead the world in volume of fruit produced, Serbia has tremendous acreage and Mexico has had dramatically increasing acreage and will soon lead the world in hectarage and production. The soft fruit is popular for use in desserts, jams, seedless jellies and sometimes wine. Since the many species form hybrids easily, there are numerous cultivars with more than one species in their ancestry.

Good nectar producers, blackberry shrubs bearing flowers yield a medium to dark, fruity honey.

Blackberry flower The blackberry is known to contain polyphenol antioxidants, naturally occurring chemicals that can upregulate certain beneficial metabolic processes in mammals. The astringent blackberry root is sometimes used in herbal medicine as a treatment for diarrhea and dysentery. The related but smaller dewberry can be distinguished by the white, waxy coating on the fruits, which also usually have fewer drupelets. (Rubus caesius) is in its own section (Caesii) within the subgenus Rubus. In some parts of the world, such as in Australia, Chile, New Zealand and the Pacific Northwest region of North America, some blackberry species, particularly Rubus armeniacus (syn. R. procerus, 'Himalaya') and Rubus laciniatus ('Evergreen') are naturalised and considered an invasive species and a serious weed. As there is forensic evidence from the Iron Age Haraldskær Woman that she consumed blackberries some 2500 years ago, it is reasonable to conclude that blackberries have been eaten by humans over thousands of years.

FISH OF BANGLADESH Hilsha Fish Hilsha fish is national fish of Bangladesh. People in our country like this fish very much. It is very delicious and nutritious. There is a proverb that ‘Vat-e Mas-e Bangali’ (Bangladeshis are fond of rice and fish). Pohela Boishakh (1st Day of Bengali Year) is

celebrated by eating fried Hilsha fish with Panta Rice. New or rich guests are entertained by the Hilsha fish. We get sufficient protein from Hilsha fish. Our national economy is being developed by exporting Hilsha Fish. Not only have these, Hilsha fishes also contribute 1% in our GDP. In the world about 60% Hilsha fishes are found in Bangladesh.

Photo from Khilgoan Taltola Super Market

Hilsha fish is migratory kind of fishes. Hilsha fishes come from the channel (mouth) of rivers from the sea due to spawn in the Bangladesh. After laying eggs they returned to the sea. From six to seven months these young Hilsha fishes stay in the rivers or channels and then they go to the sea being maturity. Hilsha fishes are found almost all the big rivers in Bangladesh. Mainly Hilsha fishes are found in the Padma, Meghna, Jomuna, Brohmoputra and low land area of Southern part of Bangladesh. In the rainy season Hilsha fishes are found more in the Padma, Meghna and Jomuna. In the decade of 90th, Hilsha fish productions were decreasing due to several reasons, like as: effecting of the Farakka Dam, making dams for irrigation or controlling flood, water pollution, catching young Hilsha fish etc.As it is a national fish the Government of Bangladesh tries to protect this Hilsha fish by taking some steps. Such as: in 2003-04 Govt. declared to stop catching young Hilsha fish and mother of Hilsha fish. Rallies, seminars, distributing flyers were arranged by the Govt. due to increase awareness. Fishermen and businessmen were organized to protect this silver wealth of Bangladesh. The Natural gift and the mercy of God, these Hilsha fishes are very dear to the people of Bangladesh and India. Day by day its demand is increasing to the people of Bangladesh and India. On last June- July of 2007, a problem occurred between India & Bangladesh for the Hilsha fish. Due to high demand of Hilsha fish in India, the businessmen and the fishermen of Bangladesh exported most of the Hilsha fish to India and as a result the people of Bangladesh was bereft of Hilsha fish. At that time Hilsha fishes were valuable and difficult to obtain in Bangladesh. People and Newspaper of Bangladesh started to publish the real situation of Hilsha fish and then on 4th July of 2007, the present Care- Taker Govt. stopped to export Hilsha fish to our

neighbor country India for six months. Though govt. could not stop the whole dishonest businessmen who send Hilsha fishes to the India in unlawful way; day by day Hilsha fish became available in Bangladesh. Conversely, people of India also pressured to the local Govt. of India to solve this problem as they also like Bangladeshiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s famous Hilsha fish!!!!

He is selling Hilsha fish in the Khilgoan Taltola kitchen market

Wallago attu Wallago

Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Teleostomi Order: Cypriniformes Family: Siluridae Genus: Wallago Species: W. attu Binomial name Wallago attu Wallago attu is a species of catfish in the family Siluridae, or "sheatfishes". The fish is commonly known by its genus name, wallago. Found in large rivers and lakes, it can reach 2.4 m (8 feet) total length. This south Asian fish is found from Pakistan to Vietnam and Indonesia, and is also reported from Afghanistan.

The name In Malaysia, the wallago is known as "Ikan Tapah," and this name is the origin of the name of a Malaysian town, Tapah. It is also known as Wallagonia attu, Boal Fish etc. In Bengal and Assam, it is known as Boal and Borali respectively. Aggressiveness

Its common to find huge frogs and fishes inside its stomach, when cut for cooking. It has been claimed that in some areas of Thailand the natives fear the species because of its believed habit of eating small ducks, dogs, and small children. It is thought the Tapah became this aggressive due to natives laying to rest their dead in the water. The catfish would then see this as a ready supply of food

Grass Carp Grass Carp

Juvenile Grass Carp

Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Cypriniformes Family: Cyprinidae Subfamily: Cyprininae Ctenopharyngodon Genus: Steindachner, 1866

Species: C. idella Binomial name Ctenopharyngodon idella

The Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) is a herbivorous, freshwater fish species of family Cyprinidae, and the only species of the genus Ctenopharyngodon. It is cultivated in China for food but was introduced in Europe and the United States for aquatic weed control (see, e.g., Ponchatoula Creek). It is a large cyprind native to Eastern Asia, with a native range from Northern Vietnam to the Amur River on the Siberia-China border. It is a fish of large, turbid rivers and associated floodplain lakes, with a wide degree of temperature tolerance. Grass carp are usually thought to enter reproductive condition and spawn at temperatures of 20 to 30 째C (68 to 86 째F), but have been shown to sometimes spawn at temperatures as low as 15 째C (59 째F). In the United States, the fish is also known as White Amur, a name developed to avoid use of the name "carp", which has derogatory connotations in North America. The name derives from the Amur River, where the species is probably native, but has never been abundant. This is not to be confused with the White Amur Bream (Parabramis pekinensis) which is not a particularly close relative as Cyprinidae go.

Walking catfish Walking catfish

Conservation status Secure Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Siluriformes Family: Clariidae Genus: Clarias Species: C. batrachus Binomial name Clarias batrachus

The walking catfish, Clarias batrachus, is a species of freshwater airbreathing catfish found primarily in Southeast Asia, so named for its ability to "walk" across dry land, to find food or suitable environments. While it does not truly walk as most bipeds or quadrupeds do, it has the ability to use its pectoral fins to keep it upright as it makes a sort of wiggling motion with snakelike movements. It can survive using this form of locomotion as long as it stays moist. This fish normally lives in slow-moving and often stagnant waters in ponds, swamps, streams and rivers (Mekong and Chao Phraya basins), flooded rice paddies or temporary pools which may dry up. When this happens, its "walking" skill comes in handy for moving to other sources of water.

Silver carp Silver carp

Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Cypriniformes Family: Cyprinidae Genus: Hypophthalmichthys Species: H. molitrix Binomial name Hypophthalmichthys molitrix The silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) is a species of freshwater cyprinid fish, a variety of Asian carp native to north and northeast Asia. It is cultivated in China. Pound for pound, more silver carp are produced worldwide in aquaculture than any other species. Silver carp are usually farmed in polyculture with other Asian major carps, or sometimes Indian major carps or other species. It has been introduced to, or spread into via connected waterways,

at least 88 countries around the world. The most common reason for importation was for use in aquaculture, but enhancement of wild fisheries and water quality control were also important reasons for importation

Diet The silver carp is a filter feeder, and possesses a remarkably specialized filtration apparatus capable of filtering particles as small as 4 Âľm. The gill rakers are fused into a sponge-like filter, and an epibranchial organ secretes mucus which assists in trapping small particles. A strong buccal pump forces water through this filter. Silver carp, like all Hypophthalmichthys species, have no stomachs; they are thought to feed more or less constantly. Silver carp are thought to feed largely on phytoplankton; they also consume zooplankton and detritus. Because of their plankton-feeding habits, there is concern that they will compete with native planktivorous fishes, which in North America include paddlefish (Polyodon spathula), gizzard shad (Dorosoma petenense), and young fish of almost all species. Because they feed on plankton, they are sometimes successfully used as methods for controlling water quality, especially in the control of noxious cyanobacteria(blue-green algae). However, these efforts are sometimes not successful. Certain species of blue-green algae, notably the often toxic Mycrocystis, can pass through the gut of silver carp unharmed, and pick up nutrients while in the gut. Thus, in some cases blue-green algae blooms have been exacerbated by silver carp. Also, Mycrocystis has been shown to produce more toxins in the presence of silver carp. Silver carp, which have natural defenses to the toxins produced by blue-green algae, sometimes can contain enough algal toxins in their systems that they become hazardous to eat.

Tilapia Tilapias

Nile (Oreochromis niloticus niloticus)


Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Perciformes Family: Cichlidae Subfamily: Pseudocrenilabrinae Tribe: Tilapiini Genera

Tilapia is the common name for nearly a hundred species of cichlid fish from the tilapiine cichlid tribe. Tilapia inhabit a variety of fresh water habitats including shallow streams, ponds, rivers, lakes, and estuaries. Most tilapia are omnivorous with a preference for aquatic vegetation and detritus. Historically they have been of major importance in artisan fishing in Africa and the Levant and are of increasing importance in aquaculture (see tilapia in aquaculture). Tilapia can become problematic invasive species in new warm-water habitats, whether deliberately or accidentally introduced but generally not in temperate climates due to their inability to survive in cool waters, generally below 60 째F (16 째C). (See tilapia as exotic species). Nutrition Tilapia have very low levels of mercury as they are a fast-growing and short-lived fish that mostly eats a vegetarian diet and therefore do not accumulate mercury found in prey. Tilapia is a low total fat, low saturated fat, low calorie, low carbohydrate and low sodium protein source. It is also an excellent source of Phosphorus, Niacin, Selenium, Vitamin B12 and Potassium.

Tire track eel Tire track eel

Conservation status Least Concern

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Synbranchiformes Family: Mastacembelidae Genus: Mastacembelus Species: M. armatus Binomial name Mastacembelus armatus Tire track eel (Mastacembelus armatus) is a species of ray-finned, spiny eels belonging to the genus Mastacembelus (Scopoli, 1777) of the family Mastacembelidae, and is native to the riverine fauna of India, Pakistan, Sumatra, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Viet Nam, Indonesia and other parts of South East Asia. The species was named Mastacembelus armatus by Lacepède in 1800. The other common names for this popular aquarium species are zigzag eel, spiny eel, leopard spiny eel and white-spotted spiny eel. This species is not only a popular aquarium fish but also as a food fish in its country of origin.

Physical description Mastacembelus armatus is a large elongated fish that has a snake-like body without pelvic fins. Its anal and dorsal fins are elongated and are connected to the caudal fin. The dorsal fin is preceded by numerous spines. The back is dark beige in color while the head is silverbeige. The bodyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s color is dull brown and the belly is a lighter shade of brown. The body may also be marked with brown circular patterns. The body also have one to three darker longitudinal zigzag lines that connect to form a distinct reticulated pattern that is restricted to the dorsal two-thirds of the body. The eyes have brown stripes running laterally through them. Mastacembelus armatus can reach up to 36" (91 cm) in its natural habitat but does not usually exceed 20" (51 cm) in captivity. Despite its eel-like appearance, Mastacembelus armatus is not considered a true eel.

ANIMALS OF BANGLADESH Plant and Animal Life of Bangladesh With the exception of the Chittagong Hill Tracts District, portions of the Madhupur Tract, and the Sundarbans (a great tidal mangrove swamp in the southwestern corner of the country), few extensive forests remain in Bangladesh, the forested and wooded area amounting to about one-eighth of the total area. Broadleaf evergreen species characterize the hilly regions, and deciduous trees, such as acacia and banyan, are common in the drier plains areas. Commercially valuable trees in Bangladesh include sundari (hence the name

Sundarbans), gewa, sal (mainly growing in the Madhupur Tract), and garyan (in the Chittagong Hill Tracts District). Village groves abound in fruit trees (mango and jackfruit, for instance) and date and areca (betel) palms. The country also has many varieties of bamboo. Bangladesh is rich in fauna, including 109 indigenous species of mammals, 684 types of birds, 119 kinds of reptiles, 19 different amphibians, and 200 varieties of marine and freshwater fish. The rhesus monkey is common, and gibbons and lemurs are also found. The Sundarbans area is one of the principal remaining domains of the Bengal tiger, and herds of elephants and many leopards inhabit the Chittagong Hill Tracts District. Other animals living in Bangladesh include mongoose, jackal, Bengal fox, wild boar, parakeet, kingfisher, vulture, and swamp crocodile.

The Royal Bengal Tiger The majestic Royal Bengal Tiger is the national animal Bangladesh. Highly endangered, the Royal Bengal can now be mostly be found in the Sundarbans. One of the largest of the 'big cats', it has extremely bold and striking colour pattern - making it perhaps the most magnificent and sought-after fiery beast of the world! The vivid pattern of stripes on the glossy skin serves as a very effective camouflage in the grasses and foliage almost in all the seasons. The male averages 3 metres in length including 1 meter of tail and wiighs about 180 kg., though much larger speciemens have been lnown. The giant one is the Siberian tiger, almost 4 metres long and weighing about 300 kg.

Deers The Sambar Deer is the most widely spread deer species in the world, covering many countries in the Asian continent. It is also one of the larger members of the deer family. Some males are known to weigh up to 300 kgs and can grow to a height ranging from 135 - 150 cms at the shoulders. These animals have a life expectancy ranging between 16 - 20 years. They are the favourite prey species of the tiger. A large sambar can feed a feed tiger for up to 4 days. Unlike the Spotted deer, which shouts an alarm and darts away at the sight of a predator, the sambar tends to alertly watch and keep giving alarm

calls until the danger has passed. A reason due to which many of them fall prey for predators. The Sambar can be found in the wooded hills of the north-east and east.

The Barking Deer

The Chital Deer

The Chital (spotted deer) is also very common in the forests of the Sundarban. The Chital is perhaps the most beautiful of all deer. Its coat is bright rufous-fawn profusely spotted with white at all ages and all seasons. They are seen in herds of 10-30, which contains 2-3 stags. They are seen in grassy forest glades, forest edges, woodland and shaded streams in moist and dry deciduous forests upto 1000 m. Average height is 36 in. (90 cm.) and weighs about 190 lb. (85 kg.) The barking deers are small deer of the forests. They are noted for barking like dogs when alarmed and during the breeding season, and for having tiny antlers and tusklike canine teeth.

Apes and Monkeys Primates also abound all over Bangladesh, but most abundantly in the Sundarbans and the Hill Tracts. Amongst the various species you will find the Hoolock Gibbon (the only ape in the subcontinent) as wells as langurs, and various species' of monkeys. Hoolock gibbons mate for life and defend their territories with whistling

songs that echo through the forests in the early mornings, giving rise to their nickname of the "singing ape."


The elephant is mostly found in the wild in the Hill Tracts and is also a protected animal. Elephant habitat in Bangladesh is confined almost entirely to the forested hills of the east, and even there habitat is giving way to monoculture plantations of teak, rubber, and tea. Only 200-350 wild elephants are thought to survive, with herds moving between Bangladesh and neighbouring India. There may be around 50 domestic elephants.

RIVERS OF BANGLADESH Bangladesh is a riverine country. About 700 rivers including tributaries flow through the country constituting a waterway of total length around 24,140 km . Most of the country's land

is formed through silt brought by the rivers. Following is a list of some of the major rivers of Bangladesh:

River Padma in Rainy Season • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Atrai River Bangali River Balu River Baral River Biskhali River Bhoirov River Brahmaputra River Buriganga River Bura Gauranga River Dakatua River Dhaleshwari River Dhepa River Feni River Gorai-Madhumati River Halda River Jaldhaka River Jamuna River Karnaphuli River Kopothakho River Kushiyara River Khowai River Karotoa River Mahananda River Manu River, Tripura Meghna River Muhuri River Naf River Punarbhaba River Pusur River

River Meghna from the bridge over the river

• • • • •

Shitalakshya River Surma River Teesta River Titas River Turag River

Padma River

A Map showing major rivers in Bangladesh including Padma. This article is about the river. For other uses, see Padma (disambiguation). The Padma (Bengali: পদ্মা Pôdda) is a major trans-boundary river in Bangladesh. It is the main distributary of the Ganges (Bengali: গঙ্গা Gôngga), which originates in the Himalaya. The Padma enters Bangladesh from India near Chapai Nababganj. It meets the Jamuna (Bengali: যমুনা Jomuna) near Aricha and retains its name, but finally meets with the Meghna (Bengali: েমঘনা) near Chandpur and adopts the name 'Meghna' before flowing into the Bay of Bengal. Rajshahi, a major city in western Bangladesh, is situated on the north bank of the Padma. It's maximum depth is 1,571 feet (479 m) and average depth is 968 feet (295 m). Course Originated in the Gangotri Glacier of the Himalaya, the Ganges runs to the Bay of Bengal through India, entering Bangladesh at Shibganj in the district of Chapai Nababganj. Just west of Shibganj, the distributary Bhagirathi emerges and flows southwards as the Hooghly. After the point where the Bhagirathi branches off, the Ganges is officially referred to as the Padma and the river Bhagirathi uses the name of Ganga. Later the Britishers started calling Bhagirathi as Hoogly river.

Boat on Padma River Further downstream, in Goalando, 2200 km away from the source, the Padma is joined by the mighty Jamuna (Lower Brahmaputra) and the resulting combination flows with the name Padma further east, to Chandpur. Here, the widest river in Bangladesh, the Meghna, joins the Padma, continuing as the Meghna almost in a straight line to the south, ending in the Bay of Bengal. Mythology

River Padma in Rainy Season The Padma is numerously mentioned in Hindu Mythology including the Vedas, the Puranas, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. In all myths, the river is mentioned as a Goddess though the origin differs. Padma losing its glory After building of Farakka Barrage on the upstream of the river in Indian West Bengal the water carring capacity reduces significantly that put harm to a large part of southern Bangladesh as well as fish life and other living creature of the river.

Meghna River

A Map showing major rivers in Bangladesh including Meghna. The Meghna River (Bengali: েমঘনা নদী) is an important river in Bangladesh, one of the three that forms the Ganges Delta, the largest on earth fanning out to the Bay of Bengal. The Meghna is formed inside Bangladesh by the joining of different rivers originaing from the hilly regions of eastern India. The river meets Padma River in Chandpur District. The river ultimately flows into the Bay of Bengal in Bhola District. The Meghna is the widest river among those that flow completely inside the boundaries of Bangladesh. At one point near Bhola, Meghna is 12 km wide. In its lower reaches this river follows almost a straight line in its path. Despite its very calm and quiet look, this river is the cause of many deaths every year. Several ferry sinkings in the past have killed hundreds, like the MV Salahuddin-2 and the MV Nasrin-1. Near Chandpur it is very dangerous. The river's average depth is 1,012 feet (308 m) and maximum depth is 1,620 feet (490 m). In the origin of Hatiya and Bhola, the deepest point is the Meghna River Creek, it reaches 1,998 feet (609 m).

Course The Meghna is formed inside Bangladesh by the joining of the Surma and Kushiyara rivers originating from the hilly regions of eastern India. Down to Chandpur, Meghna is hydrographically referred to as the Upper Meghna. After the Padma joins, it is referred to as the Lower Meghna. Near Muladhuli in Barisal district, the Safipur River is an offshoot of the Surma that creates one of the main rivers in South Bengal. 1.5 km wide, this river is one of the widest in the country as well. At Ghatalpur of Brahmanbaria District, the river Titas emerges from Meghna and after circling two large bends by 240 km, falls into the Meghna again near Nabinagar Upazila.

Titas forms as a single stream but braids into two distinct streams which remain separate before re-joining the Meghna.

River Meghna from the bridge over the river In Daudkandi, Comilla, Meghna is joined by the great river Gomoti, created by the combination of many streams. This river reinforces Meghna a lot and increases the waterflow considerably. The pair of bridges over Meghna and Gomoty are two of the country's largest bridges. The Dakatua River is also part of the river system in Comilla district. Meghna is reinforced by the Dhaleshwari before Chandpur as well. The name for the largest distributary of the Ganges in Bangladesh is the Padma River. When the Padma joins with the Jamuna River, the largest distributary of the Brahmaputra, and they join with the Meghna in Chandpur District, the result in Bangladesh is called the Lower Meghna. When the brown and hazy water of the Padma mix with the clear water of the Upper Meghna, the two streams do not mix but flow in parallel down to the sea - making half of the river clear and the other half brown. This peculiarity of the river is always a great attraction for people. After Chandpur, when the river has the combined flow of the Padma and Jamuna it moves down to the Bay of Bengal in an almost straight line. In her course from Chandpur to Bay of Bengal, the Meghna braids into a number of little rivers including the Pagli, Katalia, Dhonagoda, Matlab and Udhamodi. All of these rivers flow out from the Meghna and rejoin again at points downstream. Near Bhola, just before flowing into the Bay of Bengal, the river divides into two main streams in the Ganges delta and separates an island from both sides of the mainland. The western stream is called Ilsha and the eastern one is called Bamni.

Titas River Titas River (Bangla: িতিতিাস Titash) is a trans-boundary river of south-eastern Bangladesh. It originates in the state of Tripura in India where it is known as Haora River in Bengali and Saidra in the local Kokborok language. Flowing near Agartala, (India), it enters Bangladesh through Akhaura Upazila in the Brahmanbaria District of Bangladesh, then merges with the Meghna River to the south near Ashuganj. The length of the river is about 98 km. There is another river of the same name which starts as a distributary of the Meghna and flows back into it.

Legends Many legends about Titas and Meghna traverse from generation to generation in world's largest deltaic country Bangladesh. One such legend says that Titas is the daughter of Meghna, who has been carrying her progeny to the Bay of Bengal since time immemorial. Amazingly enough, the two streams never commingle, and they keep a conspicuous demarcation line between them. While many hydrographers attribute this phenomenon to the difference in water properties of the two rivers, the people cherish to think of them as motherdaughter. Links to the river in other spheres Titas Gas, the biggest natural gas reserve of Bangladesh located in Brahmanbaria, which supplies gas to capital Dhaka, is named after this river. Titash Ekti Nadir Naam (A river called Titas) is a powerful story in Bengali by Advaita Malla Barman turned into a touching film by Ritwik Ghatak. It is depiction of the tragic lives of a fishing community dependent on this river.

Jamuna River

A Map showing major rivers in Bangladesh including Jamuna. The Jamuna River (Bangla: যমুনা Jomuna) is one of the three main rivers of Bangladesh. It is the main channel of the Brahmaputra River when it flows out of India into Bangladesh. The Jamuna flows south, ending its independent existence as it joins the Padma River (Pôdda) near Goalundo Ghat. Merged with the Padma (Pôdda), it meets the Meghna River near Chandpur. Its waters then flow into the Bay of Bengal as the Meghna River. The river's average depth is 395 feet (120 m) and maximum depth is 1,088 feet (332 m). The Jamuna was a barrier in establishing a direct road link between capital Dhaka and northern part of Bangladesh better known as Rajshahi Division until 1996. This was mitigated by the completion of the Jamuna Multi-Purpose Bridge.

SPORTS OF BANGLADESH Sport in Bangladesh is popular and widespread. The most popular sport in Bangladesh is cricket, Bangladesh being the top 9th team in the world, followed by football (soccer), and kabaddi. Kabaddi is the national sport of Bangladesh.


Bangladesh team is returning to the dressing room at the Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium, Dhaka. Cricket is a game which has a massive and passionate following in Bangladesh. There is a strong domestic league which on many occasions also saw players from foreign countries gracing the cricket fields of Bangladesh. Bangladesh has got the test status from ICC in 2000, which is a requirement for the countries to play Test cricket. The Bangladesh national cricket team's official logo is Royal Bengal Tiger, by which they are often referred at media. The Cricket-Culture is not at all a new phenomenon in Bangladesh. As elsewhere in the subcontinent, the game itself was first introduced to the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta region by the British rulers nearly two centuries ago. For the better part of the British rule, cricket remained a recreational game for the aristocrats, inaccessible to the common people because of colonial class distinctions and the complicated nature of the game which the locals did not

make out so easily. Following the liberation war which ended in Bangladesh gaining independence in 1971, cricket has continued to grow. However, Bangladesh Cricket team is often criticized for their poor and unstable performance in international cricket matches. The ratio of total won vs total played is very low. They won three and six draws in test matches they played since they got their test status. They have won the ninth spot in the world.

Current squad Name


Mashrafe Mortaza


Shakib Al Hasan


Tamim Iqbal


Imrul Kayes


Junaid Siddique


Mohammad Ashraful


Raqibul Hasan


Mohammad Mahmudullah


Mehrab Hossain jnr


Naeem Islam


Dolar Mahmud


Mushfiqur Rahim


Mahbubul Alam


Enamul Haque jnr


Rubel Hossain


Shahadat Hossain


Syed Rasel


Abdur Razzak



Kabaddi is a team game. Two teams of seven players occupy opposite halves of a field of 12.5m x 10m divided by a line into two halves. The teams take turns sending a "raider" across to the opposite team's half, where the goal is to tag or wrestle ("capture") members of the opposite team before returning to the home half. Tagged members are "out" and are sent off the field. The raider must not take a breath during the raid, and must prove it by constantly chanting (called 'cant' or 'dak') during the raid. Meanwhile, the defenders must form a chain, for example by linking hands; if the chain is broken, a member of the defending team is sent off. The goal of the defenders is to stop the raider from returning to the home side before taking a breath. In 1980, Bangladesh became the runners-up in the first Asian Kabaddi Championship and India emerged as the champion. Bangladesh became runners-up again in the next Asian Kabaddi Championship held in 1985 at Jaipur, India. Bangladeshi kabaddi team won the bronze medal at the 2006 Asian Games.

List of Current Players • • • • • • • • • • • •

Kazi Yunus Ahmed Razu Ahmed Md Mozammal Haque Haque Kamal Hossain Mosharrof Hossain Abul Kalam Md Badsha Miah Abu Salah Musa Md Mizanur Rahman Md Bozlur Rashid Md Abdur Rouf Ziaur Rahman Ziaur


Football is popular in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is currently ranked 150th in the FIFA ranking. Bangladesh became the 2003 South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) champion. SAFF includes Southern Asian countries and other countries from Asia. The Bangladesh national football team is controlled by the Bangladesh Football Federation. It is a member of the AFC. The side has yet to qualify for a FIFA World Cup tournament. They were eliminated in the first round of their only Asian Cup appearance to date in 1980. As is the case elsewhere on the subcontinent, the national football team stands somewhat in the shadow of the country's test cricket team. The team was founded in 1972, and joined FIFA in 1974. Apart from wins over Indonesia and Thailand in their first ever World Cup qualification in 1986, Bangladesh has struggled to impose itself. At the regional level, they have also remained in the second echelon while in Asia, the team is constantly trying to avoid being the wooden spoon of their group. However, the association is currently working hand in hand with the Vision Asia programme which will see it restructuring its domestic league as well as initiating more youth programmes. These initiatives are coming at the right time for football in Bangladesh. Football in Bangladesh has a huge following which was exemplified when the national team made history in their victory at the South Asian Football Federation Cup in 2003. The South Asia side won the final via penalties over Maldives before 50,000 home supporters. Kazi Salahuddin is Bangladesh's most famous footballer, having played professional football in Hong Kong, the first Bangldeshi player to ever do so. Another famous player is Chingla Mong Chowdhury Murruy. He is a renowned soccer personality in Bangladesh. He used to play before the liberation war. He coached brtc, was an advisor in bksp, and also received his national award in football. He also fought in the liberation war in 1971 for his country.

Sports Clubs in Bangladesh: Sport clubs have a significant contribution to the development of sports in the country. Prominent among the clubs of Bangladesh are Abahani Krirachakra, Arambag, Ajax, Azad Sporting, Brothers Union, Dhaka Mohammedan Sporting, Dhaka Wanderers, Dilkusha Sporting, GMCC, Kalabagan, Muktijoddha Sangsad, Rahmatganj, Suryatarun, Victoria Sporting, and Wari. Some of these clubs are reputed for their glorious past while others earned a name by excellent performance at national level at present. • • • • • • •

Abahani Krira Chakra Mohammedan Sporting Club Arambag Club Azad Sporting Club Brothers Union Club Victoria Sporting Club Wari Club

Traditional Sports Traditional Sports of Bangladesh are still practiced mostly in rural areas. All are not equally favourite now because of the invasion of western games. "Hadudu"(also known as 'kabaddi') is the only internationally recognized traditional sport of Bangladesh. Besides "dariabandha", "gollachut", "satchara", "borofpani", "birinchi", "kutkut", "kanamachi", "tillo", "Sologuti", "Bagh-chagol" etc are still popular in sub-urban and rural areas.


Food Habits of the people of Bangladesh reflect the geographic and climatic conditions of the land as well as effect of social and religious customs. The deltaic plains of the country are drained by a large number of RIVERs and soaked by abundant RAINFALL round the year. These factors have through the ages made cultivation of RICE and fishing the chief occupations of the people. Numerous varieties of rice are produced in the dry as well as wet

seasons. Similarly, hundreds of species of FISH are available in the rivers, CANALs, FLOODPLAIN s, HAORs, BAORs, ponds, lakes, and estuaries and in the BAY OF BENGAL. Rice and fish, therefore, figure prominently in the food habits of the people. Bangalis eat rice every day and at every meal. At daybreak a farm labourer or a fisherman starts his long day with a meal of panta, plain boiled rice soaked overnight in water and allowed to ferment a little. This watery rice, mixed with salt and CHILLI, makes a filling breakfast for the poor. Moodi or hudoom (puffed rice), cheera (flattened rice) and khoi (popped rice) are some other items of a traditional breakfast in most Bengali homes in rural areas. These items are taken with MILK or yoghurt and seasonal FRUITs like MANGO, BANANA or JACKFRUIT. They are also taken with GUD, raw country sugar made of date juice, palm juice, or cane juice. A great variety of PITHAs (homemade cakes) is made of rice, especially new rice harvested in the autumn. At weddings, the bridegroom is given naksi pithas demonstrating decorative cake making at its best. At main meals in homes of the more affluent, usually a number of dishes are served. These are bhorta (meshed VEGETABLE or fish), bhaji (sautE9ed or fried vegetables), dopeaji (fish or PRAWN cooked with plenty of chopped ONION, chilli and spice), jhol (typical fish and vegetable curry with abundance of thin gravy) and dal (lentil soup) or tauk (watery soup of vegetable and sour fruits). At a bhoj or formal feast, elaborate dishes are served. Muslims take pride in offering rich mughlai dishes like beef kabab, chicken roast, mutton rejala, biryani or plain polao and yoghurt salad or borhani. Hindus avoid beef and mutton and instead, offer vegetables and fish with plain rice. Tribal people prefer to offer roasted pork and locally distilled liquor. Muslims never take pig meat because of a religious injunction. Alcoholic drinks are TABOO in public functions of all communities except tribals. All communities take plenty of vegetables and lentil soup. Rural people grow their own vegetables and lentils and most often catch fish themselves. Meat does not figure as a common everyday dish even in urban areas because of its high price. Fish is also becoming scarce and expensive because of shrinking of floodplains due to widespread construction of EMBANKMENTs to promote cultivation of high-yielding varieties of rice for the ever-growing population. Salad of CUCUMBER, TOMATO and onion is very common. The dessert at formal or festive meals of Muslims would be zarda (saffron-coloured sweetened boiled rice), or firni-payesh, a variety of rice pudding. Rasgolla or rasmalai are also in the list of favoured desserts. Often dahi or sweetened yoghurt is offered as the concluding item of the menu. Digestive PAN is a must as a finale. There are other foods eaten in rural Bangladesh. WATER LILY seeds, also known as makna, are eaten raw or at times fried or popped. Sweet POTATO is eaten in the lean season as a substitute for rice. Between the two harvests, jackfruit too comes in handy if there is scarcity of rice. New food habits are being acquired for sheer survival. WHEAT has now become quite common in the country. Roti, chapatti or nan made of wheat flour is popular among the masses and parata, also made of wheat flour but fried in oil or butter oil, is popular in the homes of the rich. Roti is usually taken with vegetables or simply with sugar or gud or just a cup of TEA. Nan goes very well with kabab or a meat dish. Parata is taken with fried EGG, vegetables, curry or halua. Roti, nan and parata are acceptable for all meals. Not surprisingly, WHEAT has become an important second CROP during the dry season, especially in the western region of the country.

Rice is usually boiled and eaten with curry. Occasionally rice and one or more lentils are mixed, fried in oil, and then boiled to make delicious khichuri that goes well with any curry or even without anything else. Rice has other uses too. It may be grounded and made into fine flour for cakes or pithas. Rice mixed with milk and sugar makes payesh or pudding. Fish is generally eaten cooked as curry or fried with spices. A substantial quantity of fish is dried and preserved every year. Only a real connoisseur knows what a dry fish bhorta or salted HILSA curry or sidhal (sealed in earthen pots and preserved underground) paste with a lot of chilly means to the taste. Marine fisheries have vast potentialities because of the extent of the country's territorial waters. POMFRET and vetki are among very popular sea fishes. Another very popular fish is HILSA, which is usually found in plenty in the estuaries where the rivers meet the sea tide. Prawns, SHRIMPs and LOBSTERs are also popular but prices are quite high because of their worldwide demand. Hundreds of shrimp farms have sprung up in the coastal belt in recent decades to meet the demands of the overseas market. The soft muddy soil of Bangladesh is ideally suited to producing a large variety of vegetables. Fruits, seeds, roots, tubers, bulbs, stems, leaves, or flower parts add taste to the bowl of rice. Green plants are popular, boiled or fried in oil with green chillies. A large part of the vegetable production is exported to the Middle East and UK and this tends to push up prices in the home market. Potato cultivation has increased, due partly to increased domestic consumption, and partly to increased cold storage facilities. But potato is not yet deemed as a substitute for rice. GOURD, BRINJAL, BEANs, RADISH, CAULIFLOWER, cabbage, tomato and CARROTs are popular in both urban and rural areas. A concerted health campaign to encourage increased consumption of vegetables, especially leafy vegetables, to prevent night blindness among children and to attain a better balance in food in general has generated greater interest and increased their intake by the rich and the poor. Various kinds of tropical fruit, including ORANGEs, are grown in Bangladesh. The appeal of jackfruit is universal and it is grown in abundance. The poor welcome it as substitute for rice during the lean season. Eating varieties of luscious Rajshahi mango is a real treat. The juicy LITCHIs of RAJSHAHI are pleasing both to the eye and the tongue. PINEAPPLE is another treat. Lots of them are grown on the hill terraces of the CHITTAGONG HILL TRACTS and SYLHET as well as on the plains. The SREEMANGAL variety, known as calendar, is the best and resembles the Hawaiian variety. Bangladesh grows other fruits too, such as GUAVAs, PLUMs, melons, BANANAs and berries, to name only a few. The meat produced in Bangladesh is not enough to meet domestic demand. The shortage is met by import of CATTLE through the porous borders of India where cow slaughtering is forbidden (or restricted in some states). The availability of POULTRY has increased because of the setting up of a large number of breeding farms all over the country. Farm eggs are now available in plenty. Dhaka kabab and bakarkhani are speciality of metropolitan DHAKA. Kabab was introduced by the Moghuls. It is made of chunks of meat skewered on an iron spike and cooked well in charcoal fire. It is like the donar kabab made in Turkey and shwarma made in the Middle East. Bakarkhani is a dry flat bread baked in tandoor or charcoal peat and that goes very well with kabab. is scarce and the shortage is met by import of dried milk powder from Western countries. A major consumer of milk and milk powder as well as sugar is the sweetmeat MILK

industry. It uses chhana (curdled milk) to make a wide variety of exotic but delicious sweets like rasgolla, rasmalai, sandesh, pranhara, mohanbhog, khirmohan and kalajam. All classes of people consume these sweets as often as they can. These must be offered to the guests at home and at festive occasions like child births, birthdays, successes in examinations and job searches, promotions, weddings, and to inaugurate entering a newly-built house or a business office. A visit to a relative's house is unthinkable without carrying a packet of sweets. Sandesh pitha, also known as poa pitha or teler pitha, is prepared from a mixture of rice flour, gud and water and fried in mustard oil. This pitha remains fresh for a few days even in the hot climate. As a common practice, it is carried by a messenger in an earthen pot to convey a good news to the family of a close relative or friend. Another popular pitha is chitoi, a mixture of rice, flour and water cooked dry in a clay pan. It is eaten best with the thick gravy of off-the-bone chicken or duck. Chitoi is also delicious when soaked overnight in sweetened milk. Pati shapta is a variety of rolled pancake with a filling of kheer or thickened milk. Kheer is also eaten as a sweet dish when cooked with rice in the ratio of 16 parts of milk and one part of rice. The food habits of the people have been undergoing changes according to the demands of the time. Working people these days flock to roadside eating shops for quick meals at a low cost. Such shops have sprung up all over the country to cater to the needs of construction workers, truck drivers, RICKSHAW pullers, vendors, shop assistants and, of course, travellers. These shops offer rice, vegetable, fish curry, chicken curry and dal. Bottled cold drinks and even bottled water are on offer. A cheaper alternative is green COCONUT water. Tea is available everywhere. So are potato chips, biscuits and choc bars. In the urban areas hundreds of restaurants, often air-conditioned, offer Chinese, Thai and Indian cuisine for affluent families and business clients. Restaurants of classy HOTELS offer a wide variety of oriental and western dishes and often cater to large lunches or dinner parties in an air-conditioned ambience. Alcoholic drinks are also served at these parties. Fast food restaurants have lately been coming up in a big way, mainly to cater to the needs of the younger generation. Sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs and cold drinks or coffees are favourite items. Trendy clubs have also come up in major cities with restricted memberships. These clubs have good restaurants and also bars and are frequented by families desiring exclusiveness. Tourist hotels and motels at selected sites and resorts also offer a variety of food items to their guests

THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AND ARCHITECTURAL MONUMENTS OF BANGLADESH Bangladesh is a country considerably rich in archaeological wealth, especially of the medieval period both during the Muslim and pre-Muslim rules, though most of it is still unexplored and unknown. In archaeological fieldwork and research this area was very much neglected for a long time for various reasons, not the least of which are its difficult geography and climate and remoteness from the main centres of the subcontinent. With the independence of Bangladesh in 1971 the Government has undertaken a number of field projects including a comprehensive survey and exploration of the hitherto unexplored areas and a fairly ambitious scheme of excavations on selected sites. Though work at present is carried out on a limited scale, the discoveries already made have been significant. while new information and fresh evidence are coming out gradually. These fresh explorations are likely to add substantially to our knowledge of the history and chronology of ancient Bangladesh and various aspects of her life and culture. The earlier history of Bangladesh reveals that Buddhism received royal patronage from some important ruling dynasties like the great Pala rulers. the Chandras and the Deva Kings. Under their royal patronage numerous wellorganized, self-contained monasteries sprang up all over the country. The major archaeological sites are described below. • • • • • • •

Paharpur Mahasthangarh Mainamati Lalbagh Fort Shait-Gumbad Mosque, Bagherhat Sonargaon Kantanagar Temple, Dinajpur

Paharpur Paharpur is a small village 5 km. west of Jamalganj in the greater Rajshahi district where the remains of the most important and the largest known monastery south of the Himalayas has been excavated. This 7th century archaeological find covers approximately an area of 27 acres of land. The entire establishment, occupying a quadrangular court; measuring more than 900 ft. externally on each side, has high enclosure-walls about 16 ft. in thickness and from 12 ft. to 15 ft. in height. With elaborate gateway complex on the north, there are 45 cells on the north and 44 in each of the other three sides with a total number of 177 rooms. The architecture of the pyramidal cruciform temple is profoundly influenced by those of South- East Asia, especially Myanmar and Java. A small site-museum built in 1956-57 houses the representative collection of objects recovered from the area. The excavated findings have also been preserved at the Varendra Research Museum at Rajshahi.

The antiquities of the museum include terra-cotta plaques, images of different gods and goddesses, potteries, coins, inscriptions, ornamental bricks and other minor clay objects.

Mahasthangarh Mahasthan, the oldest archaeological site of Bangladesh is on the western bank of river Karatoa 18 km, north of Bogra town beside Bogra-Rangpur Road. The spectacular site is an imposing landmark in the area having a fortified. oblong enclosure measuring 5000 ft. by 4500 ft. with an average height of 1 5 ft. from the surrounding paddy fields. Beyond the fortified area. other ancient ruins fan out within a semicircle of about five miles radius. Several isolated mounds, the local names of which are Govinda Bhita Temple, Khodai Pathar Mound, Mankalir Kunda, Parasuramer Bedi, Jiyat Kunda etc. surround the fortified city. This 8th century archaeological site is still held to be of great sanctity by the Hindus. Every year ( mid-April ) and once in every 12 years (December) thousands of Hindu devotees join the ceremony on the bank of river Karatoa. A visit to the Mahasthangarh site museum will open up for you wide variety of antiquities, ranging from terra-cotta objects to gold ornaments and coins recovered from the site. For visiting Paharpur and Mahasthangarh. the visitors may enjoy the hospitality of Parjatan Motel at Bogra. Mahasthangarh and Paharpur are only 18 km. and 75 km. respectively from Bogra town. Rajshahi is famous for pure silk. Silk processing industry of the Seri-Culture Board is just ten minutes walk from Parjatan Motel at Rajshahi. Besides the Seri-Culture Board, a visit to Varendra Research Museum at the heart of the city for archaeological finds, would be most rewarding.

Mainamati An isolated low, dimpled range of hills. dotted with more than 50 ancient Buddhist settlements of the 8th to 12th century AD known as Mainamati-Lalmai range are extended through the centre of the district of Comilla. Salban Vihara, almost in the middle of the Mainamati-Lalmai hill range consists of 115 cells. built around a spacious courtyard with cruciform temple in the centre facing its only gateway complex to the north resembling that of the Paharpur Monastery.

Kotila Mura situated on a flattened hillock. about 5 km. north of Salban Vihara inside the Comilla Cantonment area is picturesque Buddhist establishment. Here three stupas are found side by side representing the Buddhist "Trinity" or three jewels i.e. the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Charpatra Mura is an isolated small oblong shrine situated about 2.5 km. north-west of Kotila Mura stupas. The only approach to the shrine is from the East through a gateway which leads to a spacious hall. The Mainamati site Museum has a rich and varied collection of copper plates, gold and silver coins and 86 bronze objects. Over 150 bronze statues have been recovered mostly from the monastic cells, bronze stupas, stone sculptures and hundreds of terra-cotta plaques each measuring on an average of 9" high and 8" to 12" wide. Mainamati is only 105 km from Dhaka city and is just a day's trip by road on the way to Chittagong.

Lalbagh Fort The capital city Dhaka predominantly was a city of the Mughals. In hundred years of their vigorous rule successive Governors and princely Viceroys who ruled the province, adorned it with many noble monuments in the shape of magnificent palaces, mosques, tombs, fortifications and 'Katras' often surrounded with beautifully laid out gardens and pavilions. Among these, few have survived the ravages of time, aggressive tropical climate of the land and vandal hands of man. But the finest specimen of this period is the Aurangabad Fort, commonly known as Lalbagh Fort. which. indeed represents the unfulfilled dream of a Mughal Prince. It occupies the south western part of the old city, overlooking the Buriganga on whose northern bank it stands as a silent sentinel of the old city. Rectangular in plan, it encloses an area of 1082' by 800' and in addition to its graceful lofty gateways on south-east and north-east corners and a subsidiary small unpretentious gateway on north, it also contains within its fortified perimeter a number of splendid monuments, surrounded by attractive garden. These are, a small 3-domed mosque, the mausoleum of Bibi Pari the reputed daughter of Nawab Shaista Khan and the Hammam and Audience Hall of the Governor. The main purpose of this fort, was to provide a defensive enclosure of the palatial edifices of the interior and as such was a type of palace- fortress rather than a siege fort.

Shait-Gumbad Mosque, Bagherhat

In mid 15th century, a Muslim colony was founded in the inhospitable mangrove forest of the Sundarbans near the sea coast in the Bagherhat district by an obscure saint-General, named Ulugh Khan Jahan. He was the earliest torch bearer of Islam in the south who laid the nucleus of an affluent city during the reign of Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah (1442-59), then known as 'Khalifatabad' (present Bagherhat). Khan Jahan adorned his city with numerous mosques, tanks, roads and other public buildings, the spectacular ruins of which are focused around the most imposing and largest multidomed mosques in Bangladesh, known as the Shait-Gumbad Masjid (160'x 108'). The stately fabric of the monument, serene and imposing, stands on the eastern bank of an unusually vast sweet-water tank, clustered around by the heavy foliage of a low-lying countryside, characteristic of a seacoast landscape. The mosque roofed over with 77 squat domes. including 7 chauchala or four-sided pitched Bengali domes in the middle row. The vast prayer hall. although provided with 11 arched doorways on east and 7 each on north and south for ventilation and light. presents a dark and sombre appearance inside. It is divided into 7 longitudinal aisles and 11 deep bays by a forest of slender stone columns. from which springs rows of endless arches, supporting the domes. Six feet thick, slightly tapering walls and hollow and round, almost detached corner towers, resembling the bastions of a fortress, each capped by small rounded cupolas. recall the Tughlaq architecture of Delhi. The general appearance of this noble monument with its stark simplicity but massive character reflects the strength and simplicity of the builder.

Sonargaon About 27 km. from Dhaka. Sonargaon is one of the oldest capitals of Bengal. It was the seat of Deva Dynasty until the 13th century. From then onward till the advent of the Mughals, Sonargaon was subsidiary capital of the Sultanate of Bengal. Among the ancient monuments still intact are the Tomb of Sultan Ghiasuddin (1399-l 409 AD). the shrines of Panjpirs and Shah Abdul Alla and a beautiful mosque in Goaldi village.

Kantanagar Temple, Dinajpur

The most ornate among the late medieval temple of Bangladesh is the Kantanagar temple near Dinajpur town. which was built in 1752 by Maharaja Pran Nath of Dinajpur. The temple. a 50' square three storied edifice, rests on a slightly curved raised plinth of sandstone blocks, believed to have been quarried from the ruins of the ancient city of Bangarh near Gangarampur in West Bengal. It was originally a navaratna temple, crowned with four richly ornamental corner towers on two floors and a central one over the third floor. Unfortunately these ornate towers collapsed during an earthquake at the end of the 19th Century. Inspite of this. the monument rightly claims to be the finest extant example of its type in brick and terra-cotta, built by Bengali artisans. The central cella is surrounded on all sides by a covered verandah. each pierced by three entrances. which are separated by equally ornate dwarf brick pillars. Corresponding to the three delicately caused entrances of the balcony, the sanctum has also three richly decorated arched openings on each face. Every inch of the temple surface is beautifully embellished with exquisite terra-cotta plaques, representing flora, fauna, geometric motifs, mythological scenes and an astonishing array of contemporary social scenes and favourite pastimes.

Curzon Hall Curzon


Curzon Hall is part of the school of science of the University of Dhaka. Curzon Hall meant to be a town hall, was named after Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, who laid its foundation in 1904. A year later Bengal was partitioned and Dhaka or Dacca as it was known then, became the capital of the newly created province of East Bengal and Assam. Following the annulment of partition in 1911 it was used as a premise of Dhaka College, and after the establishment of the University of Dhaka in 1921, became part of the university's science section and continues as such. Curzon Hall has attained great significance in the history of the Language Movement. It was here, in 1948, that students of Dhaka University uttered their first refusal to accept Mohammad Ali Jinnah's declaration that Urdu alone would be the state language of the whole of Pakistan. Architecture: One of the best examples of Dhaka's architecture, it is a happy blend of European and Mughal elements, particularly noticeable in the projecting facade in the north which has both horse-shoe and cusped arches. The style combined traditional art with modern technology and functions and favored Mughal forms such as arches and domes, believed to have entered the Islamic world from the west. It marks the casting aside of veiled power after the Sepoy Revolt of 1857, and India's passing directly under the British Crown, seeking legitimacy by linkage to the Mughals. The red colour substituting for red sandstone, and the ornate brackets, deep eaves, and domed terrace pavilions (chhatris), specially of the middle section are strikingly reminiscent of the small but well-known Diwan-i-Khas in the palace fortress of Fatehpur Sikri, Emperor Akbar's capital between 1570 and 1585. Not only were both cities new capitals, but the deliberate choice of the Fatehpur Sikri style may be explained by the

fact that the British favoured Akbar as the wisest and most tolerant of all the Mughals, feeding into the ideal of their own role in India.


L-R: Shafiqul Ameen, Tea Stall; Qamrul Hassan, Three Women ‘Contemporary Art in Bangladesh’ – a special volume brought out by Art & The Islamic World (UK) Ltd, was published to celebrate 50 years of the Institute of Fine Art, University of Dhaka. The Institute was earlier known as Government Institute of Art and was founded by the well-known artist Zainul Abedin and some of his colleagues in 1948.

Zainul Abedin, Famine Sketch ‘Contemporary Art in Bangladesh’ is a fine collection of articles with photographs of paintings seldom seen in any other publication. Syed Manzoorul Islam has surveyed the development of art from Bengal School to Bangladeshi Art. His article is an explicit account of the political and social milieu in which contemporary art evolved in Bangladesh. The history of contemporary art in Bangladesh begins effectively at the time of partition of the subcontinent in 1947, when Zainul Abedin (who came into public eye with his sketches of the Bengal Famine of 1943) and some of his colleagues from West Bengal, who opted to settle down in East Bengal, set up the first art school in the newly formed state. Zainul Abedin was the first Principal. This institute trained and nurtured an entire generation of new artists whose work reflected the changing times. Qamrul Hasan, Saifuddin Ahmed, Anwarul Haq were contemporaries of Zainul Abedin. This was the generation that depicted social reality in their art. The art of the fifties was a different story. As Manzoorul Islam explains " The fifties painters took to abstraction…. for two reasons. First, it was an inner compulsion, an urge to express themselves through a language, through metaphors, images, sensibilities and symbolism that they thought most clearly represented their artistic, emotional and intellectual understanding of their art. The second reason can be ascribed to a social compulsion. The establishment… disapproved of any human or figurative representation as it supposedly

contravened religious strictures." Mohammad Kibria was one of the outstanding artists of the fifties, as Monirul Islam was of the sixties.

L-R: Monirul Islam,Papyrus; Mohammad Kibria, Painting in Brown The sixties also saw artists and sculptors such as Abu Taher, Samarjit Roy Chowdhury, Anwar Jahan and many other notable names. The creation of Bangladesh as a separate entity influenced the art of the 70s. Abul Mansur writes, " A new generation of artists came to the scene who adopted a more figurative language and tried to initiate an interaction between the traditional and the contemporary. A good number of artists, including sculptors and printmakers, began to work in more varied and innovative styles." The notable painters of the 70s were Monirul Islam, Shahid Kabir, Mahmudul Haque, Kalidas Karmarkar among other well-known names.

Kajol Howlader, Morning Image-3 Writing on the contemporary art scene, Moinuddin Khalid describes how some of the artists are involved with "analytical realism". "There is at the same time, a sustained satiric tone that brings out the themes as well as identifies the artists’ position and their commitment to the society…Reconstruction of myth is also a characteristic of contemporary art. Painters are going back to the mythical past for themes and symbols….Artists are also going back to folk art – although in a much more limited way" – he adds. Among the women artists of Bangladesh – the work of Novera Ahmed finds special mention. A sculptor of the fifties, Novera did figurative works. Farida Zaman has also won national accolades for her work. The art world in Bangladesh received an impetus when the government of Bangladesh organised the First Asian Art Biennial in 1981. It is a month long event held every two years in Dhaka where Asian countries exhibit contemporary works of paintings, sculptures and graphics. Nine such Art exhibitions have been held so far.

The Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy provided the transparencies and photographs for the selection of paintings and sculptures. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Contemporary Art of Bangladeshâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; is a well-written record of the history of contemporary art in the country. The visuals are stunning and so are the layouts. A must for South Asian art lovers. The Bangladesh region contains relics of the finest specimens of Buddhist monastic architecture. The Buddhist vihara at Paharpur occupied a quadrangle measuring more than 900 feet externally at each site. "No single monastery of such dimensions" asserts an art historian", has come to light in India, and the appellation mahavihara, the great monastery as designating the place, can be considered entirely appropriate". Similar vihara of Deva dynasty has been unearthed at Mainamati. The relics of Mahasthangarh where the ancient city of Pundravardhana was located suggest that a large monastery was built there. Of notable sculptures in ancient Bengal, stone figures of Buddha from Ujani in Faridpur district, Varaha avatara from Bogra (10th century) the Vishnu Stela from Comilla (11th century) and Chandi image from Dhaka district (12th century) deserve special mention. Another remarkable achievement was the terracotta art of Paharpur which drew its inspiration from the simple village life. This depicts the daily life of people with intense human interest. As an art historian observes, "It is impossible to find in the hieratic religious art of India at any given period such a large social content, such variety of human feelings, such intimacy of contact with the events and experiences of daily life, such spontaneous action and movements, depicted with such powerful and purposeful rhythm". The Middle Age in Bengal saw the construction of a large number of Islamic monuments which were characterized by massive arches and bold clean lines. The emphasis was on utility and simplicity. Among these monuments the Satgambuz mosque of Bagerhat, the mausoleum of Shah Ali Bagdadi at Mirpur and the mosque of Rasti Khan at Hathazari deserve sp

Folklore Heritage of Bangladesh The definition of folklore might look long and tedious if we say "Whenever a lullaby is sung to a child; whenever a tongue twister or a riddle or a countingout time is used in nursery or school; whenever sayings or proverbs are told; whenever a mother shows her daughter how to sew, spin, weave, embroider, bake an old-fashioned pie;

whenever a farmer on the ancestral plot trains his son in the ways long familiar; whenever a village craftsman, carpenter, carver, shoemaker, blacksmith trains his apprentice in the use of tools; whenever in may callings the knowledge, experience, wisdom, skill, habits and practices of the past are handed down by examples or spoken world, by the elder to the new generation, without reference to books or print, then that is called Folklore." However, in Bangladesh, there is an enormous amount of influence of folklore in our old and modern Bengali literature. Therefore, to analyse and understand our culture and literature, we must be familiar with the folkloric heritage of Bangladesh and how it was collected over the years. Being a Bangladeshi, it is good to learn something about our rich heritage. If one is to make a historical survey of Bengali folklore, covering all branches of formalised folklore, such as tales, songs, ballads, proverbs, riddles, charms, superstitions, myths, legends and similar traditional materials, he must be acquainted with social and ethnic conditions of the country. The folklore of Bangladesh is heavily influenced by different races which were present years ago. The abundant folklore of the present-day Bangladesh, therefore, contains a variety of elements, which is partly to be explained by the historical forces. From the third century AD onwards, the Mouryas, the Guptas, the Palas, the Senas and the Muslims came one after another to rule the land. As a result, they grafted their ways of life and cultural traits on the indigenous population. Subsequently, Portuguese, French and English ships anchored in the harbours of Bengal. They left not only their merchandise but also their customs. Of these foreign traders, the British became the most powerful. They were able to consolidate their authority at the expense of the fading empire of the Mughal rulers. The battle of Plassy in 1757 ended with the defeat of the Nawab of Bengal. The British victory ensured the supremacy of the British East India Company over the entire subcontinent, which included Bangladesh, for nearly 200 years. As a result, the folklore of Bangladesh presents an interesting variety, both anthropological and sociological. Since a number of races established in Bengal, it only naturally follows that each race left its own mark and it was not only physical but also cultural, which collectively formed the basis of the future higher culture. There is no denying the fact that the first phase of folklore collecting was started by the British rulers of India, though the purpose behind it was obviously political and administrative. As soon as the British East India Company became ruler of Bengal it requested the British civil officers to learn about the people of the land through their culture and customs. Consequently, under the directive of the Company, scholars like William Jones, a judge of the old Supreme Court, Calcutta, established the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal in the year 1784. This Society promoted the study of the humanities, including the materials later recognised as folklore. Under the British initiative, the study of folklore was advanced primarily by the British civil officers and European missionaries. After the Sepoy Revolution of 1857, there followed more congenial atmosphere to investigate folklore. In 1858, by a proclamation of Queen Victoria, the administration was transferred from the East India Company to a Viceroy, the representative of the Queen of England. From then on, the English officials before leaving England, were instructed to mix with the Indian people to try to gain their confidence, and also to respect their religions, culture and customs. The officials who came to India were clearly familiar with the anthropology, ethnology and

of course, folklore. The officials launched many journals and publications, which richly contained enormous quality of folklore materials. Along with the civil servants, the missionaries of Great Britain, Europe and the United States made important contribution to the folklore collection and publication. Since their aim was to preach Christianity among the natives, it was incumbent on them to know the native customs. Among the missionaries, William Carey was remarkable. He served in Fort William College from 1800-1831 and with the help of native munshis he published a series of Bengali books, edited newspapers and encouraged the translations of Sanskrit folktales known in oral traditions. Other missionaries, such as Caleb Wright and Right Rev. Reginald, on the other hand, were causal travellers who kept excellent information in their books about the customs and traditions of our country. The missionaries were followed by the ontique collectors such as Kanailal Ghosal, Rajendranath Benarjee and many more. The second phase of the folklore movement was introduced by Bengali scholars of nationalistic tendencies. Rabindranath Tagore was the pioneer during the period. From 1885 to 1899, he published four essays showing the importance of Bengali folk literature. 'These four essays were compiled in his book Loka-Sahitya (Folk Literature) in 1907. Tagore patronised others and he himself collected a large number of folklore materials from his vast estate of East Bengal, including Bangladesh. He himself wrote : "When I was at Selaidah, I would always keep close contact with the Bauls (mystic folk singers) and have discussion with them, and it was fact that I infused tunes of Baul songs into many of my own songs". Many people say that 'Tagore used numerous folklore themes in many of his poems, songs, dramas, novels and short stories. Other scholars, who made important contribution to folklore were Upendra Kishore Roy Choudhury : Toontooni Pal (1910 Book on Toontooni) and Mitra Majumder Takore: Thakur Mar Jhuli (1906 Grandmother Stories), Monsur Uddin (collector of Baul songs), Jashim Uddin (who was famous for his folklore themes in dramas and poetries) and Abbas Uddin(who made folksongs popular) The third phase of folklore movement began in Dhaka, then East Bengal, in the year 1938, when the Eastern Mymensingh Literary Society was established. This promoted the collection and study of folklore. Folklore activities were, however, much accelerated when the then government established the Bangla Academy in Dhaka in 1955 to promote research work on Bengali language and literature and collected, preserved and published folklore materials. Folklore candidates, appointed by the academy, worked in regions rich in folklore. As a result, folklore materials of high quality poured in on an unending stream. So far, the Bangla Academy has published many books on folklore. Bengali ballads which are called Gatha or Geetika in Bengali are one of the earliest variety of folksongs. The dates of origin of Bengali ballads will safely go to up to the Middle Ages, if not earlier. Divergent opinions have been expressed as to the origin of ballads. There are two contending groups : (1) communalistic, and (2) individualistic. The first group saw in ballads a continuing traditions from the primitive ages and thought that these were made by a kind of communal improvisations for communal recreation. Later, critic suggested that people were too indefinite, too disorganised for such concerted efforts, and that ballads were composed under the direction of a leader who brought the necessary discipline in songs and who functioned as the main organiser and guide. According to the

critics, after an individual ballad was composed, it passed on from people to people, community to community through oral traditions. In the process some were changed, improved and sometimes even deteriorated. This individualistic theory has been accepted by the scholars at both home and abroad. Behind ever art is a man, behind the man is the race and behind the race is the social and natural environment and these influences are sure to be reflected on folklore. Bengali ballads give us an idea of the Bengali society in the Middle Ages, its joy and sorrows, laughter and tears. Bangladesh is the land of rivers -- almost all villages are linked with rivers. There is a proverb which says, "There is not a single village without a river or a rivulet and a folk poet or a minstrel". The struggle for existence was not as hard in Middle Ages as it is today and the minstrels and folk poets had ample opportunity to enjoy nature and pass care-free-time in composing songs and stories. Moreover, they were always patronised by the local feudal lords. It was, of course, Islam that gave the highest acceleration to the development of the Bengali ballads. The Turks conquered Bengal at the beginning of the 13th century. Muslims brought with them a huge store of Persian literature. The low-caste Hindus for the first time in their life had the opportunity to talk and mix with the conquering race. They saw that there were no barriers to caste and creed among Muslims and that all men were equal in Islam. In due course, the influence of the Persian romances reached the remote corner of the country. Gradually, the Hindu society also came to know of this and humanism like the south wind blew over the literature of Bengal. Even though these stories and songs were composed earlier, they were unfortunately collected from the oral tradition only by the second decade of the 20th century. It is quite obvious that these stories underwent a great change. Earlier the poets were patronised by the feudal lords, but in the later period probably when the poets lost their patrons in the British period, they became the "property of the masses rather than the classes". May be, for this reason the quality of the folk stories and songs, composed in the later period, deteriorated. Many stories and songs have been collected till now. The ballads are usually sung in accompaniment with tabors, drums, and other folk instruments. Ballad stories are sung by a leader who is called "Gayen' and he has a group of associate singers called 'Paile' who join in the chorus in illustrating the episodes. There are innumerable varieties of folk songs in the riverine Bangladesh which are sung by different cultural groups in different parts of the country. The most popular variety of songs can be divided into many different classes. The first class of songs can be divided into "Work songs" or "Occupational songs". These songs include harvest songs, which are sung at the time of harvest or cultivation; songs of the bullockcart drivers or palan-quin-bearers sung at the time of carrying passengers from one place to another; songs sung by labourers when they built roofs of a house; 'sari-gaan', sung by boatmen in the month of monsoon, at the time of boat race, etc. Kavi, however, bases mostly Hindu myths and legends and is also sung by two rival singers. They are usually sung at the time of Hindu festivals. Kavi, like Jari, may also be sung throughout the year for pure entertainment.

Both Kavi and Jari sometimes go beyond the limit of their particular subject and in the course of singing introduces modern topics or amusing national and local events. Sometimes when ritual singers indulge in personal attacks through the exchange of sharp wits, the audience bursts into laughter. We see that all the folk songs and stories of Bangladesh inform us about the then society. It depicts clearly how the people used to think, their customs, and what the principles they used to follow. Through all the folk materials collected over the years we can learn more about our country's history and tradition. We learn that Bangladesh has rich cultural and folklore heritage, which may be compared with any other country of the world rich in folklore. Since folklore has already been accepted as a social, cultural and ethnic study, Bangladeshi Folklore will also have a distinct place in the study.

MUSIC, DANCE, DRAMA AND FILM Music and dance style of Bangladesh may be divided into three categories, namely, the classical, folk and the modern. The classical style has been influenced by other prevalent classical forms of music and dances of the Indian subcontinent, and accordingly show some influences dance forms like Bharata Natyam and Kuchipudi. The folk and tribal music and dance forms of Bangladesh are of indigenous origin and rooted to the soil of Bangladesh. Several dancing styles in vogue in the north-eastern part of the Indian subcontinent, like Monipuri and Santal dances, are also practiced in Bangladesh, but Bangladesh has developed its own distinct dancing styles. Bangladesh has a rich tradition of folk songs, with lyrics rooted into vibrant tradition and spirituality, mysticism and devotion. Such folk songs also revolve round several other themes, including love themes. Most prevalent of folk songs and music traditions include Bhatiali, Baul, Marfati, Murshidi and Bhawaiya. Lyricists like Lalon Shah, Hason Raja,Kangal Harinath, Romesh Shill, Abbas Uddin and many unknown anonymous lyrists have enriched the tradition of folk songs of Bangladesh. In relatively modern context, Rabindra Sangeet and Nazrul geeti form precious cultural heritage of Bangladesh. In recent time, western influences have given rise to several quality rock bands, particularly in urban centers like Dhaka. Several musical instruments, some of them of indigenous origin, are used in Bangladesh, and major musical instruments used are bamboo flute(banshi), drums (dole), a single stringed instrument named ektara, a four stringed instrument called dotara, a pair of metal bawls used for rhythm effect called mandira. Currently, several musical instruments of western origin like guitar, drums, and saxophone are also used, sometimes alongside the traditional instruments.


Baul singers at Shantiniketan, during the colour festival Holi, Mar 2004 Bangladesh is traditionally very rich in its musical heritage. From the ancient times, music documented the lives of the people and was widely patronized by the rulers. Bangla music in ancient times was mostly linked to prayer. Due to the immense influence of Hindu mythology, most folk songs are related to some sort of praise of the gods and their creation. Songs were associated with particular groups of people, such as fishermen, cartdrivers, hermits and so on. Most songs were based on classical themes. Modernisation of Bangla music occurred at different times and most of these modernisation processes happened independently of western influence. Most notable of these changes were: • • • • •

Popularity of folk music of Sufi genres: introduction of non-Hindu notions and philosophy in music Works of Rabindranath Tagore, a Nobel Laureate poet: introduction of variations of classical music to music Works of Kazi Nazrul Islam: introduction of complicated musical composition and use of music as a revolutionary tool Modernisation of folk music: bringing folk music into mainstream Fusion work: fusion of traditional music with electronic instruments and Western work to revitalise and re-popularise Bangla music in a society increasingly overwhelmed by the West

Rabindranath Tagore wrote thousands of songs that are cherished even today. A famous writer of Bengal whose music was very popular in Bangladesh is Kazi Nazrul Islam. Lalon Fokir is a popular Bangladeshi mystic poet, famous for his spiritual tunes.

Categories The music of Bangladesh can be broadly categorized among the following genres:

Classical Bangladeshi classical music is based on modes called ragas (rag, in Bangla). All traditional Bangla music are based on classical music or on its variations.

Some of the most talented classical musicians of the sub-continent come from Bangladesh including Ustad Allauddin Khan, Sangeetacharya Tarapada Chakraborty, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Pandit Manas Chakraborty, Ustad Ayet Ali Khan, Ustad Abed Hossain Khan and so on.

Rabindra sangeet

Rabindra sangeet origins from the works of Rabindranath Tagore Rabindra sangeet is one of the best-known genres of Bangla music outside Bengal. The main origin of Rabindra sangeet is from the works of Nobel laureate poet, novelist and play writer, Rabindranath Tagore. (Rabindra sangeet literally means music of Rabindra). Rabindra sangeet itself is broadly classified into few sub-genres: • • • • •

puja porjai (prayer songs) prem porjai (love songs) [some argue prem porjai is actually a part of puja porjai] bichitra porjai (variety songs) swadesh porjai (patriotic songs) (seasonal songs)

All categories are tied by a common theme of philosophy and love. Tagore also composed most of the songs himself. Hence, a common compositional similarity is visible. All songs are based on minor variations of Sub-continental musical modes or ragas. On the other hand some songs are fundamental creation of Tagore. Also he has composed some songs based on European music. He learned about western music while living in England for about 1 year 5 months during his first visit in the year of 1878 at the age of 17. After return from England he composed a music drama "Balmikiprotiva". After grand success of this he composed another musical drama "Kalmrigoya" in few years. Both of these contain songs based on western music. We don't see any western based songs after the age of 33. Rabindranath went to England second time in 1882. However, he only stayed there a month or two. At this time he showed less interest in western music. From 1882 until 1885 he only composed 3 songs with flavour of European music. Tagore used ragaas while composing these songs as such anyone can identify them as rabindra sangeet.

Rabindra sangeet forms an integral part of almost any Bengali cultural festival and is seen as one of the most important parts of Bangla cultural heritage. These songs have also been used in several movies, both in Bangla and

Nazrul Geeti

Nazrul Geeti origins from the works of Kazi Nazrul Islam Nazrul geeti, literally meaning "music of Nazrul", are the works of Kazi Nazrul Islam, national poet of Bangladesh and active revolutionary during Indian independence movement. Unlike Rabindra sangeets mentioned above, Nazrul geetis incorporate revolutionary notions as well as more spiritual and philosophical themes. Islam used his music as a major way of disseminating his revolutionary notions, mainly by the use of strong words and powerful, but catchy, tunes. Among the revolutionary songs, Karar Oi Louho Kopat (Prison-doors of Steel) is best known and has been used several movies - especially those made during the preindependence period of Bangladesh. Islam also incorporated influences from Western India. He played an active role in carrying out a fusion between Western Indian ghazals and traditional Bengali classical music. (Ghazals are poems in Urdu presented with a semi-classical tune, popular in Western India.) Nazrul geetis that do not incorporate themes of protest essentially form what is now called Bangla ghazal. The music involves variation on ragas (modes) along with complicated timing based almost entirely on vocal work and complex structure. Due to Islam's revolutionary nature and lifestyle, Nazrul geeti was not mainstream for a very long time (and possibly still is not as commercially promoted as Rabindra sangeet). Bangladeshi singer and composer, Firoza Begum, played a very big role in popularising Nazrul geeti in both Bangladesh and West Bengal. Sohorab Hossain, Shabnam Mushtari also played a crucial role in making Nazrul geeti mainstream.


Bangla folk music has a long history. Several people contributed to what has become one of the most important musical influences in lives of Bengalis on both sides of the (West BengalBangladesh) border. Among these are Lalon Fokir, Hason Raja and Ramesh Shill. Abbas Uddin was a key player in popularising folk music later on.

Painting depicting Hason Raja. Folk music can clearly be distinguished and classified into several sub-genres: • • • • • •

• • • • • • •

Baul: mainly inspired by Lalon Fokir and his Sufi way of living and almost exclusively performed by hermits who have adopted such (Sufi) life style Bhandari: devotional music from the South (mainly Chittagong) Bhatiali: music of fishermen and boatman, almost always tied by a common raga (mode), sung solo Bhawaiya: song of bullock-cart drivers of the North (Rangpur) Gajir geet: tradition song from the North (Rangpur) Gombhira: song (originating in Chapai Nawabganj, in the North) performed with a particular distinctive rhythm and dance with two performers, always personifying a man and his grand father, discussing a topic to raise social awareness Hason Raja: devotional songs written by music composer Hason Raja (from Sylhet near Assam) that was recently repopularised as popular dance music Jaari: song that involves musical battle between two groups Jatra Pala: songs associated exclusively with plays (performed on-stage) that usually always involve historical themes presented in a very colourful way Kirtan: devotional song depicting love of Hindu god Krishno and his (best-known) wife, Radha Pala: songs from the haor (lake) area in Sylhet, Kishoregonj, and Netrokona usually performed on stage live by folk singers Kobi gaan: poems sung with simple music usually presented on stage as a musical battle between poets Lalon: best known of all folk songs and the most import sub-genre of Baul songs, almost entirely attribute to spiritual writer and composer, Lalon Fokir of Kustia (Western Bangladesh, near the border with West Bengal) Mursiya: Islamic songs of devotion of the Shi'ah groups based mainly on Western influences

• •

• •

Shaari: song of boatmen sung in group to match the beat of the oar movement Upojatiyo: songs of the minor ethnic groups - worth noting, this is not really a classification since songs of these ethnic groups (of which there are at least 13 different groups) vary widely and have very distinct and intriguing characteristics Letto's song: songs from Mymensingh (North of Dhaka) that also allegedly influenced Nazrul geeti Wedding songs: sung all over Bangladesh but always tied by similar tunes and by, obviously, a common theme, marriage

Of these several groups, Baul song is best known and was further enriched by works of Lalon. All folk songs are characterised by simple musical structure and words. Before advent of radio, stage performances of folk singers used to be possibly the only entertainment for the vast rural population of Bengal. After arrival of new communication and digital media, many of the folk songs were modernised and incorporated into modern songs (Adhunik songeet).

Baul Baul has been such a huge influence in Bangladeshi music that it deserves being called a genre on its own. However, although Baul geeti can be characterised by particular nature of music and presentation, in general, the genre is actually also defined by a definite cult. In order to understand Baul geeti, it is necessary to understand its creators. Baul is almost exclusively performed by Bauls (hermits) who are followers of Sufism in Bangladesh. (Note that traditionally bauls were Hindus; Sufism was started following the lifestyle of Lalon Shah.) In Bangladesh, in the early days of Bauls who claimed to be Muslims, with greater focus on love of the society and harmony with nature, baul geeti had to go through a major struggle of survival as did the Bauls themselves. Bauls were subjected to harsh teasing and isolation. However, with time, Islamists were forced by the general population to accept the Bauls and their spiritual music as part of the society. Current day Bauls in Bangladesh are Sufis. Most live simple lives on an absolute minimum, earned mainly from performing their music. Baul songs always incorporate simple words expressing songs with deeper meanings involving Creation, society, lifestyle and human emotions. The songs are performed with very little musical support to the main carrier, the vocal. Bauls, bohemian by nature and belief, leave on grand expeditions, writing and performing music on their entire trip to earn living and disseminate notion of love and spirituality. Ektara (literally, the one-string), Dotara (literally, the two-strings), ba(n)shi (flute made from bamboo shoot)) and cymbals are used in the presentation of Baul geeti. Although, in recent days, Baul geeti has lost popularity mainly due to disruption of the lifestyle of the bauls by urbanisation and westernisation, the songs have permanently altered Bangla music, especially in the form of Lalon geeti. Baul songs were hugely promoted by Fakir Alamgir and Feroz Shahi in Bangladesh.

Lalon Lalon geeti is the work of composer and philosopher, Lalon Shah (also known as Lalon Fokir). Most of his songs are extensions of Baul geeti. However, his songs are always more philosophical in nature, involving greater thought about abstract themes. Lalon geeti originated in Kushtia and has been popularised throughout the two Bengals (West Bengal and Bangladesh) by various artists. Among the proponents of Lalon geeti, Farida Parveen is particularly worth mentioning for her extensive work in modernising tunes.

Adhunik Adhunik songeet literally means "modern songs". Although, to outsiders, this may seem an extremely ambiguous way of nomenclature, it has particular motivations. Bangla music traditionally has been classified mainly by the region of origin and the creators of the musical genre, such as Nazrul geeti (written and composed by Kazi Nazrul Islam), ghombhira (unique to a specific area in Bangladesh), etc. However, this prevented the ability to classify any music that failed to fit into any of the classes. In the period just before Indian independence (Bengal, under British rule, was a part of one massive India that does not exactly correspond to the India of current day), several new minor musical groups emerged, mainly as playback songs for movies. These songs failed to fit into any particular genre, but seemed to be tied together by common theme of "music for the masses". Most of the music tended to be aimed at the mainstream audience - popular catchy tunes with simple words that were far moved from the classical ragas (modes). Hence, a miscellaneous category, Adhunik songeet, was created, since, at that time, this music was "modern". Although over time these so-called "modern" songs have become fairly old, they continue to be called by the same name. Interestingly, this group of song has grown faster than any other, since it is a miscellaneous category that can accommodate anything that fails to fit elsewhere. The common theme continues to exist. So, although the nomenclature itself might not be as insightful, the genre itself is still well-defined. Among the main contributors to Adhunik songeet were several singers from both West Bengal and Bangladesh. The list can never be completed, but some of the more prolific (and better known) ones from Bangladesh are: Female • • • • • •


Runa Laila (also immensely popular Ghazal and play back singer in India and Pakistan) Shahnaz Rahmatullah (mostly popular for some everlasting country songs) Sabina Yasmin (possibly most prolific in terms of number of songs) Shakila Zafar: Sings adhunik and classical, semi-classical songs. Samina Chowdhury Kanak Chapa

• • • • • • • •

Abdul Jabbar Khurshid Alam Bashir Ahmed Syed Abdul Hadi Mahmudun-nabi Shubir Nondi Andrew Kishore Khalid Hasan Milu

For a very long time, Adhunik songeet played the same role that pop currently plays in the Western World. It was the easy-to-follow and simple song that was fit for people of all age and occupation. It continues to be the most important music among middle-class, white collar Bangladeshi families to this day.

Modern music and western influence In the post-independence period, Adhunik songeet continued to attract large proportiones of music enthusiasts. However, with time, newer generations demanded more upbeat music. Starting late 80's, music involving political theme have started to gain popularity once again, in a similar fashion to growth of Nazrul geeti had gained popularity during the revolution against the British Monarch and the War of Independence of Bangladesh.

Pop music

Ayub Bachchu of L.R.B performing at a concert. Pop music initially started with the so-called band music. And as the name suggests, the music was heavily influenced by Western Music. The greatest contributors to pop music also included the following singers: • • • • • • •

Azam Khan Hasan Firoz Shai Fakir Alamgir Amani Latiff Happy Akhand Lucky Akhand

• •

Kumar Biswajit Prosanta_Das

It is worth noting that pop music of Bangladesh had an assorted history. Artists of the "Adhunik Gaan" and folk (especially new wave) genre also contributed to the pop music from time to time. The popularity of the band music was started enormously with the music of some famous band groups which had some mixed flavor of our melody with Western stream. Some of the best known bands of the era were: • • • • • • • • • • •

Ark Souls Obscure Feed Back Chime Different Touch Renessaince L.R.B Feelings Miles Winning

In the female arena, there were singers like Pilu Mumtaz who presented folk songs in new forms. However, the emergence of the young rock singer Tishma in Bangla music scene in 2003 changed the face of Bangla music for females forever with her daring new styles of rock and stage performance, and she created a revolution for the way Bangla female singers perform.

Rock music Bangla rock was started by Azam Khan, Miles and LRB. Hassan (associated with Ark) and James (Faruk Mahfuz Anam) (associated with Feelings and, later, Nogor Baul) contributed in popularizing rock music. However, hard-rock did not begin until arrival of bands like Ark Rockstrata, and later Warfaze among many others in the early 90s. Actually the bengali rock songs became popular after featuring Ark's (Tajmohol), (Janmabhumi),(Shadhinota), James (Thik ache bondhu) etc albums. Both Hasan (Ark) and James proved their ability as a world class rocker in those albums and they never looked behind. Bangladeshi rock scene has evolved into two distinct categories. • •

Mainstream Underground

Mainstream Rock Current day rock and metal bands have progressed a long way from the initiators of the genre in Bangladesh. Deeply influenced by the progressive rock music of the West, and with the

latest technology and equipments at their disposal, many of the new rock musicians are trying to develop their own identity and style instead of following western bands. Some of the best known new bands are: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Ark Warfaze Artcell Aurthohin Mechanix Funeral Anthem Genie Split Yaatri Icons Fire Brand Cryptic Fate Feedback Feelings LRB Next To Z Nagar Baul Rockstrata Shadhinota Shironamhin Souls Death in Fire Wings musical group

New wave of Bangladeshi folk music Fakir Alamgir, Firoz Shai, Momtaz, Kangalini Sufiya and Kuddus Boyati set notions of revitalising Bangladeshi folk music. Their immense popularity showed that despite Western influence, Bangladeshis still thoroughly enjoyed their own music. While Bangla rock music was approaching the peak of its success, several musicians and music enthusiastts felt the need to revitalise traditional music. Inspired by the previous work done by those mentioned above, several new bands and singers emerged with the notion of creating true Bangladeshi pop music, inspired by traditional compositional structure.

Jatra The word “Jatra”, directly translated, means ‘going’ or ‘journey’. This an apt description of the popular folk theatre in Bangladesh. It is through this ‘journey’ that many religious values and principles were strongly communicated in the past. Today,

however, this is not always the case in modern Jatra, with many changes having occurred, specifically in the writing of plays. In times past Jatra in Bangladesh encompassed subjects such as mythological, fantastical and historical figures, nevertheless, modernization has brought about an array of social themes more suited to the educated and enlightened public in present day society. Fascinatingly, Jatras encompass a variety of skills such as music, singing and acting. Adding to the atmosphere of Jatra performances are loud thunderous music, dramatic props, harsh lighting and the ever expected stylized delivery with overexaggerated tones, gestures and orations. All of this is typically set on a simple outdoor stage with the musicians and chorus standing off stage. Spectators attending folk theatre performances in Bangladesh enjoy an upclose-and-personal experience as they surround the stage on all sides. Jatra is common to Bangladesh as well as the province of West Bengal in India. Many people believe that Jatra originally developed from the ceremonial functions that were performed before families or loved ones departed for a distant destination. From a more religious perspective, it has also been assumed that the many processions dedicated to gods and goddesses, such as the festival of Rathayatra, may also have contributed greatly to the development of Jatra. Regardless, this historical performance can be traced back to 1548. Many changes have occurred since then. The greatest change took place after the First World War, which saw Jatras being strongly influenced by patriotic and nationalistic themes. Nevertheless, sentimental love and religious myths have continued to inspire the many Jatras that exist even today. It was only in the late 1940â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s that female roles were introduced to what had always been an all male cast. Today Bangladesh's Jatra continues to play its role, expressing the local Bangladeshi culture and, as well as captivating the imaginations of public audiences.

Dance 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. The traditional music in Bangladesh shares the perspectives of that of the Indian subcontinent. 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 Bangalees' 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.

Musical Instruments

Bangladesh has a good number of musical instruments originally of her own. Originally country musical instruments include, 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.

Drama 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. Dhaka University area is a pivotal part of cultural activities.


The Art Heritage of Bangladesh; Enamul Haque. The International Centre for Study of Bangal Art, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Bangladesh National Culture and Heritage; A.F Salahudding Ahmed, Bazlul Mobin Chowdhury.

Bangladesh Fairs and Festrals; External Publicity wing, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bangladesh.

The Aesthetics & Vocabulary of Nakshi Kantha; Bangladesh National Museum Collection by Perveen Ahmed.

The Geographical Background of History and Archaeology of S.E Bengal; o Harun-Ur-Rashid (J.A.S.B. 1979-81)

Memories of Gaun an Pandua; Editor-H.C. Stupleton (Cal.-1931)

IslasmicHeritage of Bangladesh; Nazimuddin Ahmed, Dhaka, 1980 (UPL)

evsjv‡`‡ki BwZnvm t [W. gyn¤§` Ave`yi iwng, W. Ave`yj gwgb †PŠayix, W. G we Gg gvngy`, W. wmivRyj Bmjvg, bI‡ivR wKZvweZvb]|

evOvjxi BwZnvm; Avw` ce©; [(bxnviiÄb ivq Gi) myfvl gy‡Lvcva¨vq]|

Kvgi“j nvmvb; m¤úv`bv Aveyj nvmbvZ|

DcRvZxq b›`b ms¯‹…wZ; Rvdvi Avngv` nvbvdx, evsjv‡`k wkíKjv GKv‡Wgx|

Avgv‡`i m½xZ BwZnv‡mi Av‡jv‡K; g b gy¯—dv, evsjv‡`k wkíKjv GKv‡Wgx|

Personal Collection (Image).

Collection from Class Lecturer

James Heitzman and Robert L. Worden, ed (1989). "Early History, 1000 B. C.-A. D. 1202". Bangladesh: A country study. Library of Congress. History, Banglapedia RIYAZU-S-SALĀTĪN: A History of Bengal, Ghulam Husain Salim, The Asiatic Society, Calcutta, 1902. History of the Bengali-speaking People by Nitish Sengupta, p 211, UBS Publishers' Distributors Pvt. Ltd. ISBN 81-7476-355-4. Sumit Sarkar, "Calcutta and the Bengal Renaissance", in Calcutta, the Living City ed. Sukanta Chaudhuri, Vol I, p. 95. Banglapedia "Background Note: Bangladesh". Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (March 2008). Accessed June 11, 2008. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain. The Associated Press Published: September 2, 2007 (2007-09-02). "Ex-PM sued on corruption charges in Bangladesh". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2009-01-15.

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"Bangladesh former PM is arrested". BBC News. 2007-09-03. Retrieved 2009-01-15. "South Asia | Khaleda Zia's son is refused bail". BBC News. 2007-03-13. Retrieved 2009-01-15. "Those shameless corrupts in Bangladesh". Asian Tribune. Retrieved 2009-01-15. "The Daily Star Web Edition Vol. 5 Num 1066". 2007-06-01. Retrieved 2009-01-15.

(Bengali)"িবিডিডিআর জওয়ানদেদের িবিডেদে র্রা হিনদহেতের সংখ্য ্রা ১৫ বিডেল দোিবিড * মহাপরিরচালক

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শািকল েবিডঁচেচ েনদই * িজিম ্রম কমর ্রকতের ্রােদের পরিরণতিতে অজানদা", Prothom Alo: 1, 26 February, "Bangladesh guard mutiny 'is over'", BBC World: 1, 26 February,, retrieved 2010-01-05

"অবিডেশেষ আতে্রমসমপরর ্রণত". Prothom Alo. 27 February 2009.