Bangladesh stands for “Bengal nation”, a low-lying country in South Asia. It is situated on the plains of the largest delta in the world, Ganges-Brahmaputra, where large deposits of silt from the rivers’ annual flooding creates new islands and renews farmland fertility. Bangladesh is boarded by Burma on the south-east, India on the west and Bay of Bengal on the south. It is one of the most populated countries in the world with large scale poverty. Almost half of the population of Bangladesh lives on less than a dollar day.
Monsoon rains are an annual characteristic of the country as are major cyclones that hit the delta region washing away livestock, people and crops from the lowland regions. Flooding is worsened by deforestation in the upper watersheds of Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers. Droughts, earthquakes and landslides are other hazards that plague the country.
Agriculture in Bangladesh is a major employer, but it is not able the requirement of jobs, hence many Bangladeshis go abroad to find work, at times illegally. Organic farming is the norm in the country with rural homesteads practicing short-cycled biomass recycling methods. People in some areas only use organic foods and herbal medicines and shun conventional medicines. The collective wisdom is attained by trial and error methodology.
Over three-fourths of the nation’s earnings are from exports of the garment industry. Foreign investors were drawn to Bangladesh in the 1980s due to cheap labour and low conversion rates. The World Trade Organization ranks Bangladesh as the fourth largest clothing exporter. Over ninety percent of the workers employed in the industry are women. Shipbuilding is another industry that is picking up, with countries like Germany and Denmark attracted by cheap labour, placing orders.
Tourism in Bangladesh is another growing industry. While currently majority of the tourists are locals, the government is taking initiatives to attract foreign tourists. The country is home to five World heritage Sites, along with numerous archaeological and historical locations. The world’s largest mangrove forest, Sundarbans and the well-known Royal Bengal Tiger is also found here.
Food in Bangladesh shares similarities with neighbouring Bengali and North-East Indian cuisine. Fish and rice are the two favourites. Traditionally vegetables, lentils and fish are served with rice make up the staple diet. Biryani is another favourite made from rice mixed with mutton in tomato and onion sauce. A large variety of sweetmeats made from milk are the common sweets.
Government: Parliamentary democracy
Total Area: 55,598 sq. mi (144,000 sq km)
Language Bangla (Bengali), English
Religion: Muslim, Hindu
Monetary unit: Taka
Dialling code: +880