Sunday, June 3, 2012

Truth about Bangladesh

Bangladesh, officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma (Myanmar) to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south. Together with the Indian state of West Bengal, it makes up the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal. The name Bangladesh means "Country of Bengal" in the official Bengali language.

The borders of present-day Bangladesh were established with the partition of Bengal and India in 1947, when the region became East Pakistan, part of the newly formed nation of Pakistan. However, it was separated from the western wing by 1,600 km (994 mi) of Indian territory. Due to political exclusion, ethnic and linguistic discrimination, and economic neglect by the politically-dominant West Pakistan, popular agitation grew against West Pakistan and led to the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, which the Bengali people won with the support of India. After independence, the new state endured famines, natural disasters and widespread poverty, as well as political turmoil and military coups. The restoration of democracy in 1991 has been followed by relative calm and economic progress.

Bangladesh is a secular republic and a parliamentary democracy, with an elected parliament called the Jatiyo Sangshad. It is the eighth most populous country and among the most densely populated countries in the world. A high poverty rate prevails, although the United Nations has acclaimed Bangladesh for achieving tremendous progress in human development. Geographically, the country straddles the fertile Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta and is subject to annual monsoon floods and cyclones.

The country is listed among the Next Eleven economies and Global Growth Generator countries. It is a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, the D-8 and BIMSTEC, and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement. However, Bangladesh continues to face a number of major challenges, including widespread political and bureaucratic corruption, economic competition relative to the world, serious overpopulation, widespread poverty, and an increasing danger of hydrologic shocks brought on by ecological vulnerability to climate change.

Remnants of civilization in the greater Bengal region date back four thousand years, when the region was settled by Dravidian, Tibeto-Burman, and Austro-Asiatic peoples. The exact origin of the word "Bangla" or "Bengal" is not known, though it is believed to be derived from Bang, the Dravidian-speaking tribe that settled in the area around the year 1000 BC.

The kingdom of Gangaridai was formed from at least the 7th century BC, which later united with Bihar under the Magadha, Nanda, Mauryan and Sunga Empires. Bengal was later part of the Gupta Empire and Harsha Empire from the 3rd to the 6th centuries CE. Following its collapse, a dynamic Bengali named Shashanka founded an impressive short-lived kingdom. After a period of anarchy, the bengali Buddhist Pala dynasty ruled the region for four hundred years, followed by a shorter reign of the Hindu Sena dynasty. Medieval European geographers located paradise at the mouth of the Ganges and although this was overhopeful, Bengal was probably the wealthiest part of the subcontinent up until the 16th century. The area's early history featured a succession of Indian empires, internal squabbling, and a tussle between Hinduism and Buddhism for dominance.

Islam was introduced to Bengal in the 12th century by Arab Muslim merchants; Sufi missionaries and subsequent Muslim conquests helped spread Islam throughout the region. Bakhtiar Khilji, a Turkic general, defeated Lakshman Sen of the Sena dynasty and conquered large parts of Bengal in the year 1204. The region was ruled by dynasties of Sultans and land lords Bhuiyan for the next few hundred years. By the 16th century, the Mughal Empire controlled Bengal, and Dhaka became an important provincial centre of Mughal administration.

European traders arrived late in the 15th century, and their influence grew until the British East India Company gained control of Bengal following the Battle of Plassey in 1757. The bloody rebellion of 1857 – known as the Sepoy Mutiny – resulted in transfer of authority to the crown with a British viceroy running the administration. During colonial rule, famine racked the Indian subcontinent many times, including the Great Bengal famine of 1943 that claimed 3 million lives.

Between 1905 and 1911, an abortive attempt was made to divide the province of Bengal into two zones, with Dhaka being the capital of the eastern zone. When India was partitioned in 1947, Bengal was partitioned along religious lines, with the western part going to India and the eastern part (Muslims majority) joining Pakistan as a province called East Bengal (later renamed East Pakistan), with its capital at Dhaka.

In 1950, land reform was accomplished in East Bengal with the abolishment of the feudal zamindari system. Despite the economic and demographic weight of the east, however, Pakistan's government and military were largely dominated by the upper classes from the west. The Bengali Language Movement of 1952 was the first sign of friction between the two wings of Pakistan. Dissatisfaction with the central government over economic and cultural issues continued to rise through the next decade, during which the Awami League emerged as the political voice of the Bengali-speaking population. It agitated for autonomy in the 1960s, and in 1966, its president, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (Mujib), was jailed; he was released in 1969 after an unprecedented popular uprising. In 1970, a massive cyclone devastated the coast of East Pakistan, killing up to half a million people, and the central government responded poorly. The Bengali population's anger was compounded when Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, whose Awami League won a majority in Parliament in the 1970 elections, was blocked from taking office.

After staging compromise talks with Mujib, President Yahya Khan arrested him in the early hours of 26 March 1971, and launched Operation Searchlight, a sustained military assault on East Pakistan. Yahya's methods were extremely bloody, and the violence of the war resulted in many civilian deaths . Chief targets included intellectuals and Hindus, and about ten million refugees fled to neighbouring India. Estimates of those massacred throughout the war range from three hundred thousand to 3 million.

Before his arrest by the Pakistan Army, Sk. Mujibur Rahman formally declared the independence of Bangladesh, and directed everyone to fight till the last soldier of the Pakistan army was evicted from East Pakistan. Awami League leaders set up a government-in-exile in Calcutta, India. The exile government formally took oath at Mujib Nagar in Kustia district of East Pakistan on 17 April 1971, with Tajuddin Ahmad as the first Prime Minister.

After Mujib declared independence of Bangladesh, Yahyah’s brutal crackdown, including a virtual massacre of the intelligentsia in the universities of Bangladesh, was comparable in method to the war crimes of the Nazis. International public opinion was revolted and a tidal wave of hapless refugees, their number soon reaching 10 million, sought shelter in India.

The Bangladesh Liberation War lasted for nine months. The Bangladesh Forces formed within 11 sectors led by General M.A.G. Osmani consisting of Bengali Regulars, and Mukti Bahini conducted a massive guerilla war against the Pakistan Forces with all out support from the Indian Armed Forces. Jointly, the Mitro Bahini achieved a decisive victory over Pakistan on 16 December 1971, with Indian Armed Forces taking over 90,000 prisoners of war.

After its independence, Bangladesh became a parliamentary democracy, with Mujib as the Prime Minister. In the 1973 parliamentary elections, the Awami League gained an absolute majority. A nationwide famine occurred during 1973 and 1974, and in early 1975, Mujib initiated a one-party socialist rule with his newly formed BAKSAL. On 15 August 1975, Mujib and most of his family members were assassinated by mid-level military officers. A series of bloody coups and counter-coups in the following three months culminated in the ascent to power of General Ziaur Rahman, who reinstated multi-party politics, and founded the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). Zia's rule ended when he was assassinated by elements of the military in 1981.

Bangladesh's next major ruler was General Hossain Mohammad Ershad, who gained power in a bloodless coup in 1982, and ruled until 1990, when he was forced to resign after a massive revolt of all major political parties and the public, along with pressure from western donors (which was a major shift in international policy after the fall of the Soviet Union). Since then, Bangladesh has reverted to a parliamentary democracy. Zia's widow, Khaleda Zia, led the Bangladesh Nationalist Party to parliamentary victory at the general election in 1991, and became the first female Prime Minister in Bangladeshi history. However, the Awami League, headed by Sheikh Hasina, one of Mujib's surviving daughters, won the next election in 1996. It lost again to the Bangladesh Nationalist Party in 2001.

On 11 January 2007, following widespread political unrest, a caretaker government was appointed to administer the next general election. The country had suffered from extensive corruption, disorder and political violence. The new caretaker government has made it a priority to root out corruption from all levels of government. To this end, many notable politicians and officials, along with large numbers of lesser officials and party members, have been arrested on corruption charges. The caretaker government held what observers described as a largely free and fair election on 29 December 2008. Awami League's Sheikh Hasina won the elections with a landslide victory and took the oath of Prime Minister on 6 January 2009.

Watch more about Bangladesh:

Published by: Genocide Bangladesh
Possibly over a million people died in the 1974 famine in Bangladesh from July 1974 to January 1975, although the Bangladesh government claimed only 26,000 people died. The causes are generally thought to be a combination of natural disasters (cyclone, droughts and floods).
Among the socio-political factors, Devinder Sharma of the Global Hunger Alliance claims that:

At the height of the 1974 famine in the newly born Bangladesh, the U.S. United States had withheld 2.2 million tonnes of food aid to ‘ensure that it abandoned plans to try Pakistani war criminal.

Here is documentary by John Pilger which depicts the tragedy and the US politics behind this. Bangladesh during the horrors of the famine saw tens of thousands dead and dying. Bodies lie in the street on a daily basis, and US foreign policy ignored - and continues to ignore - their plight.

John Pilger - An Unfashionable Tragedy (1975)
Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3
Devinder Sharma of the Global Hunger Alliance claims that: 'At the height of the 1974 famine in the newly born Bangladesh, the U.S. had withheld 2.2 million tonnes of food aid to 'ensure that it abandoned plans to try Pakistani war criminals'.

Part 3 of 3
During The Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, the armed forces of Pakistan committed many atrocities labelled as genocide by some commentators during,'Operation Searchlight' with US backing.

Bangladesh's disappearing island - 18 Dec 09
The island is being swallowed by the sea as water levels continue to rise and experts say at the current rate it could disappear in 20 years.

Sisters on the Planet - Sahena (Bangladesh)

 Bangladesh Struggle For Clean Water Access

Cost of Living: Bangladesh

Bangladesh child labourers fight for rights 

Dhaka - Bangladesh Train

Bangladesh's risky 'roof riders'

World Toilet Day: Dhaka hospital, Bangladesh

Rohingya's precarious existence in Bangladesh - 28 Oct 09

Bangladesh: The traffic in sacred cows

Women in Bangladesh convinced to smoke with false promises

Bangladesh battles sexual bullying

Bangladesh sex workers plump up on cow steroid

Bangladesh probes child marriage - 20 Nov 09

A Brave Face: Watch on Youtube
Produced by ABC Australia.:
Last year in Bangladesh there were 179 acid attacks. Often the result of land disputes, the crime has long been seen as family business. Finally, police are cracking down on this nations shame.

Poison Water - Bangladesh: Watch on Youtube
Produced by ABC Australia.:
Thanks to foreign aid, Bangladeshi water supplies have been clean and clear for years. Now it emerges, 50 million are at risk of water-borne arsenic poisoning. March 1998

Hand pumps have been promoted by aid agencies and the government for the past 20 years. The world had helped Bangladesh solve its problem of diseased water, in a country where millions used to die from water-borne diseases. But now evidence suggests it contains arsenic, which is killing Bangladeshis. In Kutubpur, villager Garribukler has 35 times the safe level of arsenic. His hair and skin samples are analysed with chilling results. Doctor Roy says he's likely to get cancer due to the arsenic in his skin. Other villagers show the stone-like beads covering their bodies, a sign of poisoning. Bangladeshis face a nightmarish dilemma, partly of the international aid agencies' making: to drink polluted water or risk a slow, painful death by arsenic poisoning. Deepak Bajracharya of UNICEF says 'It's psychological trauma. Drinking water is a basic need. We don't want this symbol of life turned into death'

Watch more about Bangladesh: Videos

George Harrison performing "Bangladesh" during the concert for Bangladesh at 1971, Madison Square Garden.

My friend came to me, with sadness in his eyes
He told me that he wanted help
Before his country dies

Although I couldn't feel the pain, I knew I had to try
Now I'm asking all of you
To help us save some lives

Bangla Desh, Bangla Desh
Where so many people are dying fast
And it sure looks like a mess
I've never seen such distress
Now won't you lend your hand and understand
Relieve the people of Bangla Desh

Bangla Desh, Bangla Desh
Such a great disaster - I don't understand
But it sure looks like a mess
I've never known such distress
Now please don't turn away, I want to hear you say
Relieve the people of Bangla Desh
Relieve Bangla Desh

Bangla Desh, Bangla Desh
Now it may seem so far from where we all are
It's something we can't neglect
It's something I can't neglect
Now won't you give some bread to get the starving fed
We've got to relieve Bangla Desh
Relieve the people of Bangla Desh
We've got to relieve Bangla Desh
Relieve the people of Bangla Desh

George Harrison - Bangladesh

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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