green with a large red disk slightly to the left side of center; the red sun of freedom represents the blood shed to achieve independence; the green field symbolizes the lush countryside, and secondarily, the traditional color of Islam
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 the British and Mughal Empires. Since independence, the government has experienced periods of democratic and military rule.
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. On March 26, 1971 the independence of the country was declared. After nine months the war of independence ended. On December 16, 1971 the country gained its independence. [Wikipedia]
Bangladesh covers an area of 57,295 sq miles (147,570 sq. km) – approximately the size of England and Wales combined, but with a population of 150 million people, it is the most densely populated country in the world. Formerly, East Pakistan it became Bangladesh in 1971. It is bordered by India in the north, north-east and west, and Myanmar in the South East and by the Bay of Bengal in the South. The climate is sub-tropical
Winter – November to February Maximum : 29 degrees C
Minimum : 11 degrees C
Summer – March to June Maximum : 34 degrees C
Minimum : 21 degrees C
Monsoon-July to October Maximum : 35 degrees C
(Average rainfall 1194 mm to 3454 mm.) Minimum : 30 degrees C
There are 6 cities in Bangladesh. These are Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi ,Sylhet and Barisal. Dhaka is the capital city, Chittagong is the main seaport.
GDP per capita is US$ 554. The population growth rate remains at about 2.2% per year. 80% of the population lives in rural areas. Agriculture accounts for 35% of GDP and 65% of employment. The population of Dhaka is estimated at 12 million. [Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics]
The official language is Bangla, sometimes called Bengali. English is widely understood and spoken in Dhaka and big towns.
The literacy rate is 48.7 per cent among children, aged 7, and 65 per cent among the 15 and above age groups. [Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics]
What to wear
Lightweight cottons and linens are suitable throughout the year. Warmer clothes are needed in the evenings during the cool season. Umbrellas are necessary during the monsoon season.
For women, dresses, skirts and loose trousers are the most advisable for business and official socialising. In Muslim countries, exposure of the legs, particularly above the knee, is frowned upon. Very short skirts are not appropriate, shoulders should be covered and low necklines avoided. All national colleagues wear Shalwar Kameez (dress length tops with trousers) and many expatriate women feel more comfortable in the same, particularly when travelling outside of Dhaka/Chittagong. In the expatriate clubs less conservative clothes are acceptable.
For men, shirts and ties are normal business wear. Jackets are only required for very formal meetings (e.g. with high ranking officials such as Ministers). Shorts should be reserved for the expatriate clubs.
Islam, the state religion, is the faith of 88 percent of the population, Hindus make up most of the remainder, and the country has small communities of Buddhists, Christians, and animists.
Among certain obligations for Muslims are to pray five times a day – at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset and evening. The exact time is listed in the local newspapers each day. Friday is the Muslim holiday so many men will go for prayer in the afternoon.
During the holy month of Ramadan all Muslims must fast from dawn to dusk and are only permitted to work six hours per day. Fasting includes no eating, drinking, cigarette smoking, or gum chewing. Expatriates are not required to fast; however, they must not eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum in public. Each evening at sunset, families and friends gather together to celebrate the breaking of the fast (Iftar). The festivities often continue well into the night. In general, things happen more slowly during Ramadan. Many businesses operate on a reduced schedule. Shops may be opened and closed at unusual times. Many cafes and restaurants are closed during the day, only to re-open in evenings; you’ll generally need to get to the post office to send your letters before noon.
Etiquette & Customs
– Bangladeshis take their time during greetings to converse about their families, friends and other general topics
– Handshakes are the customary greeting among individuals of the same sex
– In any greeting between men and women, the woman must extend her hand first. If she does not, a man should simply bow his head in acknowledgment
– At parties or other social gatherings your hosts will introduce you, usually starting with the women and then moving on to the men in rough approximation of age order, oldest to youngest
– Greet and say good-bye to each person individually
Gift Giving Etiquette
– If you are invited to a Bangladeshi’s home bring sweets, nuts, fruit or flowers to the hostess
– Do not bring alcohol unless you know that your host drinks
If you are invited to a Bangladeshi home:
– Dress well. Dressing well demonstrates respect towards your hosts
– Check to see if your spouse is included in the invitation
Places of Worship
Dhaka has several hundred mosques. Prominent are Baitull Mukarram-National Mosque, the seven Domed Mosque (17th century), Star Mosque (18th century) , Chawkbazar Mosque and Huseni Dalan Mosque.
Dhakeshwari National Temple. The name “Dhakeshwari” means “Goddess of Dhaka”. The temple is located southwest of the Salimullah Hall of Dhaka University.
The Ramna Kali Mandir is on outskirts of the Ramna Park (now renamed as Suhrawardy Udyan).
Anglican Communion – (aka: The Church of Bangladesh)
Assemblies of God
Church of Christ – 48 Dilu Road, Dhaka – Tel. 880-2-935 1445
Evangelical Lutheran Church
Presbyterian Fellowship in Bangladesh
Salvation Army – GPO Box 985, Dhaka (2) 988 2836
Seventh Day Adventist
Notes are in denominations of Taka 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1.
Coins are in denominations of paisa Tk 1 coin, Tk 2 coin, Tk 5 coin, 50 paisa and 25 paisa
The current exchange rate is approximately Taka 97.70 = £1
GMT + 7 hours