BANGLADESHI Facts & Figures
Size: 56,977 square miles
Weather / Climate:
Bangladeshis in the low-lying Ganges–Brahmaputra River Delta or Ganges Delta. This delta is formed by the confluence of the Ganges (local name Padma or Pôdda), Brahmaputra (Jamuna or Jomuna also known as "Yamuna"), and Meghna rivers and their respective tributaries. The Ganges unites with the Jamuna (main channel of the Brahmaputra) and later joins the Meghna to eventually empty into the Bay of Bengal. The alluvial soil deposited by these rivers has created some of the most fertile plains in the world. Bangladesh has 57 trans-boundary rivers, making water issues politically complicated to resolve – in most cases as the lower riparian state to India. Most parts of Bangladesh are less than 12 m (39.4 ft) above the sea level, and it is believed that about 10% of the land would be flooded if the sea level were to rise by 1 m (3.28 ft).
In south east Bangladesh experiments have been done since the sixties to 'build with nature'. By implementing cross dams, the natural accretion of silt has created new land. With Dutch funding, the Bangladeshi government began to help develop this new land in the late 1970s. The effort has since become a multiagency operation building roads, culverts, embankments, cyclone shelters, toilets and ponds, as well as distributing land to settlers. By fall 2010, the program will have allotted some 27,000 acres (10,927 ha) to 21,000 families.
The highest point in Bangladesh is in Mowdok range at 1,052 m (3,451 ft) in the Chittagong Hill Tracts to the southeast of the country. Cox's Bazar, south of the city of Chittagong, has a beach that stretches uninterrupted over 120 kilometres (75 mi).
Straddling the Tropic of Cancer, Bangladeshi climate is tropical with a mild winter from October to March, a hot, humid summer from March to June. A warm and humid monsoon season lasts from June to October and supplies most of the country's rainfall. Natural calamities, such as floods, tropical cyclones, tornadoes, and tidal bores occur almost every year, combined with the effects of deforestation, soil degradation and erosion. The cyclones of 1970 and 1991 were particularly devastating. A cyclone that struck Bangladesh in 1991 killed some 140,000 people.
In September 1998, Bangladesh saw the most severe flooding in modern world history. As the Brahmaputra, the Ganges and Meghna spilt over and swallowed 300,000 houses, 9,700 kilometres (6,027 mi) of road and 2,700 kilometres (1,678 mi) of embankment 1,000 people were killed and 30 million more were made homeless with 135,000 cattle killed, 50 square kilometres (19.3 sq mi) of land destroyed and 11,000 kilometres (6,835 mi) of roads damaged or destroyed. Two-thirds of the country was underwater. There were several reasons for the severity of the flooding. Firstly, there were unusually high monsoon rains. Secondly, the Himalayas shed off an equally unusually high amount of melt water that year. Thirdly, trees that usually would have intercept rain water had been cut down for firewood or to make space for animals.
Bangladeshis now widely recognized to be one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. Natural hazards that come from increased rainfall, rising sea levels, and tropical cyclones are expected to increase as climate change, each seriously affecting agriculture, water & food security, human health and shelter. It is believed that in the coming decades the rising sea level alone will create more than 20 million climate refugees. Bangladeshi water is contaminated with arsenic frequently because of the high arsenic contents in the soil. Up to 77 million people are exposed to toxic arsenic from drinking water. Bangladesh is among the countries most prone to natural floods, tornados and cyclones.
Nearly all Bangladeshis speak Bangla as their mother tongue and it is the official language. It is an Indo-Aryan language of Sanskrit origin with its own script. English is used as a second language among the middle and upper classes. English is also widely used in higher education and the legal system. Historically, laws were written in English and translated into Bengali until 1987 when the procedure was reversed. The Bihari population speaks Urdu, which was also the language associated with the government prior to separation from Pakistan.
The population of Bangladesh at 15/03/2011 is 142.3 million (census 2011 results -this is a preliminary figure which has been disputed by the UN and now by Bangladeshis themselves), much less than recent (2007–2010) estimates of Bangladesh's population range from 158 to 170 million and it is the 8th most populous nation in the world. In 1951, the population was 60 million. It is also the most densely populated large country in the world, and it ranks 11th in population density, when very small countries and city-states are included. A striking contrast is offered by Russia which has a slightly smaller population spread over a land area that is 120 times larger than Bangladesh. Bangladesh's population growth was among the highest in the world in the 1960s and 1970s, when the country swelled from 65 to 110 million. With the promotion of birth control in the 1980s, the growth rate had slowed. The population is relatively young, with 60% being 25 or younger and 3% being 63 or older. Life expectancy is 66 years for both males and females.
The overwhelming majority of Bangladeshis are ethnic Bengalis, comprising 98% of the population. The remainder are mostly Biharis and indigenous tribal groups. There is also a small but growing population of Rohingya refugees from Burma around Cox's Bazaar, which Bangladesh seeks to repatriate to Burma. The indigenous tribal peoples are concentrated in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in the southeast. There are 13 tribal groups located in this region, the largest being the Chakma. The Hill Tracts region has been a source of unrest and separatism since and before the inception of Bangladesh. Outside the Hill Tracts, the largest tribal groups are the Santhals and Garos (Achiks), while smaller groups include the Kaibartta, Meitei, Mundas, Oraons, and Zomi.
Bangladeshi food, mostly characterized as mildly sweet to spicy, refers to the dishes belonging to the Bengali cuisine of the Asian nation – Bangladesh; and the cuisine is shared by the neighboring West Bengal state in India(both of which were one state pre-India-partition), with the only difference being, the use of beef as an integral part of Bangladeshi cuisine and not the Hindu cuisine of West Bengal. Rice is the staple Bangladeshi food, closely followed by lentils (called Dal), fish and beef (major part of the country’s population being Muslim).
Classification of Bangladeshi Cuisine
South – Bangladeshi food from the south includes the regional cuisines of Barisal, Chittagong and Khulna that encompass a wide range of sea fishes cooked with coconut and sundried fishes or “shutki.”Dhaka/Central – Fried rice such as Biriyani and breads like Bakorkhani and Moglai Porota are the specialties of this region alongside hilsa fish delicacies such as Shorshe ilish or hilsa in mustard gravy.West and North-west – Bangladeshi food from this region is synonymous with spicy vegetable curries although dishes cooked with river fishes are also common.North-east – This regional Bangladeshi cuisine is of the Sylhet Division which is famed for its pickles like hatkora and native regional fruits that are used as ingredients in cooking.
Ingredients Commonly Used in Bangladeshi Food
Around five dozen pulses varieties are used in Bangladesh food preparations, most common among which are Bengal gram or chana, Pigeon pea or red gram or tur, Black gram or urod and Green gram or mung. While chana is the only lentil to be cooked whole, the rest are used in the form of dal or processed into flour called beson. Important flavorings in Bangladeshi food include coriander, lime, garlic, cumin, chili and turmeric. Sweet dishes mostly use cinnamon and cardamom.
Bangladeshi Cuisine in Foreign Culture
Bangladeshi food has become integrated as a significant part of the national cuisine in Britain with its gradually growing influence since the 1970s, when several Bangladeshis migrated to the region for work and established restaurants. In 1998, a record number of 85% of UK curry restaurants were discovered as Bangladeshi.
Phuchka - Spicy street food snack made of crusty fluffy breads with potato filling served with tamarind water.
Luchi – Fluffy flat bread served with a curry.
Halua – This dessert can be made of semolina, grated carrots, almonds etc. a sweet from across the region.
Chomchom – A deep fried oblong, syrupy dessert
Borhani – A spiced yogurt drink
Festive and Special Bangladeshi Food
Rice dishes like Pulao and Biriyani and dessert like chomchom and firni are mostly served during special occasions and festivals.
Taken from ifood.tv
Places to go in BANGLADESH
Doing business in BANGLADESH
Tropical-weight suits or shirt and tie are recommended. Suits or lounge suits are necessary when calling on Bengali officials. Women should wear trousers or long skirts; revealing clothes should be avoided, particularly when visiting religious places. Dressing for men is generally informal.
Exchange of Business Cards:
Cards are given and usual courtesies are observed.
Visitors should not be misled by the high illiteracy rate and low educational level of most of the population. Given the opportunity, Bangladeshis prove to be good business people and tough negotiators.
Advice on Local Conventions:
In someone's home it is acceptable to sit crossed-legged on cushions or the sofa. If a visitor wishes to bring a gift, money must not be given as it may cause offence.
Religious customs should be respected by guests. For instance, women should not be specifically photographed unless it is certain that there will be no objection.
. Meetings in Bangladesh are generally the place where decisions are disseminated rather than made.
. They will usually be led by the most senior present who sets the agenda, the content, and the pace of the activities.
. Meeting structures are not very linear in Bangladesh. There may be an agenda and a starting time, but they only serve as guidelines.
. Completing a meeting fully takes priority over time and may extend well past any scheduled end time.
. Meetings may commence with some small talk.
. Communication is formal and follows a hierarchical structure. Deference to the most senior person in the group is expected. This is especially true when dealing with government officials.
. One should never let their level of professionalism slip. Casual behaviour may be misinterpreted as a lack of respect.
. Never lose your temper or show emotion. This may lead to a loss of face which will mean a loss of dignity and respect.
. The need to avoid a loss of face is also reflected in communication styles. Rather than say no or disappoint people Bangladeshis will phrase sentiments in such as way that it is up to people to read between the lines to understand what is being implied. Phrases such as "we will try", "that may be difficult", or "we will have to give that some though" may really mean "this can't be done".
. Therefore, it is important to ask questions in several ways so you can be certain what was meant by a vague response. Silence is often used as a communication tool.
. Many people comment on the lack of smiles in Bangladesh. This has nothing to do with unfriendliness but rather related to the fact that a serious face is believed to demonstrate maturity.
Taken from Asia Travel Info