Bangladesh. People. Religion. Population growth. Way of life

I he ancestors of present-day Bangladeshis probably came from Myanmar, Tibet, and northern India thousands of years ago. More than 95 per cent of the population are Bengalis, a short, dark-skinned people. Their national language is Bengali, which has a rich cultural heritage in literature, music, and poetry.

Tribal groups form the second largest ethnic group in Bangladesh. The four largest tribes are the Chakmas, the Marmas, the Mros, and the Tipperas. They live primarily in the Chittagong Hills of southeastern Bangladesh. The culture of the tribal groups differs greatly from that of other Bangladeshis. They follow the Buddhist religion and speak Tibeto-Burman languages.

Villagers honor the river in a ceremony along the banks of the Kali River. The rivers of Bangladesh provide fish for food and for export. Rivers are also the country's chief transportation routes.

Another ethnic group, the Biharis, includes the Urdu-speaking, non-Bengali Muslim refugees from Bihar and other parts of northern India. The Biharis were once the upper class of Bengali society. Many held jobs on the railroads and in heavy industry.

The Biharis did not want East Pakistan to separate from West Pakistan in 1971 because they felt financially threatened by the separation. After Bangladesh became independent, hundreds of thousands of Biharis returned to West Pakistan. Those who remain live in their own small communities. They are often persecuted for their loyalty to West Pakistan.

Religion. Bangladeshis take great pride in their Bengali heritage. Their national language, Bengali, is particularly important to them, and the religion of Islam provides an important foundation for their daily life.

Islam came to Bengal long after it was established in Pakistan. The Muslims conquered Pakistan in A.D. 711. Islam did not reach the Bengalis until 500 years later, when Turkish Muslims extended their control into the eastern region of Bengal. Before that, Hindu or Buddhist dynasties had ruled Bengal.

A Muslim wedding party, below, leaves the ceremony by bus. Men in Muslim families have far more freedom than women. Muslim women have few activities outside the home and many cover their heads with veils in the presence of strangers.

Today, many strict Muslims do not accept Bangladeshis as true Muslims. They believe that Bangladeshis owe their faith to conversion rather than natural inheritance. This belief is one of the major reasons for the long-standing disagreement between East and West Pakistan.

Population growth. Bangladesh is one of the world's most densely populated countries and one of the countries in the world with the highest population. In the year 2000, the population of Bangladesh was around 130 million.

Bangladesh does not have the resources to feed and educate its huge population. Many Bangladeshis do not have enough to eat, and about 75 per cent of the people over 15 years old cannot read and write.

The fertile soil of Bangladesh yields two—and of ten three—harvests a year, but even these large harvests cannot feed all the people in Bangladesh. Land that could grow crops is now used for living space. The rapid population growth has kept most Bangladeshis poor. Many people have moved from rural villages to urban areas in an effort to improve their lives, but few jobs are available.

Because of the rapid population growth, poverty and overcrowding are serious problems in both urban and rural areas. Rural villagers live in one- or two-room huts made of bamboo. In urban slums, shelters are built of cardboard, scraps of wood, or sticks.

Way of life. Bangladesh ranks as one of the poorest nations in the world. But in spite of their poverty and hardships, Bangladeshis are a friendly and good-natured people. The men enjoy gathering in cafes and marketplaces to trade goods as well as gossip while women visit each other's homes. Villagers are often entertained by storytellers, and they also enjoy singing and listening to folk ballads. Craft workers carry on the tradition of embroidery, weaving, pottery, and other decorative arts.

Waterways take the place of roads in Bangladesh, where countless rivers and streams flow through the country. Large passenger and cargo ships provide transportation between the cities. Smaller boats operate between villages.

 






Date added: 2023-03-21; views: 173;


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