“Oh my Bengal of Gold,
I love you”
The two first lines by Tagore from the national anthem of Bangladesh may be the tackiest yet the most appropriate identity of Bangladesh. Just like the title suggests,Bangladeshis a small developing country flourished with pride and humility,
As the world map would suggest, Bangladeshis situated in South Asia having a hard time keeping up with the fast growing economic competition. But the story does not end there. The NIC (Newly Industrialized Countries) of East Asia has recognized Bangladesh as one of its assets for the present and also the future.
Talking about assets, the biggest asset or should I say, the biggest achievement of the young little country who is just forty seven is her ability to sacrifice without arrogance.
That takes us back in the times of our liberation war in 1971. But besides that, Bangladesh takes even more pride in shedding blood for her own mother tongue on the 21st of February, 1952. But that blood did not go in vain, rather it earned us the honor of a illustrious day by United Nations (UN) called “International Mother Tongue Day.” Thus, we are the only country who has shed blood to make out mother tongue, our state language and the country that liberated itself in 1971 by a cost of 30 lacs martyrs.
But do not be fooled by all the bloodshed and war regarding Bangladesh. Once you step into Bangladesh, you step into a paradise of greenery and natural beauty. Besides the natural beauty,Bangladesh has given birth to a culture that is simply outstanding. From music to dancing, from crafts to pottery,Bangladesh dominates all. If you go to any part of Bangladesh, for example you go to Bandarbans (the southern hilly side), you will experience waterfalls, special sweets and unique scenery. Say you visit the infamous Cox’s Bazar, you will experience the longest beach in the world that stretches uninterrupted over 120 kilometers (75 miles). These are just natural beauties, but we have our own music, own cuisine that is simply unique. If you go to any part of the country you will find something different and famous that is only exclusive to that place itself. Now, that is what we call exclusivity.
The art and cultural aspect of Bangladeshis one of the most important aspects in order to introduce someone to Bangladesh. Bangladesh has given birth to talents like Rabindranath Tagore (The Nobel Prize Winner), Kazi Nazrul Islam (our national poet), Jasim Uddin and so many people that the list will go on and on. Besides stupendous literature we have enriched ourselves in the art of different forms of dancing like Kathhak, Monipuri and many more. And in the very modern times Bangladeshi youth has taken a liking for rock music and its practice, which hopefully will take them a long way into the future.
After a tour around the country let us focus on our very own capital city “Dhaka.” You will be surprised to know that the age of the city of Dhakais much more than that of Bangladesh herself. Dhaka is just stepping into her 4th century.
Dhaka has its own history, legacy and culture as well. It is located on the banks of the Buriganga River, along with its metropolitan area, has a population of 11 million, making it the largest city in Bangladesh and the 11th most populous in the world. With its vivid history, Dhaka is known as the ‘City of Mosques’ and for the famous fine Muslin cloth which has a great ethnic value.
Moving on to the history of Dhaka; Dhakawas declared capital of Bengalunder Mughal rule in 1608. The first administrator of the city was Mughal Subahdar Islam Khan . Khan named the town “Jahangir Nagar” (City ofJahangir) in honor of the Mughal emperor Jahangir. The main expansion of the city took place under Mughal general Shaista Khan. The city passed to the control of the British East India Company in 1765 after the Battle of Plassey. After that the population of Dhaka simply shrank but the establishment ofDhakaUniversity andDhaka cantonment happened to control the damage. .
Throughout the 1950s and ’60s,Dhaka remained a ferment of political activity, and the demands for autonomy for the Bengali population gradually succeeded in 1971.
Coming back to heritage, materials of ethnic values such as muslins are now locked up in museums but Dhaka city offers a lot of unique sights and experiences. The first would be Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban houses the national parliament. And then there would be Lalbagh Fort, constructed in the mid 17th century by Shaista Khan. Besides these Curzon Hall at Dhaka University, the Baytul Mukarram Mosque etc. are divine sources of spectacles in Dhaka city.
The most fascinating feature of Dhaka city is its food. It is different all over town. Even if they differ from chowmein to paratha, you will definitely find the “real” Bangladeshi taste back in “old” Dhaka at a place called Chawk Bazar.Dhaka offers more varieties of sweets and snacks than McDonalds can do any day. Therefore, you can see that Dhaka city, itself, is so rich in its history, culture and not to mention – edibility supremacy that it totally stands out.
Now that I have introduced the heritage, culture and history of Bangladesh, let me introduce ourselves – the Bangladeshis. I am sure you can guess from the title of this article that we, Bangladeshi people are modest and humble people who are very well known for our hospitality. You can walk through a wall in Fort Knox (world’s largest gold reservoir) but you will never leave a house of Dhaka without a treat from the host.
That proves how much a Bangladeshi would do for a stranger in order to make him/her feel at home (I am sure you will experience it yourself if you are a foreign delegate).
Consequently, through pride and humility (even though the two words contradict), we stand tall as a developing nation.
[Note: This is from a personal experience at Heathrow Airport, England: It is pronounced DHAKA not “DACCA.”]