Dhaka, Bangladesh (Asia)
What Makes Dhaka, Bangladesh Interesting?
Dhaka holds the distinction of being the fastest-growing city in the world (among other megacities, according to the World Bank). By 2025, the United Nations predicts that Dhaka will be home to more than 20 million people — larger than Mexico City, Beijing, or Shanghai. Mass migration, a booming population, and livelihood opportunities are swelling in the city. Bangladesh is a key trading partner of both the United States and the European Union (EU). It is the second largest textile manufacturer in the world (behind China). By 2050, they will be home to the largest mass migration in human history. That’s because a large portion of its previous landmass will have gone permanently underwater from the affects of climate change — even though it has been one of the lowest emitters in the world. The country is a fascinating study in polar truths: setbacks but resiliency, old world beliefs yet liberation for women (including female heads of state), pollution and yet higher life expectancy, and much more. If you like an underdog, then Bangladesh is sure to grip you.
At a Glance
Capital City: 300 km2 (100 sq mi)
Population (2013): 14,399,000
People are Called (Demonym): Dhakaiya
Time Zone: UTC+6 (BST)
GPS Coordinates: 23°42′N 90°22′E
Gross Domestic Product (2014 GDP): $217 billion
What’s in the Name?
The origins of the name ‘Dhaka’ (pronounced DAH-kah) are uncertain. There are varying accounts, but the following are the most common: the dhak tree. the hidden goddess Dhakeshwari, the a membranophone instrument (called a dhak), or a Prakrit dialect called Dhaka Bhasa (or Dhakka).
1st Century — first settlement in the region
16th Century — conquered by the Mughal Empire, known then as Old City of Dhaka.
1793 — came under rule of the British Empire.
1947 — became the capital of East Pakistan.
1970 — the Bhola cyclone took the lives of more than 500,000 people.
1971 — liberated by Bangladeshi-Indian Allied Forces.
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• Wikipedia • Virtual Bangladesh • Feature, UNEP: “Bangladesh Prime Minister Wins Top United Nations Environmental Prize” • Feature, The Financial Express: “Dhaka Lost 60% of Wetland in 30 Years” • Feature, The Huffington Post: “72 Hours in Dhaka” • Feature, National Geographic: “The Coming Storm” • Feature, The Economist: “The Path Through the Fields” • Feature, The Economist: “Dhaka Receives $100M World Bank Grant” • Feature, Dhaka Tribune: “A Dhaka in Which We Want to Live” • Feature, Prothom Alo: “Dhaka Joins Islamic Coalition Against Terrorism” • Feature, New York Times: “Export Powerhouse Feels Pangs of Labor Strife” • Feature, New York Times: “Borrowed Time on Disappearing Land” • Feature, National Geographic: “Bangladesh Tackles its Carbon Footprint” • Feature, The Guardian: “Dhaka: the City Where Climate Refugees Are Already a Reality” • Feature, World Bank: “Dhaka Needs Climate-smart Policies to Reduce Waterlogging in a Changing Climate” • Feature, Lonely Planet: “Introducing Dhaka” • Feature, Dhaka Tribune: “Climate Change: The Final Episode” • Feature, Dhaka Tribune: “Local Heroes Raise Climate Hopes” • Feature, The Daily Star: “Dhaka: Second Least Livable City in the World” • Feature, Dhaka Tribune: “Bangladesh to Implement Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” • Feature, Dhaka Tribune: “Bangladesh Becomes a Model for Reducing Hunger” • Feature, Dhaka Tribune: “This is My Dream Job” • Feature, Dhaka Tribune: “Remembering the Bangladeshi Dream” • Feature, The Daily Star: “High Speed Train to Link Dhaka, Beijing” • Feature, The Daily Star: “Dhaka Stages First International Cricket Tournament for the Disabled”
Recent Attacks on Free Speech
The February, March, and May deaths of atheist bloggers Avijit Roy, Washiqur Rahman, and Ananta Bijoy Das, secular publisher Ahmed Rahim Tutul, as well as the injuries suffered by Roy’s wife Rafida Ahmed on the streets of Dhaka are reminders of the global threat to free speech and thinking in developing democracies. Our hearts go out to the deceased and their loved ones. Sajeeb Wazed, the son of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has stated: “We are walking a fine line here. We don’t want to be seen as atheists. It doesn’t change our core beliefs. We believe in secularism, but given that our opposition party plays that religion card against us relentlessly, we can’t come out strongly for him (Avijit Roy). It’s about perception, not about reality.” Shamim Ahmad, a spokesman at the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington DC, stated: “We are shocked … and have taken all measures to find the culprits responsible for this heinous act. Bangladesh is committed to fighting and ending extremism in all its forms. Read “The Brutal Fight for Secular Bangladeshi Voices” for more on this topic. Law enforcers have arrested 5 militants of Ansarullah Bangla Team from Dhaka (the banned Islamic militant group) including a British citizen, the mastermind of Avijit Roy and Ananta Bijoy killings. The detainees were identified as Touhidul Islam, the mastermind and a financier of the banned group, and its active members Sadek Ali and Aminul Mollik. Al-Qaeda has allegedly published a hit list of 34 top Bangladeshi writers, bloggers, actors, secular activists and intellectuals. Latest Update (January 1, 2016): Police say that they have solved the cases. For more information, read “Probe into Blogger Deaths Reaches Final Stage.”
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Dhaka experiences a tropical climate, with conditions that can be described as hot, wet, and humid. Its average temperature is 25 °C (77 °F). The city experiences a cyclical monsoon season. Approximately 87% of the annual rainfall occurs between May and October. This totals 2,123 millimeters (83.6 inches).
Bangladesh collects and ships coal, limestone, boulders, shrimp, vegetables, dry foods, petroleum, and tobacco. It manufactures garments, jute, pharmaceuticals, fertilizer, leather, and plastic products. Dhaka is one of the fastest growing startup hubs in the world, and it has one of the largest concentrations of multinational companies in South Asia.
Cricket and association football are the two most popular sports in Dhaka and across the nation.