East Pakistan, 1947-1971 History of India since 1990





Bangla Desh 1971-1990



The Establishment of Bangladesh . In 1971, Bangladesh (East Pakistan) declared independence. The Pakistani forces reacted with repression to which some sources accredit between 1 and 3 million victims; 10 million temporarily fled to India. India sided with the Bangladesh freedom fighters, lead by the Awami League; Pakistan was defeated. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, released from a West Pakistan prison, became the country's first prime minister.

Foreign Policy . In 1971, relations with neighbour India were friendly; India had help the country to gain her independence. The c.10 million refugees temorarily residing across the border in India returned. Bangladesh joined the Commonwealth in 1972. Following diplomtic recognition by Pakistan in 1974, Bangladesh joined the UN that year.
Bangladesh established diplomatic relations with both the USSR and the USA in 1971.

Political History . Bangladesh adopted a democratic constitution and the name People's Republic of Bangladesh; the first government was formed by the Awami League. In a 1975 coup d'etat, in the course of which PM Mujibur Rahman was assassinated, military dictatorship was established. The Communist Party (established in 1968) was banned. After another coup in 1982 and continued military dictatorship, democracy was reintroduced in 1990.

Relations between Ethnic and Religious Communities . Bangladesh or Bangla Desh translates to Free Bengal; the country is predominantly Muslim (88 %), yet uses Devanagari script. In the early years of independent Bangladesh, relations between Bengali Muslims and Hindu were comparatively free of tension. The country's Urdu-speakers, immigrants from Bihar or descendants thereof, which during the decades of East Bengal's adherence to Pakistan had enjoyed a privileged position, lost the latter. In 1978, c.250,000 Rohingya refugees arrived, Muslim Arakanese from Burma.
Bangladesh began as a secular state; Islam soon assumed a dominant position; a Bengali Muslim nationalism emerged (Samad).

Social History . In 1971, the population was estimated at 69.7 million, in 1981 at 89.9 million, in 1991 at 107.9 million.

Cultural History . The Bangladesh Olympic Association was founded in 1979 and recognized by IOC as the country's NOC in 1980. Economic History . Bangladesh is regarded one of Asia's poorest nations. The country's economy, in the period of reconstruction (after the damage inflicted by the war) was hit by the oil crisis of 1973. Bangla Desh's main export product, jute, meanwhile suffered, as the western world switched to the use of synthetic fibers. The consequence for Bangladesh was high inflation.
In the years 1973 to 1990, by total value imports outdid exports by the factor 2 to 3 (IHS p.544). Rice production expanded from 14-17 million metric tons in 1970-1974 to 26-28 millin metric tons in 1989-1993 (IHS p.196). Bangladesh depended heavily on foreign aid.

Environmental Issus . Most of Bangladesh forms part of the wide Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta, and is regularly subject to inundations.






EXTERNAL
FILES
Articles National Olympic Committee, from Wikipedia
Statistics of Pakistan's Democide : Estimates, Calculations, and Sources, from Statistics of Democide by R.J. Rummel
State of Minorities in Bangladesh. From Secular to Islamic Hegemony, by Saleem Samad
Foreign Relations of Bangladesh, from Wikipedia
Article Bangladesh Communist Party, from Wikipedia
Sheikh Mijibur Rahman, from Wikipedia
CASCON Case BAN : Bangladesh 1971, by L.P. Bloomfield, L. Moulton
DOCUMENTS Photos of Bangladesh, taken by Robin Upton
UN General Assembly 29th Session 1974-1975, Resolution 3203, 3244; 40th Session 1985-1986 Resolution 40/231; 43rd Session 1988-1989 Resolution 43/9
REFERENCE IHS : International Historical Statistics : Africa, Asia & Oceania 1750-2000, edited by B.R. Mitchell, Basingstoke : Palgrave MacMillan 4th ed. 2003
Article : Pakistan, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1972 pp.535-538 (on events of 1971) [G]
Article : Bangladesh, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1973 pp.108-110, 1974 pp.115-116, 1975 pp.99-100, 1976 pp.159-160, 1977 pp.162-163, 1978 pp.216-217, 1979 pp.215-216, 1980 pp.211-212, 1981 pp.210-211, 1982 pp.210-211, 1983 pp.206-207, 1984 pp.202-203, 1985 pp.507-508, 634, 1986 pp.630-631, 1987 pp.472-473, 599, 1988 pp.430-431, 551, 1989 pp.429, 551, 1990 pp.447-448, 567 [G]
Article : Bangladesh, in : The Statesman's Year-Book 1975-1976 pp.220-223, 1976-1977 pp.220-226, 1978-1979 pp.186-191, 1979-1980 pp.185-190, 1980-1981 pp.185-190, 1981-1982 pp.187-192, 1983-1984 pp.186-191, 1984-1985 pp.186-191, 1985-1986 pp.185-191, 1986-1987 pp.186-191, 1987-1988 pp.184-189, 1988-1989 pp.184-189, 1989-1990 pp.185-190, 1990-1991 pp.184-189 [G]
Article : Bangladesh, in : The World in Figures 1st ed. 1976 pp.161-162, 2nd ed. 1978 pp.161-162, 4th ed. 1984 pp.161-162 [G]
Article : Bangladesh, in : Americana Annual 1973 pp.123-125, 1974 pp.117-118, 1976 pp.103-104, 112, 1988 p.131, 1989 p.131, 1990 p.128 [G]
Article : Bangladesh, in : Yearbook on International Communist Affairs 1976 pp.239-245 (Rounaq Jahan), 1980 pp.225-228 (John F. Copper) [G]
Entry : Bangladesh, in : The Commonwealth Yearbook 1989 pp.125-131 [G]



This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 14th 2002, last revised on August 20th 2008

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