I’ve been receiving a smattering of Postcrossing cards recently including this one, my first-ever postcard from Bangladesh. It took its own sweet time traveling, taking 49 days to journey a little over 1500 miles. I’ve actually come to expect delays with cards sent from Asian countries and I’m usually surprised if one arrives in less than a month. A suspect a good portion of the “travel time” is spent in the Laksi Mail Processing Facility up in Bangkok as I have received mail with Laksi backstamps that are often dated two weeks (and more!) from the time they arrive down here in Phuket, 500 miles straight down the isthmus. Perhaps they are forwarding the mail by elephant rather than the claimed airplane!
It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen a four-digit Postcrossing ID number from anywhere. This is numbered the second lowest with only a card received from Copenhagen, Denmark, back in September 2006 having a lower number (DK-975). There are only 34 members in the entire country of Bangladesh, the most-active of which has only sent 358 postcards since joining a little over five years ago.
The People’s Republic of Bangladesh (গণপ্রজাতন্ত্রী বাংলাদেশ), is a sovereign state in South Asia that forms the largest and eastern portion the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal. Located at the apex of the Bay of Bengal, the country is bordered by India and Myanmar and is separated from Nepal and Bhutan by the narrow Siliguri Corridor. With a population of 170 million, it is the world’s eighth-most populous country, the fifth-most populous in Asia and the third-most populous Muslim-majority country. The official Bengali language is the seventh-most spoken language in the world, which Bangladesh shares with the neighboring Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura and Assam (Barak Valley).
Three of Asia’s largest rivers, the Ganges (locally known as the Padma), the Brahmaputra (locally known as the Jamuna) and the Meghna, flow through Bangladesh and form the fertile Bengal delta — the largest delta in the world. With rich biodiversity, Bangladesh is home to 700 rivers, most of the world’s largest mangrove forest; rainforested and tea-growing highlands; a 370-mile (600-kilometer) coastline with the world’s longest beach; and various islands, including a coral reef. Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, ranking alongside South Korea and Monaco. The capital Dhaka and the port city of Chittagong are the most prominent urban centers.
Greater Bengal was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans as Gangaridai. The people of the delta developed their own language, script, literature, music, art and architecture. Early Asian literature described the region as a seafaring power. It was an important entrepot of the historic Silk Road. Bengal was absorbed into the Muslim world and ruled by sultans for four centuries, including under the Delhi Sultanate and the Bengal Sultanate. This was followed by the administration of the Mughal Empire. Islamic Bengal was a melting pot, a regional power and a key player in medieval world trade. British colonial conquest took place in the late-eighteenth century. Nationalism, social reforms and the arts developed under the British Raj in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when the region was a hotbed of the anti-colonial movement in the subcontinent.
The first British partition of Bengal in 1905, creating the province of Eastern Bengal and Assam, set the precedent for the Partition of British India in 1947, when East Bengal joined the Dominion of Pakistan and was renamed as East Pakistan in 1955. It was separated from West Pakistan by 870 miles (1,400 kilometers) of Indian territory. East Pakistan was home to the country’s demographic majority and its legislative capital. The Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971 resulted in the secession of East Pakistan as a new republic with a secular multiparty parliamentary democracy. A short-lived one party state and several military coups in 1975 established a presidential government. The restoration of the parliamentary republic in 1991 led to improved economic growth and relative stability. Bangladesh continues to face challenges of poverty, corruption, polarized politics, human rights abuses by security forces, overpopulation and global warming. However, the country has achieved notable human development progress, including in health, education, gender equality, population control and food production. The poverty rate has reduced from 57% in 1990 to 25.6% in 2014.
The country has significant natural resources, including natural gas and limestone. Agriculture mainly produces rice, jute and tea. Historically renowned for muslin and silk, modern Bangladesh is one of the world’s leading textile producers. Its major trading partners include the European Union, the United States, Japan and the other nearby nations of China, Singapore, Malaysia and India.
Tangail ( টাঙ্গাইল) is a city lying on the banks of the Louhajang River in the central region of Bangladesh 98 kilometers north-west of Dhaka, the capital.