A WORLD TO WIN    #5   (1986)


Life and Death in Bangladesh

The country now known as Bangladesh was for many years part of the British empire. Under British rule, what is now Bangladesh constituted East Bengal, whose population is majority Muslem. West Bengal, whose capital is Calcutta and whose people -- like the majority in Bangladesh -- speak Bengali, is part of India. Bangladesh later formed part of Pakistan (as East Pakistan) until 1971 when, following a series of events culminating in a war of secession and involving complicated manoeuvres by both imperialist blocs as well as India, East Pakistan broke away from Pakistan and formed Bangladesh.

The capital city is Dhaka, with over 3 million people. Except for city-countries like Hong Kong or Monaco, Bangladesh is the most densely populated country in the world: over 90 million people live in an area about the size of Czechoslovakia. It is also one of the youngest countries in the world (half the population is under the age of 17), and one of the poorest.

A sense of what imperialist and semi-feudal domination means for the people of Bangladesh can be glimpsed from the following few statistics. The corresponding figures for West Germany are given as a basis for comparison.



West Germany

Life expectancy at birth

47 years

73 years

Per capita income



Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births)



Physicians (per 100,000 people)



Daily caloric consumption






Sources: Encyclopaedia Britannica Yearbook 1985 and World Almanac 1982.