An Overview of Dhaka

Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka District. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, has a population of around 11 million, making it the largest city in Bangladesh. It is one of the most densely populated cities in the world and forms the world’s 9th largest agglomeration and the largest city within the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Dhaka is known as the City of Mosques and renowned for producing the world’s finest muslin. Dhaka is also known as the Rickshaw Capital of the World . Approximately 400,000 cycle rickshaws run each day. Today, it serves as one of the prime centers for culture, education and business in the region (source).

The city of Dhaka has a population of over 11 million today and it is estimated to be growing at 4.7% per annum. Of this population, it is estimated that 46.7 % are living in absolute poverty with about half this group categorized as living in hard-core poverty. Landlessness, natural calamities, river erosion and lack of income earning opportunities push the rural poor to urban areas indicating a process of urbanization of poverty. This process is manifested by the sprawling growth of slum and squatter settlements especially in the capital city of Dhaka. Although the poor are an integral part of the city, their rights to live in the city are not recognized by the authorities including the central Government agencies and local government. There is the school of thought that the urban poor should be taken back to the villages and resettled there and indeed such a program is currently being implemented. The National Housing Policy recognizes that slum settlements should be upgraded with security of tenure. However successive Governments have been resorting to violent evictions and sometimes using subtle methods. Ironically during the period of the Caretaker Government, over 12,000 families were evicted in the name of cleaning up the city of criminal elements (source).


Religion in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is one of the largest Muslim countries in the world, with 83% of the population claiming to be Muslim. Most Bangladeshi Muslims are Sunnis, but there is a small Shia community. The country saw wholesale conversions to Islam that began in the thirteenth century and continued on for hundreds of years. Muslim missionaries and mystics who wandered about the villages and towns were responsible for much of the conversions.

Hindus in Bangladesh in are almost evenly distributed in all regions, with concentrations in Khulna, Jessore, Dinajpur, Faridpur, and Barisal. They represent about 16% of the population. In the Chittagong Hills, Buddhist tribes formed the majority of the population. There are approximately 1 million Buddhists in Bangladesh, representing less than 1 percent of the population. There are less than a million Christians in Bangladesh, mostly Roman Catholic. The Christians in Dhaka make up 0.44% of the population, which means there are only around 48,000 Christians in the whole city (source).

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