Bangladesh, with an ever-rising economy, truly has the potential to be the regional power of South Asia alongside India. Today, although it has a significant poverty, more and more people are being added to middle class every year. Big cities like Dhaka are getting more and more equipped with modern facilities like malls and hotels. Although there can be several stories of its success, here’s my compilation of the wonderful facts of Bangladesh.

  1. Bangladesh is building the third highest building in the world.

The 142 storey, 743 metres high Grand Iconic tower in Dhaka on completion will be the third highest building in the world, after the under-construction Jeddah Tower and Burj Khalifa and the tallest building on the Indian subcontinent. The construction will start in 2018.

An artist’s impression of the Iconic Towers
  1. Bangladesh is a leading textile exporter.

The textile industry is the highest contributor to the exports of Bangladesh, due to a demand for cheap textiles. These textiles are exported to as far as USA, Canada and Europe. Surprisingly, one of my brother’s t-shirts also carried a label ‘Made in Bangladesh’. In 2016, textiles accounted for 86% of the country’s exports.

  1. Although Bangladesh separated from Pakistan which left the country in a devastating state, it is growing much faster than Pakistan.

Today Pakistan is in a miserable state with a dysfunctional democracy, dominance by the military and rebellions for independence in Balochistan and Pak occupied Kashmir. Amidst all this chaos, Bangladesh has managed to retain the image of one of the fastest growing economies. In 2016, Bangladesh grew at 6.92%, faster than India and China and much faster than Pakistan, at 4.7%. Devastated economies like Zimbabwe also grew faster than Pakistan in the same year.


  1. Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh has the world’s longest beach.

Cox’s Bazar is a town in the south-eastern part of Bangladesh. It has a 120 km long unbroken sea beach, which is the longest beach in the world. Yet, despite its natural beauty, it is not a major international tourist destination.

  1. Bangladesh has some of the most fertile lands and the broadest rivers.

The two broadest rivers of India – Ganga and Brahmaputra merge in Bangladesh to form river Padma. Hence, one can imagine the breadth and the fertility of the soil on its banks. The delta of these rivers is also the largest in the world. The Bangabandhu bridge built on river Brahmaputra is 5.63 km long and the sixth largest in South Asia. These rivers are well suited for fishing, transportation and their soil for cultivating rice, jute, etc.

Rivers of Bangladesh


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iconic_Towers
  2. https://www.worldfinance.com/markets/bangladesh-textiles-industry-set-global-export-record
  3. http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-pakistan-bangladesh-textiles/textiles-on-the-move-from-pakistan-to-bangladesh-idUKTRE77T11020110830
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_real_GDP_growth_rate
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cox%27s_Bazar


Pakistan is a bad light today after a huge shame by their Permanent Secretary to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi. Ironically, the word ‘Pak’ in Urdu means ‘pure’ and hence, ‘Pakistan’ literally means ‘The land of the pure’. Let us have a look at five good facts about our ‘beloved’ neighbour.

  1. Pakistan is a haven for not only terrorists but also for street food lovers.

One must not forget that although the government is making Pakistan more and more Arabianized, its roots are still Indian. Major cities like Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar have thriving street food lanes. All types of Indian, Persian and Arabian street food is found there. Some of the delicacies are pizzas, bun kebabs, kachoris, samosas, gol gappas, pakoras, jalebis, etc.

Chicken shawarma
  1. World’s second highest peak – K2 is located in Pak occupied Kashmir.

K2 is the world’s second highest point after Mt. Everest. The ‘K’ in K2 comes from the Karakoram range. In fact, when one talks about Pakistan, one can’t forget the majestic beauty of the Karakorams and the lakes of Gilgit Baltistan in Pak occupied Kashmir. This mountain also has the second highest fatality rate with every one climber dying out of four who make it. Due to such steep slopes, not many have ventured it as compared to Mount Everest.

  1. All footballs used in the FIFA World Cup in Brazil were made in Pakistan.

Pakistan is the world’s football manufacturing hub. The Brazuca – the official balls of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil were manufactured at Sialkot. In 2014, Sialkot alone manufactured about 40% of the world’s footballs. The story of it being a football hub dates to the colonial times when the British awarded a contract for manufacturing these balls to a local saddle maker.

A manufacturer in Sialkot with Brazucas
  1. Lahore has a metro bus system.

Similar to elevated metro rail in most metropolitan cities in the world, Lahore has come up with a new concept of a metro bus. These buses are similar to BRTS buses in Ahmedabad and a few other cities except that they run on dedicated elevated roads. All bus stops have a proper arrangement for seating and are well equipped with facilities like railway stations. The service was launched in 2014.

  1. Pakistan is the home to world’s oldest and most advanced civilizations – the Harappan civilization.

This isn’t something new but the namesake river of India – Indus flows mainly through Pakistan. The name ‘Hindu’ was also derived from the Sanskrit name of the Indus river ‘Sindhu’. It is also the birthplace of the Harappan civilization and the Indo-Aryans. Today, most of the excavated sites such as Mohenjo-Daro and Vedic universities like Takshashila are located in Pakistan.

Sites of the Harappan civilization


  1. http://locallylahore.com/blog/16-mouth-watering-street-foods-lahore-street-food-king-food/
  2. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdBfFZKwUI1k7TCUQQmb5eg/videos
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K2
  4. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/07/one-city-in-pakistan-produces-nearly-half-of-the-worlds-soccer-balls/373802/
  5. http://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/pakistan-to-produce-world-cup-soccer-balls/article6033687.ece
  6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7cIgEj-mdQ&t=208s
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lahore_Metrobus






While reading the title, you might be thinking what good can this hermit, isolated kingdom do? Does it do anything else apart from nuclear tests, making hydrogen bombs and ballistic missiles? Definitely, yes. Have a look at some of the interesting good facts about North Korea: –

  1. North Korea has 100% literacy rate.

According to the UNESCO, North Korea has the highest literacy rate in the world, at 100%. This means that although their citizens do not get food, it is mandatory for them to be educated, as the norm is, in several Communist countries. In India too, Tripura, which is governed by Communist governments, has a literacy rate of 94%, far better than any macro-state.


  1. World’s largest stadium is located in Pyongyang, North Korea.

The Rungardo May Day Stadium, or Rungardo 1st of May Stadium in Pyongyang is officially the largest stadium in the world by seating capacity. It has a seating capacity of 114,000. The population of North Korea is about 25 million; hence, about 0.4% of the population can be seated in this stadium at a time. This ratio (seating capacity to population) is probably the highest in the world. The stadium is used for football and athletics events. Pyongyang also has a bunch of other stadiums such as the Yanggakdo Stadium, Kim Il Sung Stadium, etc.

  1. The east coast city of Wonsan has one of the most beautiful and clear beaches.

Wonsan is a historic port city on the east coast of North Korea. It is a famous tourist destination for locals as well as foreigners. It also has beautiful beaches with clear waters. The North Korean government has also proposed to build an underwater hotel to boost tourism here.

  1. Pyongyang’s underground metro is one of the oldest and deepest in the world.

Ever heard about the Pyongyang metro? It became operational in 1973, one year prior to Seoul Metro. It is about 110 metres deep and claims to be the world’s deepest. It consists of two lines. The trains were imported from Germany, which were formerly used on the Berlin metro. All the advertising was removed and replaced with the photos of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.

Puhung station of the Pyongyang metro
  1. World’s tallest uncompleted building is located in Pyongyang, North Korea.

The Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang is a 105-storey unopened hotel in Pyongyang. It is the tallest unopened building in the world. It is also the tallest building in Pyongyang and defines the city’s skyline. The construction began in 1987 but was halted due to a period of economic slowdown. It suffered subsequent delays and was completed only in 2011. As of now, it has not yet been opened.


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_literacy_rate
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_states_ranking_by_literacy_rate
  3. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/education/news/Tripura-beats-Kerala-in-literacy/articleshow/22416019.cms
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_stadiums_by_capacity
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rungrado_1st_of_May_Stadium
  6. https://www.google.co.in/maps/@39.0498023,125.7753243,321m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en&authuser=0
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonsan
  8. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/23/north-korea-plans-underwater-hotel-wonsan-tourist-city
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyongyang_Metro
  10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryugyong_Hotel

A Country – What Does It Mean?

A Country – What Does It Mean?

We have a world, divided into numerous countries, nations or states, as you may call it; however, the three terms, although used synonymously, are different. A country is the geographical land; a nation is the people residing on that land while a state is the government of that land.

If you ever get a question asking, “How many countries exist in this world today?” What would be your answer? Unfortunately, here the answer may differ person to person because it all depends on what exactly do you consider as a country. Many states do not recognize Israel, Abkhazia, Kosovo, etc. and hence, their count may differ. We currently have 193 members in the United Nations, however there are a few sovereign nations like The Holy See and many claimed-to-be sovereign nations like Somaliland which are not UN members, and hence, this answer also stands inaccurate.

So what is a sovereign nation? A nation which manages its internal and external affairs without the intervention of any foreign body can be called as a sovereign state. Thus, this definition excludes protectorates, autonomous regions and dependencies.

Going apart from this legality, the form of nations that exist today wasn’t the same a few centuries ago. Then, the word ‘kingdom’ or ‘empire’ was more suitable. Have you ever heard anything like the ‘nation of Mughals’? No, because the word ‘nation’ first came into existence with the formation of nation-states. A nation state is essentially a state that controls an ethnic group of people, has a well-defined territory and (usually) has a Constitution of its own and a well-formed government.

In the earlier periods, what we had was kingdoms and empires. An empire was essentially a large kingdom. The son of the king used to inherit the throne, and when the king grew wild enough, the entire dynasty used to be replaced by a new one, taken over by another kingdom, or would split into several small kingdoms. Neither did they have a well-defined territory, their territorial area was highly variable as constant fights between neighbouring kingdoms were frequent and usually nobody shared peaceful relations. The focus of the state was more on expanding its frontiers rather than increasing the standard of living of its people.

In a first in the medieval world, this autocracy of dynasties was ousted in the French Revolution, which led to the concept of a nation state. England divided its government into the judiciary, legislature and executive which became the ground for many modern governments including that of the Republic of India. The formation of America in 1776 further strengthened these modern concepts. However, it was only in Europe that the word ‘nation’ first came into existence.

The story of formation of different nations is different, some of which are highly unique. Some nations were formed by proclaiming themselves as nation states, as those in Europe; some nations like Liberia were specially created for the people of a certain community to stay; some of the nations like Russia and Kazakhstan broke away from past larger nations. Some of the nations like South Sudan were created as a result of referendums; such stories can be told about each and every nation in the world, hence there is no point in describing each story in detail to increase the length of this already long article!

Coming over to India, it was regarded only as a region of Hindus which used to lie to the east of river Indus, from which India derived its name and to the west of the Eastern Himalayas. Once upon a time there existed the Harappan and the Vedic civilization, which were the base stones for a modern India. We then had rulers like Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka and the legendary Bharata, from whom Bharat (India) derived its name. We then had numerous rulers ruling our state and various small kingdoms too. Soon, the British East India Company took over the control of most of the parts, which was handed over to the British Parliament in 1858. The British didn’t have full control over the entire Indian ‘region’; many of the princely states were only under their suzerainty. The modern India was formed by the division of British India into India and Pakistan and as a union of these princely states with the Dominion of India, then in 1947; else, we would have had more than 565 states today in South Asia, which is almost thrice larger than the total number of states existing today!

The extent of Ashoka’s empire (pic from Wikipedia)

Thus, the formation of any nation hasn’t been as easy as cutting a cake. There has been a loss of lives of more than a billion people by now in wars, crimes, genocides, etc. Many people have voluntarily shed their blood for creating their dream states. Hence, a nation or a country is not merely a concept of geopolitical fiction; it involves the people, their thoughts, their ideas, their creativity, their intellect. Hence, as the citizens of a nation, it’s our responsibility to take it ahead as the sun shines!