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(503 words)

Author(s): Luchesi, Brigitte
Bangladesh, a republic in southern Asia, encompasses the territory of what was formerly Indian East Bengal and the Sylhet district of Assam. After the partition of British India in 1947, it formed the eastern part of the Islamic state of Pakistan before it achieved its independence in 1971. The vast majority of the people (97 percent) are Bengalis; the largest minority groups are Urdus (600,000), Chakmas (352,000), Hindis (346,000), Burmese (231,000), and Biharis (230,000). The Bengalis are nearly all Sunnite Muslims, but there is a Shiite minority in the cities. Hind…


(277 words)

Author(s): Luchesi, Brigitte
Bhutan (Tibet; Druk-Yul, “Dragon Kingdom”) is an independent kingdom in the eastern Himalayas. The primary ethnic groups are the Bhote (50 percent) and the Nepalese (35 percent), with smaller percentages of many others (including Assamese, Loba, and Lepcha). About two-thirds belong to the “red cap” sect of Lamaistic Buddhism (the Drukpa group of the Karyud school), which is the state religion. Most of the rest are Hindus, primarily Nepali settlers in the south and southwest of Bhutan. Immigratio…