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Ramna Kali Temple: Bangladesh

  • 23 Dec 2021
  • 6 min read

For Prelims: Ramna Kali Temple, Bangladesh Liberation War.

For Mains: 50th anniversary of the victory of Bangladesh and India in the Liberation War, India-Bangladesh Ties.

Why in News

Recently, the Indian President has inaugurated the reconstructed Ramna Kali temple in Ramna, Dhaka (Bangladesh), where the landmark Suhrawardy Udyan (the former Ramna Race Course) is located.

  • The inauguration of the reconstructed Ramna Kalibari coincided with the 50th anniversary of the victory of Bangladesh and India in the Liberation War, which also marks the golden jubilee of the bilateral relations between the two sides.

Key Points

  • About:
    • The temple was destroyed by Pakistani forces during their Operation Searchlight in March 1971, the brutal crackdown that led to the genocide and the Bangladesh War of Liberation.
      • In March 1971, West Pakistan led a genocide in East Pakistan to suppress calls for Bengali self-determination. East Pakistan fought and won to establish the People's Republic of Bangladesh. India played a crucial role in Bangladesh's freedom struggle.
    • After Bangladesh got rid of Pakistan, a small temple was set up at the site for people to offer prayers.
    • A reconstruction of the complex was announced in 2017, when then Indian External Affairs Minister inaugurated 15 development projects in Baridhara, Dhaka.
    • The historic Ramna Kali temple is a symbol of the spiritual and cultural bonding among the people of India and Bangladesh.
  • Ramna Kali Temple:
    • The temple in the area, dedicated to the Goddess Kali, is believed to have been built during the Mughal period. It is believed to be 400 years old, even though it is difficult to pinpoint a year in which it was built.
    • The temple was built by a Hindu sect, but it is difficult to identify exactly who built it. However, it is said that it was built by a certain Haricharan Giri who was a mahant in the temple.
    • It was not a very large temple, and was fairly ordinary in terms of its architecture. However, it is the second oldest Hindu temple in Bangladesh, the Dhakeshwari Temple being the oldest.
    • The temple gained prominence in the early 20th century when the renowned saint Ma Anandamayi built her ashram in its precincts.
      • Anandamayi was popularly addressed as “Shahbag-er ma”, or the Mother of Shahbag.
  • The Temple and the War:
    • On 27th March 1971, the Pakistani army destroyed the temple and massacred 85 Hindus, including priests and devotees.
    • On 7th March 1971, Days before the temple was razed, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman delivered his historic speech at the Ramna Race Course maidan, in which he exhorted Bengalis for the struggle for independence.
      • Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (1920-1975) is the founding leader of Bangladesh and the country’s first Prime Minister.

India-Bangladesh Relations

  • Military Cooperation: 
    • The Bangladesh government has uprooted anti-India insurgency elements from its borders, making the India-Bangladesh border one of the region’s most peaceful.
    • This has allowed India to make a massive redeployment of military resources to its more contentious borders elsewhere.
  • Land Boundary Agreement:
    • Bangladesh and India have achieved the rare feat of solving their border issues peacefully by ratifying the historic Land Boundary Agreement in 2015.
  • Trade Relations:
    • Bangladesh today is India’s biggest trading partner in South Asia with exports to Bangladesh in FY 2018-19 at USD 9.21 billion and imports at USD1.04 billion.
    • Also, India has offered duty free access to multiple Bangladeshi products.
  • Development Sector:
    • India extended three lines of credit to Bangladesh in recent years amounting to USD 8 billion for the construction of roads, railways, bridges, and ports.
  • Improved Connectivity: .
    • A direct bus service between Kolkata and Agartala runs a route distance of 500 km, as compared to the 1,650 km if it ran through the Chicken’s Neck to remain within India.
    • Bangladesh allows the shipment of goods from its Mongla and Chattogram (Chittagong) seaports carried by road, rail, and water ways to Agartala.
  • New Areas of Engagement:
    • Bangladeshis make up a large portion of tourists in India, outnumbering all tourists arriving from western Europe in 2017, with one in every five tourists being a Bangladeshi.
    • Bangladesh accounts for more than 35% of India’s international medical patients and contributes more than 50% of India’s revenue from medical tourism.
  • Recent Development:

Source: TH

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