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Is Bangladesh a failed state? July 20, 2008

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Prothom Alo published a report on 20 July 2008 as it’s main news by the head line ‘ Is Bangladesh in the list of failed state? ‘

US Congress recently published a report which shows Bangladesh at the rank of 12 out of 144 countries. The report cite the reference of the finding of Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy magazine.

The reference of the report in the daily draws sharp reactions from the experts.

Bangladesh ranked 12 with 100.3 points out of 144 states, Somalia holds the last position on the basis of following 12 indicators:

Social Indicators
I-1. Mounting Demographic Pressures
I-2. Massive Movement of Refugees or Internally Displaced Persons creating
Complex Humanitarian Emergencies
I-3. Legacy of Vengeance-Seeking Group Grievance or Group Paranoia
I-4. Chronic and Sustained Human Flight

Economic Indicators
I-5. Uneven Economic Development along Group Lines
I-6. Sharp and/or Severe Economic Decline

Political Indicators
I-7. Criminalization and/or Delegitimization of the State
I-8. Progressive Deterioration of Public Services
I-9. Suspension or Arbitrary Application of the Rule of Law and Widespread
Violation of Human Rights
I-10. Security Apparatus Operates as a “State Within a State”
I-11. Rise of Factionalized Elites
I-12. Intervention of Other States or External Political Actors

The ordinary citizen compiled the following scores of Bangladesh in different attributes:

Index no Attributes Bangladesh score Rank in the item
1.1 Mounting Demographic Pressures 9.8 2
1.2 . Massive Movement of Refugees or Internally Displaced Persons creating Complex Humanitarian Emergencies 7.1 38
1.3 Legacy of Vengeance-Seeking Group Grievance or Group Paranoia 9.7 4
1.4 Chronic and Sustained Human Flight 8.4 5
1.5 Uneven Economic Development along Group Lines 9.0 9
1.6 Sharp and/or Severe Economic Decline 7.1 54
1.7 Criminalization and/or Delegitimization of the State 9.1 17
1.8 Progressive Deterioration of Public Services 7.8 39
1.9 Suspension or Arbitrary Application of the Rule of Law and Widespread Violation of Human Rights 8.0 31
1.10 . Security Apparatus Operates as a “State Within a State” 8.3 23
1.11 Rise of Factionalized Elites 9.6 06
1.12 . Intervention of Other States or External Political Actors 6.4 71

The table shows interesting finding- Bangladesh scores worst in 1.1 in ‘Mounting demographic pressure’ likely due to climate changes where Bangladesh is rather a victim of the global warming induced by excess carbon emission. The other areas where Bangladesh scores low are 1.3 Legacy of Vengeance-Seeking Group Grievance probably the researchers is not liking the collective bargaining of the LDCs, BIMSTEC,D8 etc;1.4 Chronic and Sustained Human Flight; 1.11 Rise of Factionalized Elites which the report defined as Fragmentation of ruling elites and state institutions along group lines and Use of nationalistic political rhetoric by ruling elites, often in terms of communal irredentism or of communal solidarity; and 1.5 Uneven Economic Development along Group Lines.

The report does not assess from a neutral point. It is fragmented view from above.

The report fails to recognize the courage and resilience of Bangladeshi people in overcoming 2 massive floods and a devastating cyclone, the effect of microfinance on the low income group and the positive transformation that is taking place in our state craft.

In no way Bangladesh is a failed state or will be one? Bangladesh will prove the skeptics wrong.

An ordinary citizen

Post script:
Abul Momen in his column told that if our state is weak, then it is their society which is in distress[PA 24th July 2008]


1. Zahid Hossain - July 21, 2008

If one more Attribute were added: “Absence of Good Leadership”, Bangladesh would score 10 out of 10, overcoming which is the quick way out for us.

2. Star International - July 21, 2008

Very bad to hear and realize. But do we really think it is?
your post contains a very good topic. Thank you.


3. Ibne siraj - July 21, 2008

Who says bangladesh is a failed state? It is the design of the big brothers to label bangladesh as a failed state to exploit it as clue to intrude into bangladesh to use it as a strategic base as a part of their policy of expansionism.
Read the post of Dristipath for a better understanding of the issue http://dpwriters.wordpress.com/2007/08/08/through-big-brothers-eyes/

4. A. Bahar - July 21, 2008

Can geopolitics be a factor in this? Nehru’s India Doctrine (Akhanda Bharata) says:
“India will inevitably exercise an important influence. India will also develop as the centre of economic and political activity in the Indian ocean area.The small national state is doomed. It may survive as a culturally autonomous area but not as an independent political unit.” Now it makes sense of why and how Hydrabad, Kashmir, Goa, and Sikkim were made part of India. Why there has been deep Indian RAW involvement in Sri Lanka, Maldive, Nepal and in Bangladesh. From India-Bangladesh treaties, Bangldesh already became a failed state (bottomless basket case in 1975). It is now only trying to become a Bengal tigre. It is not entering the vicious circle but getting out of it.

5. Farruque - August 4, 2008

Bangladesh is in no way a failed state rather she passes transitional period to march on a strong democracy in near future as there exists social harmony and there is no ethnic conflicts as like as other South Asian countries.

Some exceptional events can not be accounted into indicators and so called rankings

6. Kazi Noman Ahmed - August 8, 2008

Cool Blog. I just happened to be looking for something like this.
I have some questions. I am going to request you to answer at my email address: nomsthedarklord@yahoo.com
1. Whats wrong with Bangladesh, why is everything a failure?
2. Is Bangladesh worth living for? I love my country, but my country seems to a utter failure in every aspects.
3. Is there anything good in Bangladesh?
4. What news and facts about Bangladesh can you offer me that might inspire a Bangladeshi?
Looking forward to you.
[NB: The comment reset by me under the post as it is most relevant here. But the comment is no way mine. The photo of mine is dragged automatically by wordpress with editng]

7. bdoza - August 8, 2008

The question is asked by many. That’s why I am giving my opinion here so that others can also participate in the discussion.
Everything with Bangladesh is not a failure.The liberation of Bangladesh in 1971 is the best example of our success.Imagine what happened to our identity if we were not succeeded.
The survival of Bangladesh overcoming many political upheavals also testifies its success. Bangladesh also overcame many natural disasters which had devastating effect on its economy.
The area where Bangldesh fails most is its governance, the responsibility lies with the political leaders and the beucrates.
The area where the Bangladesh did best is the microfinance. Social businesses are on the rise, SME has got new boost, exports in different sectors are increasing including garments, knitwear, medicine, shipbuilding etc, remitance is oncresing every year, financial researve has got a resspectable size etc.
Some individuals and organsiations are doing tremendous works against all odds.Many institutions are also developing.
People are the power of Bangladesh. Others took the credit but people played the main role during every crisis of our nation..
Bangladesh is passing through a crucial phase in its history. If it succeeds in its passage through this phase, then a bright future is waiting for it.
Have high hopes!

8. SOME1 - October 5, 2008


9. Luigi - October 6, 2008

It has become a failed state under the caretaker government of Fakruddin and Moeen.

The US ambassador and the UN rep in Dhaka and their friend Ifthekar Chowdhury have finally nailed the coffin. It is only a matter of time when Bangladesh heads in the direction of either Pakistan, Afghanistan or Somalia. The last 18 months have sealed Bangladesh’s fate.

10. Garry Ackerman - October 6, 2008

Bangladesh’s crisis will never end. Bangladeshi’s are treacherous trairtors. They killed Mujib, Zia, most of the freedom fighters and genuine sons of the soil. Now you have fundamentalist Jamaatis enjoying state patronage in power sharing.

This is such a lousy country that UN station manager in Dhaka and US and EU ambassadors legitimize emergency and openly speak on behalf of fascist forces to destroy democracy and ruin the economy.

Iraq was leveled to the ground to allow marauding forces plunder and loot it’s museums and natural resources.

11. Javed - March 13, 2009

In my opinion, the most fustrating aspect of Bangladesh is its governance. It seems that the ruling party is only in power for themselves and the general public seem to facilitate it by votiing for these corrupt dynastic leaders that are all too common in South Asia. This is all too aparent in light of the recent events in Bangladesh, which reinforces my opinion that the country is very close to becoming a failed state.

12. Concerned - April 22, 2009

Bangladesh needs electricity. And yea… save it from becoming a real failed state… for you own good, O citizens of the world. No country or human kind will exist, if any country become a cancer. Cancer in one part is enough to kill an entire body.

13. Jonathan - July 16, 2009

The land that now constitutes Bangladesh has seen many ruthless rulers and invaders for over a 1000 years. The leadership in Bangladesh has failed the people of Bangladesh. If there are no honest, hard-working, patriotic leaders who will fight for the interests of Bangladesh instead of caving in to powerful countries, Bangladesh will continue to digress. Hopefully, there will be better days in the future. It takes time and sincere nation-building effort for a nation to be developed. Bangladesh will get there, insha’allah!

14. Amim Ehsan - September 7, 2009

mujib was killed because every one of us lives for an appointed term. His term expired and so he did he. If Allah willed otherwise, he would definitely lived longer but then again there are millions of bangladeshis to replace him. So where is the problem. The same thing is true about Zia. He was an honest army officer with humble beginnings and there are many Zia in the making even within the army who are truly patriotic and they will not serve our neighbouring states’ intelligent agencies for petty gains. But as the conspiracies envelope BD, many of them lost their lives and ranks recently … but the country moved on … because its a place where there are no traffic rules … everyone is afraid of those who occupy seats of power and those who are powerless will continue to suffer at the hands of dishonest powerful people who continue to live a life of sheer misguidance. May Allah guide those who desperately need it. May Allah unite us with the Muslim ummah to fight the aggression of those who dislike is because we worship Allah and we attempt to follow Islam. Consider being punished or executed because of wanting to fast …. Uighurs are being tortured in their own land at the hands of chinese regime … until and unless we feel their pain in bangladesh, we can not expect the same level of sympathy when we are tortured.

How can we forget what happened in Gujarat .. in a country which declares itself secular.

15. Mannafi - September 17, 2009

One needs to really check back the subsets of the 12 indicators as sited in the failed stes index 2008. it is important to keep an unbiased and emotional frame of mind while placeing Bangladesh in the checklist. It is all about perception and few of the meanings of the subsets of the indicators are really blurred. I started seeing myself as if I am not a Bnagladeshi but one who has lived this country for 33 years. I presumed such so that i remain emotionless. I rephrased all the indicators in terms of question and started placing Y ( yes) or N( No) against each of the indicators and their subsets. In reality , I found more than 70 % could not be answered in terms of yes or no. probably the answer is in betwen yes or no. It was mostly how the FOREIGN POLICY , No 167,july/august 2008 has perceived the scenario and they graded it. the rationale mostly pivoted around the setback of postponed election and impositionment of emergency.To their view it qualified as failed state. it does not necessarily transform bangladesh into a failed state. The indicators are quantifiable but what is the datum for such quantification is mystery. However, it is worth remembering that we do have loopholes which could easily be exploited by the external agencies and also by the corrupted elites of the country. As long as Bangladesh will be ruled by unsophiscticated and illeterate politician , there are always chances that this kind of index will pull down the image of our country. It is immaterial whether Bangladesh is truely a failed state or not. It is really hurtening that in the year of 2009, we still find many who dont have any idea about what statemanship is and probably doesnot know how to speak up for their people. we all understand that we need to get over this but when? as long it continues we will have to bear with such blame of failed stateor most corrupted country or instable country etc.

16. Bulbul Ahmad - March 27, 2010

Bangladesh is indeed a failed state. It breaks my heart to say this being a bangladeshi myself. But this is the truth.

And c’on guys, we dont even get the basic everyday needs like electricity, gas and even water. Electricity is an everyday crisis while gas and water can be out of operation even for a month on some areas.

And we have got to have the most unplanned city in the whole wide world. A 10 minutes journey can take up to an hour!!! Oh my God how could this be a city? How can you even call this a city. Transportation system has to be the worst most of all.

But look at our leaders, all they can do is blabber and complaining about the past. Who did what? and blah blah. But you wud never hear them talking about a development project in any area.


17. Rob - June 3, 2010

Main reason for Bangladesh to be in the list of Failed state is due to ;
a) It’s Anti India Policy;
b) Growing Islamic Fundamentalism;
c) Growing Madrassas;
d) Anti USA;
e) Blame India for every natural disaster;
f) Takes too much Financial Aid from India & blames India for everything;
g) Support’s terrorism against India;
h) Support’s/Houses terrorist’s in its soil;
i) Too much money is spent on Army;
j) Bad Management of the foreign Aid;
k) Bad Administration in the Government –Corrupt;
l) Sends it’s people to India illegally — illegal immigrants;
m) Don’t tolerate minorities –Hindu’s/Christians are treated very badly;
n) Don’t respect Law & Order;
o) People don’t pay Taxes — no development;
p) Government depends too much on Aid from West/India;
q) Government Favors Islamic Fundamentalist;
r) Give Refuge to terrorist — 26/11 terrorist;
s) Barrows too much Aid from IMF, WB and defaults on interest;
t) Majority support Terrorism — al quida..;
u) Bangladeshi Govt is unfaithful to India..for it’s support for freedom & Independence .. so many Indians died for your country;
v) Being very greedy, always want more from india, and cries it did not get much;
w) Most Bangladeshi’s are intelligent and hardworking people, but if the govt policies are paid, the results are poor development and poverty;
x) Bangladesh have to blame themselves not India or West for it’s problem;
y) Bangladeshi’s have to get better education to move forward;
z) Bangladesh have to treat there female population with respect and give good education for them;



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