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This temple, Somapura Mahavihara, inside of a Muslim nation was once home to many practicing Buddhists around the 8th century. I found myself looking for historical landmarks that defined Bangladesh, moreover, their connection to India and the old life when they were a part of Bengal. It was strange to see Buddhist landmarks in a country so committed to Islam. In a way, Bangladesh had been affected by globalization long before the 20th century.
Bengal as it was known was changed forever by the Middle East as boats arrived in India for trade. Many were swept away by Islam. While India had spread both Hinduism and Buddhism across Asia, suddenly they were awe struck by a third religion. And then, Bengal would split in half. The Muslim portion would become East Bengal. And within this Bihar Province was cut in half. Bihar was home to Bodhgaya, where Buddha first attained enlightenment. Bihar province was the birthplace of practicing Buddhism. It only later spread to the Himalayas.
When Islam invaded Bengal and it became two, so did Bihar Province. Somapura Mahavihara, along with other great Buddhist monasteries became obsolete and some were even destroyed. Being Muslim, once India got independence the Muslims all separated from the Hindu practicing Indians. They divided into East and West Pakistan. While Islam was the first wave of globalization, colonialism had immense impact and when the British returned home chaos ensued. East Bengal (and East Bihar) or East Pakistan got its independence in 1976. Only it took a typhoon that killed a few hundred thousand people and a civil war that involved West Pakistan sweeping bloodshed across the once peaceful Buddhist landmarks around Somapura Mahacihara to the capital in Dhaka until they killed millions. Finally, after hundreds of years of outside influence, this tiny pocket of flatland, swamps, lakes and rivers became known as Bangladesh.