Conservatism in Bangladesh refers to the Bangladeshi variant of conservatism (Bengali: রক্ষণশীলতাবাদ). In Bangladesh, conservatism is closely related to the traditional, social, and religious identities in the politics. Conservative political parties seek to establish a nation state, holding traditional Bangladeshi culture, national identity, multiculturalism and social values, supporting religious values, Bangladeshi nationalism and economic liberalism. Conservatism is the political agenda of some leading parties in Bangladesh including Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Jatiya Party (E) and Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami.

Right-wing conservative politics began mainly in the mid-1970s and remained dominant until the mid-1990s. After the independence in 1971, left-wing parties failed to stem the country's internal turmoil and bring about economic growth, leading to the rise of conservatives in politics, which was, however, largely a result of the 1975 coups and political leaning from left to right-wing politics. Conservatives developed a nationalism based on religion and territory of Bangladesh and promoted economic liberalisation in the country. After the June 1996 Bangladeshi general election, centrist liberals, led by Awami League, came to power. Right-wing conservatives led by the BNP again came to power by winning 2001 general election, but eventually lost in the 2008 general election.

Early conservatives promoted national, social and religious conservatism, claiming Bangladeshi nationalism as its core value. It "represents a mixture of traditional Bengali customs and moderate Islam".[1] Though "language and culture was at the core of Bangladeshi national identity, most people still identified as religious."[2] So, conservatives associated Islamic ideals to gain supports from the general masses. Upon taking power, Ziaur Rahman, founding chairman of BNP, introduced a state-sponsored Islamisation that impacted significantly on society and culture.[1] But in mid-1980s, considering the overall situation of the country, conservatives adopt some progressive values, promoting progressive conservatism. However, radical conservatives oppose western culture, calling it "alien culture", and seek to establish a religion-based state.[3] Fiscally, most of the conservatives support social justice and promote market economy with limited interventionism, while a few promote welfare capitalism.

Bangladeshi society remains highly socially conservative in compared with western society.[4] According to, most Bangladeshis oppose homosexuality, same-sex marriage, gambling, drinking and animal welfare.[5] In recent years, "a puritan, ritualistic version of Islam" has gained prominence in the country,[6] which overwhelms people's support for conservatism.

List of conservative political parties in Bangladesh

See also


  1. ^ a b Wohab, Abdul. ""Secularism" or "no-secularism"? A complex case of Bangladesh". Retrieved May 27, 2021.
  2. ^ Hardig, Anders C. "Conservative Islamic views are gaining ground in secular Bangladesh and curbing freedom of expression". The Conversation. Retrieved February 18, 2020.
  3. ^ Burke, Jason; Hammadi, Saad. "Bangladesh simmers as Islamic conservatives and progressives clash". The Guardian. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  4. ^ Hasan, Mubashar. "Understanding Bangladesh's most potent religious opposition". Lowy Institute. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  5. ^ "Young Bangladeshis more conservative than their elders, survey finds". Retrieved July 5, 2012.
  6. ^ Rahman, Tahmina. "From Revolutionaries to Visionless Parties: Leftist Politics in Bangladesh". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved September 6, 2022.