East Bengal-the region that was to become East Pakistan and later Bangladesh-was a prosperous region of South Asia until modern times..
The standard of living compared favorably with others parts of South Asia.
Eastern Bengal was known for its fine muslin and silk fabric before the British periode. The dyes, yarn and cloth were the envy of much of the premodern world. Bengali muslin, silk and brocade were worn by the aristrocracy of Asia and Europe.
Alexander Dow, noted historian of that period, wrote, "At than time, Bengal was one of the richest, most populous and best cultivated kingdom in the world...............We may date the commencement of decline from the day on which Bengal fell under the dominion of foreigners."