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West Bengal () is an Indian state, located in Eastern India on the Bay of Bengal. With over 91 million inhabitants (as of 2011), it is India's fourth-most populous state. It has an area of 88,752 km2 (34,267 sq mi). A part of the ethno-linguistic Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent, it borders Bangladesh in the east, and Nepal and Bhutan in the north. It also borders the Indian states of Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Sikkim, and Assam. The state capital is Kolkata (Calcutta), the seventh-largest city in India. As for geography, West Bengal includes the Darjeeling Himalayan hill region, the Ganges delta, the Rarh region, and the coastal Sundarbans. The main ethnic group are the Bengalis, with Bengali Hindus forming the demographic majority.
The area's early history featured a succession of Indian empires, internal squabbling, and a tussle between Hinduism and Buddhism for dominance. Ancient Bengal was the site of several major Janapadas (kingdoms), while the earliest cities date back to the Vedic period. The region was part of several ancient pan-Indian empires, including the Mauryans and Guptas. It was also a bastion of regional kingdoms. The citadel of Gauda served as the capital of the Gauda Kingdom, the Buddhist Pala Empire (eighth to 11th century) and Hindu Sena Empire (11th–12th century). From the 13th century onward, the region was ruled by several sultans, powerful Hindu states, and Baro-Bhuyan landlords, until the beginning of British rule in the 18th century. The British East India Company cemented their hold on the region following the Battle of Plassey in 1757, and Calcutta served for many years as the capital of British India. The early and prolonged exposure to British administration resulted in an expansion of Western education, culminating in developments in science, institutional education, and social reforms in the region, including what became known as the Bengali Renaissance. A hotbed of the Indian independence movement through the early 20th century, Bengal was divided during India's independence in 1947 along religious lines into two separate entities: West Bengal, a state of India, and East Bengal, a province of Pakistan which later became independent Bangladesh. Between 1977 and 2011 the state was administered by the world's longest elected Communist government.
The economy of West Bengal is the sixth-largest state economy in India with ₹10.49 lakh crore (US$150 billion) in gross domestic product and a per capita GDP of ₹108,000 (US$1,500). The state's cultural heritage, besides varied folk traditions, includes authors in literature, such as Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Kolkata is known as the "cultural capital of India". West Bengal is also known for its enthusiasm for the sport of association football, as well as cricket.
Kazi Nazrul Islam
(May 25, 1899 – August 29, 1976) was a Bengali poet
who is best known for pioneering works in Bengali
expressing fierce rebellion against society, tradition, politics, injustice, intolerance and oppression. Popularly known as the Bidrohi Kobi
— Rebel Poet
— he is officially recognised as the national poet
and commemorated in India
Born in a poor Muslim family, Nazrul received religious education and worked as a muezzin at a local mosque. He later joined the Indian Army and served in World War I. Whilst stationed in Karachi, Nazrul learnt Persian and the art of writing, and was exposed to Hindu religion, music and literature. Working as a journalist, Nazrul assailed the British Raj and emphatically preached revolution with his poetic works the "Vidrohi" ("Rebel") and "Bhangar Gan" ("The Song of Destruction") and his publication the "Dhumketu" ("Comet"). Imprisoned by police, Nazrul wrote the "Rajbandir Jabanbandi" ("Deposition of a Political Prisoner"), intensifying his criticism of imperialism. Nazrul also condemned Muslim religious fundamentalism and explore the lives of downtrodden masses in India. He remained active in political organisations and literary, art and music societies.
The Grand Hotel in Kolkata. Tourism, especially from Bangladesh, is an important part of West Bengal's economy.
Chhau Mask dance parforming in the field
An SBSTC bus in Karunamoyee
Jor Bangla Temple at Bishnupur, Bankura
A hut in a village in the Hooghly district
Kapil Muni Temple at Sagardwip
Baul singers at Shantiniketan
Immersion procession on Bijaya Dashami
Jagaddhatri Puja in Kolkata
Poila Baisakh festive meal
Glittering lighting decorations during Durga Puja.
A tea garden in Darjeeling.
Rabindranath Tagore, India's most famous poet, was born in Calcutta
Muslims gather at Muharram procession in Kolkata
Rath Jatra is widely celebrated in Bengal
Terracotta temple of Bishnupur in Bankura, one of the older examples of the terracotta arts of India
Dance with Rabindra Sangeet
Prajna Bhavan, housing the School of Mathematical Sciences and School of RKMVU
Kali Puja, a major festival of West Bengal
Shops selling Christmas decorations in Kolkata
Shoppers at the Poush Mela Fair
The Victoria Memorial in Kolkata
Many areas remain flooded during the heavy rains brought by a monsoon.
The front entrance to the academic block of NUJS, Kolkata
Freshly sown saplings of rice in a paddy; in the background are stacks of jute sticks.
Colours for Holi on sale at a market
Location of West Bengal in India
Durga Puja, biggest festival of West Bengal
27 September 1933), was a leading Bengali
poet, social worker and feminist. A part of the earliest batch of girls to attend school, she was the first woman honours graduate in the country, having passed her bachelor of arts degree with Sanskrit honours from Bethune College
of the University of Calcutta
in 1886. She was inclined towards literature from a young age and started composing poems at the age of eight. Her father, Chandi Charan Sen, a judge and a writer, was a leading member of the Brahmo Samaj. In 1894 she married Kedarnath Roy. Kamini Roy was a feminist in an age when even women’s education was a taboo. In an address delivered at a girls’ school in Calcutta she declared that the aim of women’s education was to contribute to their all-round development and fulfilment of their potential.
Wikipedia in Bengali
- June 18:Operation Lalgarh has been started against the Maoist who have been active in organising a tribal movement alongside a group called the People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) by the police and security forces in Lalgarh, West Bengal to restore law and order in the area and flush out the Maoists. Indian Express
Did you know...
- ...that Bidhannagar College had to move out of its old premises because of student overpopulation?