West Bengal

West Bengal (Paschim Banga in Bengali) is a state in the northeast of India. Neighbouring regions are Nepal and Sikkim to the northwest, Bhutan to the north, Assam to the northeast, Bangladesh to the east, the Bay of Bengal to the south, Orissa to the southwest and Jharkhand and Bihar.


Capital Kolkata
Governor Viren J. Shah
Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya
Area 88,752 kmē
Population
 - Total
 - Density
Ranked 4th in India
80,221,171 (2001)
904/km²
Literacy rate:
 - Total
 - Male
 - Female

69.22%
77.58%
60.22%
Urbanization: 28.03%

History of Bengal

Bengal came under Islamic rule starting in the 13th century and developed into a wealthy centre of trade and industry under the Mogul Empire during the 16th century. European traders had arrived in the late 15th century and eventually the British East India Company controlled the region by the late 18th century, from which the British extended their rule over all of India.

When Indian independence was achieved in 1947, Bengal was divided into predominantly Muslim East Bengal (later changed to East Pakistan and then Bangladesh) and predominantly Hindu West Bengal.

Its capital city is Kolkata. There are 18 districts in this state. The primary language of West Bengal is Bengali.Since 1977, the state has been ruled by Left Front, who repeatedly won democratic elections.

The climate of West Bengal is tropical. The land is mostly plains except the northern region which is a part of Himalayan Mountain Range. Darjeeling in the north is well known for its high quality teas. At the south of West Bengal the Sundarbans delta on Ganga is a part of the world's largest river delta (rest of it lies in Bangladesh). This region is famous for the Royal Bengal Tiger.

Bengal is the cultural hub of India. There was a saying, "What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow". It is the birthplace of India's only Noble laureate in literature, Rabindranath Tagore. The world famous film director Satyajit Ray was also born here. Apart from this, Bengal gave birth to innumerable well known poets and writers who enriched the world literature ceaselessly. To name a few, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay and Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay. Also India's most beloved male singer in films,Kishore Kumar, and the world-famous sitarist Ravi Shankar were Bengali.

During independence movement, Bengal took a leading and especially militant role. Subhash Chandra Bose, who was belovedly called "Netaji", is still a burning example of courage for Indian youth. Satyendra Nath Bose, from whom the boson particle and Bose-Einstein theory get their names, was also a Bengali. Amartya Sen, who won Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998 is a Bengali. Mother Teresa, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, had worked in Kolkata for most of her life.

In the religious realm, Bengal gave birth to great Hindu sages and saints like Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (15th century major Vaishnava figure), Ramprasad Sen (a famous Kali Bhakta and poet) and Ramakrishna Paramhansa; others include Swami Vivekananda (the most renowned of Shri Ramakrishna's disciples), Aurobindo Ghosh, and Prabhupada A.C. Bhaktivedanta the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).