Bengal

Bengal

Overview

Bengal ( or Bôngo) is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 at the apex of the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

 (previously East Bengal
East Bengal
East Bengal was the name used during two periods in the 20th century for a territory that roughly corresponded to the modern state of Bangladesh. Both instances involved a violent partition of Bengal....

 / East Pakistan
East Pakistan
East Pakistan was a provincial state of Pakistan established in 14 August 1947. The provincial state existed until its declaration of independence on 26 March 1971 as the independent nation of Bangladesh. Pakistan recognized the new nation on 16 December 1971. East Pakistan was created from Bengal...

) and the Indian state
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

 of West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

, although some regions of the previous kingdoms of Bengal (during local monarchical regimes and British rule
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

) are now part of the neighboring Indian states of Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

, Jharkhand
Jharkhand
Jharkhand is a state in eastern India. It was carved out of the southern part of Bihar on 15 November 2000. Jharkhand shares its border with the states of Bihar to the north, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to the west, Orissa to the south, and West Bengal to the east...

, Assam
Assam
Assam , also, rarely, Assam Valley and formerly the Assam Province , is a northeastern state of India and is one of the most culturally and geographically distinct regions of the country...

, Tripura
Tripura
Tripura is a state in North-East India, with an area of . It is the third smallest state of India, according to area. Tripura is surrounded by Bangladesh on the north, south, and west. The Indian states of Assam and Mizoram lie to the east. The capital is Agartala and the main languages spoken are...

 and Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

.
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Encyclopedia
Bengal
Map of the Bengal region: West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

 and Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

Largest Cities
Kolkata
Kolkata
Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

 (Calcutta)

23.34°N 88.22°E

Dhaka
Dhaka
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, had a population of over 15 million in 2010, making it the largest city...

 
23.42°N 90.22°E
Chittagong
Chittagong
Chittagong ) is a city in southeastern Bangladesh and the capital of an eponymous district and division. Built on the banks of the Karnaphuli River, the city is home to Bangladesh's busiest seaport and has a population of over 4.5 million, making it the second largest city in the country.A trading...

 
22.22°N 91.48°E
Khulna
Khulna
Khulna is the third largest city in Bangladesh. It is located on the banks of the Rupsha and Bhairab rivers in Khulna District. It is the divisional headquarters of Khulna Division and a major industrial and commercial center. It has a seaport named Mongla on its outskirts, 38 km from Khulna...

 
22.48°N 89.33°E
Main language
Official language
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a...

Bangla (Bengali)
Bengali language
Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

Area 232,752 km² 
Population (2001) 245,598,679
Density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

951.3/km²
Infant mortality rate 55.91 per 1000 live births
Websites bangladesh.gov.bd and wbgov.com

Bengal ( or Bôngo) is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 at the apex of the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

 (previously East Bengal
East Bengal
East Bengal was the name used during two periods in the 20th century for a territory that roughly corresponded to the modern state of Bangladesh. Both instances involved a violent partition of Bengal....

 / East Pakistan
East Pakistan
East Pakistan was a provincial state of Pakistan established in 14 August 1947. The provincial state existed until its declaration of independence on 26 March 1971 as the independent nation of Bangladesh. Pakistan recognized the new nation on 16 December 1971. East Pakistan was created from Bengal...

) and the Indian state
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

 of West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

, although some regions of the previous kingdoms of Bengal (during local monarchical regimes and British rule
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

) are now part of the neighboring Indian states of Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

, Jharkhand
Jharkhand
Jharkhand is a state in eastern India. It was carved out of the southern part of Bihar on 15 November 2000. Jharkhand shares its border with the states of Bihar to the north, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to the west, Orissa to the south, and West Bengal to the east...

, Assam
Assam
Assam , also, rarely, Assam Valley and formerly the Assam Province , is a northeastern state of India and is one of the most culturally and geographically distinct regions of the country...

, Tripura
Tripura
Tripura is a state in North-East India, with an area of . It is the third smallest state of India, according to area. Tripura is surrounded by Bangladesh on the north, south, and west. The Indian states of Assam and Mizoram lie to the east. The capital is Agartala and the main languages spoken are...

 and Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

. The majority of Bengal is inhabited by Bengali people
Bengali people
The Bengali people are an ethnic community native to the historic region of Bengal in South Asia. They speak Bengali , which is an Indo-Aryan language of the eastern Indian subcontinent, evolved from the Magadhi Prakrit and Sanskrit languages. In their native language, they are referred to as বাঙালী...

 (বাঙালি Bangali) who speak the Bengali language
Bengali language
Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

 (বাংলা Bangla).

The region of Bengal is one of the most densely populated regions on earth, with a population density exceeding 900/km². Most of the Bengal region lies in the low-lying Ganges–Brahmaputra River Delta
River delta
A delta is a landform that is formed at the mouth of a river where that river flows into an ocean, sea, estuary, lake, reservoir, flat arid area, or another river. Deltas are formed from the deposition of the sediment carried by the river as the flow leaves the mouth of the river...

 or Ganges Delta
Ganges Delta
The Ganges Delta is a river delta in the South Asia region of Bengal, consisting of Bangladesh and the state of West Bengal, India. It is the world's largest delta, and empties into the Bay of Bengal...

, the world's largest delta. In the southern part of the delta lies the Sundarbans
Sundarbans
The Sundarbans [Sundarban Tour Booking-9051115228] is the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world.The name Sundarban can be literally translated as "beautiful jungle" or "beautiful forest" in the Bengali language...

—the world's largest mangrove
Mangrove
Mangroves are various kinds of trees up to medium height and shrubs that grow in saline coastal sediment habitats in the tropics and subtropics – mainly between latitudes N and S...

 forest and home of the Bengal tiger
Bengal Tiger
The Bengal tiger is a tiger subspecies native to the Indian subcontinent that in 2010 has been classified as endangered by IUCN...

. Though the population of the region is mostly rural and agrarian, two megacities, Kolkata
Kolkata
Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

 (previously Calcutta) and Dhaka
Dhaka
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, had a population of over 15 million in 2010, making it the largest city...

 (previously Dacca), are located in Bengal. The Bengal region is renowned for its rich literary and cultural heritage as well as its immense contribution to the socio-cultural uplift of Indian society in the form of the Bengal Renaissance
Bengal Renaissance
The Bengal Renaissance refers to a social reform movement during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the region of Bengal in Undivided India during the period of British rule...

, and revolutionary activities
Revolutionary movement for Indian independence
The Revolutionary movement for Indian independence is often a less-highlighted aspect of the Indian independence movement -- the underground revolutionary factions. The groups believing in armed revolution against the ruling British fall into this category. The revolutionary groups were...

 during the Indian independence movement
Indian independence movement
The term Indian independence movement encompasses a wide area of political organisations, philosophies, and movements which had the common aim of ending first British East India Company rule, and then British imperial authority, in parts of South Asia...

.

Etymology



The exact origin of the word Bangla or Bengal is unknown, though it is believed to be derived from the Dravidian-speaking tribe Bang that settled in the area around the year 1000 BC.

Vanga
Vanga Kingdom
Vanga orBengal was a kingdom located in the eastern part of the Indian Subcontinent, comprising part of West Bengal, India and present-day modern Bangladesh. It was a seafaring nation of Ancient India.- References in Mahabharata :...

 was a known to be a kingdom during the times of Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

.

Other accounts speculate that the name is derived from Banga (বঙ্গ bôngo), which came from the Austric word "Bonga" meaning the Sun-god. The word Banga and other words speculated to refer to Bengal (such as Anga
Anga
Anga was a kingdom that flourished on the eastern Indian subcontinent in the 6th century BCE until taken over by Magadha in the same century. Counted among the "sixteen great nations" in Buddhist texts like the Anguttara Nikaya, Anga also finds mention in the Jain Vyakhyaprajnapti’s list of...

) can be found in ancient Indian texts including the Vedas, Jaina
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 texts, the Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

 and Puranas. The earliest reference to "Bangala" (বঙ্গাল bôngal) has been traced in the Nesari plates (805 AD) of Rashtrakuta
Rashtrakuta
The Rashtrakuta Empire was a royal dynasty ruling large parts of the Indian Subcontinent between the sixth and the 10th centuries. During this period they ruled as several closely related, but individual clans. Rastrakutas in inscriptions represented as descendants of Satyaki, a Yadava well known...

 Govinda III
Govinda III
Govinda III was a famous Rashtrakuta ruler who succeeded his illustrious father Dhruva Dharavarsha. He was militarily the most successful emperor of the dynasty with successful conquests from Cape Comorin in the south to Kannauj in the north, from Banaras in the east to Broach in the west...

 which speak of Dharmapala
Dharmapala of Bengal
Dharama Pala was the second ruler of the Pala Empire of Bengal region in the Indian Subcontinent. He was the son and succeessor of Gopala , the founder of the Pala Dynasty. He greatly expanded the boundaries of the Pala Empire founded by his father and made the Palas the most dominant power in...

 as the king of Vangala.

Some accounts claim that the word may derive from bhang
Bhang
Bhang is a preparation from the leaves and flowers of the female cannabis plant, smoked or consumed as a beverage in the Indian subcontinent.- India:...

, a preparation of cannabis which is used in some religious ceremonies in Bengal.
Dravidians migrated to Bengal from the south, while Tibeto-Burman peoples migrated from the Himalayas
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

, followed by the Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryan is an ethno-linguistic term referring to the wide collection of peoples united as native speakers of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian family of Indo-European languages...

 from north-western India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. The modern Bengali people
Bengali people
The Bengali people are an ethnic community native to the historic region of Bengal in South Asia. They speak Bengali , which is an Indo-Aryan language of the eastern Indian subcontinent, evolved from the Magadhi Prakrit and Sanskrit languages. In their native language, they are referred to as বাঙালী...

 are a blend of these people. Smaller numbers of Pathans
Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

, Persians
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

, Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

s and Turks
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

 also migrated to the region in the late Middle Ages
Late Middle Ages
The Late Middle Ages was the period of European history generally comprising the 14th to the 16th century . The Late Middle Ages followed the High Middle Ages and preceded the onset of the early modern era ....

 while spreading Islam.

History



Remnants of Copper Age
Copper Age
The Chalcolithic |stone]]") period or Copper Age, also known as the Eneolithic/Æneolithic , is a phase of the Bronze Age in which the addition of tin to copper to form bronze during smelting remained yet unknown by the metallurgists of the times...

 settlements in the Bengal region date back 4,300 years. After the arrival of Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryan is an ethno-linguistic term referring to the wide collection of peoples united as native speakers of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian family of Indo-European languages...

, the kingdoms of Anga
Anga
Anga was a kingdom that flourished on the eastern Indian subcontinent in the 6th century BCE until taken over by Magadha in the same century. Counted among the "sixteen great nations" in Buddhist texts like the Anguttara Nikaya, Anga also finds mention in the Jain Vyakhyaprajnapti’s list of...

, Vanga
Vanga
The vangas are a group of little-known small to medium-sized passerine birds restricted to Madagascar and the Comoros. They are usually classified as the family Vangidae. There are about 22 species, depending on taxonomy...

 and Magadha
Magadha
Magadha formed one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas or kingdoms in ancient India. The core of the kingdom was the area of Bihar south of the Ganga; its first capital was Rajagriha then Pataliputra...

 were formed by the 10th century BC, located in the Bihar and Bengal regions. Magadha was one of the four main kingdoms of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 at the time of Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

 and consisted of several Janapadas
Janapadas
The Janapadas were the major realms or kingdoms of Vedic India which, by the 6th century BC, evolved into the sixteen classical Mahajanapadas.-Etymology:...

. One of the earliest foreign references to Bengal is the mention of a land named Gangaridai
Gangaridai
Gangaridai was an ancient state found around 300 BC where the Bengal region lies today . It was described by the Greek traveller Megasthenes in his work Indica...

 by the Greeks
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 around 100 BC, located in an area in Bengal. From the 3rd to the 6th centuries AD, the kingdom of Magadha served as the seat of the Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

.

The first recorded independent king of Bengal was Shashanka
Shashanka
Shashanka is often attributed with creating the first separate political entity in a unified Bengal called Gauda and as such is a major figure in Bengali history. He reigned in 7th century AD, and some historians place his rule approximately between 590 AD and 625 AD. He is the contemporary of...

, reigning around early 7th century. After a period of anarchy, the native Buddhist
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 Pala Empire
Pala Empire
The Pāla Empire was one of the major middle kingdoms of India existed from 750–1174 CE. It was ruled by a Buddhist dynasty from Bengal in the eastern region of the Indian subcontinent, all the rulers bearing names ending with the suffix Pala , which means protector. The Palas were often described...

 ruled the region for four hundred years, and expanded across much of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 into Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 during the reigns of Dharmapala
Dharmapala of Bengal
Dharama Pala was the second ruler of the Pala Empire of Bengal region in the Indian Subcontinent. He was the son and succeessor of Gopala , the founder of the Pala Dynasty. He greatly expanded the boundaries of the Pala Empire founded by his father and made the Palas the most dominant power in...

 and Devapala
Devapala
Deva Pala , was a powerful emperor from the Pala Empire of Bengal region in the Indian Subcontinent. He was the third king in the line and had succeeded his father, emperor Dharamapala...

. The Pala dynasty was followed by the reign of the Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 Saiva Sena dynasty
Sena dynasty
The Sena Empire was a Hindu dynasty that ruled from Bengal through the 11th and 12th centuries. At its peak the empire covered much of the north-eastern region in the Indian Subcontinent. They were called Brahma-Kshatriyas, as evidenced through their surname, which is derived from the Sanskrit,...

. Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 made its first appearance in Bengal during the 12th century when Sufi missionaries arrived. Later, occasional Muslim raiders reinforced the process of conversion by building mosques, madrassas and Sufi Khanqah
Khanqah
A Khanqah, Khaniqah , ribat, zawiya, or tekke is a building designed specifically for gatherings of a Sufi brotherhood, or tariqa, and is a place for spiritual retreat and character reformation...

. Beginning in 1202 a military commander from the Delhi Sultanate
Delhi Sultanate
The Delhi Sultanate is a term used to cover five short-lived, Delhi based kingdoms or sultanates, of Turkic origin in medieval India. The sultanates ruled from Delhi between 1206 and 1526, when the last was replaced by the Mughal dynasty...

, Bakhtiar Khilji, overran Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

 and Bengal as far east as Rangpur
Rangpur, Bangladesh
Rangpur is one of the major cities in Bangladesh. Rangpur is considered as the centre of northwestern Bangladesh. Recently established public university of Bangladesh named as "Begum Rokeya University, Rangpur" is situated in the southern part of the city. Earlier Rangpur was the headquarter of...

, Bogra
Bogra
Bogra is a town, and one of the oldest towns in northern Bangladesh. It is a centre of commerce and trade within the Bogra District and located under the Rajshahi Division. Bogra is sometimes described as the nerve centre of Northern Bangladesh. Amongst many notable activities, it has been hosting...

 and the Brahmaputra River
Brahmaputra River
The Brahmaputra , also called Tsangpo-Brahmaputra, is a trans-boundary river and one of the major rivers of Asia. It is the only Indian river that is attributed the masculine gender and thus referred to as a in Indo-Aryan languages and languages with Indo-Aryan influence...

. Although he failed to bring Bengal under his control, the expedition managed to defeat Lakshman Sen
Lakshman Sen
Lakshman Sen was the fourth king of the Sen dynasty of Bengal, who ruled for about 28 years. Lakshman Sen succeeded his father Ballal Sen...

 and his two sons moved to a place then called Vikramapur
Munshiganj District
Munshiganj also historically known as Bikrampur is a district in central Bangladesh. It is a part of the Dhaka Division and borders Dhaka District.-Geography:...

 (present-day Munshiganj District
Munshiganj District
Munshiganj also historically known as Bikrampur is a district in central Bangladesh. It is a part of the Dhaka Division and borders Dhaka District.-Geography:...

), where their diminished dominion lasted until the late 13th century.

During the 14th century, the former kingdom became known as the Sultanate of Bengal
Sultanate of Bengal
The Sultanate of Bengal was a state that existed from the 14th through the 16th centuries. It was eventually absorbed into the Mughal fold. The Sultanate was ruled by a series of dynasties with both local and foreign origins.-Origins:...

, ruled intermittently with the Sultanate of Delhi as well as powerful Hindu states and land-lords
Landlord
A landlord is the owner of a house, apartment, condominium, or real estate which is rented or leased to an individual or business, who is called a tenant . When a juristic person is in this position, the term landlord is used. Other terms include lessor and owner...

-Baro-Bhuyans. The Hindu Deva Kingdom
Deva dynasty
Deva Dynasty was a Hindu dynasty of early medieval Bengal, ruled over eastern Bengal after the Sena dynasty. The capital of this dynasty was Bikrampur in present-day Munshiganj District of Bangladesh. The end of this dynasty is not yet known.This Hindu Vaishnava dynasty is different from an...

 ruled over eastern Bengal after the collapse Sena Empire. The Sultanate of Bengal
Sultanate of Bengal
The Sultanate of Bengal was a state that existed from the 14th through the 16th centuries. It was eventually absorbed into the Mughal fold. The Sultanate was ruled by a series of dynasties with both local and foreign origins.-Origins:...

 was interrupted by an uprising by the Hindus under Raja Ganesha
Raja Ganesha
Raja Ganesha was a Hindu ruler of Bengal, who overthrew the Ilyas dynasty rule from Bengal. The Indo-Persian historians of the medieval period considered him as an infidel usurper. The dynasty founded by him ruled over Bengal from 1415-1435. His name mentioned in the coins of his son, sultan...

. The Ganesha dynasty began in 1414, but his successors converted to Islam. Bengal came once more under the control of Delhi as the Mughal
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

s conquered it in 1576. There were several independent Hindu states established in Bengal during the Mughal period like those of Maharaja Pratap Aditya of Jessore and Raja Sitaram Ray
Raja Sitaram Ray
Raja Sitaram Ray was an autonomous king, vassal to the Mughal Empire, who revolted against the Empire and established a short lived sovereign Hindu dominion in Bengal.-Ancestry:...

 of Burdwan. These kingdoms contributed a lot to the economic and cultural landscape of Bengal. Extensive land reclamations in forested and marshy areas were carried out and trade as well as commerce were highly encouraged. These kingdoms also helped introduce new music, painting, dancing and sculpture into Bengali art-forms as well as many temples were constructed during this period. Militarily, they served as bulwarks against Portuguese and Burmese attacks. Koch Bihar Kingdom
Koch dynasty
The Koch dynasty of Assam and Bengal, named after the Koch tribe, emerged as the dominant ruling house in the Kamata kingdom in 1515 after the fall of the Khen dynasty in 1498...

 in the northern Bengal, flourished during the period of 16th and the 17th centuries as well as weathered the Mughals and survived till the advent of the British.

In 1534, the Pashtun Sher Shah Suri
Sher Shah Suri
Sher Shah Suri , birth name Farid Khan, also known as Sher Khan , was the founder of the short-lived Sur Empire in northern India, with its capital at Delhi, before its demise in the hands of the resurgent Mughal Empire...

, or Farid Khan — a man of incredible military and political skill — succeeded in defeating the superior forces of the Mughals under Humayun
Humayun
Nasir ud-din Muhammad Humayun was the second Mughal Emperor who ruled present day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of northern India from 1530–1540 and again from 1555–1556. Like his father, Babur, he lost his kingdom early, but with Persian aid, he eventually regained an even larger one...

 at Chausa (1539) and Kannauj
Kannauj
Kannauj , also spelt Kanauj, is a city, administrative headquarters and a municipal board or Nagar Palika Parishad in Kannauj district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The city's name is traditionally derived from the term Kanyakubja . Kannauj is an ancient city, in earlier times the capital...

 (1540). Sher Shah fought back and captured both Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

 and Agra
Agra
Agra a.k.a. Akbarabad is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India, west of state capital, Lucknow and south from national capital New Delhi. With a population of 1,686,976 , it is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh and the 19th most...

 and established a kingdom stretching far into Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

. Sher Shah's administrative skill showed in his public works, including the Grand Trunk Road
Grand Trunk Road
The Grand Trunk Road also formerly known as Uttarapatha, Shah Rah-e-Azam or Sadak-e-Azam or Badshahi Sadak is one of South Asia's oldest and longest major roads...

 connecting Sonargaon
Sonargaon
Sonargaon is the ancient capital of Isa Khan's kingdom in Bengal. It is located near the current-day city of Narayanganj, Bangladesh....

 in Bengal with Peshawar
Peshawar
Peshawar is the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the administrative center and central economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan....

 in the Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush
The Hindu Kush is an mountain range that stretches between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. The highest point in the Hindu Kush is Tirich Mir in the Chitral region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.It is the westernmost extension of the Pamir Mountains, the Karakoram Range, and is a...

. Sher Shah's rule ended with his death in 1545, although even in those five years his reign would have a powerful influence on Indian society, politics, and economics.

Shah Suri's successors lacked his administrative skill, and quarreled over the domains of his empire. Humayun
Humayun
Nasir ud-din Muhammad Humayun was the second Mughal Emperor who ruled present day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of northern India from 1530–1540 and again from 1555–1556. Like his father, Babur, he lost his kingdom early, but with Persian aid, he eventually regained an even larger one...

, who then ruled a rump Mughal state, saw an opportunity and in 1554 seized Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

 and Delhi. When Humayun died in Jan.1556, Hemu
Hemu
Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, Hemu Vikramaditya or simply Hemu was a Hindu Emperor of India during the sixteenth century, in medieval times...

, also called Hem Chandra Vikramaditya
Hem Chandra Vikramaditya
Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, Hemu Vikramaditya or simply Hemu was a Hindu Emperor of India during the sixteenth century, in medieval times...

, the then Hindu Prime Minister-cum- Chief of Army, of the Sur dynasty
Sur Dynasty
The Suri Empire was established by a Muslim dynasty of Afghan origin who ruled a vast territory in the Indian subcontinent between 1540 to 1557, with Delhi serving as its capital...

 had already won Bengal in the battle at Chapperghatta, killing Muhammad Shah the then ruler of Bengal. This was Hemu's 20th continuous win in North India. Knowing of Humanyun's death, Hemu rushed to Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

 to win Agra
Agra
Agra a.k.a. Akbarabad is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India, west of state capital, Lucknow and south from national capital New Delhi. With a population of 1,686,976 , it is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh and the 19th most...

 and later on Delhi and established 'Hindu Raj' in North India on 6th Oct. 1556, after 300 years of Muslim rule, leaving Bengal to his Governor Shahbaz Khan. Akbar, the greatest of the Mughal
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 emperors, who defeated the Karani rulers of Bengal in 1576. Bengal became a Mughal subah
Subah
A Subah was a province of the Mughal Empire in South Asia. The governor of a subah was known as a subahdar, which later became subedar to refer to an officer in the Indian Army...

 and ruled through subahdar
Subahdar
Subahdar was one of the designations of a governor of a Subah during the Mughal era of India who was alternately designated as Sahib-i-Subah or Nazim. The word, Subahdar is of Persian origin...

s (governors). Akbar exercised progressive rule and oversaw a period of prosperity (through trade and development) in Bengal and northern India.

Bengal's trade and wealth impressed the Mughals that they called the region the "Paradise of the Nations". Administration by governors appointed by the court of the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 court (1575–1717) gave way to four decades of semi-independence under the Nawabs of Murshidabad, who respected the nominal sovereignty of the Mughals
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 in Delhi. The Nawabs granted permission to the French East India Company
French East India Company
The French East India Company was a commercial enterprise, founded in 1664 to compete with the British and Dutch East India companies in colonial India....

 to establish a trading post at Chandernagore in 1673, and the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 at Calcutta in 1690. The most notable among them is Murshid Quli Khan
Murshid Quli Khan
Murshid Quli Khan was the first Nawab of Bengal. In fact circumstances resulted in his being the first independent ruler of Bengal post the death of Emperor Aurangzeb...

, who was succeeded by Alivardi Khan
Alivardi Khan
Ali Vardi Khan was the Nawab of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa during 1740 - 1756. He toppled the Nasiri Dynasty of Bengal and took power as Nawab.-Early life:...

. Around the early 1700s, the Maratha Empire
Maratha Empire
The Maratha Empire or the Maratha Confederacy was an Indian imperial power that existed from 1674 to 1818. At its peak, the empire covered much of South Asia, encompassing a territory of over 2.8 million km²....

 led expeditions in Bengal
Expeditions in Bengal
The expeditions in Bengal was taken by the Maratha Empire after the successful campaign in Karnataka at the Battle of Trichinopolly. The leader of the expedition was Maratha Maharaja Raghuji of Nagpur...

. The leader of the expedition was Maratha
Maratha
The Maratha are an Indian caste, predominantly in the state of Maharashtra. The term Marāthā has three related usages: within the Marathi speaking region it describes the dominant Maratha caste; outside Maharashtra it can refer to the entire regional population of Marathi-speaking people;...

 Maharaja
Maharaja
Mahārāja is a Sanskrit title for a "great king" or "high king". The female equivalent title Maharani denotes either the wife of a Maharaja or, in states where that was customary, a woman ruling in her own right. The widow of a Maharaja is known as a Rajamata...

 Raghuji
Raghoji I Bhonsle
Raghoji I Bhonsle was a Maratha general who took control of the Nagpur Kingdom in east-central Indiaduring the reign of Shahu. His successors ruled the kingdom until 1853....

 of Nagpur
Nagpur kingdom
The Kingdom of Nagpur was a kingdom in east-central India founded by the Gond rulers of Deogarh in the early 18th century. It came under the rule of Marathas of the Bhonsle dynasty in the mid-18th century...

. Raghoji was able to annex Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

 and parts of Bengal permanently as he successfully exploited the chaotic conditions prevailing in the region after the death of their Governor Murshid Quli Khan
Murshid Quli Khan
Murshid Quli Khan was the first Nawab of Bengal. In fact circumstances resulted in his being the first independent ruler of Bengal post the death of Emperor Aurangzeb...

 in 1727. The expeditions resulted in Bengal becoming a tributary region of the Maratha
Maratha
The Maratha are an Indian caste, predominantly in the state of Maharashtra. The term Marāthā has three related usages: within the Marathi speaking region it describes the dominant Maratha caste; outside Maharashtra it can refer to the entire regional population of Marathi-speaking people;...

s for a period of time.

Portuguese
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

 traders arrived late in the fifteenth century, once Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira was a Portuguese explorer, one of the most successful in the Age of Discovery and the commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India...

 reached India by sea in 1498. European influence grew until the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 gained taxation rights in Bengal subah
Subah
A Subah was a province of the Mughal Empire in South Asia. The governor of a subah was known as a subahdar, which later became subedar to refer to an officer in the Indian Army...

, or province, following the Battle of Plassey
Battle of Plassey
The Battle of Plassey , 23 June 1757, was a decisive British East India Company victory over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies, establishing Company rule in South Asia which expanded over much of the Indies for the next hundred years...

 in 1757, when Siraj ud-Daulah
Siraj ud-Daulah
Mîrzâ Muhammad Sirâj-ud-Daulah , more commonly known as Siraj ud-Daulah , was the last independent Nawab of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. The end of his reign marks the start of British East India Company rule over Bengal and later almost all of South Asia...

, the last independent Nawab, was defeated by the British. The Bengal Presidency
Bengal Presidency
The Bengal Presidency originally comprising east and west Bengal, was a colonial region of the British Empire in South-Asia and beyond it. It comprised areas which are now within Bangladesh, and the present day Indian States of West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Meghalaya, Orissa and Tripura.Penang and...

 was established by 1766, eventually including all British territories north of the Central Provinces
Central Provinces
The Central Provinces was a province of British India. It comprised British conquests from the Mughals and Marathas in central India, and covered parts of present-day Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra states. Its capital was Nagpur....

 (now Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh , often called the Heart of India, is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal and Indore is the largest city....

), from the mouths of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra to the Himalayas and the Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

. The Bengal famine of 1770
Bengal famine of 1770
The Bengal famine of 1770 was a catastrophic famine between 1769 and 1773 that affected the lower Gangetic plain of India...

 claimed millions of lives. Calcutta was named the capital of British India
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 in 1772. The Bengal Renaissance
Bengal Renaissance
The Bengal Renaissance refers to a social reform movement during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the region of Bengal in Undivided India during the period of British rule...

 and Brahmo Samaj
Brahmo Samaj
Brahmo Samaj is the societal component of the Brahmo religion which is mainly practiced today as the Adi Dharm after its eclipse in Bengal consequent to the exit of the Tattwabodini Sabha from its ranks in 1859. It was one of the most influential religious movements responsible for the making of...

 socio-cultural reform movements had great impact on the cultural and economic life of Bengal. The failed Indian rebellion of 1857
Indian Rebellion of 1857
The Indian Rebellion of 1857 began as a mutiny of sepoys of the British East India Company's army on 10 May 1857, in the town of Meerut, and soon escalated into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to...

 started near Calcutta and resulted in transfer of authority to the British Crown
British monarchy
The monarchy of the United Kingdom is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...

, administered by the Viceroy of India. Between 1905 and 1911, an abortive attempt
Partition of Bengal (1905)
The decision of the Partition of Bengal was announced on 19 July 1905 by the Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon. The partition took effect on 16 October 1905...

 was made to divide the province of Bengal into two zones.

Bengal has played a major role in the Indian independence movement
Indian independence movement
The term Indian independence movement encompasses a wide area of political organisations, philosophies, and movements which had the common aim of ending first British East India Company rule, and then British imperial authority, in parts of South Asia...

, in which revolutionary groups
Revolutionary movement for Indian independence
The Revolutionary movement for Indian independence is often a less-highlighted aspect of the Indian independence movement -- the underground revolutionary factions. The groups believing in armed revolution against the ruling British fall into this category. The revolutionary groups were...

 were dominant. Armed attempts to overthrow the British Raj
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 reached a climax when Subhash Chandra Bose
Subhash Chandra Bose
Subhas Chandra Bose known by name Netaji was an Indian revolutionary who led an Indian national political and military force against Britain and the Western powers during World War II. Bose was one of the most prominent leaders in the Indian independence movement and is a legendary figure in...

 led the Indian National Army
Indian National Army
The Indian National Army or Azad Hind Fauj was an armed force formed by Indian nationalists in 1942 in Southeast Asia during World War II. The aim of the army was to overthrow the British Raj in colonial India, with Japanese assistance...

 against the British. Bengal was also central in the rising political awareness of the Muslim population—the Muslim League was established in Dhaka in 1906. In spite of a last ditch effort to form a United Bengal, when India gained independence
History of the Republic of India
The history of the Republic of India began on 26 January 1950. The country became an independent dominion within the British Commonwealth 15 August 1947. George VI was King until the Republic was proclaimed in 1950. Concurrently the Muslim-majority northwest and east of British India was separated...

 in 1947, Bengal was partitioned
Partition of Bengal (1947)
The Partition of Bengal in 1947, part of the Partition of India, was a religiously based partition that divided the British Indian province of Bengal between India and Pakistan...

 along religious lines. The western part went to India (and was named West Bengal) while the eastern part joined Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 as a province called East Bengal
East Bengal
East Bengal was the name used during two periods in the 20th century for a territory that roughly corresponded to the modern state of Bangladesh. Both instances involved a violent partition of Bengal....

 (later renamed East Pakistan
East Pakistan
East Pakistan was a provincial state of Pakistan established in 14 August 1947. The provincial state existed until its declaration of independence on 26 March 1971 as the independent nation of Bangladesh. Pakistan recognized the new nation on 16 December 1971. East Pakistan was created from Bengal...

, giving rise to Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

 in 1971). The circumstances of partition were bloody, with widespread religious riots in Bengal.

Modern History


The post-partition political history of East and West Bengal diverged for the most part. Starting from the Bengali Language Movement of 1952, political dissent against West Pakistan
West Pakistan
West Pakistan , common name West-Pakistan , in the period between its establishment on 22 November 1955 to disintegration on December 16, 1971. This period, during which, Pakistan was divided, ended when East-Pakistan was disintegrated and succeeded to become which is now what is known as Bangladesh...

i domination grew steadily. Awami League
Bangladesh Awami League
The Bangladesh Awami League , commonly known as the Awami League, is the mainstream center-left, secular political party in Bangladesh...

, led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a Bengali nationalist politician and the founder of Bangladesh. He headed the Awami League, served as the first President of Bangladesh and later became its Prime Minister. He headed the Awami League, served as the first President of Bangladesh and later became its...

, emerged as the political voice of the Bengali-speaking population of East Pakistan by 1960s. In 1971, the crisis deepened when Rahman was arrested and a sustained military assault
Operation Searchlight
Operation Searchlight was a planned military operation carried out by the Pakistan Army to curb the Bengali nationalist movement in the erstwhile East Pakistan in March 1971. Ordered by the central government in West Pakistan, this was seen as the sequel to "Operation Blitz" which had been...

 was launched on East Pakistan. Most of the Awami League leaders fled and set up a government-in-exile in West Bengal. The guerrilla
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 Mukti Bahini
Mukti Bahini
Mukti Bahini , also termed as the "Freedom Fighters" or FFs, collectively refers to the armed organizations who fought against the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War. It was dynamically formed by Bengali regulars and civilians after the proclamation of Bangladesh's independence on...

 and Bengali regulars eventually received support from the Indian Armed Forces
Indian Armed Forces
The Indian Armed Forces are the military forces of the Republic of India. They consist of the Army, Navy and Air Force, supported by three paramilitary forces and various inter-service institutions such as the Strategic Forces Command.The President of India is...

 in December 1971, resulting in a decisive victory over Pakistan on 16 December in the Bangladesh Liberation War or Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was a military conflict between India and Pakistan. Indian, Bangladeshi and international sources consider the beginning of the war to be Operation Chengiz Khan, Pakistan's December 3, 1971 pre-emptive strike on 11 Indian airbases...

. The post independence history of Bangladesh was strife with conflict, with a long history of political assassinations and coups before parliamentary democracy was established in 1991. Since then, the political environment has been relatively stable.

West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

, the western part of Bengal, became a state in India. In the 1960s and 1970s, severe power shortages, strikes and a violent Marxist-Naxalite
Naxalite
The word Naxal, Naxalite or Naksalvadi is a generic term used to refer to various militant Communist groups operating in different parts of India under different organizational envelopes...

 movement damaged much of the state's infrastructure, leading to a period of economic stagnation. The Bangladesh Liberation War
Bangladesh Liberation War
The Bangladesh Liberation War was an armed conflict pitting East Pakistan and India against West Pakistan. The war resulted in the secession of East Pakistan, which became the independent nation of Bangladesh....

 of 1971 resulted in the influx of millions of refugees to West Bengal, causing significant strains on its infrastructure. West Bengal politics underwent a major change when the Left Front
Left Front
The Left Front is an alliance of Indian leftist parties. After a 34-year reign in West Bengal, the Left Front was swept from power in the 2011 election...

 won the 1977 assembly election, defeating the incumbent Indian National Congress
Indian National Congress
The Indian National Congress is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is the largest and one of the oldest democratic political parties in the world. The party's modern liberal platform is largely considered center-left in the Indian...

. The Left Front, led by Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Communist Party of India (Marxist)
The Communist Party of India is a political party in India. It has a strong presence in the states of Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura. As of 2011, CPI is leading the state government in Tripura. It leads the Left Front coalition of leftist parties in various states and the national parliament of...

 (CPI(M)) has governed for the last three decades. The state's economic recovery gathered momentum after economic reforms in India were introduced in the mid-1990s by the central government
Government of India
The Government of India, officially known as the Union Government, and also known as the Central Government, was established by the Constitution of India, and is the governing authority of the union of 28 states and seven union territories, collectively called the Republic of India...

, aided by election of a new reformist Chief Minister
Chief Minister
A Chief Minister is the elected head of government of a sub-national state, provinces of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, notably a state of India, a territory of Australia or a British Overseas Territory that has attained self-government...

 Buddhadeb Bhattacharya
Buddhadeb Bhattacharya
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is an Indian politician and a member of the politburo of the Communist Party of India . He was the Chief Minister of West Bengal from 2000 to 2011...

 in 2000. In the West Bengal state assembly election, 2011
West Bengal state assembly election, 2011
The West Bengal state assembly election, 2011 was held in six phases between 18 April and 10 May 2011 for all the 294 seats of the Vidhan Sabha in the state of West Bengal in India. The Trinamool Congress won an absolute majority of seats. Swami Ramdev backed Mamta and actively campaigned with his...

,in West Bengal, CPI(M) alliance with 62 seats suffered a setback after 34 years of continuous rule, losing to Trinamool Congress led alliance's 226 seats. Its Chief Minister candidate who was also an incumbent Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee also lost from his Jadavpur assembly constituency.

Geography



Most of the Bengal region is in the low-lying Ganges–Brahmaputra River Delta or Ganges Delta
Ganges Delta
The Ganges Delta is a river delta in the South Asia region of Bengal, consisting of Bangladesh and the state of West Bengal, India. It is the world's largest delta, and empties into the Bay of Bengal...

. The Ganges Delta arises from the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Brahmaputra
Brahmaputra River
The Brahmaputra , also called Tsangpo-Brahmaputra, is a trans-boundary river and one of the major rivers of Asia. It is the only Indian river that is attributed the masculine gender and thus referred to as a in Indo-Aryan languages and languages with Indo-Aryan influence...

, and Meghna
Meghna River
The Meghna River is an important river in Bangladesh, one of the three that forms the Ganges Delta, the largest on earth fanning out to the Bay of Bengal. Being a part of the Surma-Meghna River System, Meghna is formed inside Bangladesh by the joining of different rivers originaing from the hilly...

 rivers and their respective tributaries. The total area of Bengal is 232752  km²—West Bengal is 88752 km² (34,267 sq mi) and Bangladesh 144000 km² (55,599 sq mi).

Most parts of Bangladesh are within 10 meters (33 ft) above the sea level, and it is believed that about 10% of the land would be flooded if the sea level were to rise by 1 metre (3 ft). Because of this low elevation, much of this region is exceptionally vulnerable to seasonal flooding due to monsoons.
The highest point in Bangladesh is in Mowdok range at 1,052 metres (3,451 ft) in the Chittagong Hill Tracts
Chittagong Hill Tracts
The Chittagong Hill Tracts comprise an area of 13,295 km2 in south-eastern Bangladesh, and borders India and Myanmar . It was a single district of Bangladesh until 1984. In that year it was divided into three separate districts: Khagrachari, Rangamati and Bandarban. Topographically, this is the...

 to the southeast of the country. A major part of the coastline comprises a marsh
Marsh
In geography, a marsh, or morass, is a type of wetland that is subject to frequent or continuous flood. Typically the water is shallow and features grasses, rushes, reeds, typhas, sedges, other herbaceous plants, and moss....

y jungle
Jungle
A Jungle is an area of land in the tropics overgrown with dense vegetation.The word jungle originates from the Sanskrit word jangala which referred to uncultivated land. Although the Sanskrit word refers to "dry land", it has been suggested that an Anglo-Indian interpretation led to its...

, the Sundarbans
Sundarbans
The Sundarbans [Sundarban Tour Booking-9051115228] is the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world.The name Sundarban can be literally translated as "beautiful jungle" or "beautiful forest" in the Bengali language...

, the largest mangrove
Mangrove
Mangroves are various kinds of trees up to medium height and shrubs that grow in saline coastal sediment habitats in the tropics and subtropics – mainly between latitudes N and S...

 forest in the world and home to diverse flora and fauna, including the Royal Bengal Tiger. In 1997, this region was declared endangered.

West Bengal is on the eastern bottleneck of India, stretching from the Himalayas in the north to the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

 in the south. The state has a total area of . The Darjeeling Himalayan hill region
Darjeeling Himalayan hill region
Darjeeling Himalayan hill region or Darjeeling Himalaya is the mountainous area on the North-Western side of the state of West Bengal in India. This region belongs to the Eastern Himalaya range. The whole of the Darjeeling district except the Siliguri subdivision constitutes the region. It arises...

 in the northern extreme of the state belongs to the eastern Himalaya. This region contains Sandakfu
Sandakfu
Sandakfu or Sandakphu is the highest peak in the state of West Bengal, India. It is situated at the edge of the Singalila National Park in Darjeeling district on the West Bengal-Sikkim border, and is the highest point of the Singalila Ridge. Sandakphu has a small village on the peak with a...

 —the highest peak of the state. The narrow Terai region separates this region from the plains, which in turn transitions into the Ganges delta
Ganges Delta
The Ganges Delta is a river delta in the South Asia region of Bengal, consisting of Bangladesh and the state of West Bengal, India. It is the world's largest delta, and empties into the Bay of Bengal...

 towards the south. The Rarh region
Rarh region
Rarh region of West Bengal is the region that lies between the Western plateau and high lands and the Ganges Delta...

 intervenes between the Ganges delta in the east and the western plateau and high lands
Western plateau and high lands
The Western plateau and highlands is the eastern border of the Chota Nagpur Plateau. It is historically called Vajjabhumi or Bajrabhumi. Bajra means hard. Probably it refers to the hard nature of the red laterite solid found here....

. A small coastal region is on the extreme south, while the Sundarbans
Sundarbans
The Sundarbans [Sundarban Tour Booking-9051115228] is the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world.The name Sundarban can be literally translated as "beautiful jungle" or "beautiful forest" in the Bengali language...

 mangrove
Mangrove
Mangroves are various kinds of trees up to medium height and shrubs that grow in saline coastal sediment habitats in the tropics and subtropics – mainly between latitudes N and S...

 forests form a remarkable geographical landmark at the Ganges delta. At least nine districts in West Bengal and 42 districts in Bangladesh have arsenic levels in groundwater
Arsenic contamination of groundwater
Arsenic contamination of groundwater is a natural occurring high concentration of arsenic in deeper levels of groundwater, which became a high-profile problem in recent years due to the use of deep tubewells for water supply in the Ganges Delta, causing serious arsenic poisoning to large numbers of...

 above the World Health Organization maximum permissible limit of 50 µg/L.

Major cities


The following are the largest cities in Bengal (in terms of population):
  1. Kolkata
    Kolkata
    Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

     (Calcutta)
  2. Dhaka
    Dhaka
    Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, had a population of over 15 million in 2010, making it the largest city...

     (Dacca)
  3. Chittagong
    Chittagong
    Chittagong ) is a city in southeastern Bangladesh and the capital of an eponymous district and division. Built on the banks of the Karnaphuli River, the city is home to Bangladesh's busiest seaport and has a population of over 4.5 million, making it the second largest city in the country.A trading...

  4. Howrah
  5. Khulna
    Khulna
    Khulna is the third largest city in Bangladesh. It is located on the banks of the Rupsha and Bhairab rivers in Khulna District. It is the divisional headquarters of Khulna Division and a major industrial and commercial center. It has a seaport named Mongla on its outskirts, 38 km from Khulna...

  6. Rajshahi
    Rajshahi
    The city of Rajshahi is the divisional headquarters of Rajshahi division as well as the administrative district that bears its name and is one of the six metropolitan cities of Bangladesh. Often referred to as Silk City and Education City, Rajshahi is located in the north-west of the country and...

  7. Siliguri
    Siliguri
    Siliguri is a city in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located in the Siliguri Corridor or Chicken's Neck - a very narrow strip of land linking mainland India to its north-eastern states. It is also the transit point for air, road and rail traffic to the neighbouring countries of Nepal,...

  8. Durgapur
  9. Asansol
    Asansol
    Asansol is a coal mining and industrial metropolis and one of the busiest commercial centres in India. It is the second largest city and urban agglomeration in West Bengal after Kolkata and the 19th largest urban agglomeration in India. Asansol is located in the western part of the Burdwan...

  10. Sylhet
    Sylhet
    Sylhet , is a major city in north-eastern Bangladesh. It is the main city of Sylhet Division and Sylhet District, and was granted metropolitan city status in March 2009. Sylhet is located on the banks of the Surma Valley and is surrounded by the Jaintia, Khasi and Tripura hills...

  11. Barisal
  12. Chandannagar
    Chandannagar
    Chandannagar, formerly known as Chandernagore or Chandernagar , is a small city and former French colony located north of Kolkata, in West Bengal, India. It is head quarters of a subdivision in Hooghly District. It is one of the 6 municipal corporations in West Bengal. It is a part of the area...

  13. Nabadwip
    Nabadwip
    Nabadwip is a city and a municipality in Nadia district in the Indian state of West Bengal. Its name means "9 islands" in the Bengali language. The islands are named Antardwip , Simantadwip, Rudradwip, Madhyadwip, Godrumdwip, Ritudwip, Jahnudwip, Modadrumdwip, and Koladwip...

  14. Haldia
    Haldia
    Haldia has a typical moderate climate with winter temperatures ranging from a low of around 7 degrees Celsius to a high of 22 degrees Celsius. Winters are chilly and is when the residents hold the Haldia Utsav festival. Summers can be very hot and humid. Usual summer temperatures in May, the...



Demographics

Main articles: Demographics of Bangladesh
Demographics of Bangladesh
This article is about the demographic features of the population of Bangladesh, including population density, ethnicity, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population....

 and Demographics of West Bengal

About 250 million people live in Bengal, around 68% of them in Bangladesh and the remainder in West Bengal. The population density in the area is more than 900/km²; making it among the most densely populated areas in the world.

Bengali
Bengali language
Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

 is the main language spoken in Bengal. English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 is often used for official work. There are small minorities who speak Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

, Urdu
Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

, Chakma
Chakma language
Chakma language is an Indo-European language spoken by the Chakma people. Its better-known closest relatives are Bengali, Assamese, Chittagonian, Bishnupriya Manipuri, Tanchangya, Rohingya and Sylheti. It is spoken by nearly 310,000 people in southeast Bangladesh near Chittagong City, and another...

. There are several tribal languages including Santhali. Nepali
Nepali language
Nepali or Nepalese is a language in the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family.It is the official language and de facto lingua franca of Nepal and is also spoken in Bhutan, parts of India and parts of Myanmar...

 is spoken primarily by the Gorkha
Gurkha
Gurkha are people from Nepal who take their name from the Gorkha District. Gurkhas are best known for their history in the Indian Army's Gorkha regiments, the British Army's Brigade of Gurkhas and the Nepalese Army. Gurkha units are closely associated with the kukri, a forward-curving Nepalese knife...

s of Darjeeling district
Darjeeling district
Darjeeling District is the northernmost district of the state of West Bengal in eastern India in the foothills of the Himalayas. The district is famous for its beautiful hill stations and Darjeeling tea. Darjeeling is the district headquarters...

 of West Bengal.

66% of the total Bengali population is Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

, and 33% is Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

. In Bangladesh 89.7% of the population is Muslim and 9.2% are Hindus (Bangladesh Census 2001). In West Bengal, Hindus are the majority with 70% of the population while Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s comprise 28%, and other religions make up the remainder. Other religious groups include Buddhists
Buddhism in Bangladesh
Buddhism is the third largest religion in Bangladesh with about 0.7% of population adhering to Theravada Buddhism. Most of the practiconers are the tribal Jumma people who are found mainly in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, where they constitute about 45% of the area's population.- Demographic Overview...

, Christians
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, and Animists
Animism
Animism refers to the belief that non-human entities are spiritual beings, or at least embody some kind of life-principle....

. About 2% of the population is tribal.

Life expectancy is around 63 years, and are almost same for the men and women. In terms of literacy, West Bengal leads with 69.22% literacy rate, in Bangladesh the rate is approximately 53.5%. The level of poverty is high, the proportion of people living below the poverty line is more than 30%.

About 20,000 people live on chars. Chars are temporary islands formed by the deposition of sediments eroded off the banks of the Ganges in West Bengal which often disappear in the monsoon season. They are made of very fertile soil. The inhabitants of chars are not recognised by the Government of West Bengal on the grounds that it is not known whether they are Bengalis or Bangladeshi refugees. Consequently, no identification documents are issued to char-dwellers who cannot benefit from health care, barely survive due to very poor sanitation and are prevented from emigrating to the mainland to find jobs when they have turned 14. On a particular char it was reported that 13% of women died at childbirth.

Economy


Agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 is the leading occupation in the region. Rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

 is the staple food crop. Other food crops are pulses, potato
Potato
The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Solanaceae family . The word potato may refer to the plant itself as well as the edible tuber. In the region of the Andes, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species...

, maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

, and oil seeds. Jute
Jute
Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fibre that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is produced from plants in the genus Corchorus, which has been classified in the family Tiliaceae, or more recently in Malvaceae....

 is the principal cash crop
Cash crop
In agriculture, a cash crop is a crop which is grown for profit.The term is used to differentiate from subsistence crops, which are those fed to the producer's own livestock or grown as food for the producer's family...

. Tea
Tea
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world...

 is also produced commercially; the region is well known for Darjeeling
Darjeeling tea
Darjeeling tea is a black tea from the Darjeeling region in West Bengal, India. When properly brewed, it yields a thin-bodied, light-colored infusion with a floral aroma...

 and other high-quality teas.

Historically, Europe once regarded Bengal as "the richest country to trade with".

West Bengal



The service sector is the largest contributor to the gross domestic product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 of West Bengal, contributing 51% of the state domestic product compared to 27% from agriculture and 22% from industry. State industries are localized in the Kolkata region and the mineral-rich western highlands. Durgapur–Asansol colliery belt is home to a number of major steel plants.
West Bengal had the third-largest economy in India, with a net state domestic product
Net domestic product
The net domestic product equals the gross domestic product minus depreciation on a country's capital goods.Net domestic product accounts for capital that has been consumed over the year in the form of housing, vehicle, or machinery deterioration...

 of US$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

 21.5 billion. During 2001–2002, the state's average SDP was more than 7.8%—outperforming the National GDP Growth. The state has promoted foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment or foreign investment refers to the net inflows of investment to acquire a lasting management interest in an enterprise operating in an economy other than that of the investor.. It is the sum of equity capital,other long-term capital, and short-term capital as shown in...

, which has mostly occurred in the software and electronics fields;
Kolkata is becoming a major hub for the information technology
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

 (IT) industry. Owing to the boom in Kolkata's and the overall state's economy, West Bengal had the third-fastest-growing economy in India.

Bangladesh



Since 1990, Bangladesh has achieved an average annual growth rate of 5% according to the World Bank, despite the hurdles. The middle class
Middle class
The middle class is any class of people in the middle of a societal hierarchy. In Weberian socio-economic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the working class and upper class....

 and the consumer
Consumer
Consumer is a broad label for any individuals or households that use goods generated within the economy. The concept of a consumer occurs in different contexts, so that the usage and significance of the term may vary.-Economics and marketing:...

 industry have seen some growth. Bangladesh has seen a sharp increase in foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment or foreign investment refers to the net inflows of investment to acquire a lasting management interest in an enterprise operating in an economy other than that of the investor.. It is the sum of equity capital,other long-term capital, and short-term capital as shown in...

. A number of multinational corporation
Multinational corporation
A multi national corporation or enterprise , is a corporation or an enterprise that manages production or delivers services in more than one country. It can also be referred to as an international corporation...

s, including Unocal Corporation
Unocal Corporation
Union Oil Company of California, dba Unocal is a defunct company that was a major petroleum explorer and marketer in the late 19th century, through the 20th century, and into the early 21st century. It was headquartered in El Segundo, California, United States.On August 10, 2005, Unocal merged...

 and Tata
Tata Group
Tata Group is an Indian multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. Tata Group is one of the largest companies in India by market capitalization and revenue. It has interests in communications and information technology, engineering, materials, services, energy,...

, have made major investments, the natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

 sector being a priority. In December 2005, the Central Bank of Bangladesh
Bangladesh Bank
Bangladesh Bank is the Central bank of Bangladesh and is a member of the Asian Clearing Union.-History:After the liberation war, and the eventual independence of Bangladesh, the Government of Bangladesh reorganized the Dhaka branch of the State Bank of Pakistan as the central bank of the country,...

 projected GDP growth around 6.5%. Although two-thirds of Bangladeshis are farmers, more than three quarters of Bangladesh’s export earnings come from the garment industry,
which began attracting foreign investors in the 1980s due to cheap labour and low conversion cost. In 2002, the industry exported US$5 billion worth of products.
The industry now employs more than 3 million workers, 90% of whom are women.
A large part of foreign currency earnings also comes from the remittances sent by expatriate
Expatriate
An expatriate is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person's upbringing...

s living in other countries.

The provision of microcredit
Microcredit
Microcredit is the extension of very small loans to those in poverty designed to spur entrepreneurship. These individuals lack collateral, steady employment and a verifiable credit history and therefore cannot meet even the most minimal qualifications to gain access to traditional credit...

 by Grameen Bank
Grameen Bank
The Grameen Bank is a microfinance organization and community development bank started in Bangladesh that makes small loans to the impoverished without requiring collateral...

 (founded by Muhammad Yunus
Muhammad Yunus
Muhammad Yunus is a Bangladeshi economist and founder of the Grameen Bank, an institution that provides microcredit to help its clients establish creditworthiness and financial self-sufficiency. In 2006 Yunus and Grameen received the Nobel Peace Prize...

) and by other similar organizations has contributed to the development of the economy of Bangladesh. Together, such organizations had about 5 million members by late 1990s.

Culture




The common Bengali language
Bengali language
Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

 and culture anchors the shared tradition of two parts of politically divided Bengal. Bengal has a long tradition in folk literature, evidenced by the Charyapada
Charyapada
The Charyapada is a collection of 8th-12th century Vajrayana Buddhist caryagiti, or mystical poems from the tantric tradition in eastern India. Being caryagiti , the Charyapada were intended to be sung. These songs of realization were spontaneously composed verses that expressed a practitioner's...

, Mangalkavya, Shreekrishna Kirtana
Shreekrishna Kirtana
Shreekrishna Kirtana Kabya or Sri Krishna Kirtana Kabya is a pastoral Vaishnava drama in verse composed by Boru Chandidas. It is considered to be the most significant work after Charyapada in the history of Bengali literature...

, Maimansingha Gitika
Maimansingha Gitika
Maimansingha gitika or Môemonshingha gitika is a collection of folk ballads from the region of Mymensingh, Bangladesh. They were published in English as Eastern Bengal Ballads...

 or Thakurmar Jhuli
Thakurmar Jhuli
Thakurmar Jhuli is a collection of Bengali folk tales and fairy tales. Dakshinaranjan Mitra Majumder was the person who first collected some folk-stories of Bengal and published it under the name of Thakurmar Jhuli in 1907 . The Nobel-Laureate, Rabindra Nath Thakur wrote the introduction to the...

. Bengali literature in the medieval age was often either religious (e.g. Chandidas
Chandidas
Chandidas refers to medieval poet of Bengal. Over 1250 poems related to the love of Radha and Krishna in Bengali with the bhanita of Chandidas are found with three different sobriquets along with his name, , Dvija and Dina as well as without any sobriquet also...

), or adaptations from other languages (e.g. Alaol
Alaol
Alaol was a medieval poet in Bengal. He is thought to be born around 1607 in Faridpur in the present-day Bangladesh. His most well known work is Padmavati, which depicts the story of Padmavati, the Sinhala princess and the queen of Chittor. There is an important literary prize named after him in...

). During the Bengal Renaissance
Bengal Renaissance
The Bengal Renaissance refers to a social reform movement during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the region of Bengal in Undivided India during the period of British rule...

 of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Bengali literature
Bengali literature
Bengali literature is literary works written in Bengali language particularly from Bangladesh and the Indian provinces of West Bengal and Tripura. The history of Bengali literature traces back hundreds of years while it is impossible to separate the literary trends of the two Bengals during the...

 was modernized through the works of authors such as Michael Madhusudan Dutta, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay
Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay
Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay was a famous Bengali writer, poet and journalist. He was the composer of India’s national song Vande Mataram, originally a Bengali and Sanskrit stotra personifying India as a mother goddess and inspiring the activists during the Indian Freedom Movement...

, Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore , sobriquet Gurudev, was a Bengali polymath who reshaped his region's literature and music. Author of Gitanjali and its "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse", he became the first non-European Nobel laureate by earning the 1913 Prize in Literature...

, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar CIE , born Ishwar Chandra Bandopadhyaya , was an Indian Bengali polymath and a key figure of the Bengal Renaissance....

 and Kazi Nazrul Islam
Kazi Nazrul Islam
Kazi Nazrul Islam , sobriquet Bidrohi Kobi, was a Bengali poet, musician and revolutionary who pioneered poetic works espousing intense spiritual rebellion against fascism and oppression. His poetry and nationalist activism earned him the popular title of Bidrohi Kobi...

.

The Baul
Baul
Baul .Though Bauls comprise only a small fraction of the Bengali population, their influence on the culture of Bengal is considerable. In 2005, the Baul tradition was included in the list of "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO.-Etymology:The origin of the word...

 tradition is a unique heritage of Bangla folk music. The scholar saint Sri Anirvan loved Baul music, and in fact described himself as a simple Baul. Other folk music forms include Gombhira
Gombhira
Gambhira is a type of song . It is performed with a particularly distinctive rhythm and dance with two performers, always personifying a man and his maternal grandfather, discussing a topic to raise social awareness...

, Bhatiali
Bhatiali
Bhatiali or Bhatiyali is a traditional form of folk music in Bengal, Bangladesh and West Bengal. Bhatiyali is a traditional boat song, sung by boatmen while going down streams of the river, as the word Bhatiyali comes from Bhata meaning ebb or downstream It mostly is sung in the Mymensingh District...

 and Bhawaiya
Bhawaiya
Bhawaiya is a musical form popular in Northern Bangladesh, especially Rangpur District and in North Bengal specially in Cooch Behar district and Jalpaiguri District. This type of song is sung by the coachman. They sing this song while driving their cow drawn cart...

. Folk music in Bengal is often accompanied by the ektara
Ektara
Ektara is a one-string instrument used in Bangladesh, India, Egypt, and Pakistan.thumb||EktaraIn origin the ektara was a regular string instrument of wandering bards and minstrels from India and is plucked with one finger...

, a one-stringed instrument. Other instruments include the dotara
Dotara
The dotara is a two or four or some times five stringed musical instrument resembling more to mandolin than a guitar...

, dhol
Dhol
Dhol can refer to any one of a number of similar types of double-headed drum widely used, with regional variations, throughout the Indian subcontinent and nearby regions. Its range of distribution in India and Pakistan primarily includes northern areas such as the Assam Valley, Bengal, Gujarat,...

, flute
Flute
The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening...

, and tabla
Tabla
The tabla is a popular Indian percussion instrument used in Hindustani classical music and in popular and devotional music of the Indian subcontinent. The instrument consists of a pair of hand drums of contrasting sizes and timbres...

. The region also has an active heritage in North Indian classical music
Hindustani classical music
Hindustani classical music is the Hindustani or North Indian style of Indian classical music found throughout the northern Indian subcontinent. The style is sometimes called North Indian Classical Music or Shāstriya Sangeet...

.

Bengal had also been the harbinger of modernism
Modernism
Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

 in Indian art
Indian art
Indian Art is the visual art produced on the Indian subcontinent from about the 3rd millennium BC to modern times. To viewers schooled in the Western tradition, Indian art may seem overly ornate and sensuous; appreciation of its refinement comes only gradually, as a rule. Voluptuous feeling is...

s. Abanindranath Tagore, one of the important 18th century artist from Bengal is often referred to as the father of Indian modern art. He had established the first non-British art academy in India known as the Kalabhavan within the premises of Santiniketan
Santiniketan
Santiniketan is a small town near Bolpur in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, India, approximately 180 kilometres north of Kolkata . It was made famous by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, whose vision became what is now a university town that attracts thousands of visitors each year...

. Santiniketan in course of time had produced many important Indian artists like Gaganendranath Tagore
Gaganendranath Tagore
See Tagore for disambiguationGaganendranath Tagore was an Indian painter and cartoonist of the Bengal school. He belongs to the Tagore family and was born at Jorasanko.-Early life:Gaganendranath Tagore was born in Calcutta...

, Nandalal Bose
Nandalal Bose
Nandalal Bose was a notable Indian painter of Bengal school of art. A pupil of Abanindranath Tagore, Bose was known for "Indian style" of painting. He became the principal of Kala Bhawan, Shanti Niketan in 1922...

, Jamini Roy
Jamini Roy
-Early life:Jamini Roy was born in 1887 into a middle-class family of land-owners in a village called Beliatore in the District of Bankura in Bengal .When he was sixteen he was sent to study at the Government School of Art in Calcutta...

, Benode Bihari Mukherjee and Ramkinkar Baij
Ramkinkar Baij
Ramkinkar Baij was an Indian Santhal sculptor, known as the Pioneer of Modern Indian Sculpture. He was one of the first Indian Adivasi artists to understand the language of modern Western art and use it in his sculptures...

. In the post-independence era, Bengal had produced important artists like Somenath Hore, Meera Mukherjee and Ganesh Pyne
Ganesh Pyne
Ganesh Pyne is a Calcutta-born Indian artist.- Biographical :Pyne was born in Calcutta in 1937. He was a student at the Government College of Arts & Craft, Calcutta between 1955 and 1959...

.

Rice and fish are traditional favorite foods, leading to a saying that in Bengali, mach ar bhaath bangali baanaay, that translates as "fish and rice make a Bengali". Bengal's vast repertoire of fish-based dishes includes Hilsa
Hilsa
Ilish , also spelled Elish, is the most popular fish to Bengalis. Its the national fish of Bangladesh and extremely popular in parts of India such as West Bengal, Orissa, Tripura, Assam as well. Ilish also can be found at India's Assamese-, Bengali- Oriya-speaking regions and in Telugu-speaking...

 preparations, a favorite among Bengalis. Bengalis make distinctive sweetmeats from milk products, including Rôshogolla, Chômchôm, and several kinds of Pithe.

Bengali women commonly wear the shaŗi
Sari
A sari or sareeThe name of the garment in various regional languages include: , , , , , , , , , , , , , is a strip of unstitched cloth, worn by females, ranging from four to nine metres in length that is draped over the body in various styles. It is popular in India, Bangladesh, Nepal,...

 and the salwar kameez, often distinctly designed according to local cultural customs. In urban areas, many women and men wear Western-style attire. Among men, European dressing has greater acceptance. Men also wear traditional costumes such as the panjabi
Kurta
A kurta is a traditional item of clothing worn in Afghanistan, Pakistan , Nepal, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. It is a loose shirt falling either just above or somewhere below the knees of the wearer, and is worn by both men and women...

 with dhuti
Dhoti
The dhoti or pancha is the traditional men's garment in the in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. A similar garment is worn in some rural areas of Punjab province in Pakistan, but the use is fast declining...

 or pyjama, often on religious occasions. The lungi
Lungi
The Lungi , also known as a sarong , is a traditional garment worn around the waist in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Horn of Africa and the southern Arabian Peninsula...

, a kind of long skirt, is widely worn by Bangladeshi men.

The greatest religious festivals are the two Eid
Religious festival
A religious festival is a time of special importance marked by adherents to that religion. Religious festivals are commonly celebrated on recurring cycles in a calendar year or lunar calendar...

s (Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitr , often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting . Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity," while Fiṭr means "breaking the fast"...

 and Eid ul-Adha
Eid ul-Adha
Eid al-Adha or "Festival of Sacrifice" or "Greater Eid" is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God, before God intervened to provide him with a sheep— to sacrifice...

) for the Muslims, and the autumnal Durga Puja
Durga
For the 1985 Hindi Film of Rajesh Khanna see DurgaaIn Hinduism, Durga ; ; meaning "the inaccessible" or "the invincible"; , durga) or Maa Durga "one who can redeem in situations of utmost distress" is a form of Devi, the supremely radiant goddess, depicted as having eighteen arms, riding a lion...

 for Hindus. Christmas
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

 (called Bôŗodin (Great day) in Bangla), Buddha Purnima
Vesak
Vesākha is a holiday observed traditionally by Buddhists in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the South East Asian countries of Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, and Indonesia...

 are other major religious festivals. Other festivities include Pohela Baishakh
Pohela Baishakh
Bengali New Year or Poyela Boishakh is the first day of the Bengali calendar, celebrated in both Bangladesh and West Bengal, and in Bengali communities in Assam and Tripura...

 (the Bengali New Year), Basanta-Utsab, Nobanno
Nobanno
Nobanno is the festival of harvest in Bengal. The word translates as "New Rice". The festival takes place in the month of Agrohayon or Aghran of the Bangla Calendar. Festivities include making traditional cakes named "pitha"....

, and Poush parbon (festival of Poush
Poush
Poush is the 9th month of both the Bangla calendar and the Nepali Calendar. It overlaps December and January of the Gregorian calendar. It is the first month of the winter season....

).

Bengali cinema
Bengali cinema
Bengali cinema refers to the Bengali language filmmaking industries in the Bengal region of South Asia. There are two major film-making hubs in the region: one in Kolkata, West Bengal, India and the other in Dhaka, Bangladesh .The history of cinema in Bengal dates back to the 1890s, when the first...

 are made both in Kolkata and Dhaka. The Kolkata film industry is older and particularly well known for its art film
Art film
An art film is the result of filmmaking which is typically a serious, independent film aimed at a niche market rather than a mass market audience...

s. Its long tradition of film making has produced world famous directors
Film director
A film director is a person who directs the actors and film crew in filmmaking. They control a film's artistic and dramatic nathan roach, while guiding the technical crew and actors.-Responsibilities:...

 like Satyajit Ray
Satyajit Ray
Satyajit Ray was an Indian Bengali filmmaker. He is regarded as one of the greatest auteurs of 20th century cinema. Ray was born in the city of Kolkata into a Bengali family prominent in the world of arts and literature...

, while contemporary directors include Buddhadev Dasgupta and Aparna Sen
Aparna Sen
Aparna Sen is a critically acclaimed Bengali Indian filmmaker, script writer, and actress. She is the winner of three National Film Awards and eight international film festival awards.-Biography:...

. Dhaka also has a vibrant commercial industry and more recently has been home to critically acclaimed directors like Tareque Masud
Tareque Masud
Tareque Masud was an award-winning Bangladeshi independent film director. He was known for directing the films Muktir Gaan and Matir Moina , for which he won a number of international awards, including the International Critics' Prize and FIPRESCI Prize for Directors' Fortnight at the 2002 Cannes...

. Mainstream Hindi films of Bollywood
Bollywood
Bollywood is the informal term popularly used for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai , Maharashtra, India. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; it is only a part of the total Indian film industry, which includes other production centers producing...

 are also quite popular in both West Bengal and Bangladesh. Around 200 dailies are published in Bangladesh, along with more than 1800 periodicals. West Bengal had 559 published newspapers in 2005, of which 430 were in Bangla. Cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

 and football are popular sports in the Bengal region. Local games include sports such as Kho Kho
Kho Kho
Kho Kho is an Indian and Pakistani sport played by teams of twelve players who try to avoid being touched by members of the opposing team, only 9 players of the team enter the field...

 and Kabaddi
Kabaddi
Kabaddi is a South Asian team sport...

, the later being the national sport of Bangladesh. An Indo-Bangladesh Bangla Games has been organized among the athletes of the Bengali speaking areas of the two countries.

Intra-Bengal relations today


Geographic, cultural, historic, and commercial ties are growing, and both countries recognize the importance of good relations. During and immediately after Bangladesh's struggle for independence from Pakistan in 1971, India assisted refugees from East Pakistan, and intervened militarily to help bring about the independence of Bangladesh. The Indo-Bangladesh border length of 4095 km (2,545 mi), West Bengal has a border length of 2216 km (1,377 mi). Despite overlapping historic, geographic and cultural ties, the relation between West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

 and Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

 is still well below the potential. The pan-Bengali sentiment among the people of the two parts of Bengal was at its height during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. While the government radio and national press in India might have backed the struggle out of strategic considerations, the Bengali broadcast and print media went out of its way to lend overwhelming support.

Frequent air services link Kolkata
Kolkata
Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

 with Dhaka
Dhaka
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, had a population of over 15 million in 2010, making it the largest city...

 and Chittagong
Chittagong
Chittagong ) is a city in southeastern Bangladesh and the capital of an eponymous district and division. Built on the banks of the Karnaphuli River, the city is home to Bangladesh's busiest seaport and has a population of over 4.5 million, making it the second largest city in the country.A trading...

. A bus service between Kolkata
Kolkata
Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

 and Dhaka
Dhaka
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, had a population of over 15 million in 2010, making it the largest city...

 is operational. The primary road link is the Jessore Road which crosses the border at Petrapole
Petrapole
Petrapole is the Indian side of Petrapole-Benapole border checkpoint between India and Bangladesh. It is also referred to as Haridaspur border check post.-Location:...

-Benapole
Benapole
Benapole is a township in Sharsha Upazila in the Jessore District of Bangladesh. The Petrapole Customs station of India is situated across the border and since 1971 , a large number of people have travelled between Bangladesh and India through Benapole Customs station...

 about 175 km (109 mi) north-west of Kolkata. The Train service between Kolkata and Dhaka, which was stopped after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 was a culmination of skirmishes that took place between April 1965 and September 1965 between Pakistan and India. This conflict became known as the Second Kashmir War fought by India and Pakistan over the disputed region of Kashmir, the first having been fought in 1947...

, was resumed in 2008.

Visa services are provided by Bangladesh's consulate at Kolkata's Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Road and India's high commissions in Dhaka
Dhaka
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, had a population of over 15 million in 2010, making it the largest city...

, Chittagong
Chittagong
Chittagong ) is a city in southeastern Bangladesh and the capital of an eponymous district and division. Built on the banks of the Karnaphuli River, the city is home to Bangladesh's busiest seaport and has a population of over 4.5 million, making it the second largest city in the country.A trading...

 and Rajshahi
Rajshahi
The city of Rajshahi is the divisional headquarters of Rajshahi division as well as the administrative district that bears its name and is one of the six metropolitan cities of Bangladesh. Often referred to as Silk City and Education City, Rajshahi is located in the north-west of the country and...

. India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 has a liberal visa
Visa (document)
A visa is a document showing that a person is authorized to enter the territory for which it was issued, subject to permission of an immigration official at the time of actual entry. The authorization may be a document, but more commonly it is a stamp endorsed in the applicant's passport...

 policy and nearly 500,000 visas are issued every year to Bangladeshi student
Student
A student is a learner, or someone who attends an educational institution. In some nations, the English term is reserved for those who attend university, while a schoolchild under the age of eighteen is called a pupil in English...

s, tourists, health-tourists and others who visit West Bengal and often transit to other parts of India. People of West Bengal visit Bangladesh for limited numbers of tourism, pilgrimage, trade, expatriate assignments; there is significant potential for growth as Bangladesh's stability, economy, moderation in religion and tourist infrastructure improves. In addition West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

 hosts the celebrated and controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen.

Undocumented immigration
Immigration
Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

 of Bangladeshi workers is a controversial issue championed by right-wing nationalist parties in India but finds little sympathy in West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

. India has fenced the border to control this flow but immigration is still continuing. A rallying cry for the right-wing Hindu parties in India is that the demographics changed such as in West Bengal's border district of Malda from Hindu-majority to Muslim-majority.

The official land border crossing at Petrapole-Benapole is the primary conduit for the over $1 billion trade between the two halves of Bengal. The volume of unofficial exports to Bangladesh from India is reportedly in the range of $350–500 million each year. Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

 argues that India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 needs to open up its border more to Bangladeshi exports. Other landports between the two Bengals are Changrabandha-Burimari and Balurghat-Hili.

Cultural exchanges between the two parts of Bengal have been somewhat (but not fully) impacted by ups and downs in India-Bangladesh relations and in the influence of extremist Islamist groups in Bangladesh. West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

 singers and actors complained about being rejected visas in previous years. West Bengal television channels are widely watched in Banglades, while no Bangladeshi channels are absent in West Bengal due to import policies. In foreign countries such as the U.S., Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, and UAE, it is common for Bengalis from both sides to form joint cultural associations and friendships, although inter-marriage is not significant, especially across religious barriers.

Gallery



See also



  • History of Bengal
    History of Bengal
    The history of Bengal includes modern day Bangladesh and West Bengal, dates back four millennia. To some extent, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers separated it from the mainland of India, though at times, Bengal has played an important role in the history of India.- Etymology :The exact origin...

  • Governor of Bengal
    Governor of Bengal
    From 1690, a governor represented the British East India Company in Bengal, which had been granted the right to establish a trading post by the local rulers, the nawabs of Murshidabad, who were nominal vassals of the Mughal emperor in Delhi....

  • History of India
    History of India
    The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from...

  • Bangladesh
    Bangladesh
    Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

  • Bengali people
    Bengali people
    The Bengali people are an ethnic community native to the historic region of Bengal in South Asia. They speak Bengali , which is an Indo-Aryan language of the eastern Indian subcontinent, evolved from the Magadhi Prakrit and Sanskrit languages. In their native language, they are referred to as বাঙালী...

  • Bangals and Ghotis
    Ghotis
    Ghotis , also called Paschimbangiyas or Edeshis , are a social group native to West Bengal , India. Their dialects, folk traditions and cuisine are distinct from those of the Purbabangiyas or the natives of erstwhile eastern Bengal.The term came into greater use after many people from Bangladesh...

  • List of Bengalis
  • Bengali language
    Bengali language
    Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

  • Bengali cuisine
    Bengali cuisine
    Bengali cuisine is a culinary style originating in Bengal, a region in the eastern South Asia which is now divided between the Indian state of West Bengal and the independent country of Bangladesh. Other regions, such as Tripura, and Barak Valley region of Assam also have large native Bengali...

  • Music of Bangladesh
    Music of Bangladesh
    Bangladesh is traditionally very rich in its musical heritage. From the ancient times, music documented the lives of the people and was widely patronized by the rulers....

  • Music of Bengal
    Music of Bengal
    The music of Bengal, also referred to as Bangla music, comprises a long tradition of religious and secular song-writing over a period of almost a millennium...

  • Bengali cinema
    Bengali cinema
    Bengali cinema refers to the Bengali language filmmaking industries in the Bengal region of South Asia. There are two major film-making hubs in the region: one in Kolkata, West Bengal, India and the other in Dhaka, Bangladesh .The history of cinema in Bengal dates back to the 1890s, when the first...

  • East Bengal
    East Bengal
    East Bengal was the name used during two periods in the 20th century for a territory that roughly corresponded to the modern state of Bangladesh. Both instances involved a violent partition of Bengal....

  • West Bengal
    West Bengal
    West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

  • Bengal architecture


External links



Geo Links for Bengal
Maps
Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection at University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is a state research university located in Austin, Texas, USA, and is the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System. Founded in 1883, its campus is located approximately from the Texas State Capitol in Austin...

Libraries