West Bengal

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West Bengal

Location of West Bengal
Capital Kolkata
22.82° N 88.2° E
Largest city Kolkata
Abbreviation IN-WB
Official languages Bengali
 • Strength
 • Governor
 • Chief Minister
Gopal Krishna Gandhi (list)
Buddhadev Bhattacharya (list)
Formation 1960-05-01
Area 88,752 km² (13th)
Population (2001) 80,221,171 (4th)
Density 904/km²
Districts 18
Time zone IST (UTC +5:30)

Seal of West Bengal

West Bengal (পশ্চিম বঙ্গ, Pościm Bôngo) is a state in the eastern region of India. Neighbouring regions are Nepal to the northwest, Sikkim and Bhutan to the north, Assam to the northeast, Bangladesh to the east, the Bay of Bengal to the south, Orissa to the southwest and Jharkhand and Bihar to the west.



For more on Bengal's history prior to 1947, see Bengal.

Bengal was ruled by the Hindu Pala dynasty from 750 to 1161. The Palas were eclipsed by the Sena dynasty, who ruled Bengal from 1095 to 1260. Bengal came under Islamic rule starting in the 13th century, and developed into a wealthy centre of trade and industry under the Mughal Empire during the 16th century. European traders had arrived in the late 15th century and eventually the British East India Company controlled the region by the late 18th century, from which the British extended their rule over all of India.

When Indian independence was achieved in 1947, Bengal was partitioned into predominantly predominantly Hindu West Bengal and predominantly Muslim East Bengal. East Bengal later became known as East Pakistan, and became the independent nation of Bangladesh in 1971. On 2 October 1955, Chandannagar, a former enclave of French India which had passed into Indian control after 1950, was integrated into West Bengal state.

West Bengal State

List of political parties in the state

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


West Bengal is composed of 19 districts [1] :

Often Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, North Dinajpur and South Dinajpur districts are together termed as North Bengal.

A map of the districts can be seen at the official State of West Bengal website.


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

The climate of this region is controlled by The Monsoon. The climate allows the weather to remain dry during the winter and wet during summer. Due to climate and soil condition for Ganges Delta, this region is highly vegetated with tropical plants and considered one of the most fertile lands in the world.


West Bengal has the third largest economy (2003-2004) in India after Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. In terms of per capita income it ranks twelfth (2003-2004). Jute is the main cash crop of this region. Together with Bangladesh (aka East Bengal), this region satisfy almost 1/3rd of the fiber needs of the world through Jute. Most players of the Jute industry of the world are concentrated in this region.


Bengal is one of the most important cultural hubs of India. There was a saying, "What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow". It is the birthplace of India's only Nobel laureate in literature, Rabindranath Tagore. The world famous film director Satyajit Ray was also born here. He along with Bhanu Athaiya is one of only two Oscar winners from India, and won an Oscar for Life Time Achievement. Apart from this, Bengal gave birth to innumerable well known poets and writers who enriched the world literature ceaselessly. Some prominent members include Kazi Nazrul Islam, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay and Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay. Also from West Bengal is the famous Indian singer in films, Kishore Kumar ( a Bengali by lineage but born in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh, India), as well as the world-famous sitarist Ravi Shankar.

Famous people

During independence movement, Bengal took a leading and especially militant role. Subhash Chandra Bose, who was belovedly called "Netaji", is still considered an exemplar of courage for Indian youth. S. N. Bose, FRS 1958, from whom the boson particle and Bose-Einstein theory get their names, was also a Bengali. Rabindranath Tagore also won the Nobel Prize in Literature for "Gitanjali" in 1913. Amartya Sen, who won Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998 is a Bengali. The other scientists of repute from Bengal have been Jagdish Chandra Bose (FRS 1920), M. N. Saha (FRS 1927), P.C. Mahalanobis (FRS, 1945), S. K. Mitra (FRS, 1958) and Ashesh Prosad Mitra (FRS 1988), all Fellows of the Royal Society. Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy was a nationalist teacher (Professor of Chemistry and the Founder of Bengal Chemicals). The noted educationist Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee was known as the Tiger of Bengal. Pundit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was a great reformist of Bengal. Incidentally, Raja Ram Mohan Roy is considered to be the First Modern Man of India. In Politics , Shri Ashoke Kumar Sen was among the first cabinet ministers of India , most remembered for being the minister of law and justice. From independance to 1996 , he was a member of parliament , holding the seat for a record number of years which is yet to be broken.

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

In the recreational domain P.C. Sorcar was a famous magician.

Famous athletes from this state include the cricketer and former Indian Cricket Captain, Sourav Ganguly, tennis star Leander Paes, athlete Jyotirmoyee Sikdar. Former Cricketer Pankaj Roy had also been the skipper of the Indian cricket team.

See also


The vast majority of the people in West Bengal are the Bengalis. Minorities of Biharis are scattered throughout the state, and Sherpa and ethnic Tibetans can be found in regions bordering Sikkim. The Nepali-speaking Gorkhas of Darjeeling district campaigned for a separate state, and have now obtained autonomy within West Bengal as the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.

External links

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National Capital Territory: Delhi
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