Information About West Bengal - History Geography Culture Food

History of West Bengal
West Bengal got its name from a Dravidian tribe “Bang”, who settled in this region around 1000 BC. As per Mahabharata this region once belonged to Vanga Kingdom. The Bengal Presidency of British India was established by 1765, and Calcutta was made its capital in 1772. Bengal played a major role in Indian independence movement, with many revolutionary groups. After Independence, Bengal was divided into West Bengal and East Bengal, which later became Bangladesh.

Geography of West Bengal
West Bengal is located on the eastern part of India. West Bengal shares national border with Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, Sikkim, and Assam. It shares international border with Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan. To the south of West Bengal, Bay of Bengal is situated. It is spread in an area of 88752 sq km making it the 14th largest state in the country.

Government and Administration of West Bengal
For administration purpose West Bengal is divided into nineteen districts. All India Trinamool Congress, Left Front and Indian National Congress are the major political parties in the state. West Bengal was ruled by Left Front for 34 years during 1977-2011 making it the world's longest-running democratically elected communist government. Calcutta High Court is the oldest High Court in India and it has jurisdiction over West Bengal and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. West Bengal legislative assembly consists of 295 seats. West Bengal contributes 42 members to the Indian Assembly in which eight and two are reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes respectively.

Language and Culture of West Bengal
West Bengal is famous for its handlooms, textiles, the silk saris, bamboo work, leather items, clay toys, masks etc. Chhau and Rabindra Nrithya are some of the famous dances in West Bengal. Marriages in the state are conducted only in the evening. Rabindra Sangeet, Nazrul Geeti, Shyamasangeet, Flock song, Bengali Rock Song are some of the music forms in the state. The Baul tradition is a unique heritage of Bengali folk music. The Bengali language has a rich literary heritage. In nineteenth and twentieth century, Bengali literature was modernized. Bengali film industry is well known for its art films. Rice and fish are traditional favorite foods for Bengalis. Sweets in Bengali cusine have a significant role. Roshogolla, Kalojam, Chomchom, are some of the important and famous sweets of state. Bengali is widely spoken in the state followed by Urdu, English, Gurmukhi, Ol-Chiki, Nepali, Oriya and Hindi.

Educational Status in West Bengal
Literacy rate of West Bengal is approximately 77%. West Bengal was one of the pioneers in development of modern education. La Martiniere Calcutta, St. Xavier's Collegiate School, and Loreto House are some of the best schools in the country which are housed in West Bengal. West Bengal houses 18 universities. University of Calcutta is the oldest public university in India. Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, IIM, Indian Statistical Institute, IIT, NIT are some of the prominent colleges in the state. The first research institute in Asia, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science is housed in the state.

Economy of West Bengal
West Bengal had the 6th largest economy in the state with an NSDP of 3663 billion. Agriculture mainly drives the state economy. Rice, sugarcane, potato, jute and wheat are the major crops of the state. In 2009-2010, service sector was the major contribution of the economy. Tea is the commercial crop in the state. Manufacturing industries are playing an important economic role. Kolkata is becoming a major hub for the Information technology industry and many corporate companies are now headquartered in Kolkata.

Tourism in West Bengal
Nivedita Setu is one of the attractions in the state connecting Kolkata to other states with the help of National Highways no. 34 and 35. Victoria Memorial was built almost at the end of British era in the country. Bangiya Sahitya Parishad reflects the rich culture of state. Shahid Minar, constructed in 1848, is a historic monument overlooking the lush backdrop of the Kolkata Maidan. Fort William Kolkata is rather impressive testimony of the British Raj's military acumen. Birla Planetarium, founded by Birla group in 1962 attracts many tourists.

Festivals Celebrated in West Bengal
Durga Puja is celebrated for the victory of Devi Durga over the devils. It is celebrated very grandly for four days. Kali Puja is the important festival in the state and it is celebrated for five days. Rasajatra is celebrated in honor of Lord Krishna in the month of December. Navanna is a harvest festival celebrated after autumn.

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