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BENGAL (/bɛŋˈɡɔːl/ ; Bengali : বাংলা/বঙ্গ, lit. 'Bānglā/Bôngô') is a geopolitical, cultural and historical region in Asia, which is located in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
. Geographically, it is made up by the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta system, the largest such formation in the world; along with mountains in its north bordering the Himalayan states of Nepal
Nepal
and Bhutan
Bhutan
and east bordering Burma
Burma
.

Politically, Bengal
Bengal
is divided between the sovereign Republic of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
, which covers two-thirds of the region, and West Bengal which is now part of India
India
. In 2011, the population of Bengal
Bengal
was estimated to be 250 million, making it one of the most densely populated regions in the world. An estimated 160 million people live in Bangladesh, while 91.3 million people live in West Bengal. The predominant ethno-linguistic group is the Bengali people
Bengali people
, who speak the Indo-Aryan Bengali language
Bengali language
. Bengali Muslims are the majority in Bangladesh. Bengali Hindus are the majority in West Bengal. Outside Bengal
Bengal
proper, the Indian territories of Tripura
Tripura
, Assam
Assam
and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Andaman and Nicobar Islands
, as well as Myanmar
Myanmar
's Rakhine State , are also home to significant communities with Bengali heritage.

Dense woodlands, including hilly rainforests , cover Bengal's northern and eastern areas; while an elevated forested plateau covers its central area. In the littoral southwest are the Sundarbans
Sundarbans
, the world's largest mangrove forest and home of the Bengal tiger
Bengal tiger
. In the coastal southeast lies Cox\'s Bazaar , the longest beach in the world at 125 km (78 mi). The region has a monsoon climate, which the Bengali calendar
Bengali calendar
divides into six seasons.

Bengal
Bengal
has played a major role in the history of Asia
Asia
. In antiquity, its kingdoms were known as seafaring nations. Bengal
Bengal
was known to the Greeks as Gangaridai , notable for mighty military power. It was described by the Greek's historian that Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
withdrew from the South east Asia
Asia
, anticipating a counterattack from an alliance of Gangaridai. Later writers noted merchant shipping links between Bengal
Bengal
and Roman Egypt .

At times an independent regional empire, the historical region was a leading power in Southeast Asia
Asia
and the Islamic East. It had extensive trade networks. Bengali culture has been particularly influential in the fields of literature , music , Ship Building art, architecture , sports, currency , commerce, politics and cuisine.

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology

* 2 Geography

* 2.1 Geographic distinctions

* 2.1.1 North Bengal * 2.1.2 Northeast Bengal
Bengal
* 2.1.3 Central Bengal
Bengal
* 2.1.4 South Bengal
Bengal
* 2.1.5 Southeast Bengal
Bengal

* 2.2 Places of interest

* 3 Flora and fauna

* 4 History

* 4.1 Prehistory * 4.2 Antiquity * 4.3 Medieval Era * 4.4 Colonial (1757–1947)

* 4.5 Post-partition (1947–present)

* 4.5.1 India
India

* 4.5.1.1 West Bengal
West Bengal
* 4.5.1.2 Tripura
Tripura
* 4.5.1.3 Barak Valley
Barak Valley

* 4.5.2 East Pakistan
Pakistan
and Bangladesh
Bangladesh

* 5 Historical maps of states

* 6 Politics

* 6.1 Bangladeshi Republic * 6.2 Indian Bengal
Bengal
* 6.3 Crossborder relations

* 7 Demographics

* 8 Economy

* 8.1 Inter- Bengal
Bengal
Trade

* 9 Major cities * 10 Strategic importance

* 11 Culture

* 11.1 Language * 11.2 Currency * 11.3 Literature * 11.4 Personification * 11.5 Art * 11.6 Architecture * 11.7 Sciences * 11.8 Music * 11.9 Cuisine * 11.10 Boats * 11.11 Attire * 11.12 Festivals * 11.13 Media * 11.14 Sports

* 12 See also * 13 Notes * 14 References * 15 External links

ETYMOLOGY

Main article: Names of Bengal

The name of Bengal
Bengal
is derived from the ancient kingdom of Banga , the earliest records of which date back to the Mahabharata epic in the first millennium BCE . Theories on the origin of the term Banga point to the Proto-Dravidian Bong tribe that settled in the area circa 1000 BCE and the Austric word Bong (Sun-god). The term Bangaladesa is used to describe the region in 11th century South Indian records. The modern term Bangla is prominent from the 14th century, which saw the establishment of the Sultanate of Bengal , whose first ruler Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah was known as the Shah
Shah
of Bangala. The Portuguese referred to the region as Bengala in the Age of Discovery
Age of Discovery
.

GEOGRAPHY

Main articles: Geography of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
and Geography of West Bengal
West Bengal
The Ganges-Brahmaputra delta

Most of the Bengal
Bengal
region lies in the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta , but there are highlands in its north, northeast and southeast. The Ganges Delta arises from the confluence of the rivers Ganges
Ganges
, Brahmaputra
Brahmaputra
, and Meghna rivers and their respective tributaries. The total area of Bengal
Bengal
is 232,752 km2— West Bengal
West Bengal
is 88,752 km2 (34,267 sq mi) and Bangladesh
Bangladesh
147,570 km2 (56,977 sq mi).

The flat and fertile Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Plain dominates the geography of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
. The Chittagong Hill Tracts and Sylhet regions are home to most of the mountains in Bangladesh
Bangladesh
. Most parts of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
are within 10 metres (33 feet) 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 (3.3 feet). Because of this low elevation, much of this region is exceptionally vulnerable to seasonal flooding due to monsoons. The highest point in Bangladesh
Bangladesh
is in Mowdok range at 1,052 metres (3,451 feet). A major part of the coastline comprises a marshy jungle , the Sundarbans
Sundarbans
, the largest mangrove forest in the world and home to diverse flora and fauna, including the royal Bengal tiger
Bengal tiger
. In 1997, this region was declared endangered.

West Bengal
West Bengal
is on the eastern bottleneck of India, stretching from the Himalayas in the north to the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
in the south. The state has a total area of 88,752 km2 (34,267 sq mi). The Darjeeling Himalayan hill region in the northern extreme of the state belongs to the eastern Himalaya. This region contains Sandakfu (3,636 m (11,929 ft))—the highest peak of the state. The narrow Terai
Terai
region separates this region from the plains, which in turn transitions into the Ganges
Ganges
delta towards the south. The Rarh region
Rarh region
intervenes between the Ganges
Ganges
delta in the east and the western plateau and high lands . A small coastal region is on the extreme south, while the Sundarbans mangrove forests form a remarkable geographical landmark at the Ganges delta.

At least nine districts in West Bengal
West Bengal
and 42 districts in Bangladesh have arsenic levels in groundwater above the World Health Organization maximum permissible limit of 50 µg/L or 50 parts per billion and the untreated water is unfit for human consumption. The water causes arsenicosis, skin cancer and various other complications in the body.

* Landscapes

*

A river in Bangladesh
Bangladesh
*

A mustard and date palm farm in West Bengal
West Bengal
*

A tea garden in Bangladesh
Bangladesh

GEOGRAPHIC DISTINCTIONS

Bengal
Bengal
in relation to historical regions in Asia
Asia

North Bengal

On a clear day, the snowy peaks of the Himalayas in Nepal
Nepal
and Sikkim
Sikkim
can be seen from northern Bangladesh
Bangladesh
and Darjeeling
Darjeeling
district, West Bengal
West Bengal

North Bengal is a term used for the north-western part of Bangladesh and northern part of West Bengal. The Bangladeshi part comprises Rajshahi Division and Rangpur Division . Generally, it is the area lying west of Jamuna River and north of Padma River , and includes the Barind Tract . Politically, West Bengal's part comprises Jalpaiguri Division (Alipurduar , Cooch Behar , Darjeeling
Darjeeling
, Jalpaiguri , North Dinajpur , South Dinajpur and Malda ) together and Bihar's parts include Kishanganj district. Darjeeling
Darjeeling
Hills are also part of North Bengal. Though only people of Jaipaiguri, Alipurduar and Cooch Behar identifies themselves as North Bengali. North Bengal is divided into Terai
Terai
and Dooars regions. North Bengal is also noted for its rich cultural heritage, including two UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage Sites. Aside from the Bengali majority, North Bengal is home to many other communities including Nepalis, Santhal people
Santhal people
, Lepchas and Rajbongshis.

Northeast Bengal

Waterfalls are a common sight in the highlands of eastern Bangladesh
Bangladesh

Northeast Bengal
Bengal
refers to the Sylhet Division of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
and the Barak Valley
Barak Valley
in the Indian state of Assam
Assam
. The region is noted for its distinctive fertile highland terrain, extensive tea plantations, rainforests and wetlands. The Surma and Barak rivers are the geographic markers of the area. The city of Sylhet is its largest urban center, and the most spoken vernacular language in the region is the Sylheti dialect of Bengali. The endonym of the region is Srihatta. The region was ruled by the Kamarupa
Kamarupa
and Harikela kingdoms. It later became a district of the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
. Alongside the predominant Bengali population resides a small Bishnupriya Manipuri minority.

The region is the crossroads of Bengal
Bengal
and northeast India
India
.

Central Bengal

Central Bengal
Bengal
refers to the Dhaka
Dhaka
Division of Bangladesh. It includes the elevated Madhupur tract with a large Sal tree forest . The Padma River cuts through the southern part of the region, separating the greater Faridpur region. In the north lies the greater Mymensingh and Tangail regions.

South Bengal

South Bengal
Bengal
covers the southern part of the Indian state of West Bengal
Bengal
and southwestern Bangladesh. The Indian part of South Bengal includes 12 districts: Kolkata
Kolkata
, Howrah
Howrah
, Hooghly , Burdwan , East Midnapur , West Midnapur , Purulia , Bankura
Bankura
, Birbhum
Birbhum
, Nadia , South 24 Parganas , North 24 Parganas . The Bangladeshi part includes the Khulna Division and Barisal Division .

The Sundarbans, a major biodiversity hotspot , is located in South Bengal. Bangladesh
Bangladesh
hosts 60% of the forest, with the remainder in India.

Southeast Bengal

Cox's Bazaar has one of the longest beaches in the world

Southeast Bengal
Bengal
refers to the hilly and coastal Bengali-speaking areas of Chittagong Division in southeastern Bangladesh
Bangladesh
and the Indian state of Tripura
Tripura
. Southeast Bengal
Bengal
is noted for its thalassocratic and seafaring heritage. The area was dominated by the Bengali Harikela and Samatata kingdoms in antiquity. It was known to Arab traders as Harkand in the 9th century. During the medieval period, the region was ruled by the Sultanate of Bengal , the Kingdom of Tripura
Tripura
, the Kingdom of Mrauk U , the Portuguese Empire and the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
, prior to the advent of British rule. The Chittagonian dialect of Bengali is prevalent in coastal areas of southeast Bengal. Along with its Bengali population, it is also home to Tibeto-Burman ethnic groups, including the Chakma , Marma , Tanchangya , Tripuri and Bawm peoples.

Southeast Bengal
Bengal
is considered a bridge to Southeast Asia
Asia
.

PLACES OF INTEREST

There are four World Heritage Sites
World Heritage Sites
in the region, including the Sundarbans
Sundarbans
, the Somapura Mahavihara , the Mosque City of Bagerhat and the Darjeeling
Darjeeling
Himalayan Railway . Other prominent places include the Bishnupur, Bankura
Bankura
temple city, the Adina Mosque , the Caravanserai Mosque , numerous zamindar palaces (like Ahsan Manzil
Ahsan Manzil
and Cooch Behar Palace ), the Lalbagh Fort , the Great Caravanserai ruins , the Shaista Khan Caravanserai ruins , the Kolkata
Kolkata
Victoria Memorial , the Dhaka
Dhaka
Parliament Building, archaeologically excavated ancient fort cities in Mahasthangarh , Mainamati , Chandraketugarh
Chandraketugarh
and Wari-Bateshwar , the Jaldapara National Park , the Lawachara National Park , the Teknaf Game Reserve and the Chittagong Hill Tracts .

Cox\'s Bazaar in southeastern Bangladesh
Bangladesh
is home to the longest natural beach in the world and a growing surfing destination. St. Martin\'s Island , off the coast of Chittagong Division, is home to the sole coral reef in Bengal.

FLORA AND FAUNA

A 2015 census of Sundarbans
Sundarbans
Bengal
Bengal
tigers found 106 in Bangladesh
Bangladesh
and 76 in West Bengal.

The flat Bengal
Bengal
Plain, which covers most of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
and West Bengal, is one of the most fertile areas on Earth, with lush vegetation and farmland dominating its landscape. Bengali villages are buried among groves of mango , jack fruit , betel nut and date palm . Rice
Rice
, jute , mustard and sugarcane plantations are a common sight. Water bodies and wetlands provide a habitat for many aquatic plants in the Ganges- Brahmaputra
Brahmaputra
delta. The northern part of the region features Himalayan foothills ( Dooars ) with densely wooded Sal and other tropical evergreen trees. Above an elevation of 1,000 metres (3,300 ft), the forest becomes predominantly subtropical, with a predominance of temperate-forest trees such as oaks , conifers and rhododendrons . Sal woodland is also found across central Bangladesh, particularly in the Bhawal National Park . The Lawachara National Park is a rainforest in northeastern Bangladesh. The Chittagong Hill Tracts in southeastern Bangladesh
Bangladesh
is noted for its high degree of biodiversity .

The littoral Sundarbans
Sundarbans
in the southwestern part of Bengal
Bengal
is the largest mangrove forest in the world and a UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage Site . The region has over 89 species of mammals , 628 species of birds and numerous species of fish . For Bangladesh, the water lily , the oriental magpie-robin , the hilsa and mango tree are national symbols. For West Bengal, the white-throated kingfisher , the chatim tree and the night-flowering jasmine are state symbols. The Bengal tiger
Bengal tiger
is the national animal of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
and India. The fishing cat is the state animal of West Bengal.

HISTORY

PART OF A SERIES ON THE

HISTORY OF BENGAL

Ancient Geopolitical units

* Pundravardhana * Vanga
Vanga
* Gangaridai * Samatata * Anga
Anga
* Suhma * Harikela * Kamarupa
Kamarupa

Ancient and Classical dynasties

* Nanda dynasty * Maurya dynasty * Gupta dynasty * Varman dynasty * Gauda dynasty * Mallabhum dynasty * Khadga dynasty * Pala dynasty * Chandra dynasty * Chola dynasty
Chola dynasty
* Sena dynasty * Deva dynasty

Medieval and Early Modern periods

* Delhi Sultanate
Delhi Sultanate

* City states

* Sonargaon * Lakhnauti * Satgaon

* Bengal Sultanate

* Ilyas Shahi dynasty * Hussain Shahi dynasty * Karrani dynasty

* Sur Empire * Twelve Bhuyan Confederacy * Kingdom of Mrauk U * Jaintia Kingdom * Koch dynasty * Kingdom of Tripura
Tripura
* Kingdom of Bhurshut

* Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire

* Bengal Subah * Burdwan Raj * Rajshahi Raj * Nadia Raj * Bettiah Raj * Nawabs of Bengal * Zamindars

* Maratha expeditions in Bengal

European colonisation

* Portuguese Chittagong * Dutch Bengal
Dutch Bengal
* French Bengal
Bengal
* Danish Bengal
Bengal
* Austrian Bengal
Bengal

* British India
India

* Company rule * Bengal Presidency
Bengal Presidency
* Bengal famine of 1770 * Partition of Bengal (1905) * Bengal famine of 1943 * Direct Action Day
Direct Action Day
* Indian Mutiny of 1857 * British Raj
British Raj
* Bengal Renaissance
Bengal Renaissance
* Eastern Bengal
Bengal
and Assam
Assam
* Anti-colonial struggle * Partition of Bengal (1947)

East Bengal

* East Bengali refugees

East Pakistan
Pakistan

* 1964 East Pakistan riots * Language Movement * Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 * Liberation War * 1971 Genocide * Indo-Pakistani War of 1971

Bangladesh
Bangladesh

* People\'s Republic * Military coups * Bangladesh
Bangladesh
famine of 1974

Indian Bengal
Bengal

* West Bengal
West Bengal
* Tripura
Tripura
merger * Left Front * Naxalism * Barak Valley
Barak Valley
Language Movement * Gorkhaland

Calendar

* Bengali calendar
Bengali calendar
* Malla calendar

Related

* Bengali literary history * Architecture of Bengal * Bangamata

* v * t * e

Main article: History of Bengal

PREHISTORY

Human settlement in Bengal
Bengal
can be traced back 20,000 years. Remnants of Copper Age settlements date back 4,300 years. Archaeological evidence confirms that by the second millennium BCE, rice -cultivating communities inhabited the region. By the 11th century BCE, the people of the area lived in systemically-aligned housing, used human cemeteries and manufactured copper ornaments and fine black and red pottery. The Ganges
Ganges
, Brahmaputra
Brahmaputra
and Meghna rivers were natural arteries for communication and transportation. Estuaries on the Bay of Bengal
Bengal
allowed for maritime trade. The early Iron Age
Iron Age
saw the development of metal weaponry, coinage , permanent field agriculture and irrigation . From 600 BCE, the second wave of urbanization engulfed the north Indian subcontinent, as part of the Northern Black Polished Ware culture.

ANTIQUITY

Hindu
Hindu
sculpture, 11th century

Ancient Bengal
Bengal
was divided between the regions of Varendra , Suhma , Anga
Anga
, Vanga
Vanga
, Samatata and Harikela . Early Indian literature described the region as a thalassocracy , with colonies in Southeast Asia
Asia
and the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
. For example, the first recorded king of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
was a Bengali prince called Vijaya . The region was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans as Gangaridai . The Greek ambassador Megasthenes
Megasthenes
chronicled its military strength and dominance of the Ganges
Ganges
delta . The invasion army of Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
was deterred by the accounts of Gangaridai's power in 325 BCE. Later Roman accounts noted maritime trade routes with Bengal.Another prominent kingdom in Ancient Bengal
Bengal
was Pundravardhana which was located in Northern Bengal with its capital being located in modern day Bogra , the kingdom was prominently buddhist leaving behind historic Viharas
Viharas
such as Mahasthangarh . In vedic mythology the royal families of Magadha, Anga, Vanga, Suhma and Kalinga were all related and descended from one King.

Ancient Bengal
Bengal
was considered a part of Magadha
Magadha
region, which was the cradle of Indian arts and sciences. Currently the Maghada region is divided into several states that are Bihar
Bihar
, Jharkhand
Jharkhand
, Tripura
Tripura
, Southern and Northwestern Assam
Assam
and Bengal
Bengal
( West Bengal
West Bengal
and East Bengal
Bengal
) The legacy of Magadha
Magadha
includes the concept of zero , the invention of Chess
Chess
and the theory of solar and lunar eclipses and the Earth orbiting the Sun. Secular Sanskrit, or standard Old Indo-Aryan , was spoken across Bengal. The Bengali language
Bengali language
evolved from Old Indo-Aryan Sanskrit
Sanskrit
dialects. The region was ruled by Hindu
Hindu
, Buddhist
Buddhist
and Jain
Jain
dynasties, including the Mauryans , Guptas , Varmans , Khadgas , Palas , Chandras and Senas among others. In the 9th century, Arab Muslim traders frequented Bengali seaports and found the region to be a thriving seafaring kingdom with well-developed coinage and banking.

MEDIEVAL ERA

Inscriptions on the Adina Mosque proclaim the builder Sikandar Shah
Shah
as "the wisest, the most just, the most perfect and most liberal of the Sultans of Arabia, Persia and India."

The Islamic conquest of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
absorbed Bengal
Bengal
in 1204. The region was annexed by the Delhi Sultanate
Delhi Sultanate
. Muslim rule introduced agrarian reform , a new calendar and Sufism
Sufism
. The region saw the rise of important city states in Sonargaon , Satgaon and Lakhnauti . By 1352, Ilyas Shah
Shah
achieved the unification of an independent Bengal. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the Bengal Sultanate was a major diplomatic, economic and military power in the subcontinent. It developed the subcontinent's relations with China, Egypt, the Timurid Empire and East Africa. In 1540, Sher Shah
Shah
Suri was crowned Emperor of the northern subcontinent in the Bengali capital Gaur . The Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
conquered Bengal
Bengal
in the 16th century. The Bengal Subah in the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
was the wealthiest state in the subcontinent. Bengal's trade and wealth impressed the Mughals so much that it was described as the Paradise of the Nations by the Mughal Emperors . The region was also notable for its powerful semi-independent aristocracy , including the Twelve Bhuiyans and the Nawabs of Bengal . It was visited by several world explorers, including Ibn Battuta
Ibn Battuta
, Niccolo De Conti and Admiral Zheng He .

Since the 16th century, European traders traversed the sea routes to Bengal, following the Portuguese conquests of Malacca and Goa. The Portuguese established a settlement in Chittagong with permission from the Bengal Sultanate in 1528, but were later expelled by the Mughals in 1666. In the 18th-century, the Mughal Court rapidly disintegrated due to Nader Shah\'s invasion and internal rebellions, allowing European colonial powers to set up trading posts across the territory. The British East India
India
Company eventually emerged as the foremost military power in the region; and defeated the last independent Nawab of Bengal
Bengal
at the Battle of Plassey
Battle of Plassey
in 1757.

COLONIAL (1757–1947)

The Battle of Plassey
Battle of Plassey
in 1757 ushered British rule

In Bengal
Bengal
effective political and military power was transferred from the old regime to the British East India
India
Company around 1757–65. Company rule in India
India
began under the Bengal Presidency
Bengal Presidency
. Calcutta was named the capital of British India
India
in 1772. The presidency was run by a military-civil administration, including the Bengal Army , and had the world's sixth earliest railway network. Great Bengal
Bengal
famines struck several times during colonial rule.

The Indian Rebellion of 1857
Indian Rebellion of 1857
was initiated on the outskirts of Calcutta, and spread to Dhaka, Chittagong, Jalpaiguri, Sylhet and Agartala, in solidarity with revolts in North India. The failure of the rebellion led to the abolishment of the Mughal Court and direct rule by the British Raj
British Raj
. The late 19th and early 20th century Bengal Renaissance had a great impact on the cultural and economic life of Bengal. Between 1905 and 1912, an abortive attempt was made to divide the province of Bengal
Bengal
into two zones, that included the short-lived province of Eastern Bengal
Bengal
and Assam
Assam
based in Dacca and Shillong.

Bengal
Bengal
played a major role in the Indian independence movement
Indian independence movement
, in which revolutionary groups were dominant. Armed attempts to overthrow the British Raj
British Raj
began with the rebellion of Titumir , and reached a climax when Subhas Chandra Bose
Subhas Chandra Bose
led the Indian National Army against the British. Bengal
Bengal
was also central in the rising political awareness of the Muslim population—the All- India
India
Muslim League was established in Dhaka
Dhaka
in 1906. The Muslim homeland movement pushed for a sovereign state in eastern British India
India
with the Lahore Resolution
Lahore Resolution
in 1943. Hindu
Hindu
nationalism was also strong in Bengal, which was home to groups like the Hindu
Hindu
Mahasabha . In spite of a last-ditch effort to form a United Bengal
United Bengal
, when India
India
gained independence in 1947, Bengal
Bengal
was partitioned along religious lines. The western part went to India (and was named West Bengal) while the eastern part joined Pakistan
Pakistan
as a province called East Bengal (later renamed East Pakistan
Pakistan
, giving rise to Bangladesh
Bangladesh
in 1971). The circumstances of partition were bloody, with widespread religious riots in Bengal.

POST-PARTITION (1947–PRESENT)

India

West Bengal

West Bengal
West Bengal
became one of India's most populous states. Calcutta, the former capital of the British Raj, became the state capital of West Bengal
Bengal
and continued to be India's largest city until the late 20th century, when severe power shortages, strikes and a violent Marxist- Naxalite movement damaged much of the state's infrastructure in the 1960s and 70s, leading to a period of economic stagnation. West Bengal
Bengal
politics underwent a major change when the Left Front won the 1977 assembly election, defeating the incumbent Indian National Congress . The Left Front, led by the Communist
Communist
Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) governed the state for over three decades, which was the world's longest elected Communist
Communist
administration in history. Since the 2000s, West Bengal
West Bengal
has experienced an economic rejuvenation, particularly in its IT industry.

Tripura

The former royal palace of Hill Tippera in Agartala

The princely state of Hill Tippera , that was under the suzerainty of British India
India
, was ruled by a Bengali-speaking monarchy. Following the death of Maharaja
Maharaja
Bir Bikram Kishore Debbarman , the princely state acceded to the Union of India
India
on 15 October 1949 under the Tripura
Tripura
Merger Agreement signed by Maharani Regent
Regent
Kanchan Prava Devi . By the 1950s, the region had a Bengali majority population due to the influx of Hindus from East Pakistan
Pakistan
after partition. It became a Union Territory of India
India
in November 1953. It was granted full statehood with an elected legislature in July 1963. An insurgency by indigenous people affected the state for several years. The Left Front ruled the state between 1978 and 1988, followed by a stint of Indian National Congress rule until 1993, and then a return to the Communists.

Barak Valley

The Barak Valley
Barak Valley
joined the union of India
India
after its partition from Sylhet in 1947 and has been a part of the state of Assam
Assam
. One of the most significant events in the region's history was the language movement in 1961, in which the killing of agitators by state police led to Bengali being recognized as one of the official languages of Assam. The issue of Bengali settlement in the state has been a contentious part of the Assam
Assam
conflict .

East Pakistan
Pakistan
And Bangladesh

The National Monument of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
The Jamuna Bridge
Jamuna Bridge
, opened in 1998, is currently the longest bridge in the region. It includes a road and a section of the Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Railway

East Bengal , which was later renamed to East Pakistan
Pakistan
in 1955, was home to Pakistan's demographic majority and played an instrumental role in the founding of the new state. Strategically, Pakistan
Pakistan
joined the Southeast Asia
Asia
Treaty Organization under the Bengali prime minister Mohammad Ali of Bogra as a bulwark against communism. However, tensions between East and West Pakistan
Pakistan
grew rapidly over political exclusion, economic neglect and ethnic and linguistic discrimination. The State of Pakistan
Pakistan
was subjected to years of military rule due to fears of Bengali political supremacy under democracy. Elected Bengali-led governments at the federal and provincial levels, which were led by statesmen such as A. K. Fazlul Huq and H. S. Suhrawardy , were deposed. East Pakistan
Pakistan
witnessed the rise of Bengali self determination calls led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Maulana Bhashani in the 1960s. Rahman launched the Six point movement for autonomy in 1966. After the 1970 national election, Rahman's party, the Awami League , had emerged as the largest party in Pakistan's parliament. The erstwhile Pakistani military junta refused to accept election results which triggered civil disobedience across East Pakistan. The Pakistani military responded by launching a genocide that caused the Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Liberation War in 1971. The first Government of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
and the Mukti Bahini waged a guerrilla campaign with support from neighboring India, which hosted millions of war refugees. Global support for the independence of East Pakistan increased due to the conflict's humanitarian crisis, with the Indian Armed Forces intervening in support of the Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Forces in the final two weeks of the war and ensuring Pakistan's surrender.

After independence, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
adopted a secular democracy under its new constitution in 1972. Awami League premier Sheikh Mujibur Rahman became the country's strongman and implemented many socialist policies. A one party state was enacted in 1975. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated later that year during a military coup that ushered in sixteen years of military dictatorships and presidential governments . The liberation war commander Ziaur Rahman
Ziaur Rahman
emerged as Bangladesh's leader in the late 1970s. He reoriented the country's foreign policy towards the West and restored free markets and the multiparty polity. President Zia was assassinated in 1981 during a failed military coup. He was eventually succeeded by his army chief Hussain Muhammad Ershad
Hussain Muhammad Ershad
. Lasting for nine years, Ershad's rule witnessed continued pro-free market reforms and the devolution of some authority to local government. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was founded in Dhaka
Dhaka
in 1985. The Jatiya Party government made Islam
Islam
the state religion in 1988. A popular uprising restored parliamentary democracy in 1991. Since then, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
has largely alternated between the premierships of Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League and Khaleda Zia of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party , as well as technocratic caretaker governments . Emergency rule was imposed by the military in 2007 and 2008 after widespread street violence between the League and BNP. The restoration of democratic government in 2009 was followed by the initiation of the International Crimes Tribunal to prosecute surviving colloborators of the 1971 genocide. Today, the country is an emerging economy , listed as one of the Next Eleven and experiencing growing industrial development, but continues to face political, economic and social challenges.

HISTORICAL MAPS OF STATES

Bengal
Bengal
has been an independent territory during several periods in history, while at other times, it has been part of larger empires. Bengal
Bengal
has also been a regional empire, ruling over neighboring regions like Bihar
Bihar
, Orissa , Arakan , and parts of North India, Assam and Nepal
Nepal
.

*

Gangaridai in Ptolemy\'s map , 1st century *

The Pala Empire , 9th century *

The Bengal Sultanate , 16th century *

Mughal Bengal , 18th century *

Colonial Bengal
Bengal
, 19th century *

Colonial Eastern Bengal
Bengal
and Assam
Assam
, early 20th century

POLITICS

Politically, the region is divided between the People\'s Republic of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
, an independent state , and the eastern provinces of the Republic of India
India
, including West Bengal
West Bengal
, Assam
Assam
and Tripura
Tripura
. Politically both Bangladesh
Bangladesh
and Indian Bengal
Bengal
are socialist, with left wing parties dominating the region's politics.

BANGLADESHI REPUBLIC

Main article: Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangabhaban
Bangabhaban
(the House of Bengal) is the official residence of the President of Bangladesh
Bangladesh

The state of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
is a parliamentary republic based on the Westminster system
Westminster system
, with a written constitution and a President elected by parliament for mostly ceremonial purposes. The government is headed by a Prime Minister , who is appointed by the President from among the popularly elected 300 Members of Parliament in the Jatiyo Sangshad , the national parliament. The Prime Minister is traditionally the leader of the single largest party in the Jatiyo Sangshad. Under the constitution, Islam
Islam
is recognized as the state religion ; while Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and people of all other denomiations are stated to enjoy equal rights.

Between 1975 and 1990, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
had a presidential system of government. Since the 1990s, it was administered by non-political technocratic caretaker governments on four occasions, the last being under military-backed emergency rule in 2007 and 2008. The Awami League and the Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP) are the two largest political parties in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh
Bangladesh
is a prominent member of the United Nations
United Nations
, being the largest contributor of peacekeeping forces in the world and a key promoter of multilateral diplomacy . It is also a member of SAARC
SAARC
, the Developing 8 Countries , BIMSTEC , the World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
, NAM , the OIC and the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
. A developing country with high levels of poverty, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
has achieved significant strides in human development compared to its neighbors.

INDIAN BENGAL

Main articles: West Bengal
West Bengal
, Tripura
Tripura
, Assam
Assam
, and Seven Sister States Writers\' Building , the official seat of the Government of West Bengal
West Bengal

West Bengal
West Bengal
, Tripura
Tripura
and Assam
Assam
(home to the Barak Valley
Barak Valley
) are provincial states of the Republic of India
India
, with local executives and assemblies - features shared with other states in the Indian federal system. The President of India
India
appoints a Governor
Governor
as the ceremonial representative of the union government . The Governor
Governor
appoints the Chief Minister on the nomination of the legislative assembly . The Chief Minister is the traditionally the leader of the party or coalition with most seats in the assembly. President\'s rule is often imposed in Indian states as a direct intervention of the union government led by the Prime Minister of India
India
.

Each state has popularly elected members in the Indian lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha
Lok Sabha
. Each state nominates members to the Indian upper house of parliament, the Rajya Sabha .

The state legislative assemblies also play a key role in electing the ceremonial President of India. The current President of India, Pranab Mukherjee , is a native of West Bengal
West Bengal
and a leader of the Indian National Congress .

The two major political forces in the Bengali-speaking zone of India are the Left Front and the Trinamool Congress , with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Indian National Congress
Indian National Congress
being minor players.

CROSSBORDER RELATIONS

Main article: Bangladesh- India
India
relations

India
India
and Bangladesh
Bangladesh
are the world's second and eighth most populous countries respectively. Bangladesh- India
India
relations began on a high note in 1971 when India
India
played a major role in the liberation of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
, with the Indian Bengali populace and media providing overwhelming support to the independence movement in the former East Pakistan. The two countries had a twenty five year friendship treaty between 1972 and 1996. However, differences over river sharing, border security and access to trade have long plagued the relationship. In more recent years, a consensus has evolved in both countries on the importance of developing good relations, as well as a strategic partnership in South Asia
Asia
and beyond. Commercial, cultural and defense cooperation have expanded since 2010, when Prime Ministers Sheikh Hasina and Manmohan Singh
Manmohan Singh
pledged to reinvigorate ties.

The Bangladesh
Bangladesh
High Commission in New Delhi
New Delhi
operates a Deputy High Commission in Kolkata
Kolkata
and a consular office in Agartala . India
India
has a High Commission in Dhaka
Dhaka
with consulates in Chittagong and Rajshahi . Frequent international air, bus and rail services connect major cities in Bangladesh
Bangladesh
and Indian Bengal, particularly the three largest cities- Dhaka, Kolkata
Kolkata
and Chittagong. Undocumented immigration of Bangladeshi workers is a controversial issue championed by right-wing nationalist parties in India
India
but finds little sympathy in West Bengal. India
India
has since fenced the border which has been criticized by Bangladesh.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Main articles: Demographics of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
, Demographics of West Bengal
Bengal
, and Languages of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Districts of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Districts of West Bengal
West Bengal
Districts of Assam
Assam
Northeast India
India
Bengali Muslims during Eid prayers Bengali Hindu
Hindu
priests performing Durga Puja rituals

The Bengal
Bengal
region is also one of most densely populated areas in the world. With a population of 300 million, Bengalis are the third largest ethnic group in the world after the Han Chinese and Arabs
Arabs
. According to provisional results of 2011 Bangladesh
Bangladesh
census, the population of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
was 142,319,000; however, CIA's The World Factbook gives 163,654,860 as its population in a July 2013 estimate. According to the provisional results of the 2011 Indian national census, West Bengal
West Bengal
has a population of 91,347,736. So, the Bengal region, as of 2011, has at least 233 million people. This figures give a population density of 1003.9/km2; making it among the most densely populated areas in the world. Buddhist
Buddhist
Chakma people
Chakma people

Bengali is the main language spoken in Bengal. Many phonological, lexical, and structural differences from the standard variety occur in peripheral varieties of Bengali; these include Sylheti , Chittagonian , Chakma , Rangpuri/Rajbangshi , Hajong , Rohingya , and Tangchangya .

English is often used for official work alongside Bengali.Other major Indo-Aryan languages
Indo-Aryan languages
such as Hindi
Hindi
, Urdu
Urdu
, Assamese , and Nepali are familiar to Bengalis as well.

In addition, there are several minority ethnolinguistic groups native to the region. These include speakers of other Indo-Aryan languages (e.g. Bishnupriya Manipuri , Oraon Sadri , various Bihari languages ), Tibeto-Burman languages (e.g. A\'Tong , Chak , Koch , Garo , Megam , Meitei Manipuri , Mizo , Mru , Pangkhua , Rakhine /Marma , Kok Borok , Riang , Tippera , Usoi , various Chin languages ), Austroasiatic languages (e.g. Khasi , Koda , Mundari , Pnar , Santali , War ), and Dravidian languages (e.g. Kurukh , Sauria Paharia ).

Life expectancy is around 70.36 years for Bangladesh
Bangladesh
and 63.4 for West Bengal. In terms of literacy, West Bengal
West Bengal
leads with 77% literacy rate, in Bangladesh
Bangladesh
the rate is approximately 71%. The level of poverty and illiteracy 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
Ganges
in West Bengal
West Bengal
which often disappear in the monsoon season. They are made of very fertile soil. The inhabitants of the chars are not recognised by the Government of West Bengal
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 because of 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

Main articles: Economy of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
and Economy of West Bengal
West Bengal
Amartya Sen , winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics Muhammad Yunus
Muhammad Yunus
, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
Biman is the largest airline based in the Bengal
Bengal
region

Historically, Bengal
Bengal
has been the industrial leader of the subcontinent.

The region is one of the largest rice producing areas in the world, with West Bengal
West Bengal
being India's largest rice producer and Bangladesh being the world's fourth largest rice producer. Other key crops include jute , tea, sugarcane and wheat. There are significant reserves of limestone, natural gas and coal. Major industries include textiles , leather goods, pharmaceuticals, shipbuilding, banking and information and communication technology.

Three stock exchanges are located in the region, including the Dhaka Stock Exchange , the Chittagong Stock Exchange and the Calcutta Stock Exchange .

Below is a comparison of economies in the region of Bengal
Bengal

BANGLADESH WEST BENGAL (INDIA)

US$248.853 billion US$120 billion

US$1,524 per person US$900 per person

INTER-BENGAL TRADE

Bangladesh
Bangladesh
and India
India
are the largest trading partners in South Asia, with two-way trade valued at an estimated US$6.9 billion. Much of this trade relationship is centered on some of the world's busiest land ports on the Bangladesh- India
India
border , particularly the West Bengal
Bengal
section.

The partition of India
India
severed the once strong economic links which integrated the region. Decades later, frequent air, rail and bus services are increasingly connecting cities in Bangladesh
Bangladesh
and West Bengal, as well as the wider region, including Northeast India
India
, Nepal and Bhutan. However the overall economic relationship remains well-below potential.

MAJOR CITIES

The following are the largest cities in Bengal
Bengal
(in terms of population): The National Parliament House in Dhaka
Dhaka
, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
The Victoria Memorial in Kolkata
Kolkata
, India
India

List of major cities in Bengal
Bengal
RANK CITY COUNTRY POPULATION (2011)

1 DHAKA Bangladesh 14,543,124 (Statistical Metropolitan Area)

2 KOLKATA India 14,035,959 (Urban Agglomeration)

3 CHITTAGONG Bangladesh 4,009,423 (Statistical Metropolitan Area)

4 GAZIPUR Bangladesh 1,820,374

5 NARAYANGANJ Bangladesh 1,636,441

6 KHULNA Bangladesh 1,046,341

7 GUWAHATI India 962,334

8 RAJSHAHI Bangladesh 763,952

9 DURGAPUR India 566,517

10 ASANSOL India 563,917

11 SYLHET Bangladesh 526,412

12 SILIGURI India 513,264

13 BOGRA Bangladesh 412,537

14 COMILLA Bangladesh 407,901

15 AGARTALA India 400,004

STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE

The strategically important city of Chittagong is home to the busiest port on the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal

The Bengal
Bengal
region is located at the crossroads of two huge economic blocs, the SAARC
SAARC
and ASEAN
ASEAN
. It gives access to the sea for the landlocked countries of Nepal
Nepal
and Bhutan
Bhutan
, as well as the Seven Sister States of North East India
India
. It is also located near China
China
's southern landlocked region, including Yunnan
Yunnan
and Tibet
Tibet
.

Both India
India
and Bangladesh
Bangladesh
plan to expand onshore and offshore oil and gas operations. Bangladesh
Bangladesh
is Asia's seventh-largest natural gas producer. Its maritime exclusive economic zone potentially holds many of the largest gas reserves in the Asia-Pacific.

The Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
is strategically important for its vital shipping lanes and its central location between the Middle East and the Pacific. The Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
Initiative , based in Dhaka
Dhaka
, brings together Bangladesh, India, Myanmar
Myanmar
, Thailand
Thailand
, Nepal, Bhutan
Bhutan
and Sri Lanka to promote economic integration in the subregion. Other regional groupings include the Bangladesh-China-India- Myanmar
Myanmar
Forum for Regional Cooperation ( BCIM ) and the Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bhutan
Bhutan
India
India
Nepal ( BBIN ) Initiative.

Culturally, Bengal
Bengal
is significant for its huge Hindu
Hindu
and Muslim populations. Bengali Hindus make up the second largest linguistic community in India. Bengali Muslims are the world's second largest Muslim ethnicity (after Arab Muslims ), and Bangladesh
Bangladesh
is the world's third largest Muslim-majority country (after Indonesia
Indonesia
and Pakistan).

CULTURE

Main article: Culture of Bengal

Part of a series on the

CULTURE OF BENGAL

History

* History of Bengal

People

* Bengalis * Bengali renaissance
Bengali renaissance
* List of Bengalis

Languages

* Script * Dialects * Vocabulary * Grammar * Bengali Language Movement

Traditions

* Bengali wedding * Bengali Hindu
Hindu
wedding * Gaye holud * Walima * Bhadralok * Panjika

Cuisine

* Bengali cuisine

Festivals

* Pohela Boishakh
Pohela Boishakh
* Ekushey Book Fair * Nabanna * Kolkata
Kolkata
Book Fair * Poush Mela * Sharadotsav

Art

* Bangladeshi art * Bengal School of Art * Kalighat painting

Literature History

* History * Charyapada
Charyapada
* Mangal-Kāvya * Vaishnava Padavali * Laila Majnu

Genres

* Poetry * Novels * Science
Science
fiction * Folk literature * Tarja

Institutions

* Literary institutions * Bangiya Sahitya Parishad * Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi * Bangla Academy

Awards

* Literary awards * Rabindra Puraskar * Bangla Academy Literary Award * Ananda Puraskar

Music and performing arts

* Music

Media

* Cinema of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Cinema of West Bengal
West Bengal

Sport

* Kabaddi
Kabaddi
* Boli Khela * Lathi khela * Chaturaṅga * Kho kho

* * Bengal
Bengal
portal

* v * t * e

LANGUAGE

Bengali Letters

The Bengali language
Bengali language
developed between the 7th and 10th centuries from Apabhraṃśa and Magadhi Prakrit . It is written using the indigenous Bengali alphabet , a descendant of the ancient Brahmi script . Bengali is the 10th most spoken language in the world . It is an eastern Indo-Aryan language and one of the easternmost branches of the Indo-European language family . It is part of the Bengali-Assamese languages . Bengali has greatly influenced other languages in the region, including Odia , Assamese , Chakma , Nepali and Rohingya . It is the sole state language of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
and the third most spoken language in India.

Bengali binds together a culturally diverse region and is an important contributor to regional identity. The 1952 Bengali Language Movement in East Pakistan
Pakistan
is commemorated by UNESCO
UNESCO
as International Mother Language Day , as part of global efforts to preserve linguistic identity.

CURRENCY

Main article: History of the taka A silver coin with Proto-Bengali script, 9th century

In both Bangladesh
Bangladesh
and West Bengal, currency is commonly denominated as taka. The Bangladesh
Bangladesh
taka is an official standard bearer of this tradition, while the Indian rupee is also written as taka in Bengali script on all of its banknotes. The history of the taka dates back centuries. Bengal
Bengal
was home one of the world's earliest coin currencies in the first millennium BCE. Under the Delhi Sultanate, the taka was introduced by Muhammad bin Tughluq in 1329. Bengal
Bengal
became the stronghold of the taka. The silver currency was the most important symbol of sovereignty of the Sultanate of Bengal . It was traded on the Silk Road
Silk Road
and replicated in Nepal
Nepal
and China's Tibetan protectorate. The Pakistani rupee was scripted in Bengali as taka on its banknotes until Bangladesh's creation in 1971.

LITERATURE

Main articles: Bengali literature
Bengali literature
, Indian English literature , and Bangladeshi English literature Rabindranath Tagore , known as the Bengali Shakespeare, being hosted at the Parliament of Iran
Iran
in the 1930s

Bengali literature
Bengali literature
has a rich heritage. It has a history stretching back to the 3rd century BCE, when the main language was Sanskrit written in the brahmi script. The Bengali language
Bengali language
and script evolved circa 1000 CE from Magadhi Prakrit . Bengal
Bengal
has a long tradition in folk literature, evidenced by the Chôrjapôdô , Mangalkavya , Shreekrishna Kirtana , Maimansingha Gitika or Thakurmar Jhuli . Bengali literature
Bengali literature
in the medieval age was often either religious (e.g. Chandidas ), or adaptations from other languages (e.g. Alaol ). During the Bengal Renaissance
Bengal Renaissance
of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Bengali literature
Bengali literature
was modernised through the works of authors such as Michael Madhusudan Dutta , Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay
Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay
, Rabindranath Tagore , Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay , Kazi Nazrul Islam
Islam
, Satyendranath Dutta and Jibanananda Das . In the 20th century, prominent modern Bengali writers included Syed Mujtaba Ali , Jasimuddin , Manik Bandopadhyay , Tarasankar Bandyopadhyay , Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay , Buddhadeb Bose , Sunil Gangopadhyay and Humayun Ahmed .

Prominent contemporary Bengali writers in English include Amitav Ghosh , Tahmima Anam , Jhumpa Lahiri and Zia Haider Rahman among others.

PERSONIFICATION

Main article: Mother Bengal

The Mother Bengal is a female personification of Bengal
Bengal
which was created during the Bengali renaissance
Bengali renaissance
and later adopted by the Bengali nationalists . The Mother Bengal represents not only biological motherness but its attributed characteristics as well – protection, never ending love, consolation, care, the beginning and the end of life. In Amar Sonar Bangla , the national anthem of Bangladesh, Rabindranath Tagore has used the word "Maa" (Mother) numerous times to refer to the motherland i.e. Bengal. Despite her popularity in patriotic songs and poems, her physical representations and images are rare.

ART

See also: Bangladeshi art Bangladeshi paintings on sale at an art gallery in Dhaka
Dhaka

The Pala-Sena School of Art developed in Bengal
Bengal
between the 8th and 12th centuries and is considered a high point of classical Asian art. It included sculptures and paintings.

Islamic Bengal
Bengal
was noted for its production of the finest cotton fabrics and saris , notably the Jamdani
Jamdani
, which received warrants from the Mughal court. The Bengal
Bengal
School of painting flourished in Kolkata and Shantiniketan in the British Raj
British Raj
during the early 20th century. Its practitioners were among the harbingers of modern painting in India. Zainul Abedin was the pioneer of modern Bangladeshi art . The country has a thriving and internationally acclaimed contemporary art scene.

ARCHITECTURE

Main article: Architecture of Bengal Bungalows originated from Bengali architecture

Classical Bengali architecture features terracotta buildings. Ancient Bengali kingdoms laid the foundations of the region's architectural heritage through the construction of monasteries and temples (for example, the Somapura Mahavihara ). During the sultanate period , a distinct and glorious Islamic style of architecture developed the region. Most Islamic buildings were small and highly artistic terracotta mosques with multiple domes and no minarets. Bengal
Bengal
was also home to the largest mosque in South Asia
Asia
at Adina . Bengali vernacular architecture is credited for inspiring the popularity of the bungalow .

The Bengal
Bengal
region also has a rich heritage of Indo-Saracenic architecture , including numerous zamindar palaces and mansions. The most prominent example of this style is the Victoria Memorial, Kolkata .

In the 1950s, Muzharul Islam
Islam
pioneered the modernist terracotta style of architecture in South Asia. This was followed by the design of the Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban by the renowned American architect Louis Kahn in the 1960s, which was based on the aesthetic heritage of Bengali architecture and geography.

SCIENCES

A sculpture on Fazlur Rahman Khan at the Sears Tower in the United States
United States

The Gupta dynasty , which originated in North Bengal, pioneered the invention of chess , the concept of zero , the theory of Earth orbiting the Sun
Sun
, the study of solar and lunar eclipses and the flourishing of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
literature and drama . Bengal
Bengal
was the leader of scientific endeavors in the subcontinent during the British Raj
British Raj
. The educational reforms during this period gave birth to many distinguished scientists in the region. Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose pioneered the investigation of radio and microwave optics , made very significant contributions to plant science , and laid the foundations of experimental science in the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
. IEEE
IEEE
named him one of the fathers of radio science. He was the first person from the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
to receive a US patent , in 1904. In 1924–25, while researching at the University of Dhaka, Prof Satyendra Nath Bose well known for his works in quantum mechanics , provided the foundation for Bose–Einstein statistics
Bose–Einstein statistics
and the theory of the Bose–Einstein condensate
Bose–Einstein condensate
. In the United States
United States
, the Bengali American engineer Fazlur Rahman Khan emerged as the "father of tubular designs" in skyscraper construction.

MUSIC

A Baul
Baul
musician. The Baul
Baul
ballads of Bengal
Bengal
are classified by UNESCO
UNESCO
as humanity's intangible cultural heritage

The Baul
Baul
tradition is a unique heritage of Bengali folk music. The 19th century mystic poet Lalon Shah
Shah
is the most celebrated practitioner of the tradition. Other folk music forms include Gombhira , Bhatiali and Bhawaiya . Hason Raja
Hason Raja
is a renowned folk poet of the Sylhet region. Folk music in Bengal
Bengal
is often accompanied by the ektara , a one-stringed instrument. Other instruments include the dotara , dhol , flute , and tabla . The region also has a rich heritage in North Indian classical music .

CUISINE

Main article: Bengali cuisine

Bengali cuisine is the only traditionally developed multi-course tradition from the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
. Rice
Rice
and fish are traditional favourite foods, leading to a saying that "fish and rice make a Bengali". Bengal's vast repertoire of fish-based dishes includes Hilsa preparations, a favourite among Bengalis. Bengalis make distinctive sweetmeats from milk products, including Rôshogolla , Chômchôm, and several kinds of Pithe . The old city of Dhaka
Dhaka
is noted for its distinct Indo-Islamic cuisine, including biryani , bakarkhani and kebab dishes.

BOATS

See also: Country boats in Bangladesh
Bangladesh
18th century painting of a budgerow

There are 150 types of Bengali country boats plying the 700 rivers of the Bengal
Bengal
delta , the vast floodplain and many oxbow lakes . They vary in design and size. The boats include the dinghy and sampan among others. Country boats are a central element of Bengali culture and have inspired generations of artists and poets, including the ivory artisans of the Mughal era. The country has a long shipbuilding tradition, dating back many centuries. Wooden boats are made of timber such as Jarul (dipterocarpus turbinatus ), sal (shorea robusta ), sundari (heritiera fomes ), and Burma
Burma
teak (tectons grandis). Medieval Bengal
Bengal
was shipbuilding hub for the Mughal and Ottoman navies. The British Royal Navy
Royal Navy
later utilized Bengali shipyards in the 19th-century, including for the Battle of Trafalgar .

ATTIRE

A woman in a traditional Bengali Jamdani
Jamdani
sari

Bengali women commonly wear the shaŗi 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 kurta with dhoti or pyjama , often on religious occasions. The lungi , a kind of long skirt, is widely worn by Bangladeshi men.

FESTIVALS

A parade float among male revelers during the Mangal Shobhajatra

Durga Puja is the most important festival of the Hindus in Bengal
Bengal
as well as the most significant festival of the region in general. The two Eids ( Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha ) are the two important festivals for muslims. Christmas
Christmas
(called Borodin (Great day) in Bengali) and Buddha Purnima are other major religious festivals. Other major festivities include the Bengali New Year , the Bengali Spring Festival, Nobanno and Poush Parbon.

MEDIA

Bangladesh
Bangladesh
has a diverse, outspoken and privately owned press , with the largest circulated Bengali language
Bengali language
newspapers in the world. English-language titles are popular in the urban readership. West Bengal
Bengal
had 559 published newspapers in 2005, of which 430 were in Bengali. Bengali cinema is divided between the media hubs of Kolkata and Dhaka.

SPORTS

Cricket
Cricket
and football are popular sports in the Bengal
Bengal
region.

Local games include sports such as Kho Kho and Kabaddi
Kabaddi
, the latter being the national sport of Bangladesh.

An Indo- Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bengali Games has been organised among the athletes of the Bengali speaking areas of the two countries.

SEE ALSO

* Bengal Renaissance
Bengal Renaissance
* Northeast India
India
* Punjab
Punjab
* Hindi
Hindi
Belt * Bengalis

NOTES

* ^ CRI do not give a breakdown by gender or state the age bracket for the data

REFERENCES

* ^ " Tripura
Tripura
data highlights: the scheduled tribes" (PDF). Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 20 April 2012. * ^ "Distribution of the 22 Scheduled Languages". Census of India. Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. 2001. Retrieved 4 January 2014. * ^ "Census Reference Tables, A-Series – Total Population". Census of India. Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. 2001. Retrieved 4 January 2014. * ^ Census 2011 Non scheduled languages * ^ Oxford Dictionaries * ^ http://factsanddetails.com/india/Minorities_Castes_and_Regions_in_India/sub7_4b/entry-4198.html * ^ Arijit Mazumdar (27 August 2014). Indian Foreign Policy in Transition: Relations with South Asia. Routledge. p. 86. ISBN 978-1-317-69859-3 . * ^ "Cox\'s Bazar, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
- the World\'s Longest Beach ThingsAsian". thingsasian.com. Retrieved 7 January 2017. * ^ "Ancient India
India
As Described By Megasthenes
Megasthenes
And Arrian by Mccrindle, J.W". archive.org. Mccrindle, J. W. Retrieved 5 June 2017. * ^ Rahman, Urmi (2014). Bangladesh
Bangladesh
- Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture. Kuperard. pp. 26–. ISBN 978-1-85733-696-2 . * ^ A B " Vanga
Vanga
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EXTERNAL LINKS

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for BENGAL .

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Irredentism

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