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factoids
''{{translBānglā / Bôngô}}''}}}}| type = Region in Asia| image_skyline =Map_of_Bengal.svg| imagesize = 280px| image_caption = Location of Bengal| subdivision_type = Continent| subdivision_name = Asia| subdivision_type1 = Countries {{flag {{flag|India}} (West Bengal, Tripura and Assam's Barak Valley)}}| parts_type = Principal Cities| parts_style = listBangladesh}} DhakaIndia}} KolkataBangladesh}} ChittagongBangladesh}} Khulna| area_total_km2 = 236322| population_as_of = 2011| population_total = 250 million ~ 300 million| population_density_km2 = 1070Bengalis>BengaliOfficial languages}}Bangladesh – Bengali language>BengaliTHE CONSTITUTION OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF BANGLADESH >CHAPTER=ARTICLE 2. THE STATE LANGUAGE WEBSITE=BDLAWS.MINLAW.GOV.BD ACCESSDATE=1 FEBRUARY 2017 ARCHIVE-DATE=5 AUGUST 2017, live, West Bengal – Bengali, EnglishWEB,weblink Report of the Commissioner for linguistic minorities: 47th report (July 2008 to June 2010), 122–126, Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities, Ministry of Minority Affairs, Government of India, 30 September 2017,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20120513161847weblink">weblink 13 May 2012, dead, | established_title = Iron Age India, Vedic India, Vanga Kingdom | established_date = 1500 – c. 500 BCE| established_title1 = Gangaridai, Nanda Empire| established_date1 = 345–300 BCE| established_title2 = Gupta Empire| established_date2 = 2nd century–5th century| established_title3 = Pala Empire| established_date3 = 8th century–12th century| established_title4 = Delhi Sultanate| established_date4 = 1204–1339 CE| established_title5 = Bengal Sultanate| established_date5 = 1338–1576 CE| established_title6 = Bengal Subah| established_date6 = 1565–1717 CENawabs of Bengal and Murshidabad>Nawabs of Bengal| established_date7 = 1717–1765 CE| extinct_title = Bengal Presidency| extinct_date = 1765–1947 CE}}{{Contains Bengali text}}{{Bengalis}}Bengal ({{IPAc-en|b|É›|Å‹|ˈ|É¡|ɔː|l}};WEB,weblink Oxford Dictionaries, 22 February 2017,weblink 29 August 2017, live, {{IPA-bn|bɔŋgo}}) is a geopolitical, cultural and historical region in South Asia, specifically in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent at the apex of the 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 and Bhutan and east bordering Burma.Politically, Bengal is currently divided between Bangladesh (which covers two-thirds of the region) and the Indian territories of West Bengal, Tripura and Assam's Barak Valley (altogether cover the remaining one-third). In 2011, the population of Bengal was estimated to be 250 million,WEB,weblink Bengalis, Facts and Details, 15 May 2017,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20170730013507weblink">weblink 30 July 2017, live, making it one of the most densely populated regions in the world.BOOK, Arijit Mazumdar, Indian Foreign Policy in Transition: Relations with South Asia,weblink 27 August 2014, Routledge, 978-1-317-69859-3, 86, Among them, an estimated 160 million people live in Bangladesh and 91.3 million people live in West Bengal. The predominant ethnolinguistic group is the Bengali people, who speak the Indo-Aryan Bengali language. Bengali Muslims are the majority in Bangladesh and Bengali Hindus are the majority in West Bengal and Tripura, while Barak Valley contains almost equal proportions of Bengali Hindus and Bengali Muslims. Outside Bengal proper, the Indian territories of Jharkhand, Bihar and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are also home to significant communities of Bengalis.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, the world's largest mangrove forest and home of the Bengal tiger. In the coastal southeast lies Cox's Bazar, the longest beach in the world at {{cvt|125|km}}.WEB,weblink Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh – the World's Longest Beach, ThingsAsian, 7 January 2017,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20170426004823weblink">weblink 26 April 2017, live, The region has a monsoon climate, which the Bengali calendar divides into six seasons.At times an independent regional empire, Bengal was a leading power in Southeast Asia and later the Islamic East, with extensive trade networks. In antiquity, its kingdoms were known as seafaring nations. Bengal was known to the Greeks as Gangaridai, notable for mighty military power. It was described by Greek historians that Alexander the Great withdrew from India anticipating a counterattack from an alliance of Gangaridai.BOOK, Ancient India As Described By Megasthenes And Arrian by Mccrindle, J.W,weblink archive.org, Mccrindle, J. W., 5 June 2017, Later writers noted merchant shipping links between Bengal and Roman Egypt. The Bengali Pala Empire was the last major Buddhist imperial power in the subcontinent, founded in 750 and becoming the dominant power in the northern Indian subcontinent by the 9th century, before being replaced by the Hindu Sena dynasty in the 12th century. Islam was introduced during the Pala Empire, through trade with the Abbasid Caliphate.Following the early formation Delhi Sultanate, Islam fully spread across the entire Bengal region. During the Islamic Bengal Sultanate, founded in 1352, Bengal was major trading nation in the world and was often referred by the Europeans as the richest country to trade with.Nanda, J. N (2005). BOOK, 2005, Bengal: the unique state, Concept Publishing Company. p. 10., 978-81-8069-149-2, Bengal [...] was rich in the production and export of grain, salt, fruit, liquors and wines, precious metals and ornaments besides the output of its handlooms in silk and cotton. Europe referred to Bengal as the richest country to trade with., The Khorasanis referred to the land as an "inferno full of gifts", due to its unbearable climate but abundance of wealth.BOOK, The Rehla of Ibn Battuta, Ibn Battutah, Later, it was absorbed into the Mughal Empire in 1576. The Bengal Subah, described as the Paradise of the Nations,WEB,weblink The paradise of nations | Dhaka Tribune, Archive.dhakatribune.com, 2014-12-20, 2016-11-07, was the empire's wealthiest province, and became a major global exporter, a center of worldwide industries such as cotton textiles, silk, shipbuilding, making worth 12% of the world's GDP,BOOK, Poverty From The Wealth of Nations: Integration and Polarization in the Global Economy since 1760, M. Shahid Alam, Springer Science+Business Media, 2016, 32, 978-0-333-98564-9,weblink M. Shahid Alam, NEWS, Khandker, Hissam, 31 July 2015, Which India is claiming to have been colonised?,weblink The Daily Star, Op-ed, Maddison, Angus (2003): Development Centre Studies The World Economy Historical Statistics: Historical Statistics, OECD Publishing, {{ISBN|9264104143}}, pages 259–261 a value bigger than the entirety of western Europe and its citizens' living standards were among the world's most superior.BOOK, Developing cultures: case studies, Lawrence Harrison (academic), Lawrence E. Harrison, Peter L. Berger, Routledge, 2006, 158,weblink 9780415952798, BOOK, Poverty From The Wealth of Nations: Integration and Polarization in the Global Economy since 1760, M. Shahid Alam, Springer Science+Business Media, 2016, 32, 978-0-333-98564-9,weblink M. Shahid Alam, Bengal's economy have waved the period of proto-industrialization.BOOK, The Ashgate Companion to the History of Textile Workers, 1650–2000, Lex Heerma van Voss, Els Hiemstra-Kuperus, Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk, The Long Globalization and Textile Producers in India, Ashgate Publishing, 2010, 255,weblink When conquered by the British East India Company in 1757 by Battle of Plassey and became the Bengal Presidency of the British Raj, Bengal made direct significant contribution to the world's first Industrial revolution, but experienced its own deindustrialization. The Company increased agriculture tax rates from 10 percent to up to 50 which caused multiple famines such as the Great Bengal famine of 1770 which caused the deaths of 10 million Bengalis and the Bengal Famine of 1943.Bengal played a major role in the Indian independence movement, in which revolutionary groups were dominant. Armed attempts to overthrow the British Raj began with the rebellion of Titumir, and reached a climax when Subhas Chandra Bose led the Indian National Army allied with Japan to fight against the British. A large number of Bengalis died in the independence struggle and many were exiled in Cellular Jail, located in Andaman. The United Kingdom Cabinet Mission of 1946 split the region between India and Pakistan, an action popularly known as the partition of Bengal (1947). This was opposed by the Prime Minister of Bengal, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, and nationalist leader Sarat Chandra Bose. They campaigned for a united and independent nation-state of Bengal. The initiative failed owing to British diplomacy and communal conflict between Muslims and Hindus. Subsequently, Pakistan ruled East Bengal which later became the independent nation of Bangladesh by the Bangladesh War of Independence in 1971.

Etymology

The name of Bengal is derived from the ancient kingdom of Banga,(pronounced Bôngô)BOOK, Rahman, Urmi, 2014, Bangladesh – Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture,weblink Kuperard, 26–, 978-1-85733-696-2, WEB,weblink Encyclopædia Britannica, Vanga | Britannica.com, 7 January 2017,weblink 30 July 2016, live, the earliest records of which date back to the Mahabharata epic in the first millennium BCE. The exact origin of the word Bangla is unknown. In Islam it is said to come from "Bung/Bang", a son of Hind (son of Hām who was a son of Noah) who colonised the area for the first time.RIYAZU-S-SALÄ€TĪN: A History of Bengal {{Webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20141215055926weblink |date=15 December 2014 }}, Ghulam Husain Salim, The Asiatic Society, Calcutta, 1902. The suffix "al" came to be added to it from the fact that the ancient rajahs of this land raised mounds of earth 10 feet high and 20 in breadth in lowlands at the foot of the hills which were called "al". From this suffix added to the Bung, the name Bengal arose and gained currency".Land of Two Rivers, Nitish SenguptaBOOK, Ain-i-Akbari, Abu'l-Fazl, Ain-i-Akbari, Abu'l-Fazl, This is also mentioned in Ghulam Husain Salim's Riyaz-us-Salatin.Other 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).BOOK, SenGupta, Amitabh, 2012, Scroll Paintings of Bengal: Art in the Village, AuthorHouse UK, 14, 978-1-4678-9663-4, {{self-published inline|date=November 2018}}WEB,weblink Bangladesh: early history, 1000 B.C.–A.D. 1202, September 1988, Bangladesh: A country study, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., 1 December 2014, Historians believe that Bengal, the area comprising present-day Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, was settled in about 1000 B.C. by Dravidian-speaking peoples who were later known as the Bang. Their homeland bore various titles that reflected earlier tribal names, such as Vanga, Banga, Bangala, Bangal, and Bengal.,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20131207010051weblink">weblink 7 December 2013, live, The term Vangaladesa is used to describe the region in 11th-century South Indian records.BOOK, Keay, John, John Keay, 2000, India: A History, Atlantic Monthly Press, 220, 978-0-87113-800-2, In C1020 ... launched Rajendra's great northern escapade ... peoples he defeated have been tentatively identified ... 'Vangala-desa where the rain water never stopped' sounds like a fair description of Bengal in the monsoon.,weblink BOOK, Allan, John Andrew, Haig, T. Wolseley, Dodwell, H. H., 1934, Dodwell, H. H., H. H. Dodwell, The Cambridge Shorter History of India,weblink Cambridge University Press, 113, BOOK, Sen, Sailendra Nath, 1999, First published 1988, Ancient Indian History and Civilization,weblink New Age International, 281, 978-81-224-1198-0, 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 of Bangala.BOOK, Hasan, Perween, 2007, Sultans and Mosques: The Early Muslim Architecture of Bangladesh,weblink I.B.Tauris, 13–, 978-1-84511-381-0, The Portuguese referred to the region as Bengala in the Age of Discovery.BOOK, Lach, Donald F., Kley, Edwin J. Van, 1998, Asia in the Making of Europe, Volume III: A Century of Advance. Book 3: Southeast Asia,weblink University of Chicago Press, 1124–, 978-0-226-46768-9, The modern English name Bengal is an exonym derived from the Bengal Sultanate period.BOOK, Sircar, D. C., 1990, Studies in the Geography of Ancient and Medieval India,weblink Motilal Banarsidass, 135, 9788120806900, {{failed verification|date=August 2018}}

Geography

File:Gangesdelta klein.jpg|thumb|400px|The Ganges-Brahmaputra deltaGanges-Brahmaputra deltaMost of the 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, Brahmaputra, and Meghna rivers and their respective tributaries. The total area of Bengal is 232,752  km2—West Bengal is {{convert|88752|km2|0|abbr=on}} and Bangladesh {{convert|147570|km2|0|abbr=on}}.The flat and fertile Bangladesh Plain dominates the geography of Bangladesh. The Chittagong Hill Tracts and Sylhet regions are home to most of the mountains in Bangladesh. Most parts of Bangladesh are within {{convert|10|m|ft|abbr=off}} 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 {{convert|1|m|ft|abbr=off}}.JOURNAL, Ali, A, 1996, Vulnerability of Bangladesh to climate change and sea level rise through tropical cyclones and storm surges, 10.1007/BF00175563, Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 92, 1–2, 171–179, harv,weblink 2019-08-20, 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 {{convert|1052|m|ft|abbr=off}}.Summit Elevations: Frequent Internet Errors. {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20130725020735weblink |date=25 July 2013 }} Retrieved 13 April 2006. A major part of the coastline comprises a marshy jungle, the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world and home to diverse flora and fauna, including the royal Bengal tiger. In 1997, this region was declared endangered.JOURNAL, IUCN, 1997, Sundarban wildlife sanctuaries Bangladesh, World Heritage Nomination-IUCN Technical Evaluation, harv, West Bengal is on the eastern bottleneck of India, stretching from the Himalayas in the north to the Bay of Bengal in the south. The state has a total area of {{convert|88752|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on}}.WEB,weblink Statistical Facts about India, 26 October 2006, indianmirror.com,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20061026055639weblink">weblink 26 October 2006, live, dmy-all, The Darjeeling Himalayan hill region in the northern extreme of the state belongs to the eastern Himalaya. This region contains Sandakfu ({{convert|3636|m|ft|0|abbr=on}})—the highest peak of the state.WEB,weblink National Himalayan Sandakphu-Gurdum Trekking Expedition: 2006, 26 October 2006, Youth Hostels Association of India: West Bengal State Branch,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20061024013140weblink">weblink 24 October 2006, The narrow Terai region separates this region from the plains, which in turn transitions into the Ganges delta towards the south. The Rarh region intervenes between the 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 and 42 districts in Bangladesh have arsenic levels in groundwater above the World Health Organization maximum permissible limit of 50 Âµg/L or 50 parts per billion and the untreated water is unfit for human consumption.JOURNAL, Groundwater arsenic contamination in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India, Chowdhury, U. K., Biswas, B. K., Chowdhury, T. R., Samanta, G., Mandal, B. K., Basu, G. C., Chanda, C. R., Lodh, D., Saha, K. C., Mukherjee, S. K., Roy, S., Kabir, S., Quamruzzaman, Q., Chakraborti, D., 3, May 2000, Environmental Health Perspectives, 108, 4, 393–397,weblink 10.2307/3454378, 3454378, harv, dead,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20070927002931weblink">weblink 27 September 2007, 10811564, 1638054, The water causes arsenicosis, skin cancer and various other complications in the body.File:Burishwar River in Barguna, Bangladesh (2).jpg|A river in BangladeshFile:A Canvas- Mustard field and Date Trees (11923934543).jpg|A mustard and date palm farm in West BengalFile:Tea Garden near Srimangal, Sylhet, Bangladesh.jpg|A tea garden in Bangladesh

Geographic distinctions

(File:Bengal, Asia.jpg|thumb|300px|Bengal in relation to historical regions in Asia)

North Bengal

File:Kalimpong 28.jpg|thumb|On a clear day, the snowy peaks of the Himalayas in Nepal and Sikkim can be seen from northern Bangladesh and Darjeeling district of alt=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, Jalpaiguri, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur and Malda) together and Bihar's parts include Kishanganj district. Darjeeling Hills are also part of North Bengal. Although only people of Jaipaiguri, Alipurduar and Cooch Behar identifies themselves as North Bengali. North Bengal is divided into Terai and Dooars regions. North Bengal is also noted for its rich cultural heritage, including two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Aside from the Bengali majority, North Bengal is home to many other communities including Nepalis, Santhal people, Lepchas and Rajbongshis.

Northeast Bengal

File:Madhabkunda waterfall (1).JPG|thumb|Waterfalls are a common sight in the highlands of eastern alt=Northeast BengalBOOK, An Easy Introduction to the History and Geography of Bengal: For the Junior Classes in Schools, Lethbridge, E., 1874, Thacker,weblink 5, 7 January 2017, refers to the Sylhet region, comprising Sylhet Division of Bangladesh and the Barak Valley in the Indian state of 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 region is known for its unique dialect. The ancient name of the region is Srihatta.BOOK, Akhter, Nasrin, 2012, Sarkar,weblink Islam, Sirajul, Sirajul Islam, Jamal, Ahmed A., Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Second, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, The region was ruled by the Kamarupa and Harikela kingdoms as well as the Bengal Sultanate. It later became a district of the Mughal Empire. Alongside the predominant Bengali population resides a small Bishnupriya Manipuri, Khasia and other tribal minorities.The region is the crossroads of Bengal and northeast India.

Central Bengal

Central Bengal refers to the 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 covers the southern part of the Indian state of West Bengal and southwestern Bangladesh. The Indian part of South Bengal includes 12 districts: Kolkata, Howrah, Hooghly, Burdwan, East Midnapur, West Midnapur, Purulia, Bankura, Birbhum, Nadia, South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas.WEB,weblink Arsenic Mitigation in West Bengal, India: New Hope for Millions, David Christiana, Southwest Hydrology, 32, 1 September 2007, 20 December 2008,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20160305124232weblink">weblink 5 March 2016, live, dmy-all, BOOK,weblink Agroforestry: Systems and Practices, 9788189422622, Puri, Sunil, 2007, BOOK,weblink Gandhi and globalisation, 9788183242967, Reddy, Angadi Ranga, 2009, The Bangladeshi part includes the proposed Faridpur Division, Khulna Division and Barisal Division.BOOK, Deen, Prof. S. M., A Brief History of Bengal for Diaspora Bangladeshis,weblink 2014, Lulu Press, Inc, 978-1-326-02377-5, 59, {{self-published inline|date=November 2018}}BOOK,weblink Social Structure and Cultural Practices in Slums: A Study of Slums in Dhaka City, 9788172111106, Das, Tulshi Kumar, 2000, The Sundarbans, a major biodiversity hotspot, is located in South Bengal. Bangladesh hosts 60% of the forest, with the remainder in India.

Southeast Bengal

File:Cox's Bazar beach 15.jpg|thumb|250px|alt=Southeast BengalBOOK, A History of Early Modern Southeast Asia, 1400–1830, Andaya, B. W., Andaya, L. Y., 2015, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-88992-6,weblink 220, 7 January 2017, BOOK, Modern World System and Indian Proto-industrialization: Bengal 1650–1800, Singh, A. K., 2006, 1, Northern Book Centre, 9788172112011,weblink 225, 7 January 2017, BOOK, Islam in Bangladesh, Banu, U. A. B. Razia Akter, 1992, Brill, 978-90-04-09497-0,weblink 6, 7 January 2017, in Samatata (South-east Bengal) where the Buddhist Khadaga dynasty ruled throughout the fifth, sixth and seventh centuries AD., refers to the hilly and coastal Bengali-speaking areas of Chittagong Division in southeastern Bangladesh and the Indian state of Tripura. Southeast 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.BOOK, Rashid, M Harunar, 2012, Harikela,weblink Islam, Sirajul, Sirajul Islam, Jamal, Ahmed A., Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Second, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, During the medieval period, the region was ruled by the Sultanate of Bengal, the Kingdom of Tripura, the Kingdom of Mrauk U, the Portuguese Empire and the 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 is considered a bridge to Southeast Asia and the northern parts of Arakan are also historically considered to be a part of it.NEWS, Chittagong to bridge S Asian nations,weblink The Daily Star, 17 March 2012, 12 August 2016,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20160813113736weblink">weblink 13 August 2016, live,

Places of interest

There are four World Heritage Sites in the region, including the Sundarbans, the Somapura Mahavihara, the Mosque City of Bagerhat and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Other prominent places include the Bishnupur, Bankura temple city, the Adina Mosque, the Caravanserai Mosque, numerous zamindar palaces (like Ahsan Manzil and Cooch Behar Palace), the Lalbagh Fort, the Great Caravanserai ruins, the Shaista Khan Caravanserai ruins, the Kolkata Victoria Memorial, the Dhaka Parliament Building, archaeologically excavated ancient fort cities in Mahasthangarh, Mainamati, Chandraketugarh and Wari-Bateshwar, the Jaldapara National Park, the Lawachara National Park, the Teknaf Game Reserve and the Chittagong Hill Tracts.Cox's Bazar in southeastern Bangladesh is home to the longest natural sea beach in the world with an unbroken length of 120 km (75 mi). It is also a growing surfing destination.NEWS, World's longest natural sea beach under threat,weblink BBC News, 28 December 2012, 21 June 2018,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20170113172432weblink">weblink 13 January 2017, live, St. Martin's Island, off the coast of Chittagong Division, is home to the sole coral reef in Bengal.

Flora and fauna

File:Bengal tiger jumping in Sundarban.jpg|thumb|250px|A 2015 census of Sundarbans Bengal tigerBengal tigerThe flat Bengal Plain, which covers most of 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, jute, mustard and sugarcane plantations are a common sight. Water bodies and wetlands provide a habitat for many aquatic plants in the Ganges-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 is noted for its high degree of biodiversity.The littoral Sundarbans in the southwestern part of Bengal is the largest mangrove forest in the world and a 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 is the national animal of Bangladesh and India. The fishing cat is the state animal of West Bengal.

History

{{History of Bengal}}

Prehistory

Human settlement in Bengal can be traced back 20,000 years.{{citation needed|date=June 2017}} Remnants of Copper Age settlements date back 4,300 years.WEB,weblink History of Bangladesh, 26 October 2006, Bangladesh Student Association,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20061219141732weblink">weblink 19 December 2006, NEWS, Xinhua News Agency, March 2006, 4000-year old settlement unearthed in Bangladesh,weblink 25 February 2007,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20070510135113weblink">weblink 10 May 2007, live, dmy-all, 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.BOOK, The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204–1760, Eaton, R. M., 1996, University of California Press, 978-0-520-20507-9,weblink 7 January 2017, The Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers were natural arteries for communication and transportation. Estuaries on the Bay of Bengal allowed for maritime trade. The early 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

(File:WLA lacma Bangladesh Dinajpur District Dancing Ganesha.jpg|thumb|left|Hindu sculpture, 11th century)Ancient Bengal was divided between the regions of Varendra, Suhma, Anga, Vanga, Samatata and Harikela. Early Indian literature described the region as a thalassocracy, with colonies in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean.BOOK, The Archaeology of Seafaring in Ancient South Asia, Ray, H. P., 2003, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-01109-9,weblink 17, 7 January 2017, For example, the first recorded king of Sri Lanka was a Bengali prince called Vijaya. The region was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans as Gangaridai.WEB,weblink Gangaridai, 5 August 2015, Chowdhury, AM, Banglapedia, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20150602094443weblink">weblink 2 June 2015, live, dmy-all, The Greek ambassador Megasthenes chronicled its military strength and dominance of the Ganges delta. The invasion army of Alexander the Great was deterred by the accounts of Gangaridai's power in 325 BCE. Later Roman accounts noted maritime trade routes with Bengal and a Roman amphora has been found in Purba Medinipur district, made in Aelana (present day Aqaba in Jordan) between the 4th and 7th centuries AD.Sarkar, Sebanti, "https://scroll.in/magazine/868330/in-rural-bengal-an-indefatigable-relic-hunter-has-uncovered-a-hidden-chapter-of-history {{Webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20180220145407weblink |date=20 February 2018 }}." Retrieved 4 August 2018 Another prominent kingdom in Ancient 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 such as Mahasthangarh.Hossain, Md. Mosharraf, Mahasthan: Anecdote to History, 2006, pp. 69–73, Dibyaprakash, 38/2 ka Bangla Bazar, Dhaka, {{ISBN|984-483-245-4}}WEB,weblink Pundravardhana, 10 November 2007, Ghosh, Suchandra, Banglapedia, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20170623150622weblink">weblink 23 June 2017, live, dmy-all, Majumdar, R. C., History of Ancient Bengal, First published 1971, Reprint 2005, p. 10, Tulshi Prakashani, Kolkata, {{ISBN|81-89118-01-3}}. In vedic mythology the royal families of Magadha, Anga, Vanga, Suhma and Kalinga were all related and descended from one King.(Mbh 1:104), (2:21).Ancient Bengal was considered a part of Magadha region, which was the cradle of Indian arts and sciences. Currently the Maghada region is divided into several states that are Bihar, Jharkhand and Bengal (West Bengal and East Bengal) The legacy of Magadha includes the concept of zero, the invention of ChessBOOK, Murray, H. J. R., H. J. R. Murray, A History of Chess, Benjamin Press (originally published by Oxford University Press), 1913, 978-0-936317-01-4, 13472872,weblink and the theory of solar and lunar eclipses and the Earth orbiting the Sun.{{Citation needed|date=July 2017}} Secular Sanskrit, or standard Old Indo-Aryan, was spoken across Bengal.BOOK, Islam, Shariful, 2012, Bangla Script,weblink Islam, Sirajul, Sirajul Islam, Jamal, Ahmed A., Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Second, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, The Bengali language evolved from Old Indo-Aryan Sanskrit dialects. The region was ruled by Hindu, Buddhist and 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

{{See|Pala Empire|Bengal Sultanate}}File:Malda ~ Adina Mosque 5.JPG|thumb|left|Inscriptions on the Adina Mosque proclaim the builder Sikandar Shah as "the wisest, the most just, the most perfect and most liberal of the SultanSultanThe Pala Empire was an imperial power in the Indian subcontinent, which originated in the region of Bengal. They were followers of the Mahayana and Tantric schools of Buddhism. The empire was founded with the election of Gopala as the emperor of Gauda in 750.BOOK, R. C. Majumdar, R. C. Majumdar, 1977, Ancient India,weblink Motilal Banarsidass, 268–, 978-81-208-0436-4, At its height in the early 9th century, the Pala Empire was the dominant power in the northern subcontinent, with its territory stretching across parts of modern-day eastern Pakistan, northern and northeastern India, Nepal and Bangladesh.BOOK, Sailendra Nath Sen, 1999, Ancient Indian History and Civilization,weblink New Age International, 280–, 978-81-224-1198-0, The empire enjoyed relations with the Srivijaya Empire, the Tibetan Empire, and the Arab Abbasid Caliphate. Islam first appeared in Bengal during Pala rule, as a result of increased trade between Bengal and the Middle East.BOOK, Raj Kumar, 2003, Essays on Ancient India,weblink Discovery Publishing House, 199, 978-81-7141-682-0, The resurgent Hindu Sena dynasty dethroned the Pala Empire in the 12th century, ending the reign of the last major Buddhist imperial power in the subcontinent.BOOK, Sailendra Nath Sen, 1999, Ancient Indian History and Civilization,weblink New Age International, 277–287, 978-81-224-1198-0, BOOK, Nitish K., Sengupta, Nitish Sengupta, 2011, Land of Two Rivers: A History of Bengal from the Mahabharata to Mujib,weblink Penguin Books India, 978-0-14-341678-4, 39–49, Muslim conquests of the Indian subcontinent absorbed Bengal in 1204.BOOK, Nanda, J. N., Bengal: The Unique State,weblink 1 January 2005, Concept Publishing Company, 978-81-8069-149-2, 34, BOOK, Mehta, Jaswant Lal, Advanced Study in the History of Medieval India,weblink 1979, Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd, 978-81-207-0617-0, 82, The region was annexed by the Delhi Sultanate. Muslim rule introduced agrarian reform, a new calendar and Sufism. The region saw the rise of important city states in Sonargaon, Satgaon and Lakhnauti. By 1352, Ilyas 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 Suri was crowned Emperor of the northern subcontinent in the Bengali capital Gaur.

Mughal era (1576–1757)

File:Renaldis muslin woman.jpg|thumb|250px|A woman in Dhaka clad in fine Bengali muslin, 18th century.]]{{See|Muslin trade in Bengal|Mughal Empire}}The Mughal Empire conquered Bengal in the 16th century. The Bengal Subah province in the 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.BOOK, A Collection of Treaties and Engagements with the Native Princes and States of Asia: Concluded on Behalf of the East India Company by the British Governments in India, Viz. by the Government of Bengal Etc. : Also Copies of Sunnuds Or Grants of Certain Privileges and Imunities to the East India Company by the Mogul and Other Native Princes of Hindustan,weblink 23 August 2013, 1812, United East-India Company, 28, The region was also notable for its powerful semi-independent aristocracy, including the Twelve Bhuiyans and the Nawabs of Bengal.BOOK, A Comprehensive History of Medieval India: Twelfth to the Mid-Eighteenth Century, Ahmed, F. S., 2011, Pearson, 9788131732021,weblink 7 January 2017, It was visited by several world explorers, including Ibn Battuta, Niccolo De Conti and Admiral Zheng He.Under Mughal rule, Bengal was a center of the worldwide muslin and silk trades. During the Mughal era, the most important center of cotton production was Bengal, particularly around its capital city of Dhaka, leading to muslin being called "daka" in distant markets such as Central Asia.Richard Maxwell Eaton (1996), The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204–1760, page 202, University of California Press Domestically, much of India depended on Bengali products such as rice, silks and cotton textiles. Overseas, Europeans depended on Bengali products such as cotton textiles, silks and opium; Bengal accounted for 40% of Dutch imports from Asia, for example, including more than 50% of textiles and around 80% of silks.Om Prakash, "Empire, Mughal", History of World Trade Since 1450, edited by John J. McCusker, vol. 1, Macmillan Reference USA, 2006, pp. 237–240, World History in Context. Retrieved 3 August 2017 From Bengal, saltpeter was also shipped to Europe, opium was sold in Indonesia, raw silk was exported to Japan and the Netherlands, cotton and silk textiles were exported to Europe, Indonesia, and Japan,John F. Richards (1995), The Mughal Empire, page 202, Cambridge University Press cotton cloth was exported to the Americas and the Indian Ocean.BOOK, How India Clothed the World: The World of South Asian Textiles, 1500–1850, Giorgio Riello, Tirthankar Roy, Brill Publishers, 2009, 174,weblink Bengal also had a large shipbuilding industry. In terms of shipbuilding tonnage during the 16th–18th centuries, economic historian Indrajit Ray estimates the annual output of Bengal at 223,250 tons, compared with 23,061 tons produced in nineteen colonies in North America from 1769 to 1771.BOOK, Ray, Indrajit, 2011, Bengal Industries and the British Industrial Revolution (1757–1857),weblink Routledge, 174, 978-1-136-82552-1, 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 Company eventually emerged as the foremost military power in the region; and defeated the last independent Nawab of Bengal at the Battle of Plassey in 1757.

Colonial era (1757–1947)

File:Clive.jpg|thumb|250px|The Battle of PlasseyBattle of PlasseyIn Bengal effective political and military power was transferred from the old regime to the British East India Company around 1757–65.BOOK, Baten, Jörg, A History of the Global Economy. From 1500 to the Present, 2016, Cambridge University Press, 251, 978-1-107-50718-0, Company rule in India began under the Bengal Presidency. Calcutta was named the capital of British 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 famines struck several times during colonial rule (notably the Great Bengal famine of 1770 and Bengal famine of 1943).5 of the worst atrocities carried out by the British Empire. The Independent. 19 January 2016.Churchill's policies contributed to 1943 Bengal famine – study. The Guardian. 29 March 2019. About 50 million were killed in Bengal due to massive plague outbreaks and famines which happened in 1895 to 1920, mostly in western Bengal.BOOK, The "Gandhians" of Bengal: Nationalism, Social Reconstruction and Cultural Orientations 1920-1942, 19, Malaria was endemic in rural areas during the 19th century, particularly in western Bengal. This was ... The famine of 1769-70 resulted in about ten million deaths, while 50 million died of malaria, plague and famine between 1895 and 19206., The 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. The late 19th and early 20th century Bengal Renaissance had a great impact on the cultural and economic life of Bengal and started a great advance in the literature and science of Bengal. Between 1905 and 1912, an abortive attempt was made to divide the province of Bengal into two zones, that included the short-lived province of Eastern Bengal and Assam based in Dacca and Shillong.{{Harv|Baxter|1997|pp=39–40}}{{full citation needed|date=November 2018}} Under British rule, Bengal experienced deindustrialization.BOOK, Ray, Indrajit, 2011, Bengal Industries and the British Industrial Revolution (1757–1857),weblink Routledge, 7–10, 978-1-136-82552-1, mIn 1876, about 200,000 people were killed in Bengal by the Great Bangladesh cyclone.WEB, Chowdhury, Masud Hasan, Cyclone,weblink Banglapedia, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, 6 August 2015,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20160119131247weblink">weblink 19 January 2016, live, Bengal played a major role in the Indian independence movement, in which revolutionary groups were dominant. Armed attempts to overthrow the British Raj began with the rebellion of Titumir, and reached a climax when Subhas Chandra Bose led the Indian National Army against the British. Bengal was also central in the rising political awareness of the Muslim population—the All-India Muslim League was established in Dhaka in 1906. The Muslim homeland movement pushed for a sovereign state in eastern British India with the Lahore Resolution in 1943. Hindu nationalism was also strong in Bengal, which was home to groups like the Hindu Mahasabha. In spite of a last-ditch effort to form a United Bengal,WEB,weblink United Independent Bengal Movement, 5 August 2015, Chitta Ranjan Misra, Banglapedia, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20150805022148weblink">weblink 5 August 2015, when India gained independence in 1947, Bengal was partitioned along religious lines. The western part went to India (and was named West Bengal) while the eastern part joined Pakistan as a province called East Bengal (later renamed East Pakistan, giving rise to Bangladesh in 1971). The circumstances of partition were bloody, with widespread religious riots in Bengal.WEB,weblink Partition of Bengal, 1947, 5 August 2015, Harun-or-Rashid, Banglapedia, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20150702002256weblink">weblink 2 July 2015, live, dmy-all, WEB,weblink Calcutta Riot (1946), 5 August 2015, Suranjan Das, Banglapedia, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20150801150533weblink">weblink 1 August 2015, dead, dmy-all, The 1970 Bhola cyclone took the lives of 500,000 people in Bengal, making it one of the deadliest recorded cyclones.

Post-partition (1947–present)

India

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 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 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 Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) governed the state for over three decades, which was the world's longest elected Communist administration in history.NEWS, Communist rule ends in Indian state of West Bengal,weblink BBC News, 13 May 2011, 21 June 2018,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20160818090451weblink">weblink 18 August 2016, live, Since the 2000s, West Bengal has experienced an economic rejuvenation, particularly in its IT industry.
Tripura
File:Land mark agartala.jpeg|thumb|The former royal palace of Hill Tippera in AgartalaAgartalaThe princely state of Hill Tippera, that was under the suzerainty of British India, was ruled by a Bengali-speaking monarchy. Following the death of Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Debbarman, the princely state acceded to the Union of India on 15 October 1949 under the Tripura Merger Agreement signed by Maharani Regent Kanchan Prava Devi. By the 1950s, the region had a Bengali majority population due to the influx of Hindus from East Pakistan after partition. It became a Union Territory of 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.BOOK, Tripura Administration: The Era of Modernisation, 1870–1972, Bhattacharyya, B., 1986, Mittal Publications,weblink 7 January 2017,
Barak Valley
The Barak Valley joined the union of India after its partition from Sylhet in 1947 and has been a part of the state of 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 conflict.

Bangladesh

File:Shaheed minar Roehl.jpg|thumb|Shaheed Minar in Dhaka commemorates the 1952 Language Movement ]]

East Pakistan (1947–1971)

In 1948, the Government of the Dominion of Pakistan ordained Urdu as the sole national language, sparking extensive protests among the Bengali-speaking majority of East Bengal. Facing rising sectarian tensions and mass discontent with the new law, the government outlawed public meetings and rallies. The students of the University of Dhaka and other political activists defied the law and organised a protest on 21 February 1952. The movement reached its climax when several student demonstrators were shot dead by police firing. As a result of the movement, Pakistan government in 1956 included Bengali as national lanuage along with Urdu. UNESCO in 1999 declared 21 February as International Mother Language Day honoring the 1952 incident.East Bengal, which was later renamed to East Pakistan in 1955, was home to Pakistan's demographic majority and played an instrumental role in the founding of the new state. Strategically, Pakistan joined the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization under the Bengali prime minister Mohammad Ali of Bogra as a bulwark against communism.WEB,weblink Muhammad Ali Bogra becomes Prime Minister, Story of Pakistan, 7 January 2017,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20170326101925weblink">weblink 26 March 2017, live, June 2003, However, tensions between East and West Pakistan grew rapidly over political exclusion, economic neglect and ethnic and linguistic discrimination. The State of 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.WEB,weblink The Nation, Pakistan, Revisiting 1906–1971, 7 January 2017,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20160127030724weblink">weblink 27 January 2016, live, 4 December 2015, WEB,weblink H. S. Suhrawardy Becomes Prime Minister, Story of Pakistan, 7 January 2017,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20170326100307weblink">weblink 26 March 2017, live, July 2003, File:Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1950.jpg|alt=|thumb|221x221px|Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led Bengali's decade long independence struggle including the Bangladesh Liberation WarBangladesh Liberation WarEast Pakistan witnessed the rise of Bengali self determination calls led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Maulana Bhashani in the 1960s.{{Harv|Baxter|1997|pp=78–79}}{{full citation needed|date=November 2018}} 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 Liberation War in 1971. The first Government of 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 Forces in the final two weeks of the war and ensuring Pakistan's surrender.BOOK, 1971, Raghavan, S., 2013, Harvard University Press, 978-0-674-73129-5,weblink 7 January 2017,

Bangladesh (1971–present)

After independence, 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 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. Lasting for nine years, Ershad's rule witnessed continued pro-free market reforms and the devolution of some authority to local government.BOOK, Lewis, David, David Lewis (academic), 2011,weblink Bangladesh: Politics, Economy and Civil Society, Cambridge University Press, 78–90, 978-0-521-71377-1, The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was founded in Dhaka in 1985.WEB,weblink dead, Dhaka Declaration, SAARC Secretariat, 7 June 2016,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20160607131812weblink">weblink 7 June 2016, The Jatiya Party government made Islam the state religion in 1988.NEWS, Bangladesh profile – Timeline,weblink BBC News, 1 January 2016, 21 June 2018,weblink 11 July 2018, live, A popular uprising restored parliamentary democracy in 1991. Since then, 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 collaborators of the 1971 genocide. Today, the country is one of the emerging and growth-leading economies of the world. It is listed as one of the Next Eleven countries, it also has one of the fastest real GDP growth rates . Its gross domestic product ranks 39th largest in the world in terms of market exchange rates and 30th in purchasing power parity. Its per capita income ranks 143th and 136th in two measures. In the field of human development, it has progressed ahead in life expectancy, maternal and child health, and gender equality. But it continues to face challenging problems, including poverty, corruption, terrorism, illiteracy, and inadequate public healthcare.BOOK, Salik, Siddiq, 1978, Witness to Surrender, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-577264-7, JOURNAL, Burke, S, 1973, The Postwar Diplomacy of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Asian Survey, 13, 11, 1036–1049, 10.2307/2642858, 2642858, harv,

Historical maps and flags of states

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

Maps

File:Ptolemy Asia detail.jpg|Gangaridai in Ptolemy's map, 1st centuryFile:Asia 800ad.jpg|The Pala Empire, 9th centuryFile:Bengal Sultanate.png|The Bengal Sultanate, 16th centuryFile:1776 Rennell - Dury Wall Map of Bihar and Bengal, India - Geographicus - BaharBengal-dury-1776.jpg|Bengal & Bihar in 1776 by James RennellFile:Bengalpresidency 1858.jpg|Colonial Bengal, 19th centuryFile:Bengal gazetteer 1907-9.jpg|Colonial Eastern Bengal and Assam, early 20th centuryFile:Districts of West Bengla.jpg|Map of West BengalFile:BD Map admin.svg|Map of Bangladesh

Flags

File:Bengal Sultanate Flag.gif|Flag of Bengal SultanateFile:Flag of the Principality of Bengal (15th-18th century).svg|Flag of the Bengal Subah (15-18th Century)File:Flag of British Bengal.svg|Flag of Bengal Presidency, under British ruleFile:First flag of Bangladesh.png|Flag of Bangladesh during Bangladesh Liberation WarFile:Flag of Bangladesh.svg|Flag of Bangladesh

Politics

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

Bangladeshi Republic

File:রাতের বেলায় বঙ্গভবনের সৌন্দর্য্য! 02.jpg|thumb|Bangabhaban (the House of Bengal) is the official residence of the president of Bangladeshpresident of BangladeshThe state of Bangladesh is a parliamentary republic based on the 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, while recognising Islam as the country's established religion, the constitution grants freedom of religion to non-Muslims.Between 1975 and 1990, 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 Nationalist Party (BNP) are the two largest political parties in Bangladesh.Bangladesh is a member of the UN, WTO, IMF, the World Bank, ADB, OIC, IDB, SAARC, BIMSTEC and the IMCTC. Bangladesh has achieved significant strides in human development compared to its neighbours.

Indian Bengal

File:Garden with Writers Building at Rear - Central Kolkata.jpg|thumb|upright|Writers' Building, the former official seat of the Government of West BengalGovernment of West BengalWest Bengal, Tripura and Assam (home to the Barak Valley) are provincial states of the Republic of India, with local executives and assemblies- features shared with other states in the Indian federal system. The president of India appoints a governor as the ceremonial representative of the union government. The 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.Each state has popularly elected members in the Indian lower house of parliament, the 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 former president of India, Pranab Mukherjee, was a native of 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 being minor players.

Crossborder relations

India and Bangladesh are the world's second and eighth most populous countries respectively. Bangladesh-India relations began on a high note in 1971 when India played a major role in the liberation of 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 and beyond. Commercial, cultural and defense cooperation have expanded since 2010, when Prime Ministers Sheikh Hasina and Manmohan Singh pledged to reinvigorate ties.The Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi operates a Deputy High Commission in Kolkata and a consular office in Agartala. India has a High Commission in Dhaka with consulates in Chittagong and Rajshahi. Frequent international air, bus and rail services connect major cities in Bangladesh and Indian Bengal, particularly the three largest cities- Dhaka, Kolkata and Chittagong. Undocumented immigration of Bangladeshi workers is a controversial issue championed by right-wing nationalist parties in India but finds little sympathy in West Bengal.WEB,weblink Address by External Affairs Minister Shri Natwar Singh at India-Bangladesh Dialogue Organised by Centre for Policy Dialogue and India International Centre, 7 August 2005, Speeches, Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, 28 April 2016,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20160505224301weblink">weblink 5 May 2016, live, India has since fenced the border which has been criticized by Bangladesh.MAGAZINE, Chattopadhyay, S. S., June 2007, Constant traffic, Frontline, 24, 11, The Hindu,weblink 26 February 2008, harv,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20080417025216weblink">weblink 17 April 2008, dead, dmy-all,

Demographics

{{Multiple image
| perrow = 2
| align = right
| direction = horizontal
| width = 180
| image1 = BD Map admin.svg
| caption1 = Districts of Bangladesh
| image2 = WestBengalDistrictscurrent.png
| caption2 = Districts of West Bengal
| image3 = Eid Prayers in Rajarbagh, Dhaka on 6 October 2014.jpg
| caption3 = Bengali Muslims taking part in mass prayer of Eid al-Fitr
| image4 = Bakul Bagan Sarbojanin Arnab Dutta 2011.jpg
| caption4 = Bengali Hindu priests performing Durga Puja rituals
| image5 = Ful Biju-Chengi river-Khagrachori-Biplob Rahman.jpg
| caption5 = Buddhist Chakma people enjoying one of their festivals in south-eastern Bangladesh
}}The Bengal region is one of the 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.{{NoteTag|Roughly 163 million in Bangladesh and 100 million in the Republic of India (CIA Factbook 2014 estimates, numbers subject to rapid population growth); about 3 million Bangladeshis in the Middle East, 1 million Bengalis in Pakistan, 0.4 million British Bangladeshi.}}According to provisional results of 2011 Bangladesh census, the population of Bangladesh was 142,319,000;WEB, 2011 Population & Housing Census: Preliminary Results,weblink Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Statistics Division, Ministry of Planning, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, July 2011, 17 November 2013, dead,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20130115170757weblink">weblink 15 January 2013, 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 has a population of 91,347,736.WEB,weblink Area, population, decennial growth rate and density for 2001 and 2011 at a glance for West Bengal and the districts: provisional population totals paper 1 of 2011: West Bengal, Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India, 26 January 2012,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20120107060612weblink">weblink 7 January 2012, live, dmy-all, So, the Bengal region, {{as of|2011|lc=y}}, 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.WEB,weblink Provisional Population Totals: West Bengal, 26 August 2006, Census of India, 2001, Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20070514045222weblink">weblink 14 May 2007, live, dmy-all, World Bank Development Indicators Database, 2006.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.WEB,weblink Bangladesh, Ethnologue, 26 June 2015,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20150626114709weblink">weblink 26 June 2015, live, English is often used for official work alongside Bengali. Other major Indo-Aryan languages such as Hindi, Urdu, Assamese, and Nepali are also familiar to Bengalis.{{citation needed|date=November 2018}}In addition, several minority ethnolinguistic groups are 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 72.49 years for BangladeshWEB,weblink The World Factbook: Bangladesh, Central Intelligence Agency, 31 October 2009,weblink 20 July 2015, live, and 70.2 for West Bengal.WEB, Contents 2010–14,weblink Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India, 12 January 2017,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20161113174353weblink">weblink 13 November 2016, live, WEB, Abridged Life Tables- 2010–14,weblink 5, Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India, 12 January 2017,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20170110123124weblink">weblink 10 January 2017, live, In terms of literacy, West Bengal leads with 77% literacy rate, in Bangladesh the rate is approximately 72.9%.BOOK, CRI=Center Research and Information, Bangladesh Education for All, 2014, CRI Publication, 978-0-7566-9859-1, 138,weblink 6 May 2017,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20170814012330weblink">weblink 14 August 2017, live, {{NoteTag|CRI do not give a breakdown by gender or state the age bracket for the data}} The level of poverty in West Bengal is at 19.98%, while in Bangladesh it stands at 12.9%WEB,weblink Table 162, Number and Percentage of Population Below Poverty Line, Reserve Bank of India, Government of India, 2013, 20 April 2014,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20140407102043weblink">weblink 7 April 2014, dead, dmy-all, WEB, Misha, Farzana, Sulaiman, Munshi, Bangladesh Priorities: Poverty, Sulaiman and Misha | Copenhagen Consensus Center,weblink copenhagenconsensus.com, Copenhagen Consensus, 7 April 2016,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20160416191511weblink">weblink 16 April 2016, live, WEB,weblink Statistics, 18 December 2013, UNICEF, 2 March 2007,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20151219134729weblink">weblink 19 December 2015, live, West Bengal has one of the lowest total fertility rates in India. West Bengal's TFR of 1.6 roughly equals that of Canada.WEB,weblink Why West Bengal is like Canada, and Bihar like Swaziland, 7 September 2017,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20160724083636weblink">weblink 24 July 2016, live, 25 December 2014, 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 the 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 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.WEB,weblink Wandering Gaia, "The Give and Take of the Ganges" WordPress.com, 13 April 2009,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20090410040034weblink">weblink 10 April 2009, live,

Economy

{{Multiple image
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| image1 = Amartya Sen, c2000 (4378493325).jpg
| caption1 = Amartya Sen, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics
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| caption2 = Muhammad Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize
}}File:Biman Bangladesh Airlines, S2-AJS, Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner - EGLF (41646443610).jpg|thumb|left|Biman Bangladesh AirlinesBiman Bangladesh AirlinesHistorically, 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 being India's largest rice producer and Bangladesh being the world's fourth largest rice producer.WEB,weblink importantindia.com, 7 Major Rice Producing States in India – Important India, 7 January 2017,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20161129120550weblink">weblink 29 November 2016, live, 21 January 2014, 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{| class="wikitable"| Bangladesh| West Bengal (India)WEBSITE=INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND(IMF) ARCHIVE-URL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20180614093951/HTTP://WWW.IMF.ORG/EXTERNAL/DATAMAPPER/NGDPD@WEO/OEMDC/ADVEC/WEOWORLD URL-STATUS=LIVE, WEBSITE=NITI AAYOG ARCHIVE-URL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20161019021421/HTTP://NITI.GOV.IN/STATE-STATISTICS URL-STATUS=LIVE, WEBSITE=INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND(IMF) ARCHIVE-URL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20180712183809/HTTP://WWW.IMF.ORG/EXTERNAL/DATAMAPPER/NGDPDPC@WEO/OEMDC/ADVEC/WEOWORLD URL-STATUS=LIVE, WEBSITE=ECONOMIC STATISTICAL ORGANISATION PUNJAB ACCESSDATE=17 FEBRUARY 2017 ARCHIVEURL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20170310075547/HTTP://WWW.ESOPB.GOV.IN/STATIC/PDF/GSDP/STATEWISE-DATA/STATE%20WISE%20DATA.PDF, 10 March 2017,

Intra-Bengal trade

Bangladesh and India are the largest trading partners in South Asia, with two-way trade valued at an estimated US$6.9 billion.NEWS, UPDATE 1-India, Bangladesh sign historic land boundary agreement,weblink Reuters, 30 June 2017,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20160610032627weblink">weblink 10 June 2016, live, Much of this trade relationship is centered on some of the world's busiest land ports on the Bangladesh-India border, particularly the West Bengal section.The partition of 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 and West Bengal, as well as the wider region, including Northeast India, Nepal and Bhutan. However the overall economic relationship remains well below potential.

Major cities

Metropolises

The following are the largest cities in Bengal (in terms of population):File:National Martyrs' Memorial 2.jpg|alt=|thumb|380x380px|National Martyr's Memorial in Dhaka, built on memories of the martyrs of Bangladesh Liberation WarBangladesh Liberation WarFile:Victoria.jpg|thumb|260px|The Victoria Memorial in KolkataKolkata{| class="sortable wikitable"|+ List of major cities in Bengal! Rank! City! Country! data-sort-type="numeric" | Population (2011)! Image 1 Dhaka {{flag|Bangladesh}} 8,906,039HTTP://WWW.CITYPOPULATION.DE/PHP/BANGLADESH-DHAKA.PHP >TITLE=DHAKA (BANGLADESH): CITY DISTRICTS AND SUBDISTRICTS – POPULATION STATISTICS IN MAPS AND CHARTS ARCHIVE-URL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20140709201717/HTTP://CITYPOPULATION.DE/PHP/BANGLADESH-DHAKA.PHP URL-STATUS=LIVE, alt=130px|DhakaDhaka 2 Kolkata {{flag|India}} 4,496,694HTTP://WWW.CENSUS2011.CO.IN/CENSUS/METROPOLITAN/184-KOLKATA.HTML >TITLE=KOLKATA METROPOLITAN ARCHIVE-URL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20150717045747/HTTP://WWW.CENSUS2011.CO.IN/CENSUS/METROPOLITAN/184-KOLKATA.HTML URL-STATUS=LIVE, thumbKolkataKolkata 3 Chittagong {{flag|Bangladesh}} 2,592,439HTTP://WWW.CITYPOPULATION.DE/PHP/BANGLADESH-CHITTAGONG.PHP >TITLE=CHITTAGONG (BANGLADESH): CITY DISTRICTS AND SUBDISTRICTS – POPULATION STATISTICS IN MAPS AND CHARTS ARCHIVE-URL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20140306161235/HTTP://WWW.CITYPOPULATION.DE/PHP/BANGLADESH-CHITTAGONG.PHP URL-STATUS=LIVE, thumbChittagongChittagong 4 Khulna {{flag|Bangladesh}} 664,728HTTP://CITYPOPULATION.DE/BANGLADESH-UA.HTML >TITLE=BANGLADESH: DIVISIONS AND URBAN AREAS ARCHIVE-URL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20140306160813/HTTP://CITYPOPULATION.DE/BANGLADESH-UA.HTML URL-STATUS=LIVE, thumbKhulnaKhulna 5 Durgapur {{flag|India}} 566,517HTTP://WWW.CENSUSINDIA.GOV.IN/PCA/SEARCHDETAILS.ASPX?ID=361380 >TITLE=WEST BENGAL: DURGAPUR, Census of India, thumbDurgapur Express Way) 6 Asansol {{flag|India}} 563,917HTTP://WWW.CENSUSINDIA.GOV.IN/PCA/SEARCHDETAILS.ASPX?ID=361280 >TITLE=WEST BENGAL: ASANSOL, Census of India, thumbModernised ISP, Asansol) 7 Bogra {{flag|Bangladesh}} 540,000thumbBograBogra 8 Sylhet {{flag|Bangladesh}} 526,412thumbSylhetSylhet 9 Siliguri {{flag|India}} 513,264HTTP://WWW.CENSUSINDIA.GOV.IN/PCA/SEARCHDETAILS.ASPX?ID=345721 >TITLE=WEST BENGAL: SILIGURI (PART – DARJILING) WEBSITE=CENSUS OF INDIA, thumbSiliguriSiliguri 10 Rajshahi {{flag|Bangladesh}} 449,756thumbRajshahiRajshahi 11 Agartala {{flag|India}} 400,004HTTP://WWW.CENSUSINDIA.GOV.IN/PCA/SEARCHDETAILS.ASPX?ID=308549 >TITLE=TRIPURA: AGARTALA, Census of India, thumbAgartalaAgartala

Major ports

File:Straddle carrier from Port of Chittagong (05).JPG|thumb|260px|New Mooring Terminal, Port of ChittagongPort of Chittagong{| class="wikitable"|+ List of The Major Ports in Bengal! Port Name! Type! Status! Location! Country| Port of Chittagong| Sea Port| ActiveChittagong, Chittagong District>ChittagongBangladesh}}Haldia Port>Port of Haldia| Sea PortRiver Port| Active| Haldia, East MidnapurIndia}}| Port of Mongla| Sea Port| ActiveMongla Upazila>Mongla, Bagerhat District, Khulna Division>KhulnaBangladesh}}| Port of Payra| Sea Port| ActiveKalapara Upazila>Kalapara, Patuakhali District, Barisal Division>BarisalBangladesh}}| Port of Kolkata| River Port| ActiveKolkata, Kolkata District>KolkataIndia}}| Port of Narayanganj| River Port| ActiveNarayanganj, Dhaka Division>DhakaBangladesh}}| Port of Benapole-Petrapole| Landport| ActiveSharsha Upazila>Sharsha, Jessore-Bangaon, North 24 ParganasBangladesh}} Jessore (city) - {{flagicon>India}} Bangaon

Tourist attractions

{| class="wikitable"|+ List of The Tourist Attraction of Bengal! Name! Type! City/Area! Sample Image| Sundarbans| World's largest natural mangrove forestBangladesh}} Khulna District, Satkhira District>Satkhira, Bagerhat District, {{flagicon>India}}South 24 ParganasthumbA Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigrisPanthera tigris tigris| Cox's Bazar| World's longest uninterrupted sea beachBangladesh}} Cox's Bazaralt=120x120px|Cox's BazarCox's Bazar| Kuakata| Sea beachBangladesh}} Patuakhalialt=120px|KuakataKuakata| Digha| Sea beachIndia}} East MidnapurthumbDighaDigha| Chittagong Hill Tracts| Hilly areas inhabited by different indigenous tribesBangladesh}} Rangamati District, Khagrachhari District>Khagrachhari, BandarbanthumbA view of Sajek, Rangamati)Ratargul Swamp Forest>Ratargul| Only swamp forest in the Bengal regionBangladesh}} Sylhet DistrictthumbA view of Ratargul|alt=)| Lawachara National Park| Major national park and nature reserve Bangladesh}} Moulvibazar District, Sylhet Division>SylhetthumbA view of Lawachara national park|alt=)Satchari National Park>Satchhari| Reserve forestBangladesh}} Habiganj District, Sylhet Division>Sylhetalt=120x120px|A view of Satchari national park)| Siliguri| Hilly area of foothills of HimalayasIndia}} Darjeeling, JalpaigurithumbA view of Siliguri Metropolis)

Strategic importance

File:Stacking Intermodal container in Port of Chittagong (11).jpg|thumb|The strategically important city of ChittagongChittagongThe Bengal region is located at the crossroads of two huge economic blocs, the SAARC and ASEAN. It gives access to the sea for the landlocked countries of Bhutan and Nepal, as well as the Seven Sister States of North East India. It is also located near China's southern landlocked region, including Yunnan and Tibet.Both India and Bangladesh plan to expand onshore and offshore oil and gas operations. 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.WEB,weblink Jack Detsch, The Diplomat, thediplomat.com, Bangladesh: Asia's New Energy Superpower? | The Diplomat, 7 January 2017,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20161229123448weblink">weblink 29 December 2016, live, The 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 Initiative, based in Dhaka, brings together Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka to promote economic integration in the subregion. Other regional groupings include the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Forum for Regional Cooperation (BCIM) and the Bangladesh Bhutan India Nepal (BBIN) Initiative.Culturally, Bengal is significant for its huge 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 is the world's third largest Muslim-majority country (after Indonesia and Pakistan).

Culture

{{Culture of Bengal}}

Language

File:Bengali letters.svg|thumb|left|Bengali Letters ]]The Bengali language developed between the 7th and 10th centuries from Apabhraṃśa and Magadhi Prakrit.WEB,weblink Encyclopædia Britannica, Bengali language | Britannica.com, 7 January 2017, 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 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 is commemorated by UNESCO as International Mother Language Day, as part of global efforts to preserve linguistic identity.

Currency

(File:Coin - Silver - Circa 9-10th Century 13th Century CE - Harikela Kingdom - ACCN 90-C2752 - Indian Museum - Kolkata 2014-04-04 4303.JPG|thumb|left|A silver coin with Proto-Bengali script, 9th century)In both Bangladesh and West Bengal, currency is commonly denominated as taka. The 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 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 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 and replicated in 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

{{Bengali literature}}File:Tagore Iran.jpg|thumb|left|Rabindranath Tagore, known as the Bengali Shakespeare, being hosted at the Parliament of IranIranBengali 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 and script evolved circa 1000 CE from Magadhi Prakrit. Bengal has a long tradition in folk literature, evidenced by the Chôrjapôdô, Mangalkavya, Shreekrishna Kirtana, Maimansingha Gitika or Thakurmar Jhuli. 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 of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Bengali literature was modernised through the works of authors such as Michael Madhusudan Dutta, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Rabindranath Tagore, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Kazi Nazrul 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

The Mother Bengal is a female personification of Bengal which was created during the Bengali Renaissance and later adopted by the Bengali nationalists.Symbols of Water and Woman on Selected Examples of Modern Bengali Literature in the Context of Mythological Tradition {{webarchive |url=https://web.archive.org/web/20131212184455weblink |date=12 December 2013 }} 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}}(File:CezanneGalleryofSaifulIslam2012.JPG|thumb|Bangladeshi paintings on sale at an art gallery in Dhaka)The Pala-Sena School of Art developed in Bengal between the 8th and 12th centuries and is considered a high point of classical Asian art.BOOK, The History and Culture of the Pālas of Bengal and Bihar, Cir. 750 A.D.-cir. 1200 A.D, Bagchi, J., 1993, Abhinav Publications, 9788170173014,weblink 127, 7 January 2017, BOOK, The "Påala-Sena" Schools of Sculpture, Huntington, S. L., 1984, E.J. Brill, 9789004068568,weblink 4, 7 January 2017, It included sculptures and paintings.WEB,weblink Encyclopædia Britannica, Pala art | Britannica.com, 7 January 2017,weblink 3 October 2016, live, Islamic Bengal was noted for its production of the finest cotton fabrics and saris, notably the Jamdani, which received warrants from the Mughal court.WEB,weblink metmuseum.org, In Search of Bangladeshi Islamic Art | The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 7 January 2017,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20160812083629weblink">weblink 12 August 2016, live, The Bengal School of painting flourished in Kolkata and Shantiniketan in the British Raj during the early 20th century. Its practitioners were among the harbingers of modern painting in India.BOOK, Art and Nationalism in Colonial India, 1850–1922: Occidental Orientations, Mitter, P., 1994, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-44354-8,weblink 7 January 2017, Zainul Abedin was the pioneer of modern Bangladeshi art. The country has a thriving and internationally acclaimed contemporary art scene.NEWS,weblink The New York Times, Log In – New York Times, 7 January 2017,weblink 21 August 2017, live, 13 March 2014, Yee, Amy,

Architecture

File:Momin Mosque after restoration.jpg|thumb|Bungalows originated from Bengali architectureBengali architectureClassical 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.WEB,weblink akdn.org, Bait Ur Rouf Mosque | Aga Khan Development Network, 7 January 2017,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20161119103806weblink">weblink 19 November 2016, live, Most Islamic buildings were small and highly artistic terracotta mosques with multiple domes and no minarets. Bengal was also home to the largest mosque in South Asia at Adina. Bengali vernacular architecture is credited for inspiring the popularity of the bungalow.Oxford English Dictionary, "bungalow"; Online Etymology Dictionary {{Webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20160406071037weblink |date=6 April 2016 }}The 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 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.WEB,weblink worldviewcities.org, WORLDVIEW, 7 January 2017,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20161230094254weblink">weblink 30 December 2016, live, WEB,weblink worldviewcities.org, WORLDVIEW, 7 January 2017,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20170102231001weblink">weblink 2 January 2017, live,

Sciences

File:FR khan sculputure at Sears tower.jpg|thumb|A sculpture on Fazlur Rahman Khan at the Sears Tower in the United StatesUnited StatesThe Gupta dynasty, which is believed to have originated in North Bengal, pioneered the invention of chess, the concept of zero, the theory of Earth orbiting the Sun, the study of solar and lunar eclipses and the flourishing of Sanskrit literature and drama.Thomas Khoshy, Elementary Number Theory with Applications, Academic Press, 2002, p. 567. {{ISBN|0-12-421171-2}}. Bengal was the leader of scientific endeavors in the subcontinent during the 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.Chatterjee, Santimay and Chatterjee, Enakshi, Satyendranath Bose, 2002 reprint, p. 5, National Book Trust, {{ISBN|81-237-0492-5}} IEEE named him one of the fathers of radio science.CONFERENCE, Sir J. C. Bose and radio science, Sen, A. K., 1997, IEEE, Microwave Symposium Digest, 557–560, Denver, CO, IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium, 0-7803-3814-6, 10.1109/MWSYM.1997.602854, He was the first person from the 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 and the theory of the Bose–Einstein condensate.WEB, Dr Subodh Mahanti, Satyendra Nath Bose, The Creator of Quantum Statistics,weblink Vigyan Prasar,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20160712081636weblink">weblink 12 July 2016, live, dmy-all, {{sfn|Wali|2009|p=xvii, xviii, xx (Foreword)}}{{full citation needed|date=November 2018}}WEB, J J O'Connor and E F Robertson, October 2003, Satyendranath Bose,weblink The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20170116083306weblink">weblink 16 January 2017, live, dmy-all, Meghnad Saha was the first scientist to relate a star's spectrum to its temperature, developing thermal ionization equations (notably the Saha ionization equation) that have been foundational in the fields of astrophysics and astrochemistry.JOURNAL, Kean, Sam, A forgotten star, Distillations, 2017, 3, 1, 4–5,weblink 22 March 2018, Amal Kumar Raychaudhuri was a physicist, known for his research in general relativity and cosmology. His most significant contribution is the eponymous Raychaudhuri equation, which demonstrates that singularities arise inevitably in general relativity and is a key ingredient in the proofs of the Penrose–Hawking singularity theorems.WEB,weblink No Big Bang, the universe was there all along: studies, Shubashree, Desikan, 5 March 2015, 2 January 2018, www.thehindu.com, live,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20170621211441weblink">weblink 21 June 2017, dmy-all, In the United States, the Bangladeshi-American engineer Fazlur Rahman Khan emerged as the "father of tubular designs" in skyscraper construction. Ashoke Sen is an Indian theoretical physicist whose main area of work is string theory. He was among the first recipients of the Fundamental Physics Prize “for opening the path to the realisation that all string theories are different limits of the same underlying theory”.NEWS, Pulakkat, Hari, Dec 19, 2013, How many of us know about Breakthrough Prize winner, Ashoke Sen?,weblink The Economic Times,

Music

File:Tharundas baul.jpg|thumb|A Baul musician. The Baul ballads of Bengal are classified by UNESCO as humanity's intangible cultural heritageintangible cultural heritageThe Baul tradition is a unique heritage of Bengali folk music.WEB,weblink The Bauls of Bengal, 26 October 2006, Folk Music, BengalOnline,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20030119135124weblink">weblink 19 January 2003, live, dmy-all, The 19th century mystic poet Lalon Shah is the most celebrated practitioner of the tradition.WEB,weblink Anirvan, 5 August 2015, Banik, Nandadulal, Banglapedia, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20160203161749weblink">weblink 3 February 2016, live, dmy-all, Other folk music forms include Gombhira, Bhatiali and Bhawaiya. Hason Raja is a renowned folk poet of the Sylhet region. Folk music in 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

Bengali cuisine is the only traditionally developed multi-course tradition from the Indian subcontinent. Rice and fish are traditional favourite foods, leading to a saying that "fish and rice make a Bengali".WEB,weblink Development of freshwater fish farming and poverty alleviation: A case study from Bangladesh, 22 October 2006, Gertjan de Graaf, Abdul Latif, Aqua KE Government, dead,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20061101103614weblink">weblink 1 November 2006, dmy-all, 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 is noted for its distinct Indo-Islamic cuisine, including biryani, bakarkhani and kebab dishes.

Boats

{{See also|Country boats in Bangladesh}}File:Frans Balthasar Solvyns - Budgerow.jpg|thumb|left|18th century painting of a budgerowbudgerowThere are 150 types of Bengali country boats plying the 700 rivers of the 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 teak (tectons grandis). Medieval Bengal was shipbuilding hub for the Mughal and Ottoman navies.BOOK, Hossain, Khandakar Akhter, 2012, Shipbuilding Industry,weblink Islam, Sirajul, Sirajul Islam, Jamal, Ahmed A., Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Second, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, NEWS, Prospects of shipbuilding industry in Bangladesh,weblink dead, New Age, 30 July 2015,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20131217222253weblink">weblink 17 December 2013, The British Royal Navy later utilized Bengali shipyards in the 19th-century, including for the Battle of Trafalgar.

Attire

Bengali women commonly wear the shaÅ—i 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

Durga Puja is the biggest festival of the Hindus in Bengal as well as the most significant socio-cultural event of the region in general.WEB,weblink Durga Puja, 28 October 2006, Festivals of Bengal, West Bengal Tourism, Government of West Bengal,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20061128183407weblink">weblink 28 November 2006, dead, dmy-all, The two Eids and Muharram are the important festivals for Muslims. Christmas (called Borodin in Bengali) is also a major festival where people irrespective of their beliefs and faiths participate. Other major festivals include Kali Puja, Saraswati Puja, Holi, Rath Jatra, Janmashtami, Poila Boishakh and Poush Parbon.

Media

Bangladesh has a diverse, outspoken and privately owned press, with the largest circulated Bengali language newspapers in the world. English-language titles are popular in the urban readership.NEWS, Bangladesh profile – Media,weblink BBC News, 21 June 2018,weblink 31 July 2018, live, West Bengal had 559 published newspapers in 2005,WEB,weblink General Review, 1 September 2006, Registrar of Newspapers for India, dead,weblink 18 January 2010, of which 430 were in Bengali. Bengali cinema is divided between the media hubs of Kolkata and Dhaka.

Sports

Cricket and football are popular sports in the Bengal region.Local games include sports such as Kho Kho and Kabaddi, the latter being the national sport of Bangladesh.An Indo-Bangladesh Bengali Games has been organised among the athletes of the Bengali speaking areas of the two countries.NEWS, 26 February 2008, Bangladesh dominate Indo-Bangla Games, clinch 45 gold medals,weblink Thaindian News, Indian-Asian News Service, 27 February 2008,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20090210232012weblink">weblink 10 February 2009, live, dmy-all,

See also

Notes

{{NoteFoot}}

References

{{Reflist}}

External links

{{Wikivoyage|Bengal}}
  • {{Dmoz|Regional/Asia/Bangladesh/|Bangladesh}}
  • {{Dmoz|Regional/Asia/India/West_Bengal/|West Bengal}}


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