West Bengal

West Bengal

Paschim Banga
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Bishnupur Ras Mancha.jpg
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Hazarduari Palace West Bengal.JPG
Location of West Bengal in India
Location of West Bengal in India
Country India
Established26 January 1950
  • Largest city
 • BodyGovernment of West Bengal
 • GovernorJagdeep Dhankhar[1]
 • Chief MinisterMamata Banerjee (AITC)
 • LegislatureLegislative Assembly (295)
 • High CourtCalcutta High Court
 • Chief JusticeThottathil B. Radhakrishnan
 • Total88,752 km2 (34,267 sq mi)
Area rank14th
 • Total91,347,736
 • Rank4th
 • Density1,029/km2 (2,670/sq mi)
GDP (2017–18)
 • Total10.20 lakh crore (US$150 billion)
 • Per capita95,562 (US$1,400)
 • Official
 • Additional officialNepali in two sub-divisions of Darjeeling[5] in blocks, subdivisions or districts exceeding 10% of the population
Time zoneUTC+05:30 (IST)
ISO 3166 codeIN-WB
Vehicle registrationWB
HDI (2017)Increase 0.637 (medium) · 21st[9]
Literacy (2011)77.08%[10]
Sex ratio (2011)950 /1000 [11]
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata
^* 294 elected, 1 nominated

West Bengal (l/; Bengali: Paschim Banga) is an Indian state located in the eastern region of the country along the Bay of Bengal. With over  million inhabitants (as of 2011), it is India's fourth-most populous state. West Bengal is the fourteenth-largest Indian state, with an area of 88,752 km2 (34,267 sq mi). A part of the ethno-linguistic Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent, it borders Bangladesh in the east, and Nepal and Bhutan in the north. It also borders the Indian states of Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Sikkim, and Assam. The state capital is Kolkata (Calcutta), the seventh-largest city in India, and center of the third-largest metropolitan area in the country. As for geography, West Bengal includes the Darjeeling Himalayan hill region, the Ganges delta, the Rarh region, and the coastal Sundarbans. The main ethnic group are the Bengalis, with Bengali Hindus forming the demographic majority.

The area's early history featured a succession of Indian empires, internal squabbling, and a tussle between Hinduism and Buddhism for dominance. Ancient Bengal was the site of several major Janapadas (kingdoms), while the earliest cities date back to the Vedic period. The region was part of several ancient pan−Indian empires, including the Mauryans and Guptas. It was also a bastion of regional kingdoms. The citadel of Gauda served as the capital of the Gauda Kingdom, the Buddhist Pala Empire (8th–11th century) and Hindu Sena Empire (11th–12th century). Islam was introduced through trade with the Abbasid Caliphate,[12] but following the early conquest of Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji and the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate, it fully spread across the entire Bengal region. Later, occasional Muslim raiders reinforced the process of conversion by building mosques, madrasas, and khanqahs. 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.[13] Later, it was absorbed into the Mughal Empire in 1576.[14] Simultaneously, some parts of the region were also ruled by several Hindu states, and Baro-Bhuyan landlords, and part of it was briefly overran by the Suri Empire. The Mughal Bengal was heralded as the Paradise of the Nations,[15] since it was the empire's most economically developed province, and became a leading exporter in the world,[16][17][18] a center of worldwide industries such as cotton textiles, silk,[19] shipbuilding.[20] Its citizens' living standards were among the world's most superior.[21][22] Bengal accounted for 40% of Dutch imports from Asia, for example, including more than 50% of textiles and around 80% of silks.[16] Bengal's economy have waved the period of proto-industrialization.[23]

By the 18th century, the state was ruled under the Nawabs of Bengal, before being conquered by the British East India Company at the Battle of Plassey in 1757, and Calcutta served for many years as the capital of British India.[24][25] The region was later administered by the United Kingdom as part of the Bengal Presidency (1757–1905; 1912–1947) and Eastern Bengal and Assam Province (1905–1912) in British India.[26][27] Bengal faced multiple famines and deindustrialization under British Raj.[28][29] The socio-cultural movements of Bengal Renaissance played a influential role in decolonization and the region was a hotbed of the Indian independence movement.[30] In 1947, the Bengal Legislative Council and the Bengal Legislative Assembly voted on the Partition of Bengal along religious lines into two separate entities: West Bengal, a state of India, and East Bengal, a province of Pakistan which later became independent Bangladesh.[31][32] Several regional and pan−Indian empires throughout Bengal's history has shaped its culture, cuisine, and architecture.

Post independence, West Bengal's economy is based on agricultural production and small and medium-sized enterprises.[33] The economy of West Bengal is the sixth-largest state economy in India with 10.20 lakh crore (US$150 billion) in gross domestic product and a per capita GDP of 95,000 (US$1,400).[3] The state has high public debt with 3.6 lakh crore (US$52 billion) or 35% of GSDP and moderate unemployment.[34][35] In human development index it ranks twenty-first among Indian states.[9] Kolkata is known as the "cultural capital of India".[36] West Bengal has two World Heritage sites and one of the top tourism destinations in India.[37][38]


The origin of the name Bengal (Bangla and Bongo in Bengali) is unknown. One theory suggests that the word derives from "Bang", a Dravidian tribe that settled the region around 1000 BCE.[39] The Bengali word Bongo might have been derived from the ancient kingdom of Vanga (or Banga). Although some early Sanskrit literature mentions the name Vanga, the region's early history is obscure.[40]

At the end of British rule over the Indian subcontinent, the Bengal region was partitioned in 1947 along religious lines into east and west. The eastern part came to be known be as East Pakistan, the eastern wing of newly born Pakistan and the western part came to be known as West Bengal, which continued as an Indian state.

In 2011 the Government of West Bengal proposed a change in the official name of the state to PaschimBanga (Bengali: পশ্চিমবঙ্গ Pôshchimbônggô).[41] This is the native name of the state, literally meaning western Bengal in the native Bengali language. In August 2016 the West Bengal Legislative Assembly passed another resolution to change the name of West Bengal to "Bengal" in English, and "Bangla" in Bengali. Despite the Trinamool Congress government's efforts to forge a consensus on the name change resolution, the Indian National Congress, the Left Front, and the Bharatiya Janata Party opposed the resolution.[42] However, the central government has turned down the proposal stating that the state should have one single name for all languages instead of three and also the name should not be the same as that of any other territory (pointing out that the name 'Bangla' may create confusion with neighboring Bangladesh).[42][43][44]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Wes-Bengale
Ænglisc: West Bengal
অসমীয়া: পশ্চিমবঙ্গ
تۆرکجه: باتی بنقال
Bân-lâm-gú: West Bengal
беларуская: Заходняя Бенгалія
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Заходняя Бэнгалія
भोजपुरी: पश्चिम बंगाल
brezhoneg: Kornôg Bengal
Cebuano: West Bengal
Deutsch: Westbengalen
ދިވެހިބަސް: ވެސްޓު ބެންގާލް
Ελληνικά: Δυτική Βεγγάλη
Fiji Hindi: West Bengal
ગુજરાતી: પશ્ચિમ બંગાળ
गोंयची कोंकणी / Gõychi Konknni: अस्तंत बंगाल
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Sî Bengal
한국어: 서벵골주
hrvatski: Zapadni Bengal
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: পশ্চিমবঙ্গ
Bahasa Indonesia: Benggala Barat
íslenska: Vestur-Bengal
עברית: מערב בנגל
कॉशुर / کٲشُر: مغربی بنگال
қазақша: Батыс Бенгал
Kiswahili: West Bengal
لۊری شومالی: بٱنگال ٱفتاونشیݩ
latviešu: Rietumbengāle
Lëtzebuergesch: Westbengalen
македонски: Западен Бенгал
მარგალური: ბჟადალი ბენგალი
Bahasa Melayu: Benggala Barat
Nederlands: West-Bengalen
नेपाल भाषा: पश्चिम बंगाल
Nordfriisk: Waastbengaalen
norsk nynorsk: Vest-Bengal
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Gʻarbiy bengaliya
پنجابی: لیندا بنگال
português: Bengala Ocidental
Qaraqalpaqsha: Batıs Bengal (shtat)
Runa Simi: Kunti Banla
Simple English: West Bengal
slovenščina: Zahodna Bengalija
српски / srpski: Западни Бенгал
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Zapadni Bengal
svenska: Västbengalen
Tagalog: West Bengal
татарча/tatarça: Көнбатыш Бенгалия
Türkçe: Batı Bengal
Türkmençe: West Bengal
українська: Західний Бенгал
Tiếng Việt: Tây Bengal