West Bengal Profile
State Profile of West Bengal
West Bengal: Profiling the great Bengal
Cultural Background
Tourist Destinations
Cuisines of West Bengal
West Bengal Elections (2006)
POPULATION (2001 census) 80176197
MALES 41465985
FEMALES 38710212
SEX RATIO (females/1000 males) 934
DENSITY OF POPULATION (Persons/ Square Km) 904
LITERACY RATE (census 2001) in % 68.6
MALE LITERATE in numbers 27452426
FEMALE LITERATE in numbers 19743975
BIRTH RATE (PER 1000) (2002)P 20.3
DEATH RATE (PER 1000) 6.6
NSDP at current prices (2002-2003)* 143538 Rs Crores *(2001-2002)
PER CAPITA NSDP (2002-03) at current prices 17769 Rs *(2001-2002)
West Bengal: Profiling the great Bengal
On the North is the Kanchenjunga crowning the state, whereas at its foot is the Bay of Bengal and through its heart runs the holy Ganges. No other state in India has perhaps such a varied landscaping as the state of West Bengal. The state, which, on one hand, has been the birthplace of some of the most fearless freedom fighters like Netaji and Khudiram Bose, has also produced the best minds like Tagore, Bankim Chatterjee, Raja Rammohan Roy, Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar, Amartya Sen. The list is endless. The world also saw its soulful heart in the face of Mother Teresa. Most of the Nobel laureates India produced came from this great state.
West Bengal is a state in the eastern part of India. It is the thirteenth largest state of India and is spread over 88,752 kilometers. On the north of West Bengal are the Himalayas whereas the south is adorned by the Bay of Bengal. Ganga is the main river of the state which splits in two ways in the state, one going to Bangladesh to become Padma and the other flowing through the state as Hooghly. Teesta, Mahananda and Torsa are the other important rivers of the state. The Ganga forms the delta near Sundabans after which the rivers divulge into the Bay of Bengal.
The name Bengal or ‘Bangla’ is derived from the ancient kingdom of Vanga or Banga. But the state came to be called Bengal after the British named it, thus denoting the entire linguistic class of this region.

Bengal is one of those Indian states which have a very rich cultural heritage and a glorious history. In the 3rd century BC, Bengal was under the rule of Mauryans, with the Guptas ruling the state in the 4th and 5th century BC. The state got its name Vanga during the reign of the Pala dynasty. In the 11th century, Bengal remained with the rulers from Delhi starting with Qutub-ud-din Aibak till the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.

In 1757, the great Battle of Plassey took place between the British and Siraj-ud-Daulah, where he was defeated less by the British and more by his own kin. The state of Bengal passed into the hands of the East India Company henceforth and Calcutta was established as the capital of the British Raj in India. The British colonization started from West Bengal.

After this, throughout the entire freedom struggle till 1947, Bengal remained at the forefront with freedom fighters like Netaji, Aurobindo Ghosh, BC Pal, Khudiram Bose. Bengal also led the nation in changing age old beliefs, discarding superstitions and became the hub of knowledge. Raja Ram Mohan Roy stopped the ‘sati’ practice whereas Vidyasagar started ‘widow remarriage’. People like Swami Vivekanand showed to the world that Hinduism is not just a religion, but a way of life in India.
Cultural Background
Music, drama, cinema, literature and its colourful festivals mark the culture of West Bengal. It is the birth place of Modern Indian literature with Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Rabindranath Tagore and Aurobindo Ghosh leading from the front. While the national anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’ is being penned by Tagore, the national anthem ‘Vande Mataram’ is composed by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee. Tagore also instituted Shantiniketan, a hub where students could come and gain knowledge.

Music and dance is very integral to the Bengali culture. Bengalis are very fond of Rabindra Sangeet, Rabindra Nritya Natya and Nazrul Geeti. In terms of films also Bengal has produced exceptional talents. Satyajit Ray is being hailed as probably one of best film makers India has ever produced with even the West acknowledging by giving him a lifetime Oscars. His ‘Pather Pachali’ proved to be path breaking.

Bengali culture would be incomplete without a mention about the grand Durga Puja which is celebrated over five days with pomp, grandiosity and splendour. The entire state is dressed for the occasion to welcome Goddess Durga.
Agriculture is the main occupation of the people of the state. Since rice is the staple diet of the people, cultivation of rice is the main occupation of those practicing agriculture. Finest quality of tea is produced in Darjeeling. Other crops produced are pulses, oil seeds, wheat, tobacco, sugarcane and potatoes. But the states’ major contributor to the gross domestic product (GDP) is the service sector. 51% of the states’s GDP is from the service sector. The Durgapur-Asansol belt is home to a number of steel plants which also are a major source of income for the state.
Tourist Destinations
Victoria Memorial
Birla Planetarium
Belur Math
Cuisines of West Bengal
Kosha Mangsho, Doi Machch, Radhabollobhi, Rasgulla, Misti Doi, Sukto, Bhetki Fish Fry, Beguni
Area: 88,752 km
Population: 90,310,785
Language: Bengali, Oriya
Sex Ratio: 934 females per 1000 males
Literacy: 69%
Capital: Kolkata
West Bengal Elections (2006)
Seventh successive term for the Left Front meant that it has created an unparalleled event in parliamentary history of the world in 2006. Out of the 294 seats Left had a clean sweep winning 235 seats, thus making Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress being pushed to the backseat who could garner only 30 seats. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee became the Chief Minister of West Bengal. But in the last five years the dynamics of the state has changed considerably. Mamata Banerjee with huge wins in local elections is eyeing to dismantle the Left from its throne this time around and the Congress is also behind her this time. Will it be curtains for the Left or will they defy logic and record their eighth term in the state will be an interesting watch in 2011.
Well Of The House
Result 2006
TMC Left Front
State Profile
On the North is the Kanchenjunga crowning the state, whereas at its foot is the Bay of Bengal and through its heart runs the holy Ganges.