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West Bengal

State in eastern India / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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West Bengal (/bɛnˈɡɔːl/, Bengali: Poshchim Bongo, pronounced [ˈpoʃtʃim ˈbɔŋɡo] i, abbr. WB) is a state in the eastern portion of India. It is situated along the Bay of Bengal, along with a population of over 91 million inhabitants within an area of 88,752 km2 (34,267 sq mi) as of 2011. The population estimate as of 2023 is 102,552,787.[11] West Bengal is the fourth-most populous and thirteenth-largest state by area in India, as well as the eighth-most populous country subdivision of the world. As a part of the 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 Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, Sikkim and Assam. The state capital is Kolkata, the third-largest metropolis, and seventh largest city by population in India. West Bengal includes the Darjeeling Himalayan hill region, the Ganges delta, the Rarh region, the coastal Sundarbans and the Bay of Bengal. The state's main ethnic group are the Bengalis, with the Bengali Hindus forming the demographic majority.

Quick facts: West Bengal, Country, Region, , Before was...
West Bengal
Etymology: Western side of United Bengal
"Hub of all Cultural traits"
Satyameva Jayate (Truth alone triumphs)
Anthem: Banglar Mati Banglar Jol
The map of India showing West Bengal
Location of West Bengal in India
Coordinates: 22.57°N 88.37°E / 22.57; 88.37
CountryFlag_of_India.svg India
RegionEast India
Before wasPart of Bengal Presidency
(by bifurcation)
15 August 1947
and largest city
Largest metroKolkata metropolitan area
Districts23 ( 5 divisions)
  BodyGovernment of West Bengal
  GovernorC. V. Ananda Bose
  Chief ministerMamata Banerjee (TMC)
State LegislatureUnicameral
  AssemblyWest Bengal Legislative Assembly (294 seats)
National ParliamentParliament of India
  Rajya Sabha16 seats
  Lok Sabha42 seats
High CourtCalcutta High Court
  Total88,752 km2 (34,267 sq mi)
  Length623 km (387 mi)
  Width320 km (200 mi)
500 m (1,600 ft)
Highest elevation3,636 m (11,929 ft)
Lowest elevation11 m (36 ft)
  TotalIncrease 91,347,736
  Density1,029/km2 (2,670/sq mi)
  OfficialBengali[3]  English
  Additional officialNepali  Urdu  Hindi  Odia  Santali  Punjabi  Kamtapuri  Rajbanshi  Kudmali/Kurmali  Kurukh  Telugu[3]
  Official scriptBengali–Assamese script
  Total (2023)Increase17.19 lakh crore (US$220 billion)
  Per capitaIncrease141,373 (US$1,800) (20th)
Time zoneUTC+05:30 (IST)
ISO 3166 codeIN-WB
Vehicle registrationWB
HDI (2022)Neutral increase 0.624 Medium[7] (26th)
Literacy (2017)Increase 80.5%[8] (19th)
Sex ratio (2011)950/1000 [9] (8th)
Symbols of West Bengal
SongBanglar Mati Banglar Jol
BirdWhite-throated kingfisher
FlowerNight-flowering jasmine
MammalFishing cat
TreeChhaatim tree
State highway mark
State highway of West Bengal
WB SH1 - WB SH15
List of Indian state symbols
Official nameDurga Puja in Kolkata
Designated2021 [10]
Session16th Committee of Unesco for safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (ICH)
NotabilityFirst in Asia under "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" category

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, while the earliest cities date back to the Vedic period. The region was part of several ancient pan−Indian empires, including the Vangas, Mauryans, and the Guptas. The citadel of Gauḍa served as the capital of the Gauḍa Kingdom, the Pala Empire, and the Sena Empire. Islam was introduced through trade with the Abbasid Caliphate, but following the Ghurid conquests led by Bakhtiyar Khalji and the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate, the Muslim faith spread across the entire Bengal region. It was absorbed into the Mughal Empire in 1576. Simultaneously, some parts of the region were ruled by several Hindu states, and Baro-Bhuyan landlords, and part of it was briefly overrun by the Suri Empire. Following the death of Emperor Aurangzeb in the early 1700s, the proto-industrialised Mughal Bengal became a semi-independent state under the Nawabs of Bengal, and showed signs of the first Industrial revolution.[12][13] The region was later annexed into the Bengal Presidency by the British East India Company after the Battle of Buxar in 1764.[14][15] From 1772 to 1911, Calcutta was the capital of all of East India Company's territories and then the capital of the entirety of India after the establishment of the Viceroyalty.[16] From 1912 to India's Independence in 1947, it was the capital of the Bengal Province.[17]

Following widespread religious violence, the Bengal Legislative Council and the Bengal Legislative Assembly voted on the Partition of Bengal in 1947 along religious lines into two independent dominions: West Bengal, a Hindu-majority Indian state, and East Bengal, a Muslim-majority province of Pakistan which later became the independent Bangladesh. The state was also flooded with Hindu refugees from East Bengal (present-day Bangladesh) in the decades following the 1947 partition of India, transforming its landscape and shaping its politics.[18][19]

For several decades, the state underwent political violence and economic stagnation after the beginning of communist rule in 1977.[20] In 2023–24, the economy of West Bengal is the sixth-largest state economy in India with a gross state domestic product (GSDP) of 17.19 lakh crore (US$220 billion),[4] and has the country's 20th-highest GSDP per capita of 121,267 (US$1,500)[5] as of 2020-21. It has struggled to attract foreign direct investment due to adverse land acquisition policies, poor infrastructure, and red tape.[21][22] It also has the 28th-highest ranking among Indian states in human development index, with the index value being lower than the Indian average.[7][23] The state government debt of 6.47 lakh crore (US$81 billion), or 37.67% of GSDP, has dropped from 40.65% since 2010–11.[24][4] West Bengal has two World Heritage sites and ranks as the tenth-most visited tourist destination in India.[25][26]