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West Bengal is a state in India that is located in the country’s eastern region. It is bordered on the north by Sikkim and Bhutan, on the northeast by Assam, on the east by Bangladesh, on the south by the Bay of Bengal, on the southwest by Odisha, on the west by Jharkhand and Bihar, and on the northwest by Nepal.
West Bengal is unusual in that its width ranges from 200 miles (320 kilometres) at one place to barely 10 miles (16 kilometres) at another. Its 1,350-mile (2,200-km) border with Bangladesh, which is neither natural nor well defined, is strategically significant. Although West Bengal is one of India’s smallest states in terms of land, it is one of the most populous. Kolkata is the capital (Calcutta). 34,267 square miles of land (88,752 square km). The population was 91,347,736 in 2011.
The Gangetic Plain in the south and the Sub-Himalayan and Himalayan region in the north are the two natural geographic divisions of West Bengal. The Ganges (Ganga) River and its tributaries and distributaries have deposited excellent alluvial soil in the Gangetic Plain. It also has a lot of marshes and small lakes that were produced by dead river systems. Moreover, the Ganges, which presently travels through the state’s narrow central part before entering Bangladesh, has been progressively migrating eastward for millennia; just a tiny portion of its water now flows to the sea via the western distributaries, the most important of which is the Hugli (Hooghly). Kolkata, the state capital, is located on the Hugli River in West Bengal’s southern region.
The West Bengal Duars, or Western Duars, are a sub-Himalayan tract between the Himalayas and the plain that is part of the Tarai lowland belt. The land, which was once infected with malaria, is now properly drained and planted. There are some of India’s best tea estates there. The Himalayan mountain ranges rise sharply along the state’s northern border north of the Duars. Mount Kanchenjunga, which is really in Sikkim, dominates the scenery of the region, especially at Darjiling (Darjeeling). Mount Everest may also be seen in the distance on a clear day.
The ancient kingdom of Vanga, or Banga, gave its name to Bengal, or Bangla. Early Sanskrit literature mentions it, but its early history is unknown until the 3rd century BCE, when it became part of the vast Mauryan empire acquired by Emperor Ashoka. With the fall of Mauryan authority, chaos reigned once more. The area was subsumed by Samudra Gupta’s Gupta empire in the fourth century CE. It was then taken over by the Pala dynasty. Bengal was under Muslim authority from the beginning of the 13th century until the mid-18th century, when the British took control—at times under governors who acknowledged the Delhi sultanate’s suzerainty, but mostly under independent monarchs.
In the Battle of Plassey, near present-day Palashi, in 1757, British troops led by Robert Clive defeated those of Bengal’s nawab (ruler), Sirj al-Dawlah. The British East India Company was awarded the dwn of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa (now Odisha) by the titular Mughal emperor of northern India, Shah Lam II, in 1765. Warren Hastings became the first British governor-general of Bengal after the Regulating Act of 1773. The British-controlled administration in Calcutta (now Kolkata) was declared supreme: the governor-general of Bengal was effectively the British India’s main executive. As a result, the Bengal Presidency, as the province was known, had supervisory powers over the British presidencies of Madras (now Chennai) and Bombay (now Mumbai).
However, Britain was not the sole European presence in Bengal. Hugli, north of Calcutta, had a Portuguese factory (trading station) until 1632; Hugli-Chinsura (Chunchura), the next town south, had a Dutch post until 1825; Shrirampur (Serampore), the next town south, had a Danish post until 1845; and Chandernagore (Chandannagar) had a French post until 1949.in power, Telugu-speaking rulers and officials were appointed to the administration.
The governor-general of Bengal was given the title “governor-general of India” in 1834, but in 1854, he was divested of direct administration of Bengal, which was given to a lieutenant governor. From then on, British India’s government was different from that of Bengal. In 1874, Assam was separated from the lieutenant governor’s jurisdiction and placed under the control of a separate chief commissioner. Despite fierce Hindu protests, the British decided that Bengal had become too large for a single government in 1905, and it was divided into two provinces, each with its own lieutenant governor: one for western Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa, and the other for eastern Bengal and Assam. Bengal was reunited under one governor in 1911, Bihar and Orissa were placed under a lieutenant governor, and Assam was placed under a chief commissioner once again due to ongoing opposition to separation. At the same time, Delhi took the position of Calcutta as India’s capital.
Bengal was made an independent province in 1937 under the Government of India Act (1935). That remained the case until the British withdrew in 1947, when the Indian subcontinent was partitioned into the two dominions of Pakistan and India. The mostly Muslim eastern section of Bengal became East Pakistan (later Bangladesh), while the western sector became India’s West Bengal state. West Bengal was left with ill-defined borders after the partition of Bengal, as well as a steady influx of non-Muslim, largely Hindu, refugees from East Pakistan. After 1947, more over seven million refugees joined the already densely populated state, putting an enormous strain on the administration.
Basic facts about West Bengal:
|Size:||88,752 square km|
|Formed on:||January 26, 1950|
|Official Language:||Bengali, Hindi|
|Known as:||Largest producer of rice in India.
Second longest international border.
|Famous Dances:||Purulia Chhau.
Durga Puja Dhak.
|State Animal:||Fishing cat|
|State Bird:||White-throated kingfisher|
|State Flower:||Night-flowering jasmine|
|State Tree:||Blackboard tree|
|National Parks:||Buxa National Park, Gorumara National Park, Neora Valley National Park, Singalila National Park, Sunderban National Park Sunderban National Park, Jaldapara National Park|
|Rivers:||Ganga, Hooghly River, Damodar River, Teesta Rive, Jamuna River etc.|
|Wildlife Sanctuaries:||Ballavpur WLS, Bethuadahari WLS, Bibhuti Bhusan WLS, Buxa WLS, Mahananda WLS, West Sunderban WLS|
|Thermal Power Stations:||Farakka Super Thermal Power Station, Bakreshwar Thermal Power Station, Durgapur Steel Thermal Power Station, Kolaghat Thermal Power Station.|
|Famous Places in West Bengal:||Terracotta temples of Bishnupur, Hazarduari Palace, Kolkata, Siliguri, Darjeeling, Sundarbans, Jalpaiguri, Kalimpong.|
GK Quiz on West Bengal:
Q: In West Bengal, the first railway station was erected at
Ans: Howrah Railway Junction Station, Howrah, 1854
Q: Which of the following states did National Waterways 96 travel through?
- West Bengal
Ans: 1, 2 & 3
Q. West Bengal has how many World Heritage Sites?
Ans: World Heritage Sites in West Bengal
1) Sundarbans National Park
2) Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Q. Which country’s size is equivalent to West Bengal’s?
Ans: Serbia (88,361 km2)
Q. When did West Bengal become an independent Indian state?
Ans: 26 January 1950
Q. Mamata Banerjee has been the Chief Minister of West Bengal from when?
Q. After West Bengal became an Indian state, who was the first Chief Minister of the state?
Ans: Bidhan Chandra Roy (1950-1962)
Q. What is West Bengal’s official language??
Ans: Bengali & English
Q. What is West Bengal’s state flower?
Ans: Night-flowering Jasmine (Nyctanthes arbor-tristis) commonly known as Parijat, Shefali, and Siuli in the local West Bengal region.
Q. What is West Bengal’s position on India’s list of largest states by area?
Q. What is the size of the state of West Bengal?
Ans: 88,752 km2
Q. West Bengal shares its border with how many countries?
Ans: 3 Countries (Bangladesh in the East, and Nepal and Bhutan in the North)
Q. West Bengal shares its border with how many states?
Ans: 5 States (Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Sikkim, and Assam)
Q. When was the Battle of Plassey fought?
Q. East Bengal was the name of which country?