INFORMATION ABOUT WEST BENGAL
West Bengal is a state in eastern India. With Bangladesh, which lies on its eastern border, the state forms the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal. To its northeast lie the states of Assam and Sikkim and the country Bhutan, and to its southwest, the state of Orissa. To the west it borders the states of Jharkhand and Bihar, and to the northwest, Nepal.
Owing to the varying altitude from the Himalayas to the coastal plains, the flora and fauna of the state is diverse. From a phytogeographic viewpoint, the southern part of West Bengal can be divided into two regions: the Gangetic plain and the littoral mangrove forests of the Sundarbans.
The Bengali language boasts a rich literary heritage, shared with neighboring Bangladesh. West Bengal has a long tradition in folk literature, evidenced by the Charyapada, Mangalkavya, Shreekrishna Kirtana, Thakurmar Jhuli, and stories related to Gopal Bhar. In the nineteenth and twentieth century, Bengali literature was modernized in the works of authors such as Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Jibananda Das and Manik Bandyopadhyay.
Mainstream Hindi films are popular, as are films from the Bengali cinema industry, dubbed “Tollywood”. The Bengali film industry is also known for art films or Indy films. Its long tradition of filmmaking has produced acclaimed directors like Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Tapan Sinha and Ritwik Ghatak. Contemporary directors include Buddhadev Dasgupta, Goutam Ghose, Aparna Sen and Rituparno Ghosh.
Rice and fish are traditional favorite foods, leading to a saying in Bengali, machhe bhate bangali, that translates as “fish and rice make a Bengali”.
West Bengal schools are run by the state government or by private organisations, including religious institutions. Instruction is mainly in English or Bengali, though Hindi and Urdu are also used.
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