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Culture of West Bengal

The Bangla (Bengali) language of West Bengal boasts a rich literary heritage. The encounter with western enlightenment brought about a literary transformation that made West Bengal or rather Kolkata the cultural capital of India.  West Bengal has a long tradition in folk literature indicated by Charyapada, Mangal Kavya, Shree Krishna Kirtana, Thakumar Jhuli, and stories related to Gopal Bhar. The Bengali language was standardized and given the form of what is spoken and read even till this day. The cultural pre-eminence of Calcutta stemmed primarily from its having served as the Indian cradle of western enlightenment. The University of Calcutta and Presidency College were the premier institutions of higher education. For a long time the Medical College in Calcutta was the only place of its kind in the country. The city was the home not only of Rabindranath Tagore, the countryís leading writer, who was awarded the Nobel prize in 1911, but also to Dr. C.V.Raman; Nobel laureate in Physics in 1930. Men like Raman and Tagore represented the high watermarks of an extra ordinary cultural and creative milieu. Their achievements were surrounded and supported by the work of a host of the individuals. 

Bengali women commonly wear the sari and the salwar kameez, often particularly designed according to local cultural customs. In urban areas, many women and men wear Western attire. Among men, European dressing has greater acceptance. Men also wear traditional costumes such as the panjabi with dhuti or pyjama, often on religious occasions. 

Amongst the famous people of this state is Subash Chandra Bose, fondly known as Netaji, who is still considered an exemplar of courage for Indian Youth. Another political maestro of the state is Shri Ashoke Kumar Sen who was a member of the parliament, holding the seat for a record number of years. Religious figures include Hindu Sages and saints like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Ramprashad Sen, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekananda Śrī Aurobindo Ghosh, Shri Shri Anandamurti Ananda Marga and A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 

Kolkata is the birthplace and home of Rabindranath Tagore who won the Nobel Prize in Literature for Gitanjali in 1913. Famous scientists from this place are some of the elite people of our nation. This people include S.N. Bose, Jagadish Chandra Bose, M.N. Saha, P.C. Mahalanobis, S.K. Mitra, Ashesh Prosad Mitra and Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy. Famous sports people include Sourav Ganguly, tennis star Leander Paes, athlete Jyotirmoyee Sikdar.  

Historical landmarks include the magnificent Fort William, St. Johnís Church, the Royal Kolkata Turf Club and Eden Gardens which has a famous cricket stadium, a picturesque lake and a tiny pagoda. The imposing white marble building Victoria Memorial, built by the British in 1921 and modeled on the Taj Mahal, also lies nearby.

   
 
 
 

 

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