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People of India: West Bengal (Volume XXXXIII, Part I)

Shekhar Bandopadhyay (Editor) Tilak Bagchi (Editor) K.S. Singh (Editor) R K Bhattacharya (Editor)

The Anthropological Survey of India launched the People of India project on 3 October 1985 to generate an anthropological profile of all communities of the country. It also recorded the impact of development programmes on these communities and the links that bring them together. The ethnological survey of all 203 communities in West Bengal was taken up for the first time with help local scholars. The results of this survey were discussed at work-shops held in Kolkata and North Bengal university. The term Bangla or Bengal came into existence some time around 1000 c. The Bengal region has remnants of continuous human habitation from palaeolithic to historic periods; historic and linguistic evidence suggest that early settlers were speakers of Dravidian, Tibeto-Burman and Austro-Asiatic languages with the Indo-Aryan speakers coming later. Since the tenth century Bc, the kingdoms and janapadas have been governed by Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim rulers. The British gained political power in the eighteenth century; eventually Bengal became the epicenter of British rule in India. The end of colonial rule in 1947 came with the partition of Bengal; the Indian portion came to be known as the state of West Bengal. The greater part of this state of West Bengal. The greater part of this state is in the low-lying delta of the Ganges, one of the most densely populated regions in the world. The northern part of the state is in the eastern Himalayas.  The majority of the population comprises Bengali along with a sizeable population from Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa. About 6 per cent of the population belongs to various Scheduled Tribe groups. The major populations in the hilly region are the Gurkha, Lepcha and Bhutia. Every seven out of 10 persons in the state live in villages; agriculture is the predominant livelihood. Other than rice, the staple for the region, the major agricultural produces are wheat, maize, potato, and oil seeds. Major cash crops are jute and tea. Notably, the service sector contributes more than half the gross domestic product of the state. The rich literary tradition and the works of the traditional and contemporary artists and craftsmen have been West Bengal an identity of its own.

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About the authors

Shekhar Bandopadhyay

Sekhar Bandopadhyay is former Professor of History, University of Calcutta.

Tilak Bagchi

Tilak Bagchi obtained M.Sc. and Ph.D. degree in Anthropology from the University of Calcutta. He is presently holding the post of Assistant Director in the Directorate of Census Operations, West Bengal on deputation. Previously he was attached with the All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health as Senior Research Fellow (ICAR) and Research Officer (ICMR) and with the Anthropological Survey of India as Senior Technical Assistant (Cultural) and Assistant Keeper. His area of interest is tribal studies, nutritional anthropology, museum anthropology, study on art and crafts etc. He is the author/co-author/co-editor of six books and published more than 60 research papers, book review, seminar proceedings etc.

K.S. Singh

K.S. Singh, a senior member of the Indian Administrative Service spent many years serving among and studying backward communities in central India. He held several important assignments including the directorship of Anthropological Survey of India. Author of the well known work Birsa Munda and His Movement in Chotanagpur he edited a large number of books on Indian tribes. He was general editor of the multi-volume People of India series of Anthropological Survey of India. He died in 2006.

R K Bhattacharya

Ritendra Krishna Bhattacharya did M.Tech. in Radio Physics and Electronics in 1968 from Calcutta University. He is a specialist in bio-medical engineering. He was involved in Academic Activities in Calcutta University, Jadavpur University and Bengal Engineering College. He is serving Vivekanand Nidhi (The Institute of Value Orientation and Environmental Education) as Trustee and General Secretary. He is a member of Board of Governors and Honorary Faculry of National Institute of Human Development. He is engaged in research on Values and Ecological Ethics. He is presently working on a project on Creating and Managing a Sustainable Community.

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Bibliographic information

Title People of India: West Bengal (Volume XXXXIII, Part I)
Format Hardcover
Date published: 16.04.2008
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 9788170463009
length xlii+690p., 26cm.