West Bengal is situated in Eastern part and is one of the major states in India. West Bengal’s history consists of origin of Bengal which includes West Bengal and East Bengal (now Bangladesh). Since ancient times, West Bengal territory has been an important region . Bengal’s first mention is found in the Mahabharata. Beacuse of location of Bengal by the sea, different sections of people came and settled here that includes Aryans in the post-Vedic period. It has a creative mixture of five distinct racial strains.
Different dynasties, from the Palas to the Guptas and the Sena, have ruled Bengal. The Muslim rule began with Qutub-ud-in Aibak and ended after the Battle of Plassey. After that came British. British ruled Bengal for over 200-years and had left intricate influences on the culture of Bengal . After independence in 1947, India retained West Bengal, while East Bengal became a part of the Pakistan. East Bengal has formed itself into a new country known as Bangladesh, and West Bengal is a part of India.
The Complete History
Bengal can be found in Mahabharta, as ‘Vanga’. During that time, Bengal was divided into smaller kingdoms and was ruled by chieftains. According to the ancient history, Bengal was inhabited by several groups of people, belonging to various races. Dravidians were the original inhabitants of Bengal not Aryans. Aryans came to Bengal after the Vedic period and assumed that Brahmins and other high castes of Bengal were the descendants of the Aryan invaders, who forced their culture upon the primitive barbarian tribes of Bengal.
Many dynasties controlled Bengal when monarchy came into existence in India. In around 3rd century, Mauryas and Guptas established their rule in Bengal. Gupta Empire ended all small kingdoms that prospered in Bengal, ruled by tribal chiefs. The Palas followed the Guptas and established their strong rule in Bengal , from about 800 AD till the 11th century, after which the Senas overtook the Empire of Bengal. In the beginning of 13th century, Sena Dynasty lost the kingdom of Bengal to Qutub-Ud-In-Aibak, the Sultan of Delhi.
Delhi Sultanate, the region of Bengal came under the Mughals. Since then in Bengal Muslim culture started . Conversions began to take place in the state , it also witnessed the development of art, culture and cottage industries because of the influence of the Muslim culture. Muslin production brought Bengal to limelight, as they were in great demand in other parts of the world. Muslim rule left an everlasting impact on Bengali culture.
Bengal’s modern history can be traced back to the late 17th century, when foreign influences started disturbing the traditional monarchy of the Bengal . In 17th century only the Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, French and British influences began . Bengal gained eminence in the world because of its growing textile market and strategic location. In 1690, British came to Bengal as traders, and extended their grip over the entire state, in around 60 years. Mughals began losing their power over Bengal.
In 1757, Battle of Plassey, Muslim rulers offically lost their power on Bengal, when Siraj-ud-daul, the last ruler of Bengal, was defeated by the British. In 1764, after the battle of Buxar, Bengal was officially made a part of British Empire East India Company made a Subedar of the state and acquired administrial as well as financial power.
India’s actual colonization began from here . In 1772, Calcutta was officially made the capital of India. The Renaissance and Brahmo Samaj socio-cultural reform movements also began during this phase.