West Bengal

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West Bengal State in ne India bordering Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim (n), Bangladesh, and Assam state (e), the Bay of Bengal (s) and Bihar and Orissa states (w). The state capital is Calcutta. It was formed (1947) after the independence of India and Pakistan, and the partitioning of the former British province of Bengal into Hindu West Bengal (India) and Muslim East Bengal (East Pakistan). In 1950, West Bengal absorbed the state of Cooch Bihar. In the 1970s, political instability was caused by Muslim-Hindu disputes, large refugee immigration from newly created Bangladesh, and Maoist Naxalite disturbances. The state is highly industrialized, its cities attracting vast numbers of male migrants from neighbouring agrarian states. Industries: vehicles, steel, fertilizers, chemicals. Agricultural products: rice, fish, jute, oilseeds, tea, tobacco. Area: 88,752sq km (34,258sq mi). Pop. (2001) 80,221,171.

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West Bengal: see Bengal.