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a people in India and Bangladesh; one of the largest groups in South Asia. Bengalis are settled in the lower Ganges River basin and in the deltas of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers. The Bengali population is about 100 million (1967 census); of this number, about 60 million live in Bangladesh (the basic population of what was formerly called East Pakistan) and about 40 million live in India (the basic population of the Indian states of West Bengal and part of the population of the states of Bihar, Orissa, and Assam). They speak the Bengali language. Anthropologically, Bengalis are basically related to the southern branch of the Caucasoid race; in the northeast the influence of the Mongol race is observed, and in the southwest a Dravidian anthropological type is traced. The majority of Bengalis in India practice the Hindu religion; others are Muslim, Jain, or Christian. The Bengalis of Bangladesh are mainly followers of the Muslim religion.

The Bengali people have followed a complex course of historical development. They began to establish themselves as a nation in the second half of the 19th century. They reached a high level of culture, developing their literature, music, dance, theater, painting and sculpture, artistic crafts, and so forth. The basic occupation is agriculture. (The principal crops include rice and jute.) The ethnic territory of the Bengalis is one of the most densely populated agrarian regions of South Asia and of the entire world (reaching a rural population of 1,000 per sq km). A relatively large number of Bengalis work in production, mainly in Calcutta and its satellite cities, as well as in the areas of Asansol, Belur, and others. Weaving, pottery-making, wood and ivory carving, embroidery, printing of silks, and other crafts are well developed.


Narody Iuzhnoi Azii. Moscow, 1963. (Bibliography on page 891.) Dalton, E. T. Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal. Calcutta, 1960.
References in periodicals archive ?
Bengali Market owes its name to its founder, an Old Delhi businessman named Lala Bengali Mal Lohia, who bought the land at a public auction in 1930, built the quaint marketplace and leased it out to local businessmen by 1934.
the Bengalis set fire at a house, causing the casualties," Dhaka's additional Deputy Police Commissioner Jasim Uddin told a TV channel.
People of all ages walked down streets of Kolkata, which dazzled with beautiful colours, dancing to the tunes of classic Bengali songs reflecting the rich heritage and cultural ethos.
During the interwar years, Bengalis played a major role in the Indian independence movement.
Muscat: About 75 Bengalis gathered at the Embassy of Bangladesh on Thursday morning to celebrate International Mother Language Day, which commemorates the movement to have Bangla (Bengali) recognised as their official state language.
and President for selling out lives of Bengali Muslims and other Hindu inhabitants of Pakistan to the Pakistani army.
The trouble arises because there is a clear model pattern in settling the Bodos and Bengalis.
Many ethnic Bengalis from India, who celebrate the holiday with equal fervour, were also in attendance at the Abu Dhabi event.
Why do Indian Bengalis isolate themselves from rest of the Indians.
She said: "It's been wonderful to see so many Bengalis from across the city under one roof at last.
In Unaccustomed Earth, Lahiri offers us eight stories that continue her examination of expatriate Bengalis abroad (mainly in the U.