Bengalis


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to Bengalis: Punjabis

Bengalis

 

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.

REFERENCE

Narody Iuzhnoi Azii. Moscow, 1963. (Bibliography on page 891.) Dalton, E. T. Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal. Calcutta, 1960.
References in periodicals archive ?
Though it does not mean that the Bengalis were separatists in very start yet the broken threads of these preliminary proposals and ideas were later joined in order to make the ideological foundation of the separatism in Pakistan.
NathueIUs competition across the road, Bengali Sweet House was opened in 1937 by Lala Bhim Sain with the money he saved from the canteen he ran in the sessions courts that were operating out of the neighbouring Ferozeshah Road.
Reality: Examination of the available material on the 1971 war in both Bengali and English showed that while the allegation of 'genocide' of 'three million Bengalis' is often made in books articles newspapers films and websites it is not based on any accounting or survey on the ground.
They say the Bengalis have one of the sweetest sounding languages in the world, and it definitely seems so, upon hearing Ishita and her daughter chatter in Bengali.
The Cultural Challenge Recognition of Bengali Language
Bengalis were underrepresented in government and the military, which led to disenchantment between the two regions.
Hindu Bengalis are in a clear majority though their population is small.
Shamelessly, successive governments have used Assamese or Bengali Muslims as little more than a vote bank without recognizing their rights.
Bose, of Bengali Hindu descent and a senior research fellow at Oxford University, claims the Pakistani army was "demonized" and blamed for "monstrous actions regardless of the evidence", while Bengali people were portrayed as "victims".
It was a time when a wealthy Bengali intellectual could take the lead in achieving religious and social reforms, and arouse intense interest when he traveled abroad.
Although the question of official languages was settled by 1956 but the Bengali complained about the military regime of Ayub Khan for promoting the interests of the Punjabi and Pashtun communities at the expense of Bengalis.
The mistrust and clashes between indigenous Assamese people and Bengalis started in the 1950s but is rooted in even older anti-Bengali sentiments from colonial times.