The Asiatic Society

Asiatic SocietyAsiatic Society of BengalJournal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal
List of Presidents of The Asiatic Society of Bengal. Panchanan Mitra. Société Asiatique. South Asian Studies. Sources. Mitra, S.K. (1974). The Asiatic Society, Calcutta: The Asiatic Society. "Asiatic Society", Banglapedia. On Line. "Asiatic Society of Bengal", Scholarly Societies Project. Scanned volumes of the Journal of the Asiatic Society.

Culture of Bengal

Bengali cultureBengaliculture
The Culture of Bengal encompasses the Bengal region in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent, including Bangladesh and the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura and Assam's Barak Valley, where the Bengali language is the official and primary language. Bengal has a recorded history of 1,400 years. The Bengali people are its dominant ethnolinguistic tribe. The region has been a historical melting point, blending indigenous traditions with cosmopolitan influences from pan-Indian subcontinental empires.


Apabhraṃśa literature is a valuable source for the history of North India for the period spanning the 12th to 16th centuries. The term Prakrit, which includes Pali, is also used as a cover term for the vernaculars of North India that were spoken perhaps as late as the 4th to 8th centuries, but some scholars use the term for the entire Middle Indo-Aryan period. Middle Indo-Aryan languages gradually transformed into Apabhraṃśa dialects, which were used until about the 13th century. The Apabhraṃśas later evolved into Modern Indo-Aryan languages. The boundaries of these periods are somewhat hazy, not strictly chronological.

History of Bengali literature

millennium-old literary historyShakta padavalis
The famous Bengali linguist Haraprasad Shastri discovered the palm leaf Charyapada manuscript in the Nepal Royal Court Library in 1907. Dark Age or Blank age in Bengali literature refers to the period between 1200–1350 AD. In 1200 AD Afghani (Turkic) ruler Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khilji invaded the Bengal region and ruled for around 150 years. No written records of Bengali literature exist from this period. The period is termed Dark Age by linguist Sukumar Sen. Some linguists do not acknowledge the existence of Dark Age as some literature were claimed to be written in this period including Dak o Khanar Vachan, Ramai Pandit's narrative poem Sunyapurana.

Ghosts in Bengali culture

Literary works involving ghostly/demonic beings is one of the most popular genres in Bengali literature. In the early days, ghosts were the only ingredients of Bengali folk-tales and fairy-tales. Lal Behari Dey has collected many folk-tales of Bengal, and translated them in English. His book called Folk-Tales of Bengal, first published in 1883, features many amazing folk-tales associated with ghostly and supernatural beings. Thakurmar Jhuli is the most classic collection of Bengali children's folk-tales and fairy-tales, which was compiled by Dakshinaranjan Mitra Majumder in 1907.

Sandhyakar Nandi

Sandhyakar Nandi (c. 1084 - 1155 CE) was a medieval Indian poet from the Pala Empire. He was born in the Bengal region, in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent. He was the grandson of Pinaka Nandi and the son of Prajapati Nandi, the Sandhi-Vigrahika (minister of peace and war) of the Pala emperor Ramapala. He wrote the epic poem Ramacharitam, based on ancient Indian epic Ramayana. A palm-leaf manuscript of the Ramacharitam discovered by a Bengali scholar Haraprasad Shastri is preserved in the museum of the Asiatic Society, Kolkata". This book is considered as an important source for reconstructing the ancient history of Bengal by the historians.

Greater Bangladesh

Greater BengalUnited BengalBengal
The region of Bengal was first united as a single independent state by King Shashanka, who conquered all of what is now Bangladesh, West Bengal, Tripur, Jharkhand, and parts of Southern Assam and East and Central Bihar. Bengal was also later united by the Bengali Buddhist Pala Emperors, whose reign expanded to included lands from as far north as the Kashmiri hills to as far south as modern day Andhra Pradesh. The notion of a Greater Bangladesh first arose during the rule of the Hindu Sena dynasty. This ideology included the states of Bihar and Jharkhand, which are now considered non-Bengali states.


A palm-leaf manuscript of the Ramacharitam discovered by Haraprasad Shastri is preserved in the museum of the Asiatic Society, Kolkata. *

East India

Eastern IndiaeasternEast
Other regions, such as Tripura, and the Barak Valley region of Assam (in India) including some parts of Odisha, Jharkhand and Bihar also have large native Bengali populations and share this cuisine. With an emphasis on fish, vegetables and lentils served with rice as a staple diet, Bengali cuisine is known for its subtle (yet sometimes fiery) flavours, and its huge spread of confectioneries and desserts. It also has the only traditionally developed multi-course tradition from the Indian subcontinent that is analogous in structure to the modern service à la russe style of French cuisine, with food served course-wise rather than all at once.

Rajendralal Mitra

Bábu Rájendralála MitraDr. Rajendralal MitraRajendra Lala Mitra
Hara Prasad Shastri named Mitra as one of his primary influences. Mitra has been alluded to have triggered the golden age of Bengali historiography, that saw the rise of numerous stalwarts, including Akshaya Kumar Maitra, Nikhil Nath Roy, Rajani Kanta Gupta, Rakhaldas Bandopadhyay and Ramaprasad Chandra. Historian R.S. Sharma described Mitra as "a great lover of ancient heritage [who] took a rational view of ancient society". Mitra's "Sanskrit Buddhist Literature" was heavily used by Rabindranath Tagore for many episodes of his poems and plays. A street in Calcutta adjoining Mitra's birthplace is named after him.

Shreekrishna Kirtana

Krishna KirtanSrikrishnakirtan
However, Baru Chandidas managed to add substantial originality, making it a masterpiece of medieval Bengali literature. He gives the yearning of Radha a distinctly Bengali rendition, and in the process captures much of the social conditions of the day. *

Middle kingdoms of India

Classical IndiaClassical periodmiddle kingdoms
The Palas were followed by the Sena dynasty who brought Bengal under one ruler during the 12th century. Vijay Sen the second ruler of this dynasty defeated the last Pala emperor Madanapala and established his reign. Ballal Sena introduced Kulīna System in Bengal and made Nabadwip the capital. The fourth king of this dynasty Lakshman Sen expanded the empire beyond Bengal to Bihar, Assam, northern Odisha and probably to Varanasi. Lakshman was later defeated by the Muslims and fled to eastern Bengal where he ruled few more years. The Sena dynasty brought a revival of Hinduism and cultivated Sanskrit literature in India.

Birbhum district

After dismemberment of Harshavardhana's empire, the region was ruled by the Palas till the 12th century AD, when overlordship of the area passed into the hands of the Senas. During the rule of the Pala dynasty Buddhism, particularly the Vajrayana cult, flourished here. In the 7th century A.D., the Chinese traveller Xuanzang described some of the monasteries he visited. The 13th century witnessed the advent of Muslim rule in the region. However, control over the western parts of the district appears to have been nominal, and the area was ruled by the local Hindu chiefs, known as the Bir Rajas (Bagdi Malla dynasty). The three towns of Hetampur, Birsinghpur and Rajnagar contain their relics.

Varman dynasty

Suniti Kumar Chatterjee calls Bhaskaravarman a Hinduised Mlechcha king of Tibeto-Burman origin. Hugh B. Urban (2011) too infers that the Varmans descended from non-Aryan tribes. The most illustrious of this dynasty was the last, Bhaskaravarman, He accompanied King Harshavardhana to religious processions from Pataliputra to Kannauj. The Varman's modeled themselves after the Gupta's and named themselves after the Gupta kings and queens. The alliance between king Harsha of Thanesar and Bhaskaravarman lead to spread of political influence of later to entire eastern India. Varman kings had diplomatic relations with China.


AsianAsian continentAsian countries
Some of the events pivotal in the Asia territory related to the relationship with the outside world in the post-Second World War were: The polymath Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali poet, dramatist, and writer from Santiniketan, now in West Bengal, India, became in 1913 the first Asian Nobel laureate. He won his Nobel Prize in Literature for notable impact his prose works and poetic thought had on English, French, and other national literatures of Europe and the Americas. He is also the writer of the national anthems of Bangladesh and India.

Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay

Sharat Chandra ChattopadhyaySaratchandra ChatterjeeSharat Chandra Chatterji
Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, alternatively spelt as Sarat Chandra Chatterjee (15 September 1876 – 16 January 1938), was a Bengali novelist and short story writer. He is arguably the most popular novelist in the Bengali language. His notable works include Devdas, Srikanto, Choritrohin, Grihadaha, etc. Most of his works deal with the lifestyle, tragedy and struggle of the village people and the contemporary social practices that prevailed in Bengal. He remains the most popular, translated, adapted, and plagiarized Indian author of all time. Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay was born on 15 September 1876, in Debanandapur, a small village in Hooghly, West Bengal.

Austroasiatic languages

Indian linguist Suniti Kumar Chatterji pointed that a specific number of substantives in languages such as Hindi, Punjabi and Bengali were borrowed from Munda languages. Additionally, French linguist Jean Przyluski suggested a similarity between the tales from the Austroasiatic realm and the Indian mythological stories of Matsyagandha (from Mahabharata) and the Nāgas. Mitsuru Sakitani suggests that Haplogroup O1b1, which is common in Austroasiatic people and some other ethnic groups in southern China, and haplogroup O1b2, which is common in today Japanese, Koreans and some Manchu, are the carriers of Yangtze civilization (Baiyue).

Bengali–Assamese languages

Bengali–AssameseBengali-AssameseBengali-Assamese languages
The Bengali–Assamese languages (or Assamese–Bengali languages) belong to the Eastern zone of Indo-Aryan languages. They are the following: * = borrowed terms (including tatsamas, ardhatatsamas and other borrowings)


Tilopa (Prakrit; Sanskrit: Talika or Tilopada) (988–1069) was born in either Chativavo (Chittagong), Bengal or Jagora, Bengal in India. He was a tantric practitioner and mahasiddha. He practiced Anuttarayoga Tantra, a set of spiritual practices intended to accelerate the process of attaining Buddhahood. Naropa is considered his main student. At Pashupatinath temple premise, greatest Hindu shrine of Nepal, there are two caves where Tilopa attained Siddhi and initiated his disciple Naropa.

Satyendra Nath Bose

Satyendranath BoseS. N. BoseBose
A polymath, he had a wide range of interests in varied fields including physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, mineralogy, philosophy, arts, literature, and music. He served on many research and development committees in sovereign India. Bose was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata), the eldest of seven children in a Bengali Kayastha family. He was the only son, with six sisters after him. His ancestral home was in the village Bara Jagulia, in the then district of Nadia, in the Bengal Presidency. His schooling began at the age of five, near his home. When his family moved to Goabagan, he was admitted into the New Indian School.

Pala dynasty (Kamarupa)

Pala DynastyPalaKamarupa-Palas
The Pala dynasty of Kamarupa kingdom ruled from 900 CE. Like the Pala Empire of Bengal, the first ruler in this dynasty was elected, which probably explains the name of this dynasty "Pala". But unlike the Palas of Bengal, who were Buddhists, the Palas of Kamarupa were Hindus. The Hindu orthodoxy drew their lineage from the earlier Varman dynasty and thus ultimately from Narakasura i.e. Bhauma dynasty. The Pala dynasty came to an end when Kamarupa was invaded by the Gaur king Ramapala (c. 1072-1126). Timgyadeva was made the governor of Kamarupa who ruled between 1110 and 1126.


The Dharmamangal is an important subgenre of mangalkavya, with narratives of local deities of rural Bengal, the most significant genre of medieval Bengali literature. The texts belonging to this subgenre eulogize Dharmathakur, a folk deity worshipped in the Rarh region of Bengal. According to tradition, the earliest poet of Dharmamangal was Mayura Bhatta. The Dharmamangal texts were meant for singing during the twelve-day ritual ceremony, known as Gajan. These texts are part of a larger group of texts associated with the worship of Dharma.

Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay

Sirshendu MukherjeeSirshendu MukhopadhyaySirshendu Mukhopadhyay.
Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay (শীর্ষেন্দু মুখোপাধ্যায়; born 2 November 1935) is a famous Bengali author from India. He has written stories for both adults and children. He is known for creating the relatively new fictional sleuths Barodacharan, Fatik and Shabor Dasgupta. Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay was born in Mymensingh (now in Bangladesh) on 2 November 1935 and lived there up to age ten. During partition his family migrated to Kolkata. He spent his childhood in Bihar and many places in Bengal and Assam accompanying his father, who worked in the railways. He passed intermediate from the Victoria College, Koch Bihar before taking a Masters in Bengali from Calcutta University.

Vande Mataram

Bande MataramVande MātaramVandemataram
The poem was published in Chattopadhyay's book Anandamath (pronounced Anondomôţh in Bengali) in 1882, which is set in the events of the Sannyasi Rebellion. Jadunath Bhattacharya was asked to set a tune for this poem just after it was written. "Vande Mataram was the whole nation's thought and motto for independence [from British rule] during the Indian independence movement. Large rallies, fermenting initially in Bengal, in the major metropolis of Calcutta, would work themselves up into a patriotic fervour by shouting the slogan "Vande Mataram", or "I praise the Mother(land)!"

Rajyapala Kamboja

Rajyapala KambojRajyapala
Journal of Proceedings of Royal Society of Bengal (NS), Vol VII. Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, Dr J. L. Kamboj. Kambojas. Kamboja Dynasty of Bengal. Pala Empire.