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Our Culture


Since the longest period of time, Bengal has boasted of poets and authors who have shaped the thinking and culture of not only the state, but also the country in general. The earliest works in Bengali can be traced back to the 10th and 12th Century AD. Literary movements in Bengal commenced with large translations of the great Sanskrit epics. The 16th Century followed with its religious reforms inaugurated by Chaitanyaand the study of philosophy and sacred law fostered by Raghunath and Raghunandan. The 17th century saw original compositions by Mukunda Ram who was dubbed the "Chaucer of Bengal". The 18th century produced the master of verse, Bharat Chandra and Ram Prasad, the master of Song. A brighter epoch then opened in the 19th century, Bengali Literature gained prominence and momentum when great laureates like Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Vidyasagar started actively participating towards its development. During the freedom struggle, newspapers like 'SamvadKaumudi' by Raja Ram Mohan Roy, 'SomPrakash' by Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, 'BandeMataram' by Aurobindo Ghosh trail blazed the freedom movement in Bengal as well as the rest of the nation. Raja Ram Mohan Roy was the first exquisite product of an English Education in India. Bankim Chandra Chatterjee created a new school of fiction and brought Bengali prose to its present state of perfection. Poems by Rabindranath Tagore, Michael Madhusudan Dutta, Sukanta Bhattacharya and KajiNazrul Islam pioneered the revolution which ultimately led to their freedom. Slogans like 'Jai Hind' by NetajiSubhas Chandra Bose and 'VandeMataram' by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay motivated the entire country and stirred the liberation movement. Eventually, our National Anthem 'Jana GanaMana', composed by Rabindranath Tagore and our National song 'VandeMataram' by Bankim Chandra have both emerged out of Bengali poets. Tagore himself won the Nobel Prize in 1913 and showcased the literature of Bengal to the world. He set up Shantiniketan that is the still one of the best open art and literature schools in the country.

Last updated on: Monday, 2nd May, 2022
Information Source: Department of Information & Cultural Affairs(I&CA), Government of West Bengal
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