Culture of West Bengal
West Bengal has about 76% Hindus and majority of them are Bengalis. Muslim population constitutes about 22% of the state and more than 85% people speak Bengali. Other languages which can be heard are Hindi, Urdu, English and many tribal languages. Calcutta has been the birthplace of or home to many well known personalities from all fields of life. You can have Rabindra Nath Tagore, William Thackeray (novelist); Merle Oberon (actress), Mother Teresa, Subhash Chandra Bose, Swami Vivekananda and recently, Amartya Sen among them. The Bengalis lead as the poets and artists of India. They have a natural fondness for anything artistic. Theatre, music from all over the world can find repeat performances and packed houses in this state. Bengali movie industry leans towards sophisticated and non-commercial type of cinema, which can stand upto anything made in the West. A number of tribal groups can be found in the state.
In the plains you can meet the Santhals, Oraons and Mundas, whereas in the hills you find the Bhotiyas and the Lepchas. Exclusive tribal villages located in the interior of the regions can be found. This exclusive nature has helped preserve the cultural identity of these people. Many still practice shifting cultivation, food gathering and hunting, though they are losing their isolation gradually and are taking in other practices too. Most follow a simple life and have a harmonious relation with their envoronment.
Though West Bengal is the 2nd most densely populated state in India, the rural settlements which are compact and nucleated, are quite scattered.