Bengali literature is one of oldest and richest literatures in the world. The soil of Bengal has given intellectuals like Rabindra Nath Tagore, Raja Rammohan Roy, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Bankim Chandra and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar to the world of literature. The term 'Bengali literature' includes all the literary works in Bengali language, be it from Bangladesh or West Bengal. Bengali literature is one of the oldest available literatures in the world, as its history can be traced to centuries ago.
Even today, Bengali literature stands as an important section of Indian Literature. A major chunk of Bengali population still prefers the rich regional literature relevant to their society, in comparison to the foreign literatures. Some of the famous names in contemporary Bengali literature are Sunil Gangopadhyaya, Buddhadev Guha, Mahashweta Devi, Samaresh Majumdar, Amiya Bhushan Majumdar, Sankha Ghosh, Bani Basu, and Moti Nandi.
Shantiniketan is a small town near Bolpur in the Birbhum District of West Bengal and about 21.2 kms north of Kolkata. Shantiniketan owes it fame to renowned Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, whose vision became what is now a University town- Visva-Bharati University. The place now attracts thousands of visitors each year. Shantiniketan was earlier called Bhubandanga (named after Bhuban Dakat, a local Dacoit), and was owned by the Tagore family. In 1862, Maharshi Devendranath Tagore, the poet's father, while on a boat journey to Raipur, came across a landscape with red soil and lush green paddy fields. He decided to plant more saplings and built a small house. He called his home Shantiniketan. He founded an ashram here in 1863 and became the initiator of the Bramho Samaj. In 1901, Rabindranath started a school at Shantiniketan named Bramhachari Ashram that was modelled on the lines of the ancient Gurukul system. When he received the Nobel Prize, it enhanced not only the pride of India but also the prestige of Shantiniketan. The school was expanded into a University in 1921. It was rechristened Visva Bharati, which in the words of Tagore is ‘Where the world makes a home in a nest." Splendid sculptures, frescoes, murals and paintings of Rabindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Ramkinkar, Binod Bihari Mukhopadhaya and others adorn Shantiniketan. Shantiniketan is also famous for its fairs and festivals like Poush Mela (December), Joydev Mela (January), Basanta Utsav (March) and the famous Mystic Baul Singers.