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A SENSE OF SHARED HISTORY

West Bengal and Bangladesh are two states unified by a common culture. Nowhere is this commonness more apparent than in the monuments that dot the countryside and the smaller towns of the two Bengals. BENGAL: SITES AND SIGHTS (Marg, Rs 2,250), edited by Pratapaditya Pal and Enamul Haque, looks at some of these monuments. The sites stretch from Chandraketugarh, an archaeological find going back to circa 600 BC, to modern palaces, as evident in the accompanying picture of the palace of the maharaja of Cossimbazar. The finds of Chandraketugarh are significant as they push back Bengalís antiquity and history. Bengali chauvinists will draw sustenance from the fact that an entrepot flourished here in ancient times and that Bengalís history is as old as the history of some parts of Aryavarta. The pictures and the text lift the book beyond petty political considerations.

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