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Bihar

From Academic Kids

For other uses, see Bihar (disambiguation).
Capital Patna
Largest City Patna
Governor Buta Singh
Chief Minister none (president's rule)
Area 94,163 km
Population
 - Total
 - Density
Ranked 3rd in India
82,878,796 (2001)
880/km²
Literacy rate:
 - Total
 - Male
 - Female

47.53%
60.32%
33.57%
Urbanization: 10.47%
GSDP in US $(Per Capa): $ 1,045 (2004)

Bihar (बिहार in Devanagri) is a state situated in the eastern part of India. Its capital is Patna.

It is bordered on the north by the Kingdom of Nepal, on the west by Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, south by Jharkhand, and the nort-east by West Bengal. Bihar lies in the very fertile Gangetic plains, and is part of the Hindi-speaking heartland of India.

Contents

History

Ancient

Bihar has a very rich history. It was called Magadha in ancient days. Its capital Patna, known as Pataliputra during the old days, was the center of the Mauryan empire, which ruled the Indian subcontinent between 325 BC-185 BC. Emperor Ashoka was the most famous ruler of this dynasty. Bihar remained an important place of power, culture and education during the next one thousand years. Nalanda and Vikramshila Universities were the world class learning centres.

Religions Originated

Bihar is also birthplace of many religions, including Buddhism and Jainism. The word "Bihar" has its origin in the Sanskrit word "Vihara", meaning Buddhist Monasteries. Buddha attained the Enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, a town located in the modern day district of Gaya. Buddha started spreading his teaching after attaining the Enlightenment at Bodh Gaya. Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, was born in Vaishali, Bihar.


Medieval

With the advent of the foreign aggression and eventual foreign subjugation of India, the position of Bihar was also adversely affected. Muhammad Bin Bakhtiar Khilji, a General of Muhammad Ghori captured Bihar in 12th century. In between, Bihar saw a brief period of glory for six years during the rule of Sher Shah Suri, who was from Sasaram and built the longest road of the Indian subcontinent, the Grand Trunk Road, which starts from Calcutta and ends at Peshawar, Pakistan. During 1557-1576, Akbar, the Mughal emperor, annexed Bihar and Bengal to his empire and made Bihar a part of Bengal. With the decline of Mughals, Bihar passed under the control of Nawabs of Bengal.

Modern

After the Battle of Buxar (1765), the East India Company got the diwani rights (rights to administer and collect revenue, or tax administration / collection) for Bihar, Bengal and Orissa. From this point onwards, Bihar remained a part the Bengal Presidency of the British Raj until 1912, when Bihar was carved out as a separate province. In 1935, certain portions of Bihar were reorganised into the separate state of Orissa. Again, in 2000, 18 administrative districts of Bihar were separated to form the state of Jharkhand.

Babu Kunwar Singh of Sasaram and his army, as well as countless other persons from Bihar, contributed to the India's First War of Independence (1857), also called Sepoy Mutiny by some historians.

After his return from the South Africa, Mahatma Gandhi started the freedom movement in India by his satyagraha in the Champaran district of Bihar against the British , who were forcing the local farmers to plant indigo which was very harmful to the local soil. This movement by Mahatma Gandhi received the spontaneous support from a cross section of people, including Dr. Rajendra Prasad, who ultimately became the first President of India.

Timelines

Geography & climate

Bihar is mainly a vast stretch of very fertile land. It has many rivers including Ganga, Son, Bagmati, Kosi, Budhi Gandak, Falgu, etc. Southern part of Bihar has some small hills. Nepal is to the north of Bihar. To get to the Himalayas one will have to enter Nepal and travel for around 50-100kms.

After the division of the state in 2000, when the industrial and the mineral rich part of the state was carved out as a separate state of Jharkhand, the main economic activity of the state has been agriculture. Bihar is one of the poorest states of India. Blames for this are put on many factors - a historical disfavour from the center of Indian power (be it Calcutta during the British empire or Delhi during the independent India), a deeply polarized and highly politicized society, power hungry and corrupt rulers, lack of social reform movements, etc.

Climate It is mildly cold in the winter (worst it could get is 5-10 degrees Celsius). Winter months are December and January. It is very hot in the summer (40-45 degrees). April, May and first half of June are the hot months. Then comes the monsoon in the months of June, July, August, and September. October, November, February, and March are very pleasant months.

Economy

The economy is mainly based on the agricultural activities. The vast swath of the extremely fertile land makes this very easy. Despite a number of rivers and good and fertile soil, irrigation facilities are very poor and the agriculture is mainly dependent upon the vagaries of the nature. There have been some attempts to industrialize the state also -a oil refinery in Barauni, a scooter plant in Fatuha, and some agriculture based industries like sugar, vegetable oil etc. But Bihar has not seen success in its industrialization.

Government & politics

The state is headed by a Governor, who is appointed by the President of India. However, the real executive power rests with the Chief Minister and the cabinet. The political party or the coalition of political parties having majority in the Legislative Assembly forms the Government.

The administrative head of the State is called Chief Secretary, under whose jurisdiction a hierarchy of officials drawn from the Indian Administrative Service / State Civil Services function.

The judiciary is headed by the Chief Justice. Bihar has a separate High Court, functioning from 1916, and is located in the state capital, Patna.

See List of political parties in the state

Administrative districts

See Districts of Bihar

Transport & travel

Bihar has two airports - Patna and Gaya. Patna airport is a domestic airport connected directly to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Lucknow, and Ranchi. Gaya airport is a small international airport connected by Indian airlines to Kolkata and Bangkok.

Bihar is very well connected by rail lines to the rest of India. Most of the towns are interconnected and also directly connected to Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai. Patna and Gaya are the best connected towns.
Roads are not in good condition, so it is better to avoid them if possible.
For Buddhist pilgrims, best option is to go directly to Gaya, either by air or train, and then travel to Bodh Gaya, Nalanda, Rajgir, Sarnath, etc.

Places to See

Culture

Festivals

Folksongs & music

Bihar has a very old tradition of beautiful folk songs, sung during important family occasions, like marriage, birth ceremonies, festivals, etc. They are sung mainly in group settings without the help of any musical instruments.

Bihar also has a tradition of lively Holi songs, filled with fun beats.

During the 19th century, when the condition of Bihar further worsened after the British loot and misrule, a lot of Biharis had to migrate as indentured labourers to West Indian islands, Fiji, and Mauritius. During this time a lot of sad plays and songs became very popular in Bhojpur area and still some dramas on that theme are played in the theaters of Patna.

Main article: Music of Bihar

Language & Literature

Bihar has many local languages, including Hindi, Bhojpuri, Maithili, and Magadhi (Magahi). Bhojpuri, Magahi, and several other local languages like Angika are sometimes collectively referred as Bihari language. Bihari, Hindi and Urdu are spoken and understood by most of the people.

Bihar has produced a number of great Hindi poets and novelists during and immediately after the independence movement. Raja Radhika Raman Singh, Shiva Pujan Sahay, Divakar Prasad Vidyarthy, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Nirala, Ram Briksha Benipuri, and many others wrote important pieces of Hindi literature, both prose as well as poetry.

Devaki Nandan Khatri , who rose to fame at the beginning of the 20th century on account of his novels like Chandrakanta and Chandrakanta Santati, was born in Muzaffarpur, Bihar.

Different local languages also produced some prominent poets and authors. Vidyapati, the most famous of all Bihari poets, was a great Maithili poet.

Cinema

Bihar has a very well developed cinema industry for the Bhojpuri language, spoken mainly in the central and western Bihar. There is a small Maithili film industry also.

Education

In ancient Bihar, world famous learning centres, universities of Nalanda and Vikramshila, were located. After their destruction in the 13th century, Bihar has not seen any educational centre of world repute.

Presently, like most parts of India, after 10 years of schooling, students can join 2 years of Intermediate course (or +2 courses) in Arts, Science and Commerce. This is followed by 3 years of degree courses. Some students choose to join 3 years diploma courses offered by Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs). There are hardly 5 or 6 institutions imparting professional courses.

The educational infrastructure of the state falls short of a growing population. As such, a number of students, after completing schooling, move away to New Delhi, Karnataka, and other parts of India, for perusing higher technical or non-technical studies.

Schools

Bihar has a system of district schools (called Zila schools), located at district headquarter of older districts of Bihar. There are a lot of state run Navodaya schools also. In early eighties, the state government took over control and management of most of privately run schools, and accorded them government recognition. There are many such schools throughout the state with different names. Central government also runs a number of Central schools for the wards of its employees. Delhi Public School, a chain of schools, is also opening schools in various towns of Bihar. In bigger cities and towns, some schools are run by convents or by the Jesuits.

Most of the government-run schools in Bihar are affiliated to Bihar School Examination Board, whereas most of the private schools are affiliated to ICSE and CBSE boards.

Universities & colleges

Bihar has five universities:

University of Patna, established in 1917 and the seventh oldest university on the Indian subcontinent, is the most prominent among the above five universities. It has 11 colleges, including famous colleges like Science College,Patna Women's College, Patna College and Patna Medical College & Hospital. Patna Women's College is one of the leading women's college in Bihar, followed by Magadh Mahila College.

In Bihar, there are three engineering colleges, under the management and control of the Government of Bihar:

  1. Bihar College of Engineering, now National Institute of Technology, Patna
  2. Bhagalpur College of Engineering
  3. Muzaffarpur Institute of Technology


External links

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