Profile of Bihar

Bihar known as a Land of Nirvana is located in the eastern part of the country. The capital of Bihar is Patna which is situated on the banks of the holy river Ganga. The state is located in the fertile Gangetic Plains. The name Bihar is derived from a Sanskrit word "Vihara". Bihar is the 12th largest state of India in terms of its area and the third largest in terms of population. The history of Bihar takes one to ancient era to observe glorious past of this part of the country. Bihar had once remained an important center of power and was known for its high spirited cultural amalgamations and richness of art, music, and literature .

Bihar Profile

Bihar has witnesses various stages of Indian history and has yet succeeded in retaining its identity. At present it is one of the fast developing states if India and is bounded by Nepal on the north, and Jharkhand to the south, west Bengal on west and Uttar Pradesh on the east. Bihar is a land of varied religions. Buddhism and Jainism were born in the state of Bihar. Let’s discover the Land of Nirvana with exquisiteness.

History of Bihar

History of Bihar
The history of Bihar is very ancient. The state finds a mention in the Vedas, Puranas, and epics. In fact, it extends to the very dawn of human civilization. Earliest myths and legends of Hinduism the Sanatana (Eternal) Dharma - are associated with Bihar. Sita, the consort of Lord Rama, and daughter of King Janak of Videha was a princess of Bihar. The author of the Hindu epic, The Ramayana, Maharishi Valmiki, lived in Ancient Bihar. This ancient land of Buddha, has witnessed a golden period of the Indian history. It was here that Prince Gautama attained enlightenment, became the Buddha, at the present Bodh Gaya, a town in central Bihar. The great religion of Buddhism was born in Bihar. The main activities of Buddha and 24th Jain Tirthankar took place in this state.It is here also that Lord Mahavira, the founder of another great religion, Jainism, was born and attained nirvana (death). Bihar was called Magadha in the ancient times. Its capital Patna was known as Pataliputra at that time. Culture of Bihar has evolved over time and has reflection of various stages of Indian history. Every dynasty that ruled over Bihar had left indeligible imprints over the land. Apart from that one can explore various historical caves and remains of Buddhist stupas in this part of India. Various rock edicts and pillars erected by Mauryan emperor Ashoka lies scattered across the region. These remains testifies to the supremacy of Bihar which once it enjoyed in every field. Also Bihar is a birth land of Guru Gobind Singhji, tenth and last Guru of the Sikhs.

Ancient History of Bihar

Ancient India’s numerous religious texts and epics espouse famous places of Bihar that have their global recognitions even to this day. Such places include Magadha, Mithila, Anga and Vaishali amongst others whose references can be found in many sacred scriptures. Bihar was ruled by Magadh and Licchavis rulers around 7- 8thCentury B.C. Vrijji was another principal mahajanapadas of ancient India. Vrijji with its capital Vaishali was another important seat of power and was first republic of the world, ruled and administered by confederacy of the eight clans. Ancient Magadha Empire remained a key power center for 1000 years and contributed a lot in spreading culture and knowledge to rest parts of the world. Barhadratha dynasty which once ruled over Magadh were replaced by Haryanka dynasty (684 BC–413 BC) who made Rajgriha (modern Rajgir) as their capital. Bimbisara and his son Ajatashatru were two of the powerful rulers of this dynasty. Ajatashatru is credited for founding Patliputra which remained capital of various succeeding dynasties that ruled over Bihar. This dynasty was succeeded by the Shishunaga dynasty (413 BC–345 BC).

Ancient Bihar
Ruins of Nalanda University

Kakavarna Kalashoka (395–367 BCE) one of the famous ruler of Shishunaga dynasty is noted in Indian history for convening Second Buddhist council at Vaishali in 383BC and the final transfer of capital to Pataliputra. The rule of Nanda Dynasty (345–321 BCE) extended from Bengal in the east, to Punjab in the west and as far south as the Vindhya Range. Mahapadma Nanda, who was one of the greatest ruler of this dynasty has been described in the Puranas as "the destroyer of all the Kshatriyas"The rulers of this dynasty were famed for the great wealth which they accumulated. The Nanda Empire was later conquered by Chandragupta Maurya, who founded the Maurya Empire. Known for its mighty rulers and the rock edict, Mauryan Empire had left impeccable marks in the historical canvas of India. Kautilya, the author of Arthashastra, the first treatise of the modern science of Economics, lived here. Seleucus Necator, lived in Pataliputra (ancient name of Patna) around 302 B.C.Mauryan king, Ashoka, ruled the state around 270 B.C., was the first to formulate firm tenets for the governance of a people. He had these tenets, the so called Edicts of Ashok, inscribed on stone pillars which were planted across his kingdom. The pillars were crowned with the statue of one or more lions sitting on top of a pedestal which was inscribed with symbols of wheels.

Bihar's Glorious PastBihar is one of the oldest places in the world.
First republic in the world was in Bihar "Vaishali".
The National symbol of the Four-Headed Lion was erected by Mauryan Ruler Ashoka who one ruled over Bihar and entire Indian subcontinent.
Nalanda and Vikramshila were two most important centers of Buddhist learning in India.
Tenth and last Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh was born in Patna, Bihar.
Mahatama Gandhi first major achievements came in 1917 with the Champaran agitations of Bihar.

At Nalanda, the world's first seat of higher learning, and university, was established during the Gupta period. It continued as a seat of learning till the Middle Ages, when the muslim invaders burned it down. The ruins are a protected monument and a popular tourist spot. A museum and a learning center- The Nava Nalanda Mahavira - are located here.

Medieval History of Bihar

In medieval times Bihar lost its prestige as the political and cultural center of India. The Mughal period was a period of unremarkable provincial administration from Delhi. The only remarkable person of these times in Bihar was Sher Shah Suri (17 May 1540 – 22 May 1545) who was from Sasaram and built the longest road of the Indian subcontinent, the Grand Trunk Road, which starts from Sonargaon in Bangladesh and ends at Peshawar in Pakistan. He drove out Humayun, the Mughal Emperor and founded Sur Empire in North India, with its capital at Delhi. Mughals regained Delhi from successors of Sher Shah after Second Battle of Panipat fought on November 5, 1556. During 1557-1576, Akbar, the Mughal emperor, annexed Bihar and Bengal to his empire. With the decline of Mughals, Bihar passed under the control of the Nawabs of Bengal. Thus, the medieval period was mostly one of anonymous provincial existence.

Bihar Under the British Rule

The British East India Company acquired the diwani rights post the Battle of Buxar in 1764 to claim its administration and revenue or tax collection rights in Bihar, Bengal and Odisha regions. The foreign imperialists especially British and Dutch were already eying for this area in 18th century that was famous for rich resources having fertile land, water and skilled labor that could change their destinies. Howver they soon tasted the resistance when armed rebellion of 1857 broke out. Babu Veer Kunwar Singh (1777–1858), one of the leaders of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 raised banner of revolt in Jagdishpur. Even at the age of 80 years, he actively participated in the struggle and defeated Britishers on number of occasions. Though the rebellion was suppressed, the command over the territory passed from the hands of English East India Company to British crown. The foreign entrepreneurs therefore started several Agro based industries in Bihar during that period. Till 1912, whole of Bihar was part of the British India’s Bengal Presidency. The provinces of Bihar and Orissa were carved out of Bengal as separate provinces in that year. It was in the year 1935 that certain portions of Bihar were made parts of neighboring Odissa province in the reorganizing drive.

Role of Bihar in Freedom Struggle

Bihar also played a significant role at the time of independence. Two events completely changed the scenario in Bihar before country’s freedom in 1947. These events are farmer revolts in Champaran against indigo cultivation in 1914 at the Pipra area and other in 1916 at Turkaulia area. Towering leader fighting for country’s independence Mahatma Gandhi arrived Champaran in April 1917 to over view the exact scene of European indigo planter’s exploitations on peasants which local leader Raj Kumar Shukla had highlighted to the leaders of national repute. Several nationalist leaders of Bihar including Anugrah Narayan Sinha and Rajendra Prasad supported the Champaran Satyagraha which was one of the crucial movements for country’s independence from this region.

Role of Bihar in Freedom Struggle
Mahatama Gandhi in Champaran

Freedom movement got a new momentum in due course of time when the leaders of Bihar’s northern and central regions came together and started Kisan Sabhas or peasant movements to discuss their causes. Swami Sahajanand Saraswati was the leader of the Bihar Provincial Kisan Sabha (BPKS) that was established in the year 1929. It was aimed at mobilizing the peasants to come forward against the grievances which they used to face from the zamindars (landlords) and so did they ask for occupancy rights of theirs.

Over the years, this movement intensified manifolds and spread from Bihar across other parts of the country. It finally culminated into a new revolutionary group of national level called All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS). AIKS members participated at the Lucknow session of the Indian National Congress in April 1936 to discuss such issues with the national level freedom fighters to take steps to overthrow the feudal Zamindari system which the British had instituted. Role of Bihar in country’s independence movement remained vital since early days of movement till British were overthrown from the country. Mahatma Gandhi and various leaders of national and state levels continuously held rallies and marches in various nook and corners of Bihar. In the year 2000, Bihar was divided into two states namely Bihar and Jharkhand.

Geography of Bihar

Geographically Bihar has its total size of 94,163.00 sq. kms. In terms of population density, Bihar comes at 3rd position of all states of India. Strategically located in the northern side of the country, state of Bihar is surrounded by the neighboring country Nepal in north through international border while western side is covered by Uttar Pradesh and northern side of West Bengal surrounds it from east and the southern border is shared by new state of Jharkhand which was carved out of it in the year 2000.

Geography of Bihar
Map of Bihar

Bihar is located between 24°-20'-10" N ~ 27°-31'-15" N latitude and between 83°-19'-50" E ~ 88°-17'-40" E longitude. The state is at an average elevation of 173 feet (53 m) from the sea level. Enriched with fertile lands in its plain areas, Bihar is drained by the Ganges River, including its tributaries Gandak and Koshi. Other rivers like Son, Budhi Gandak, Chandan, Orhani and Phalgu are famous Ganges tributaries in the state.

Climate of Bihar

The climate of Bihar is a part of the climatic pattern of the Indian subcontinent. It enjoys a continental monsoon type of climate owing to its great distance from the sea. The winter season extends from December to February and the summers from the month of March to May. Bihar witnesses heat waves known as loo during summers when the temperatures soars upto 35–40 °C (95–104 °F).Winter months from December and January remains extremely cold with temperatures ranging range from 0–10 °C (32–50 °F). The Southwest monsoon accounts for most of the rainfall in the state extending from June to September. The retreating southwest monsoon is from October to November.

Flora and Fauna of Bihar

Approximately 7.2% of state’s total geographical area is covered by moist deciduous forest area which comprise of 6,764.14 km2. Major forest areas are Someshwar sub Himalayan foothills and Dun ranges. Scrubs, reeds and grasses are common in the state. The state observes above 1,600 millimetres (63 in) of rainfall that is best suitable for luxuriant Sal forests. Sal Cedrela Toona, Shorea Robusta, Khair, and Semal are some of the unique trees in the forests in Bihar’s different districts. Trees like Shorea Robusta (sal), Diospyros melanoxylon (kendu), Boswellia serrata (salai), Terminalia tomentose (Asan), Terminalia bellayoica (Bahera), Terminalia Arjuna (Arjun), Pterocarpus Marsupium (Paisar), Madhuca indica (Mahua) are some of the notable flora found across the state.

Geographical features of BiharGanges, Gandak, Son, Budhi Gandak, Chandan, Orhani, Phalgu and Koshi are major rivers of Bihar.
Bihar possesses most fertile plain of the world.
Valmiki National Park, in Bihar is the 18th Tiger Reserve of India.
During summers Loo, a strong, hot and dry afternoon wind blows over plains of Bihar.
Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary, near Bhagalpur has been set up to ensure the protection of Ganges River dolphins, or "sois".

National aquatic animal of India, the Ganges River dolphins, or Sois are commonly found in the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers. They have already become most endangered mammals today. The Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary nearby Bhagalpur has taken steps to protect such species. The Valmiki National Park located in West Champaran spreads at nearly 800 km2 (309 sq mi forest area. It has the distinction of being ranked at 18th of Indian Tiger Reserves in the country. While ranked in terms of tiger population density, it is ranked 4th in the country. Other features of this park include diverse landscape and it facilitating shelter to rich wildlife habitats as well as floral and fauna mixtures where several carnivores are protected.

Administration in Bihar

Administration in BiharThe administration of Bihar state follows prescribed rule of the country under which all constitutional elements and governmental administrative systems are imbedded. Constitutional head of state is Honorable Governor while the administrative head is state’s Chief Minister. Proper system is maintained to ensure that the law of the country is projected and implemented while maintaining system of governance. The chief minister is a key player as state’s administrator having been selected democratically and who is assisted by group of dedicated bureaucrats plus team of administrators due to their crucial roles to make it possible for the state to enforce law and order and maintain administration system. Chief Secretary heads the bureaucracy of the State while judiciary is headed by the Chief Justice. Bihar has a High Court at Patna which has been functioning since 1916. All the branches of the government are located in the state capital, Patna. For smooth administration Bihar is divided into nine divisions and 38 districts.

Bihar has remained a power center since ancient times. Various political parties are active in the state in present day democratic political system. Some parties are solely based on the regional leanings for politics and so is state’s politics into notice due to political parties on caste, creed and religious identities etc. National level political parties have their presence in the state politics of Bihar due to it being important sector to influence the national politics. That is why Bihar remains a crucial political force in the country. It is one of the states of India where the national political fortunes are made and true exercise of country’s democratic system is evaluated through people’s power.

Economic Profile of Bihar

The economy of Bihar is mainly based on agricultural and trading activities. The soil of Bihar is extremely fertile which makes it ideal for agriculture. Bihar is the first largest producer of vegetables and second largest producer of fruits in the country. Production of maize, sugarcane, litchi, makhana, mango, vegetables, and aromatic rice is also carried out. Bihar is the largest producer of honey in the country.The major agro based industries of Bihar are of rice, sugar, edible oil.The rice mills are located at Bauxer Karbisganch in Purnia district, Araria. Sugar mills are located at Banmankhi in Purnia District, Bauxer, Madora in Saran District, Samastipur and Bihata in Patna District.The edible oil mills are located at Araria, Banmankhi in Purnia District, Bauxer, Lakhisarai at Munger district. The textile industries are at Bhagalpur, Gaya, Nalanda, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Siwan and Patna. Muzaffarpur in Bihar is a largest litchi producing state in India with its 71% production of total produced in the country.

Agrarian Economy in Bihar

Economy in BiharBihar is watered by Ganges and its tributaries which deposits layers of fine soil making the region extremely fertile. Region having been gifted with the fertile Gangetic alluvial soils is suitable for the growth of rice, wheat and maize. Apart from rice, wheat and maize, Bihar also distinguishes with highest production of cereal crops arhar urad, moong, gram, peas, lentils and khesaria et al. Another notable factor which keeps agriculture in limelight in the state of Bihar is its distinction of being country’s largest vegetable producing state. This state produces ample potatoes, onions, brinzle and cauliflower producer. Bihar is a leading producer of Litchi and remains 3rd largest pineapple producer state of India. Other fruits produced abundantly are mangoes, bananas and guava. Two important cash crops of Bihar are sugarcane and jute.

Bihar is a leading producer of Litchi.
India's first Media Hub is proposed to be set up in Bihar.
Leather and textiles are two emerging industries in the region.
Agro based industries are major source of employment in Bihar.
Hajipur, near Patna, is a major industrial town in the state.
Hajipur is zonal headquarter of East Central Railway.

Industrial Sector in Bihar

At present the state has least industrial base. The state therefore holds mere 1% industrial units on national ranking of factories established and output values. Overall this sector has approximately 5% contribution in Bihar’s GDP. The share of this state in national level GDP from industrial sector is approximately 20% in total. Cottage industries and agro-based industries dominate in the industrial sector of Bihar state today. Several domestic and foreign firms have setup their production units in the state of Bihar in the recent past. It has attained distinction of being a major brewery hub in the country with the establishment of United Breweries Group, Danish Brewery Company Carlsberg Group and Cobra Beer having their units in capital city Patna and other big city of state Muzaffarpur recently.
The decades from 1950 to 1980 played major roles in industrializing the state. Three such steps were taken by establishing oil refinery in Barauni, motor scooter plant at Fatuha and a power plant at Muzaffarpur during that period but unfortunately they couldn’t progress. Barauni still remains an industrialized city of Bihar besides Hajipur that has been developed in industry sector over the period.

Culture of Bihar

Bihar maintains its diverse culture through mixture of various languages, traditional richness and literature amongst others. People of various religions and faith coexist together by maintaining their religious harmony with the philosophy of simple living and high thinking engrossed in their lifestyles. They are moderate and generous masses maintaining their affinity with the deep rooted culture of regional food habits and dressing senses. Most common regional languages spoken in Bihar include Angika, Bhojpuri, Magadhi, Maithili, Magadhi Prakrit, Hindi, Urdu and English amongst others. Bihar has attained international recognition through arts and crafts since several centuries.

The Madhubani painting is very famous all over the country. It depict various themes related to humans and nature. Other art forms in the state are Manjusha Art or Manjusha Kala and Angika Art besides the Patna School of Painting or Patna Qalaam that showcases the Mughal Miniature School of Painting features.

Transportation in Bihar

Transport in Bihar
Bihar State Road Transport Corporation

Being one of the major states of North India and important transit center linking the northeastern states with rest parts of country and sharing international borders, Bihar is well equipped with best of transportation facilities from railways to airways and roadways. They connect the state with rest parts of the country and world.

Roadways in Bihar

Subsequent Bihar state governments have worked extensively on creating vast network of the state transportation. It couldn’t be possible in the absence of central government that took keen interest in developing road infrastructure in all parts of the country including the state of Bihar. Today most big and small town of Bihar is well connected by roadways. Bihar State Road Transport Corporation is a leading roadway service provider in Bihar. You can board buses ran by the corporation for traveling to any other part of Bihar. One can also use private vehicles for their transportation purpose from one part to the other in and around the state.

Railways in Bihar

The railways have major connectivity center through Patna Railway station and the network of stations spread in all parts of the state. All these stations have railways connectivity of trains from all parts of the country to link the state with other areas through railways. Hajipur in Bihar is Zonal Headquarter of East Central Railway. Indian Railways therefore interconnect different towns and cities of India and Patna is not left out of it. Metropolitan cities of Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai amongst others are connected to Patna and other cities of Bihar through express Rajdhani and other types of trains.

Airways in Bihar

Out of the three operational airports of Bihar two are international airports at Patna and Gaya. The third one is located in Purnea and still operates with limited service in the capacity of a restricted airport having customs facilities. Patna Airport facilitates service for the operation of chartered international flights. The Gaya Airport connects to Singapore, Colombo, Bangkok, Paro and other destinations.

Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Airport

Gaya Airport
Address: Airport Rd, Gaya, Bihar 823004
Code: GAY
Elevation: 377 m
Phone: 0631 221 0129

Inland Waterways

Government of India is in the verge of planning Inland Waterways plan incorporated in the recent past through taking the steps to declare Ganges between Allahabad and Haldia as a National Inland Waterways. This project is under pipeline and expects to be completed in the next couple of years.

Tourism in Bihar

Tourism in BiharBihar state has much for the explorers and tourists to enjoy and evaluate its enriched history and glorious past. The remnants of ancient city of Vaishali remain an important location for the explorers. As the state maintains position of being one of the oldest inhabited regions with splendid history of more than 3000 years, it has everything to charm history lovers. From Buddhist stupas to pillar edicts and ruins of ancient universities such as Nalanda and Vikramasila, Bihar has everything to keep its visitors occupied. Due to the identity of being one of the most sacred places of famous religions namely Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Jainism and Sikhism etc., the state is visited by the pilgrims—the followers of these religions from around the country and world.

Famous UNESCO World Heritage Site dedicated to Buddhist religion namely Mahabodhi Temple is located in Gaya, Bihar. Other attractions in Bihar are famous Mahatma Gandhi Setu near capital city Patna over Ganges River distinguished itself as longest of world’s river bridges during 1980s. Likewise, place like Sasaram where the tomb of Sher Shah Suri exists is worth visiting.

Tourism in BiharFuntasia Water Park in Patna is one of its kind in Bihar.
Mahabodhi Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The aerial ropeway ride in Rajgir is hit amongst tourists.
Tomb of Sher Shah Suri is located in Sasaram, Bihar.
Remains of the ancient city of Vaishali is in Bihar.
Barabar Caves, the oldest surviving rock-cut caves are located in Bihar.

Healthcare in Bihar

Bihar had lacked in medical infrastructure until few decades ago. Best efforts have been done to ensure that its health sector could be improved. Although tremendous growth has occurred but still healthcare sector of this state requires more attention from central and state governments. Believing on a philosophy of “First Wealth is Health,” consecutive governments concentrate on health & welfare with the key focus on well being of common masses. Many healthcare programs have been introduced in Bihar over the last few decades . The policies introduced on the regular intervals have impacted too much increase healthcare standard of this state. Its direct impact can be seen in the improved life expectancy of males and females nowadays. Such initiatives have proved helpful to decline state’s infant mortality rate. Bihar’s heath sector authorities have taken many steps to control and cure illnesses like malaria, tuberculosis, water borne diseases and pneumonia amongst others which were major causes of concern until few decades ago.

Healthcare in Bihar
Hospitals in Bihar

State government initiated several family welfare healthcare programs in the recent past. Most of them were in collaboration with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) which ensure better family welfare and healthcare facilities for best reproductive health, pediatric healthcare and maternal health amongst others.The "Ananya" programme is one such programme that aims to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health in the state. It is run by BBC Media Action in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Health policies have been incorporated into practicality through subsidized healthcare services offered under the guidance of state level, district level and block level hospitals and healthcare centers.

With the opening of reputed medical research institutes like All India Institute of Medical Sciences Patna (AIIMS-P); A N Magadh Medical College & Hospital; Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College & Hospital; Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences; Darbanga Medical College; Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College; Katihar Medical College; Lord Buddha Koshi Medical College & Hospital; Mata Gujri Memorial Medical College Kishanganj; Nalanda Medical College; Patna Medical College and et al Bihar state offers best medical education and healthcare services to its people. Bihar has also received support from UNICEF to run many healthcare related programs to uplift the society through healthcare support. Initiatives taken ever are for child & women protection and numerous other facilities which keep healthcare sector apart in the present scenario.

Media in Bihar

Bihar has produced large scale journalists like man powers as professionals serving various parts of the state, country and in foreign lands. The state has its glorious past in terms of its journalistic trends and practices. It was in the year 1872 that Bihar saw the establishment of its first Hindi newspaper namely Biharbandhu. Monthly magazine Bharat Ratna established in Patna in 1901 was popular before independence. The newspapers Aryavarta, Ksahtriya Hitaishi, Udyoga and Chaitanya Chandrika remained faous newspapers. Magahi Parishad was established in Patna in 1952 which remained a pioneering Magadhi journalism voice in the state.

Media in BiharBiharbandhu was first Hindi newspaper that came into being in 1872.
Hindi newspapers are quite popular in Bihar.
Bharat Ratna,a monthly magazine started publication from Patna in 1901.
Magahi Parishad, established in Patna in 1952,started the monthly journal, Magadhi, which was later renamed Bihan.
Regional media is dominant in Bihar.

Urdu newspapers Qaumi Tanzim and Sahara publish from Bihar nowadays besides regular English language newspapers The Times of India and Hindustan Times, The telegraph and the Economic Times have their editions from Bihar. Newspapers like Dainik Jagran, Hindustan, Aaj, Nayee Baat and Prabhat Khabar have their editions in Bihar. National English dailies like The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Navbharat Times, The Telegraph and The Economic Times are popular newspapers.
National television channel Doordarshan, private channels and radio stations have their branches in Bihar and so are famous many online newspapers and portals.

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