Facts and Figures of Bihar
|Time zone||IST (UTC+05:30)
|Area||94,163 km² (36,357 sq mi)|
|Population||99.02 million (2012)|
|Spoken Language||Hindi (official language), Urdu (second official language), Magahi, Maithili, Bhojpuri.|
|Major Festivals||Chhath, Deepawali, Sonepur cattle Fair, Sharvani Mela, Teej, Sarswati Puja, Eid-ul-Fitr, Ram Navami, Durga Puja, Bhai Dooj|
|Tourist Attraction||Nalanda University, Mahabodhi Temple, Vikramshila University, Mahatma Gandhi Setu, Golghar, Shitla Mata Temple, Vaishali|
History of Bihar
Different regions of Bihar like Magadha, Mithila, Anga, Vaishali are mentioned in different religious texts and epics of ancient India. The power centre of ancient Bihar was around the region of South-West Bihar called Magadha, which remained the centre of power, learning, and culture in India for 1000 years.
The Haryanka dynasty founded in 684 BC ruled Magadha from the city of Rajgriha (modern Rajgir), two well known kings were Bimbisara and his son Ajatashatru who imprisoned his own father to get the throne. Ajatashatru founded the city of Pataliputra which later became the capital of Magadha. He declared war and conquered Vajji another powerful Mahajanapada north of Ganges with their capital at Vaishali. Vaishali was ruled by Licchvi who had a republic form of government where king was elected from the number of rajas. Haryanka Dynasty was followed by Shishunaga dynasty and later Nanda Dynasty replaced them with a vast empire from Bengal to Punjab.The Nanda Empire was replaced by Maurya Empire. India’s first empire, the Maurya empire as well as Buddhism arose from the region that now makes up modern Bihar. The Mauryan empire, which originated from Magadha in 325 BC, was started by Chandragupta Maurya who was born in Magadha, and had its capital at Pataliputra (modern Patna). The Mauryan Emperor, Ashoka, who was born in Pataliputra (Patna) is believed to be one of the greatest rulers in the history of India and the world.
Bihar remained an important place of culture and education during the next 1000 years. The Gupta Empire that originated from Magadha in 240 AD is referred as the Golden Age of India in science, mathematics, astronomy, commerce, religion and Indian philosophy. Bihar and Bengal was invaded by Rajendra Chola I of the Chola dynasty in the 11th century.
The Buddhism in Magadha declined completely with the invasion of Muhammad Bin Bakhtiar Khilji, during which many of the viharas and the famed universities of Nalanda and Vikramshila were destroyed, and thousands of Buddhist monks were massacred during 12th century. D. N. Jha suggests, instead, that these incidents were the result of Buddhist-Brahmin skirmishes in a fight for supremacy. In 1540 the great Pathan of Bihar, Sher Shah Suri, from Sasaram, Bihar, took the reins of North-India. He was the first person who defeated the Mughals and army of Humayun, making Delhi as his capital. The Mughals had to leave India during his rule.
After the Battle of Buxar (1764), the British East India Company obtained the diwani rights (rights to administer, and collect revenue or tax) for Bihar, Bengal and Odisha. The rich resources of fertile land, water and skilled labour had attracted the foreign imperialists, particularly the Dutch and British, in the 18th century. A number of Agrio based industries had been started in Bihar by the foreign entrepreneurs. Bihar remained a part of the Bengal Presidency of British India until 1912, when the province of Bihar and Orissa was carved out as a separate province. Since 2010, Bihar has celebrated its birthday as Bihar Diwas on 22 March. According to Bihar Vibhuti Vol 111 published by Bihar govt. archives, South Asian History & culture published from London & Vision & Mission Manohar Delhi Veteran Freedom Fighter Dr. Maghfoor Ahmad Ajazi vehemently opposed Two Nation theory of Jinnah & creation of Pakistan. All India Jamhur Muslim League was formed parallel to Muslim league to oppose Jinnah, with Raja of Mahmoodabad as president & Dr. Ajazi as general secretary.
Pre and Post Independence
Farmers in Champaran had revolted against indigo cultivation in 1914 (at Pipra) and 1916 (Turkaulia). In April 1917, Mahatma Gandhi visited Champaran, where Raj Kumar Shukla had drawn his attention to the exploitation of the peasants by European indigo planters. The Champaran Satyagraha that followed received support from many Bihari nationalists, such as Rajendra Prasad and Anugrah Narayan Sinha.
In the northern and central regions of Bihar, the Kisan Sabha (peasant movement) was an important consequence of the Freedom Movement. It began in 1929 under the leadership of Swami Sahajanand Saraswati who formed the Bihar Provincial Kisan Sabha (BPKS), to mobilize peasant grievances against the zamindari attacks on their occupancy rights. The movement intensified and spread from Bihar across the rest of India, culminating in the formation of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) at the Lucknow session of the Indian National Congress in April 1936, where Saraswati was elected as its first president. This movement aimed at overthrowing the feudal zamindari system instituted by the British. It was led by Saraswati and his followers Pandit Yamuna Karjee, Rahul Sankrityayan, Pandit Karyanand Sharma, Baba Nagarjun and others. Bihar played a very important and vital role in the Independence of India. Much revolutionary activity took place in Bihar during the movement for Indian independence, and Champaran, especially, figured largely in that movement. MK Gandhi and many other leaders of the independence movement held marches and rallies in Bihar. Babu Kunwar Singh of Jagdishpur is the most famous independence activist of Bihar.
Bihari migrant workers have faced violence and prejudice in many parts of India, such as Maharashtra, Punjab and Assam after independence.
Geography and Climate of Bihar
Bihar has a diverse climate. Its temperature is subtropical in general, with hot summers and cool winters. Bihar is a vast stretch of fertile plain. It is drained by the Ganges River, including its northern tribute aries Gandak and Koshi, originating in the Nepal Himalayas and the Bagmati originating in the Kathmandu Valley that regularly flood parts of the Bihar plains. The total area covered by the state of Bihar is 94,163 km2 (36,357 sq mi). The state is located between 24°-20′-10″ N ~ 27°-31′-15″ N latitude and between 83°-19′-50″ E ~ 88°-17′-40″ E longitude. Its average elevation above sea level is 173 feet (53 m).
The Ganges divides Bihar into two unequal halves and flows through the middle from west to east. Other Ganges tributaries are the Son, Budhi Gandak, Chandan, Orhani and Phalgu. Though the Himalayas begin at the foothills, a short distance inside Nepal and to the north of Bihar, the mountains influence Bihar’s landforms, climate, hydrology and culture. Central parts of Bihar have some small hills, for example the Rajgir hills. To the south is the Chota Nagpur plateau, which was part of Bihar until 2000 but now is part of a separate state called Jharkhand.
Bihar is very cold in the winter, with the lowest temperatures being in the range from 0–10 °C (32–50 °F). Winter months are December and January. It is hot in the summer, with average highs around 35–40 °C (95–104 °F).
• November to March – Winter Season
• March to June – Hot Winter
• June to September – Rainy