Bihar :As old as civilisation itself

Bihar is as old as civilisation itself. It is glorious, colourful and ancient a land. Here lived the mythological king Janaka of Videha, vedic period Rishi Yangyabalka, Ramayan famed Maharshi Valmiki and Kautilya, the author of Arthashastra, the first treatise on modern economics. This had been the land where great religious leaders like Buddha, Mahavir and Nanak were born and great kings like Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka and Sher Sah ruled. Here in the land flourished the ancient seats of learning - Nalanda and Vikramshila. `Ahimsa' was propagated from here and Gandhiji launched his civil-disobedience movement against the mighty British. This is the land of great Madhubani paintings, enchanting Sujuni work, Bhagalpuri silks and plenty of delicious Leechies and Mangoes.

Located in the central and lower Gangetic plateau in the North-eastern Sector of India the State is surrounded by The Himalayan land of Nepal in North, Uttar Pradesh in the West and the newly formed Jharkhand State in South and East.

The name Bihar is perhaps a derivative of the Buddhist word "Vihar" which finds mention in Nawakat-E-Nasiri of 1263 and also in Kirtilata of the great poet Vidyapati in 1390.

Ancient Bihar comprised of independent States like Magadha, Anga, Baishali, Mithila etc., which had shaped the socio-cultural heritage of India. But, it is Brihadratha, the Magadha King first established the Magadha empire in the region which in course of history came to be known as Bihar.

The Sisunagas followed the Magadha Kings around 6th century B.C. Bimbisar and his son Ajatsatru annexed Anga and expanded the kingdom upto Punjab. In order to be away from the Baishali State, they erected their Capital at the confluence of the Ganges and Sone river in Pataligram which was known as Puspapur or Pataliputra. If Sisunag kings strengthened Magadha empire, it is the Maurya and Gupta kings made ancient Bihar a prosperous and enlightened State as known from the history.

With the fall of Gupta dynasty to the invaders from the middle east during 7th ,8th century, Bihar lost its past glory and it no longer remained as the political and cultural centre of India. Pataliputra, Munger were annexed by the Pal Kings of Bengal. Gaya, Bhagalpur, Rohtas etc. became small independent States. The mighty Magadh empire disintegrated. Bakhtiar Khilji captured Bihar from the Pal kings, but it was difficult for Delhi Sultanate to administer. Bihar continued to be under provincial administration except during the period of Sher Shah.

It is Akbar, the great Mughal emperor during 1575-76 annexed Bihar and Bengal to his empire and gave Bihar a stable administration making it a part of Bengal. However, with the decline of Mughal empire, Bihar passed into the hands of Nawabs of Bengal.
With the rise of British ascendancy in Bengal during 1757-65, Bihar's political life was much influenced. Jharkhand, Singhbhum, Santhal Praganas remained away from the local politics. The tribal chiefs remained independent of Muslim Subedars. At this juncture Lord Clive arrived at Patna in 1757 and in the decisive war of Buxar in 1765 the Dewani of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa was granted to the East India Company by the Mughal emperor Shah Alam.

However the people of Bihar never accepted the British. The Santhal Pragana revolt of 1781-82, the Hoj agitation of 1820-21, Kol agitation of 1831-33, finally shaped into the revolt of 1857 led by Kunwar Singh. This was the beginning of national freedom movement in India.

Formation of Brahma-Samaj in 1868, publication of Bihar Times in 1894 demanding a separate State regulated further the political course in Bihar.
Sh. Satchidanand Sinha was selected to the central legislative council in 1910. In December, 1911 Bihar & Orissa was made separate from Bengal but in 1912 Bihar State was first formed. Orissa ceded away from Bihar on 1st April, 1936 under the Govt. of India Act, 1935 as an independent separate State. At independence in 1947, earstwhile Bihar province formed the State of Bihar and underwent geographical changes during 1956 with 4 Provinces and 17 Districts, which were further changed to 5 Provinces and 33 Districts during 1972-73. With formation of Jharkhand state on 14th November, 2000 the state again had undergone changes in its boundary.

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