Bihar

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Bihar
बिहार
بہار
State
Official seal of Bihar
Seal
Location of Bihar in India
Location of Bihar in India
Coordinates (Patna): 25°22′N 85°08′E / 25.37°N 85.13°E / 25.37; 85.13Coordinates: 25°22′N 85°08′E / 25.37°N 85.13°E / 25.37; 85.13
Country  India
Regions Angika, Bhojpur, Magadh, Mithila
Divisions

Patna, Bhagalpur, Saran, Darbhanga, Kosi, Purnia, Tirhut

, Munger, Magadh
Established 1912 as Bihar and Orissa Province
1936 as Bihar
Capital Patna
Largest cities Patna, Gaya, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Purnia
Districts 38 total
Government
 • Body Government of India, Government of Bihar
 • Governor D. Y. Patil
 • Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (JDU)
 • Legislature Bicameral (243 + 75 seats)
 • Parliamentary constituency 40
 • High Court Patna High Court
Area
 • Total 94,163 km2 (36,357 sq mi)
Area rank 12th
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 103,804,637
 • Rank 3rd
 • Density 1,102/km2 (2,850/sq mi)
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
UN/LOCODE INBR
ISO 3166 code IN-BR
Vehicle registration BR
HDI Increase 0.41[2] (low)
HDI rank 21st (2011)
Literacy 63.82% (28th)
73.4% (male)
53.3% (female)
Official language(s) Hindi, Urdu
Website gov.bih.nic.in

Bihar (/bɨˈhɑr/; Hindustani pronunciation: [bɪˈɦaːr]) is a state in eastern India.[3][4] It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at 38,202 sq mi (98,940 km2) and 3rd largest by population. It is bounded by Uttar Pradesh to its west, Nepal to the north, Northern part of West Bengal to the east and by Jharkhand to the south. The Bihar plain is divided into two parts by the river Ganges which flows through the middle from west to east.[5] Bihar has forest area of 6,764.14 km2,[6] which is 7.2% of its geographical area. In 2000, Bihar was subdivided, the southern part becoming the state of Jharkhand. Close to 85% of the population lives in villages. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25,[7] which is the highest proportion in India.

Ancient Bihar was a centre of power, learning and culture in ancient and classical India.[8] From Magadha arose India's first and greatest empire, the Maurya empire as well as one of the world's most widely adhered-to religions, Buddhism.[9] Magadha empires, notably under the Maurya and Gupta dynasties, unified large parts of South Asia under a central rule.[10] Its capital Patna, earlier known as Pataliputra, was an important centre of Indian civilization. Close to Patna, Nalanda and Vikramshila were centres of learning established in the 5th and 8th century respectively in Bihar, and are counted as one of the oldest international universities of the time.

Since the late 1970s, Bihar lagged behind other Indian states in social and economic development terms.[11][12][13] Economists and social scientists claimed that this is a direct result of the policies of the central government, such as the Freight equalization policy,[14][15] its apathy towards Bihar,[7][16][17] lack of Bihari sub-nationalism (resulting in no spokesperson for the state),[15][18][19] and the Permanent Settlement of 1793 by the British East India Company.[15] The state government has however made significant strides in developing the state.[20] The improved governance has led to an economic revival[21] in the state through increased investment in infrastructure, better health care facilities, greater emphasis on education, and a diminution in crime and corruption.[22][23] Indian[24] Global business and economic leaders feel that Bihar now has good opportunity to sustain its growth and thus they have shown interest in investing in the state.[25][26] Additionally, for the period 2011–2012, Bihar was also India's fastest growing state, with a growth rate of 13.1% for the year 2011–12, which had followed a growth rate of 14.8% for the previous year.[27] Bihar has managed to record 11.95% annual growth rate, the highest among all the states, during the 11th Plan period.[28]

Indians of Bihari origins are commonly found in the Indian Diaspora, most notably in Mauritius where 64% of the population is of Bihari origins due to the massive influx of Indentured Labourers brought to the island by the British Administration at the end of the 19th Century

Etymology[edit]

The Mahabodhi Temple, among the four holy sites related to the life of the Lord Buddha and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The name Bihar is derived from the Sanskrit and Pali word, Vihara (Devanagari: विहार), which means "abode". The region roughly encompassing the present state was dotted with Buddhist vihara, the abodes of Buddhist monks in the ancient and medieval periods. Medieval writer Minhaj al-Siraj Juzjani records in the Tabakat-i-Nasiri that in 1198 AD, Bakhtiyar Khalji committed a massacre in a town now known as Bihar Sharif, about 70 km away from Bodh Gaya.[29][30] Later, Bakhtiyar learned that the town was a college, and the word for college is bihar.

History[edit]

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 684BC 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 Patliputra as his new capital. 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, who was born in Patliputra (Patna) is believed to be one of the greatest rulers in the history of India and the world.[31][32]

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 to as the Golden Age of India in science, mathematics, astronomy, commerce, religion and Indian philosophy.[33] During Gupta Rule, India was called the "Golden Bird". The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the pursuit of scientific and artistic endeavours, as well as a very strong powerful global economy. Historians place the Gupta dynasty alongside the Han Dynasty, Tang Dynasty and Roman Empire as a model of a classical civilisation. The capital of Gupta empire was Pataliputra, present day Patna. The Vikramshila and Nalanda universities were among the oldest and best centres of education in ancient India. Some writers believe the period between 400 AD and 1,000 AD saw gains by Hinduism at the expense of Buddhism.[34][35][36][37] The Hindu kings gave many grants to the Buddhist monks for building Brahmaviharas.[citation needed] Bihar and Bengal was invaded by Rajendra Chola I of the Chola dynasty in the 11th century.[38][39]

The Buddhism of Magadha was swept away by the invasion under 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 in 12th century.[40][41][42][43][44][45] 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. Sher Shah is considered as one of the most progressive emperors during the Mughal era. He made several economic changes, infrastructural improvement, highways (the famous Grand Trunk road), establishment of the Rupiya (current Indian currency), and modern post offices, policing, community and free kitchens. The administrative reforms and social engineering ventures influenced the Mughal mindset of ruling in India under Akbar. Protocols of governance set by Sher Shah (Sher Khan) were to become the standard of governance, which along with exemplary management skills, influenced the future of the Mughal Empire, and were the impetus for Akbar to copy Sher Shah's model of administration, despite the fact that they were rivals.[citation needed]

In a freak accident, while cleaning a gun, Sher Shah was killed. His nephew Adil Shah Suri was named sultan, and appointed Hemu Vikramaditya as his prime minister and Army commander. Hemu fought and won twenty-two battles against Afghan rebels and Akbar's forces at Agra and Delhi. Hemu, who was given the title of 'Samrat' at Purana Quila, Delhi was then known as 'Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya'. Hemu lost his life while fighting 'Second Battle of Panipat' against Akbar on 7 November 1556. Between 1557 and 1576, Akbar, the Mughal emperor, annexed Bihar and Bengal.[46]

The tenth and the last Guru of Sikhism, Guru Gobind Singh was born in Patna. 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.[47] In 1935, certain portions of Bihar were reorganised into the separate province of Orissa.[citation needed]

(Sitting left to right) Rajendra Prasad and Anugrah Narayan Sinha during Mahatma Gandhi's 1917 Champaran Satyagraha

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.[48][49]

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 mobilise 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.[50] This movement aimed at overthrowing the feudal zamindari system instituted by the British.[clarification needed] It was led by Saraswati and his followers Pandit Yamuna Karjee, Rahul Sankrityayan, Pandit Karyanand Sharma, Baba Nagarjun and others. Pandit Yamuna Karjee along with Rahul Sankritayan and a few others started publishing a Hindi weekly Hunkar from Bihar, in 1940.[citation needed] Hunkar later became the mouthpiece of the peasant movement and the agrarian movement in Bihar and was instrumental in spreading it.[citation needed]

On 15 January 1934, Bihar was devastated by an earthquake of magnitude 8.4. Some 10,000 people were said to have died in the quake.

A book titled Bihar: The Heart of India was authored by Sir John Wardle Houlton and the book was published by Orient Longmans Ltd in 1949.[51][52][53] Another book titled Bihar Breakthrough: The turnaround of a beleaguered state was penned down by Rajesh Chakrabarti,a policy academic at the Indian School of Business in 2013.[51][54][55][56]

The state of Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar on 15 November 2000.[57]

Bihari migrant workers have faced violence and prejudice in many parts of India, such as Maharashtra, Punjab and Assam.[58][59]

Contributions of Bihar in Independence of India[edit]

Bihar played a very important and vital role in the Independence of India. Many revolution took place in Bihar during the Freedom Movement of India. Champaran is one of biggest places of Freedom Movement in India. MK Gandhi and many big leaders of the freedom movement have done some march and rallies at Bihar. Babu Kunwar Singh of Jagdishpur is named as most incredible freedom fighter of Bihar.

Geography and climate[edit]

River Map of Bihar
Mountain of Ashrams, near Sena Village, at Buddha Gaya
Flooded farmlands in northern Bihar during the 2008 Bihar flood


Climate
Classification ETh
Avg. temperature 27 °C (81 °F)
• Summer 34 °C (93 °F)
• Winter 10 °C (50 °F)
Precipitation 1,200 mm (47 in)


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 tributaries 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).

Flora and fauna[edit]

Bauhinia acuminata, locally known as Kachnaar

Bihar has notified forest area of 6,764.14 km2 (2,612 sq mi), which is 7.2% of its geographical area.[6] The sub Himalayan foothill of Someshwar and the Dun ranges in the Champaran district are another belt of moist deciduous forests. These also consist of scrub, grass and reeds. Here the rainfall is above 1,600 millimetres (63 in) and thus promotes luxuriant Sal forests in the area. The most important trees are Shorea Robusta, Sal Cedrela Toona, Khair, and Semal. Deciduous forests also occur in the Saharsa and Purnia districts.[60] 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 the common flora across the forest of Bihar.

The Ganges River dolphins, or "sois" are found in the Ganges and Brahmaputra. This river dolphin is the national aquatic animal of India. It is now considered amongst the most endangered mammals of the region. The dolphins range from 2.3 to 2.6 meters in length. They have impaired vision due to the muddy river water but use sonar signals to navigate.Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary, near Bhagalpur is set up to ensure the protection of this species.

Valmiki National Park, West Champaran district, covering about 800 km2 (309 sq mi) of forest, is the 18th Tiger Reserve of India and is ranked fourth in terms of density of tiger population.[61] It has a diverse landscape, sheltering rich wildlife habitats and floral and faunal composition, along with the prime protected carnivores.

Demographics[edit]

Atr the 2001 Census, Bihar was the third most populated state of India with total population of 82,998,509 (43,243,795 male and 39,754,714 female).[1][63] Nearly 85% of Bihar's population lived in rural areas. Almost 58% of Biharis were below 25 years age, which is the highest in India. The density was 881. The sex ratio was 919 females per 1000 males. Mostly, Biharis belong to Indo-Aryan, Indo-Scythian and Indo-Hephthalites stock, who shares common genetic lineage with Central Asian and Eurasian population along with few Mongolo-Dravidian and Austroasiatic people mostly in Chhotanagpur Plateau (now part of Jharkhand). Since ancient times, Bihar has attracted migrants and settlers including Bengalis, Turks from Central Asia, Persians, Afghans and Punjabi Hindu refugees during the Partition of British India in 1947.[64] Bihar has a total literacy rate of 63.82% (75.7% for males and 55.1% for females), recording a growth of 20% in female literacy over the period of a decade.[65][66]
At the 2011 census, the density has surpassed 1,000 per square kilometre, making Bihar India's densest-populated state, but is still lower than West Java or Banten of Indonesia.

Symbols of India
Animal
GaurLyd2.png
Gaur
Bird House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)- Male in Kolkata I IMG 5904.jpg House Sparrow
Flower
Bauhinia Acuminata.jpg
Kanchnar
Tree Pipal.jpg Peepal

Government and administration[edit]

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

The head of the bureaucracy of the State is the Chief Secretary. Under this position, is a hierarchy of officials drawn from the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service, and different wings of the State Civil Services. The judiciary is headed by the Chief Justice. Bihar has a High Court which has been functioning since 1916. All the branches of the government are located in the state capital, Patna.

The state is divided into nine divisions and 38 districts, for administrative purposes. The various districts included in the divisions – Patna, Tirhut, Saran, Darbhanga, Kosi, Purnia, Bhagalpur, Munger and Magadh Division, are as listed below.

District map of Bihar
Division Headquarters Districts
Bhagalpur Bhagalpur Banka, Bhagalpur
Darbhanga Darbhanga Begusarai, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Samastipur
Kosi Saharsa Madhepura, Saharsa, Supaul
Magadh Gaya Arwal, Aurangabad, Gaya, Jehanabad, Nawada
Munger Munger Jamui, Khagaria, Munger, Lakhisarai, Sheikhpura
Patna Patna Bhojpur, Buxar, Kaimur, Patna, Rohtas, Nalanda
Purnia Purnia Araria, Katihar, Kishanganj, Purnia
Saran Chapra Gopalganj, Saran, Siwan
Tirhut Muzaffarpur East Champaran, Muzaffarpur, Sheohar, Sitamarhi, Vaishali, West Champaran

Politics[edit]

See also: Political parties in Bihar, Elections in Bihar and List of politicians from Bihar
Krishna Sinha (right) with Anugrah Narayan Sinha during swearing-in ceremony of independent Bihar's first government on 15 August 1947

The first Bihar ministry during British regime from 1 April 1937 to 19 July 1937 was led by Premier Mohammad Yunus .The second Bihar ministry in 1937 and the first, second Bihar governments after Independence were led by Sri Krishna Sinha and Anugrah Narayan Sinha. Subsequently, Bihar gained an anti-establishment image and it was often projected as prone to low discipline and anarchy.[citation needed] Caste-based politics came to the fore, with power initially being in the hands of the Yadavs, Bhumihar Brahmin, Rajput, Kayastha and Brahmin communities.[citation needed] For two decades, the Indian National Congress governed the state hand-in-glove with the central government of Indira Gandhi.[citation needed] It was at this time that Chandrashekhar Singh became chief minister and politicians such as Satyendra Narain Sinha deserted Congress for the Janata Party due to ideological differences.[citation needed] There were occasional breaks in Congress governance, as in 1977.[citation needed] In between, the socialist movement tried to break the stranglehold of the status quo under the leadership of Mahamaya Prasad Sinha and Karpoori Thakur. This did not flourish, partly due to the impractical idealism of these leaders and partly due to the machinations of the central leaders of the Congress Party who felt threatened by a large politically aware state.[citation needed]

Janata Dal came to power in the state in 1990 on the back of its victory at the national stage in 1989.[citation needed] Lalu Prasad Yadav became Chief Minister after defeating Ram Sundar Das, a former chief minister from the Janata Party and a protege of upper caste Janata stalwarts.[citation needed] Yadav gained support among the masses through a series of popular and populist measures.[citation needed] Socialists such as Nitish Kumar disassociated themselves from Yadav, who by 1995 was both chief minister and president of his party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).[citation needed] Yadav was later subject to various charges of corruption leading him to quit the post of chief minister. Soon after his wife Rabri Devi was elected in his place.[citation needed] The administration is believed to have deteriorated during this period.[citation needed]

By 2004, 14 years after Yadav's victory, The Economist magazine said that "Bihar [had] become a byword for the worst of India, of widespread and inescapable poverty, of corrupt politicians indistinguishable from mafia-dons they patronize, caste-ridden social order that has retained the worst feudal cruelties".[68] In 2005, the World Bank believed that issues faced by the state were "enormous" because of "persistent poverty, complex social stratification, unsatisfactory infrastructure and weak governance".[69]

In 2005, as disaffection mounted, the RJD was voted out of power and replaced by a coalition headed by his former ally, Nitish Kumar.[citation needed]

Currently, there are two main political formations: the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) which comprises Janata Dal, Bharatiya Janata Party and the RJD-led coalition which also has the Indian National Congress. There are myriad other political formations. Ram Vilas Paswan led Lok Janshakti Party is a constituent of the UPA at the center. The Communist Party of India had a strong presence in Bihar at one time, but is weakened now. The CPM and Forward Bloc have a minor presence, along with the other extreme Left.[citation needed]

In the 2010 state elections Bihar's current Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led government won 206 seats out of 243 seats.[citation needed] In contrast to prior governments, which emphasised divisions of caste and religion, Kumar's manifesto was based on economic development, curbs on crime and corruption and greater social equality for all sections of society. This was the at the time of election and immediately afterwards. Since 2010, the government has confiscated the properties of corrupt officials and redeployed them as schools buildings.[70] Simultaneously they introduced Bihar Special Court Act to curb crime.[71] It has also legislated for a two-hour break on Fridays, including lunch, to enable Muslim employees to pray and thus cut down on post-lunch absenteeism by them.[72]

Economy[edit]

Year Gross State Domestic Product
(millions of Indian Rupees)[73]
1980
73,530
1985
142,950
1990
264,290
1995
244,830
2000
469,430
2005
710,060
[74]
Bihar accounts for 71% of India's annual litchi production.[75]
A village market

Gross state domestic product of Bihar for the year 2011/2012 has been around 2622.30 billion INR. By sectors, its composition is:

Agriculture = 22%
Industry = 5%
Services = 73%.

The economy of Bihar is largely service-oriented, but it has a significant agricultural base. The state also has a small industrial sector. More recently, Bihar's state GDP recorded a very high growth (in the excess of 10%), making Bihar the fastest growing major state of India.

Agriculture[edit]

Bihar lies in the riverine plain of the Ganga basin area and is endowed with fertile Gangetic alluvial soil with abundant water resources, particularly ground water resources. This makes Bihar's agriculture rich and diverse, although it has never reached its full potential.[citation needed] Rice, wheat, and maize are the major cereal crops of Bihar, while arhar urad, moong, gram, peas, lentils, and khesaria are some of the pulses[clarification needed] crop cultivated in Bihar. Bihar is the largest producer of vegetables,[citation needed] especially potatoes, onions, brinzle, and cauliflower. In fruit cultivation, it is the largest producer of litchi, the third largest producer of pineapples[citation needed] and a major producer of mangoes, bananas, and guava. Sugarcane and jute are the other two major cash crops of Bihar.[citation needed]

Industry[edit]

Bihar has a very small industrial base compared to the other Indian states including neighbouring Jharkhand . State of Bihar accounts for nearly about 8.5% of India's population and about 3% of its landmass. In percentage terms of industrial units, Bihar holds only around 1% of factories installed in India. In terms of output value, less than 1% of India's industrial output comes from Bihar. The industrial sector contributes about 5% to the GDP of Bihar, while the share of industrial sector in India's GDP is around 20%. Bihar's industrial sector is dominated by small household and cottage industries. Agro-based industries are major constituents of industrial sector in Bihar.

Bihar has emerged as brewery hub with major domestic and foreign firms setting up production units in the state. Three major firms — United Breweries Group, Danish Brewery Company Carlsberg Group and Cobra Beer — are to set up new units in Patna and Muzaffarpur in 2012.[76]

Bihar has significant levels of production of mango, guava, litchi, pineapple, brinjal, cauliflower, bhindi, and cabbage.[77] Despite the state's leading role in food production, investment in irrigation and other agriculture facilities has been inadequate. Historically, the sugar and vegetable oil industries were flourishing sectors of Bihar. Until the mid-1950s, 25% of India's sugar output was from Bihar. Dalmianagar was a large agro-industrial town. There were attempts to industrialise the state between 1950 and 1980: an oil refinery in Barauni, a motor scooter plant at Fatuha, and a power plant at Muzaffarpur. However, these were forced to shut down due to certain central government policies (like the Freight Settlement Policy) which neutralised the strategic advantages of Bihar. Barauni is still one of the few old industrialised towns in the state. Hajipur, near Patna, remains a major industrial town in the Bihar, linked to the capital city through the Ganges bridge and good road infrastructure.[citation needed]

The state's debt was estimated at 77% of GDP by 2007.[78] The Finance Ministry has given top priority to create investment opportunities for big industrial houses like Reliance Industries. Further developments have taken place in the growth of small industries, improvements in IT infrastructure, the new software park in Patna, and the completion of the expressway from the Purvanchal border through Bihar to Jharkhand. In August 2008, a Patna registered company called the Security and Intelligence Services (SIS) India Limited[79] took over the Australian guard and mobile patrol services business of American conglomerate, United Technologies Corporation (UTC). SIS is registered and taxed in Bihar.[80] The capital city, Patna, is one of the better-off cities in India when measured by per capita income.[81]^ The State Government is setting up an Information Technology (IT) City at Rajgir in Nalanda district.[82] Additionally, India's first Media Hub is also proposed to be set up in Bihar.[83]

Income distribution: north-south divide[edit]

In terms of income, the districts of Patna, Munger and Begusarai were the three best-off out of a total of 38 districts in the state, recording the highest per capita gross district domestic product of INR31,441, INR10,087 and INR9,312, respectively in 2004–05.[84]

Education[edit]

IIT Patna Students carrying the Institute Flag at the annual Inter IIT Sports Meet

Historically, Bihar has been a major centre of learning, home to the ancient universities of Nalanda (established in 450 CE), Odantapurā (established in 550CE) and Vikramshila (established in 783 AD).[85] This tradition of learning may have been had stultified by the period of Turkic invasions c. 1000 CE at which point it is believed major education centres (now maintained by reclusive communities of Buddhist monks removed from the local populace) were put out of operation during the Turkic raids originating from central Asia .[86] The current state of education and research is not satisfactory though the current state government claims big achievements in school education.

Bihar saw a revival of its education system during the later part of the British rule when they established Patna University (established in 1917) which is the seventh oldest university of the Indian subcontinent.[87] Some other centres of high learning established by the British rule are Patna College (established in 1839), Bihar School of Engineering (established in 1900; now known as National Institute of Technology, Patna), Prince of Wales Medical College (1925; now Patna Medical College and Hospital), Science College, Patna (1928) among others.

After independence Bihar lost the pace in terms of establishing a centre of education. Modern Bihar has a grossly inadequate educational infrastructure creating a huge mismatch between demand and supply. This problem further gets compounded by the growing aspirations of the people and an increase in population. The craving for higher education among the general population of Bihar has led to a massive migration of the student community from the state.

Literacy rate from 1951 to 2011[88]
Year Total Males Females
1961 21.95 35.85 8.11
1971 23.17 35.86 9.86
1981 32.32 47.11 16.61
1991 37.49 51.37 21.99
2001 47.53 60.32 33.57
2011 63.82 73.39 53.33

Bihar, with female literacy at 53.3%, is striving to climb as the government has established educational institutions. At the time of independence, women's literacy in Bihar was 4.22%. Bihar has a National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Patna and an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Patna. A recent survey by Pratham[89] rated the absorption of their teaching by the Bihar children better than those in other states.The best talent pool of engineers is in Delhi, Bihar and Jharkhand says the National Employability Report of Engineering Graduates, 2014 [90] by Aspiring Minds, which makes Bihar one of the top three states producing best Engineering Graduates in terms of Quality and Employability [91]

Loknayak Jai Prakash Institute Of Technology

As of December 2013, there are 7 government engineering colleges in public sector and 12 engineering colleges in the private sector in Bihar,besides government aided BIT Patna and Women's Institute of Technology, Darbhanga. The overall annual intake of these technical institutes offering engineering education to students in Bihar is merely 6,200.[92][93] [94] In Bihar, the government colleges are located at Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur, Gaya, Darbhanga, Motihari, Nalanda and Saran (Chhapra). All institutes are recognized by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) affiliated with Aryabhatta Knowledge University (AKU). As it is, the foundation stone of eighth engineering college of the state government,named Ramdhari Singh Dinkar Engineering College was laid on 22 December 2013 at Begusarai,[95][96] while the process to create infrastructure for two new engineering colleges – one each at Madhepura and Sitamarhi — has started.[97][98]

Bihar established several new education institutes between 2006 and 2008. BIT Mesra started its Patna extension center in September 2006. On 8 August 2008, IIT was inaugurated in Patna with students from all over India these are also prominent engineering colleges in Bihar.[99] NSIT opened its new college in Bihta, which is now emerging as a new education hub in Bihar, in 2008.[100][101] BCE, Bhagalpur and MIT, Muzaffarpur National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER)[102] is being set up in Hajipur. On 4 August 2008, National Institute of Fashion Technology Patna was established as ninth such institute in India.[103] Chanakya National Law University a law university and Chandragupt Institute of Management was established in later half of 2008. Steps to revive the ancient Nalanda University as Nalanda International University is being taken; countries like Japan, Korea and China have also taken initiatives. The Aryabhatt Knowledge University in Patna is framed to which all the engineering as well medical colleges are affiliated in Bihar. The A.N. Sinha Institute[104] of Social Studies is a premier research institute in the state.

Bihar is pioneer in the field of yoga with its internationally renowned institute Bihar School of Yoga in Munger.

Bihar e-Governance Services & Technologies (BeST) and the Government of Bihar have initiated a unique program to establish a center of excellence called Bihar Knowledge Center, a finishing school to equip students with the latest skills and customised short-term training programs at an affordable cost. The center aims to attract every youth of the state to hone up their technical, professional and soft skills and prepare them for the present industry requirement/job market.[105]

Bihar also has Central Institute of Plastic Engineering & Technology (CIPET) and Institute of Hotel Management (a Central govt Unit) in Hajipur.

One of India's premier medical institute – AIIMS Patna started functioning in Patna. It is in line with AIIMS, New Delhi.

Culture[edit]

Language and literature[edit]

English (US)

Hindi and Urdu are the official languages of the state (recently Maithili is also included as one of the official languages of the state, although the usage of the language for official purposes is negligible), while the majority of the people speak one of the Bihari languagesMaithili, Angika, Magadhi or Bhojpuri . Presently Bihari languages are considered one of the five subgroups of Hindi; however, Maithili was declared a separate language. However, these are considered to be derived from the language of the erstwhile Magadha state – Magadhi Prakrit, along with Bengali, Assamese, and Oriya. Bhojpuri, a language related to Standard Hindi, is used as a lingua franca and many speak it as their first language throughout the state. A small minority also speak Bengali, mainly in big districts or along the border area with West Bengal. Many Bengali speakers are people from West Bengal or Hindu people from erstwhile East Pakistan who immigrated during the Partition of India in 1947. Though Urdu and Bihari languages may relate to each other, however they are different in many ways. Few words in Bihari language sounds same as they are spoken in Urdu; e.g. Sulf-nazuk in Bihari is Sinf-e-Nazuk in Urdu. Also, masculine and feminine words are often not clear in Bihari language as these are in Urdu.

In spite of the large number of speakers of Bihari languages, they have not been constitutionally recognised in India. Hindi is the language used for educational and official matters in Bihar.[106] These languages were legally absorbed under the subordinate label of 'HINDI' in the 1961 Census. Such state and national politics have created conditions for language endangerment.[107]

The first success for spreading Hindi occurred in Bihar in 1881, when Hindi displaced Urdu as the sole official language of the province and became the first state of India to adopt Hindi. In this struggle between competing Hindi and Urdu, the potential claims of the three large mother tongues in the region – Magahi, Bhojpuri and Maithili were ignored. After independence Hindi was again given the sole official status through the Bihar Official Language Act, 1950.[108] Urdu became the second official language in the undivided State of Bihar on 16 August 1989.

The relationship of Maithili community with Bhojpuri and Magahi communities – the immediate neighbours have been neither very pleasant nor very hostile. Maithili has been the only one among them which has been trying to constantly deny superimposition of Hindi over her identity. As of now Maithili is a separate language that uses Devanagari as the writing script rather than its own script Mithilakshar due to lack of the development of the printing press and also due to ignorance. The other two have given up their claims and have resigned to accept the status of dialects of Hindi.

Urdu is second government language in Bihar which is the mother tongue of Muslims who form about 17% of state's population. Near 25% people in Bihar read and write Urdu. Bihar has produced many Urdu scholars, such as Shaad Azimabadi, Jamil Maz'hari, Khuda Baksh Khan, Maulana Shabnam Kamali, Bismil Azimabadi (poet known for the patriotic ghazal "Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil mein hai"), Kaif Azimabadi, Rasikh Azimabadi, and in these days, Kalim Aajiz.

Arts and crafts[edit]

Madhubani painting by Bharti Dayal

Mithila painting is a style of Indian painting practised in the Mithila Darbhanga, Madhubani region of Bihar, where powdered rice is coloured and is stuck. Tradition states that this style of painting originated at the time of the Ramayana, when King Janak commissioned artists to do paintings at the time of marriage of his daughter, Sita, to Lord Ram. The painting was traditionally done on freshly plastered mud wall of huts, but now it is also done on cloth, handmade paper and canvas. Mithila painting mostly depict men and its association with Nature & scene and deities from ancient epics like Krishna, Ram, Shiva, Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. Natural objects like the sun, the moon, and religious plants like tulsi are also widely painted, along with scenes from the royal court and social events like weddings. Generally no space is left empty. Traditionally, painting was one of the skills that was passed down from generation to generation in the families of the Mithila Region, mainly by women. The painting was usually done on walls during festivals, religious events, and other milestones of the life-cycle such as birth, Upanayanam (Sacred thread ceremony), and marriage. There are many renowned Mithila artists such as Smt Bharti Dayal, Mahasundari Devi, late Ganga devi, late Sita devi & others who have induced an intellectual edge in their paintings. Bharti Dayal is considered as one of the greatest Madhubani painter as her art is a unique amalgamation of Heritage and modernity .

Manjusha Art or Angika Art is an art form of Anga region of Bihar. Notably artist Jahar Dasgupta born in Jamshedpur, Bihar which is presently under state Jharkhand. Manjusha art or Angika Art Originated in AngaPradesh (Present Day Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Tarai area of the Nepal) which was used in Bihula-Vishahri Pooja, celebrated usually in August to please snake gods(Nag). Manjusha Art is one of the very old and historically very important Art which is expression wise not less than Madhubani Art or any art of India. Manjusha Art or Manjusha Kala is often referred to as Snake Paintings by foreigners as swirling snakes in the art depict the central character Bihula’s tale of love and sacrifice. Legends says that five daugheters of Lord Shiva -Maina, Bhawani, Devi, Padma and Jaya known as Bishahari (Meaning Person carrying Poison). They requested to Workship earth Which Shiva granted and This Festival of Bishari started. Manjushas are temple-shaped boxes, Containg 8 -Pillars. They are made of bamboo, jute and paper. They also contains Painting of Gods and Goddesses and Other Characters. These boxes are used in Bishahari puja -A festival Dedicated to Snake God, Celebrated in Bhagalpur, India

A painting of the city of Patna, on the River Ganges, Patna School of Painting

Patna School of Painting or Patna Qalaam, some times also called Company painting, offshoot of the well-known Mughal Miniature School of Painting flourished in Bihar during early 18th to mid-20th century. The practitioners of this art form were descendants of Hindu artisans of Mughal painting who facing persecution from the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb found refuge, via Murshidabad, in Patna during late 18th century. They shared the characteristics of the Mughal painters, but unlike them (whose subjects included only royalty and court scenes), the Patna painters also started painting bazaar scenes. The paintings were executed in watercolours on paper and on mica. Favourite subjects were scenes of Indian daily life, local rulers, and sets of festivals and ceremonies. Most successful were the studies of natural life, but the style was generally of a hybrid and undistinguished quality. It is this school of painting that formed the nucleus for the formation of the Patna Art School under the leadership of Shri Radha Mohan. College of Arts and Crafts, Patna is an important centre of fine arts in Bihar.

Artisans selling their work near GPO Patna.

The artisans of Bihar have been very skilful in creating articles using local materials. Baskets, cups and saucers made from bamboo-strips or cane reed are painted in vivid colours are commonly found in Bihari homes. A special container woven out of Sikki Grass in the north, the "pauti", is a sentimental gift that accompanies a bride when she leaves her home after her wedding. The weavers of Bihar have been practising their trade for centuries. Among their products in common use are the cotton dhurries and curtains. They are produced by artisans in central Bihar, particularly in the Patna and Biharsharif areas. These colourful sheets, with motifs of Buddhist artefacts, pictures of birds, animals, and/or flowers, gently wafting in the air through doors and windows, blown by a cool summer breeze, used to be one of the most soothing sights as one approached a home or an office. Bhagalpur is well known for its seri-culture, manufacture of silk yarn and weaving them into lovely products. It is known as the tussah or tusser silk.

Performing arts[edit]

Magahi folk singers

Bihar has contributed to the Indian (Hindustani) classical music and has produced musicians like Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan, who later migrated out of Bihar. Dhrupad singers like the Malliks (Darbhanga Gharana) and the Mishras (Bettiah Gharana), who were patronised by the Zamindars of Darbhanga and Bettiah respectively, have produced maestros like Ram Chatur Mallik, Abhay Narayan Mallick, Indra Kishore Mishra.

Perhaps, not well acknowledged and commercialised as those from the Dagar school of Dhrupad, they have kept the Dhrupad tradition in perhaps the purest forms. Gaya was another centre of excellence in classical music, particularly of the Tappa and Thumri variety. Pandit Govardhan Mishra, son of the Ram Prasad Mishra, himself, an accomplished singer, is perhaps the finest living exponent of Tappa singing in India today, according to Padmashri Gajendra Narayan Singh, former Chairman of Bihar Sangeet Natak Academy. Gajendra Narayan Singh also writes in his latest book "surile Logon Ki Sangat" that Champanagar, Banaili was another major centre of classical music. Rajkumar Shyamanand Sinha of Champanagar Banaili estate was a great patron of music and himself, was one of the finest exponents of classical vocal music in Bihar in his time. Gajendra Narayan Singh in his other book "Swar Gandh" has written that "Kumar Shyamanand Singh of Banaili estate had such expertise in singing that many great singers including Kesarbai Kerkar were convinced about his prowess in singing. After listening to Bandishes from Kumar Saheb, Pandit Jasraj was moved to tears and lamented that alas! he could have such ability himself" (free translation of Hindi text).

Bihar has a very old tradition of beautiful folk songs, sung during important family occasions, such as marriage, birth ceremonies, festivals, etc. and the most famous folk singer has been Padma Shri Sharda Sinha. They are sung mainly in group settings without the help of many musical instruments like Dholak, Bansuri and occasionally Tabla and Harmonium are used. Bihar also has a tradition of lively Holi songs known as 'Phagua', filled with fun rhythms. During the 19th century, when the condition of Bihar worsened under the British misrule, many Biharis had to migrate as indentured labourers to West Indian islands, Fiji, and Mauritius. During this time many sad plays and songs called biraha became very popular, in the Bhojpur area. Dramas on that theme continue to be popular in the theatres of Patna.

Dance forms of Bihar are another expression of rich traditions and ethnic identity. There are several folk dance forms that can keep one enthralled, such as dhobi nach, jhumarnach, manjhi, gondnach, jitiyanach, more morni, dom-domin, bhuiababa, rah baba, kathghorwa nach, jat jatin, launda nach, bamar nach, jharni, jhijhia, natua nach, nat-natin, bidapad nach, sohrai nach, and gond nach.

Theatre is another form in which the Bihari culture expresses itself. Some forms of theatre with rich traditions are Bidesia, Reshma-Chuharmal, Bihula-Bisahari, Bahura-Gorin, Raja Salhesh, Sama Chakeva, and Dom Kach. These theatre forms originate in the Anga region of Bihar.

Cuisine[edit]

Religion[edit]

Buddha's statue at Bodh Gaya's temple
Vishnupadh Temple, Gaya, Bihar

Gautam Buddha attained Enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, a town located in the modern day district of Gaya in Bihar. Vardhamana Mahavira, the 24th and the last Tirthankara of Jainism, was born in Vaishali around 6th century BC.[109]

A typical Hindu Brahmin household would begin the day with the blowing of a conch shell at dawn.

In rural Bihar, religion is the main component of popular culture. Shrines are located everywhere – even at the foot of trees, roadsides, etc., religious symbols or images of deities can be found in the most obscure or the most public places. From the dashboard of a dilapidated taxi to the plush office of a top executive, holy symbols or idols have their place.

There are many variations on the festival theme. While some are celebrated all over the state, others are observed only in certain areas. However, Bihar is so diverse that different regions and religions have something to celebrate at some time or the other during the year. So festivals take place round the year. Many of these are officially recognised by the days on which they take place being proclaimed as government holidays.

Bihar Regiment[edit]

One of the battle cry of the Bihar Regiment, consisting of 17 battalions, is "Jai Bajrang Bali" (Victory to Lord Hanuman).[110]

Festivals[edit]

The Morning Worship Dala Chhath.

Chhath, also called Dala Chhath, is an ancient and major festival in Bihar, and is celebrated twice a year: once in the summers, called the Chaiti Chhath, and once around a week after Deepawali, called the Kartik Chhath. The latter is more popular because winters are the usual festive season in North India, and Chhath being an arduous observance requiring the worshippers to fast without water for more than 24 hours, is easier to do in the Indian winters. Chhath is the worship of the Sun God. Wherever people from Bihar have migrated, they have taken with them the tradition of Chhath. This is a ritual bathing festival that follows a period of abstinence and ritual segregation of the worshiper from the main household for two days. On the eve of Chhath, houses are scrupulously cleaned and so are the surroundings. The ritual bathing and worship of the Sun God takes place, performed twice: once in the evening and once on the crack of the dawn, usually on the banks of a flowing river, or a common large water body. The occasion is almost a carnival, and besides every worshipper, usually women, who are mostly the main ladies of the household, there are numerous participants and onlookers, all willing to help and receive the blessings of the worshiper. Ritual rendition of regional folk songs, carried on through oral transmission from mothers and mothers-in-law to daughters and daughters-in-law, are sung on this occasion for several days on the go. These songs are a great mirror of the culture, social structure, mythology and history of Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh. Chhath being celebrated at the crack of the dawn is a beautiful, elating spiritual experience connecting the modern Indian to his ancient cultural roots. Chhath is believed to be started by Karna, the king of Anga Desh (modern Bhagalpur region of Bihar).

Among ritual observances, the month-long Shravani Mela, held along a 108-kilometre route linking the towns of Sultanganj and Deoghar (now in Jharkhand state), is of great significance. Shravani Mela is organised every year in the Hindu month of Shravan, that is the lunar month of July–August. Pilgrims, known as Kanwarias, wear saffron coloured clothes and collect water from a sacred Ghat (river bank) at Sultanganj, walking the 108 km (67 mi) stretch barefooted to the town of Deoghar to bathe a sacred ShivaLinga. The observance draws thousands of people to the town of Deoghar from all over India.

Teej and Chitragupta Puja are other local festivals celebrated with fervor in Bihar. Bihula-Bishari Puja is celebrated in the Anga region of Bihar. The Sonepur cattle fair is a month long event starting approximately half a month after Deepawali and is considered the largest cattle fair in Asia. It is held on the banks of the Gandak River in the town of Sonepur. The constraints of the changing times and new laws governing the sale of animals and prohibiting the trafficking in exotic birds and beasts have eroded the once-upon-a-time magic of the fair.

Apart from Chhath, all major festivals of India are celebrated in Bihar, such as Makar Sankranti, Saraswati Puja, Holi, Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha (often called Eid-ul-Zuha in the Indian Subcontinent), Muharram, Ram Navami, Rath yatra, Rakshabandhan, Maha Shivaratri, Durga Puja is celebrated with a grandeur akin to the neighbouring state of Bengal, Diwali, Kali Puja/Shyama Puja/Nisha Puja is celebrated in the Mithilanchal portion, Kojagra is also celebrated in the Mithilanchal region, Laxmi Puja, Christmas, Mahavir Jayanti, Buddha Purnima, Jivitputrika, Chitragupta Puja, Gurpurab, Bhai Dooj and several other local festivals as well.

Cinema[edit]

Bihar has a robust cinema industry for the Bhojpuri language. There are some small Maithili, Angika and Magadhi film industry. First Bhojpuri Film was Ganga Jamuna released in 1961.[111] "Lagi nahin chute ram" was the all-time superhit Bhojpuri film which was released against "Mugle Azam" but was a superhit in all the eastern and northern sector. Bollywood's Nadiya Ke Paar is among the most famous Bhojpuri language movie. The first Maithili movie was Kanyadan released in 1965,[112] of which a significant portion was made in the Maithili language. Bhaiyaa a Magadhi film was released in 1961.[113] Bhojpuri's history begins in 1962 with the well-received film Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo ("Mother Ganges, I will offer you a yellow sari"), which was directed by Kundan Kumar.[114] Throughout the following decades, films were produced only in fits and starts. Films such as Bidesiya ("Foreigner", 1963, directed by S. N. Tripathi) and Ganga ("Ganges", 1965, directed by Kundan Kumar) were profitable and popular, but in general Bhojpuri films were not commonly produced in the 1960s and 1970s.

In the 1980s, enough Bhojpuri films were produced to tentatively make up an industry. Films such as Mai ("Mom", 1989, directed by Rajkumar Sharma) and Hamar Bhauji ("My Brother's Wife", 1983, directed by Kalpataru) continued to have at least sporadic success at the box office. However, this trend faded out by the end of the decade, and by 1990, the nascent industry seemed to be completely finished.[115]

The industry took off again in 2001 with the super hit Saiyyan Hamar ("My Sweetheart", directed by Mohan Prasad), which shot the hero of that film, Ravi Kissan, to superstardom.[116] This success was quickly followed by several other remarkably successful films, including Panditji Batai Na Biyah Kab Hoi ("Priest, tell me when I will marry", 2005, directed by Mohan Prasad) and Sasura Bada Paisa Wala ("My father-in-law, the rich guy", 2005). In a measure of the Bhojpuri film industry's rise, both of these did much better business in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar than mainstream Bollywood hits at the time, and both films, made on extremely tight budgets, earned back more than ten times their production costs.[117] Sasura Bada Paisa Wala also introduced Manoj Tiwari, formerly a well-loved folk singer, to the wider audiences of Bhojpuri cinema. In 2008, he and Ravi Kissan are still the leading actors of Bhojpuri films, and their fees increase with their fame. The extremely rapid success of their films has led to dramatic increases in Bhojpuri cinema's visibility, and the industry now supports an awards show[118] and a trade magazine, Bhojpuri City,[119] which chronicles the production and release of what are now over one hundred films per year. Many of the major stars of mainstream Bollywood cinema, including Amitabh Bachchan, have also recently worked in Bhojpuri films.

Media[edit]

Biharbandhu was the first Hindi newspaper published from Bihar. It was started in 1872 by Madan Mohan Bhatta, a Maharashtrian Brahman settled in Biharsharif.[120] Hindi journalism in Bihar, and specially Patna, could make little headway initially. It was mainly due to lack of respect for Hindi among the people at large. Many Hindi journals took birth and after a lapse of time vanished. Many journals were shelved even in the embryo.[121] But once Hindi enlisted the official support, it started making a dent into the remote areas in Bihar. Hindi journalism also acquired wisdom and maturity and its longevity was prolonged. Hindi was introduced in the law courts in Bihar in 1880.[120][122]

Urdu journalism and poetry has a glorious past in Bihar. Many poets belong to Bihar such as Shaad Azimabadi, Kaif Azimabadi, Kalim Ajiz and many more. Shanurahman, a world famous radio announcer, is from Bihar. Many Urdu dailies such as Qomi Tanzim and Sahara publish from Bihar at this time. There is a monthly Urdu magazine called "VOICE OF BIHAR" – which is the first of its kind and becoming popular among the Urdu speaking people.

The beginning of the 20th century was marked by a number of notable new publications. A monthly magazine named Bharat Ratna was started from Patna in 1901. It was followed by Ksahtriya Hitaishi, Aryavarta from Dinapure, Patna, Udyoga and Chaitanya Chandrika.[123] Udyog was edited by Vijyaanand Tripathy, a famous poet of the time and Chaitanya Chandrika by Krishna Chaitanya Goswami, a literary figures of that time. The literary activity was not confined to Patna alone but to many districts of Bihar.[120][124]

Magahi Parishad, established in Patna in 1952, pioneered Magadhi journalism in Bihar. It started the monthly journal, Magadhi, which was later renamed Bihan.

DD Bihar and ETV Bihar are the television channels dedicated to Bihar. Sahara Samay, Bihar/Jharkhand is the first 24-hour news channel dedicated to Bihar followed by Mahuaa TV, Hamar TV, Sadhna news, Naxatra News Hindi, Bhojpuria TV, Arya TV and Maurya TV. Full-time Maithili Channel, Saubhagya Mithila caters to maithil households in Mithilanchal (India and Nepal. Biharfirst.com is the first 24 hr Internet Infotainment channel launched on Bihar Diwas (100 Years).

Hindustan, Dainik Jagran, Aaj, Nayee Baat and Prabhat Khabar are some of the popular Hindi news papers of Bihar. National English dailies like The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Navbharat Times, The Telegraph and The Economic Times "(Mithila Today)" have readers in the urban regions.

Telecommunications[edit]

Television[edit]

Radio[edit]

Transportation[edit]

Steamers and dredgers at Gai Ghat, Patna.

Bihar has three operational airports : Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Airport, Patna, Gaya Airport, Gaya and Purnea Airport, Purnea. The Patna airport is connected to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Bangaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Ranchi and Kathmandu. Airport at Purnea serves two flight a week to Patna & kolkata. The Purnea Airport is still in developing stage and only chartered flights from Spirit Airways are into service.

The Patna airport is categorised as a restricted international airport, with customs facilities to receive international chartered flights.

The Gaya Airport is an international airport connected to Colombo, Singapore, Bangkok, Paro and more.

Bihar is very well-connected by railway lines to the rest of India. Most of the towns are interconnected, and they are also connected directly to Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai (as well as most other major cities in India). Daily or weekly trains connect Patna and other major cities in Bihar to Dibrugarh, Guwahati, Siliguri in the North East, to Hyderabad, Vizag, Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram in the South, to Nagpur, Raipur, Bhilai, Bhopal and Indore in Central India, and to Goa, Pune, Surat, Baroda, Ahmedabad, Ajmer, Bikaner and Jaipur in Western India. There are also frequent (often multiple daily) connections to several towns in neighbouring Bengal, Orissa, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and to the Northern states of Haryana and Punjab. Patna, Gaya, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Katihar, Barauni, Chhapra, Siwan abd Dehri on Sone are Bihar's best-connected railway stations. Nepal Railways operates two railway lines: a 6 km broad gauge line from Raxaul in India to Sirsiya Inland Container Depot or Dry Port near Birganj in Nepal and a 53 km 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow gauge line from Jaynagar in India to Bijalpura in Nepal. The latter line is composed of two sections: 32 km between Jaynagar and Janakpur and 21 km from Janakpur to Bijalpura. The Janakpur line is used largely for passengers and the Sirsiya (Birganj) line only for cargo freight.

The state has a vast network of National and State highways. East-West corridor goes through the cities of Bihar (Muzaffarpur-Darbhanga-Purnia NH57) 4–6 lanes.

For Buddhist pilgrims, the best option for travel to Bihar is to reach Patna or Gaya, either by air or train, and then travel to Bodh Gaya, Nalanda, Rajgir and Vaishali. Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh also is not very far.

The Ganges – navigable throughout the year – was the principal river highway across the vast north Indo-Gangetic Plain. Vessels capable of accommodating five hundred merchants were known to ply this river in the ancient period; it served as a conduit for overseas trade, as goods were carried from Pataliputra (later Patna) and Champa (later Bhagalpur) out to the seas and to ports in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. The role of the Ganges as a channel for trade was enhanced by its natural links – it embraces all the major rivers and streams in both north and south Bihar.[125]

In recent times, Inland Waterways Authority of India has declared the Ganges between Allahabad and Haldia to be a national inland waterway and has taken steps to restore its navigability.

Tourism[edit]

Trolley ride in Rajgir
Remains of the ancient city of Vaishali

Bihar is one of the oldest inhabited places in the world, with a history spanning 3,000 years.[citation needed] The historically rich culture and heritage of Bihar can be observed from the large number of ancient monuments spread throughout the state. Bihar is visited by many tourists from around the world,[126] with about 24,000,000 (24 million) tourists visiting the state each year.[126]

In earlier days, tourism in the region was purely based on educational tourism, as Bihar was home of some prominent ancient universities like Nalanda University & Vikramaśīla University.[127][128]

Bihar is one of the most sacred place for various religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and Islam. Mahabodhi Temple, a Buddhist shrine and UNESCO World Heritage Site is also situated in Bihar. Mahatma Gandhi Setu, Patna, was one of the longest river bridges in the world in early 80s.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  6. ^ a b "State Profile". Gov. of India. [dead link]
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  11. ^ "Bihar's 'first' Economic Survey Report tabled". The Times of India. 7 March 2007. Retrieved 22 August 2008. 
  12. ^ "Biharis an unwanted lot: Bal Thackeray". The Times of India. 5 March 2008. Retrieved 5 March 2008. 
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Further reading[edit]

  • Radhakanta Barik - Land & Caste Politics in Bihar (Shipra Publications, Delhi, 2006)

External links[edit]