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This article is about State of India. For northern areas, see North Bihar.
For other uses, see Bihar (disambiguation).
State of India
80 Ft Gautam Buddha, Bodh Gaya, Bihar
80 Ft Gautam Buddha, Bodh Gaya, Bihar
Official seal of Bihar
Location of Bihar in India
Location of Bihar in India
Map of Bihar
Map of Bihar
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
Region East India
Bihar Province

1 April 1936

Capital Patna
Largest city Patna
Districts 38
 • Governor Ram Nath Kovind
 • Chief Minister Nitish Kumar
 • Legislature Bicameral
Legislative Council 75
Legislative Assembly 243
 • Parliamentary constituency 40
 • High Court Patna High Court
 • Total 94,163 km2 (36,357 sq mi)
Area rank 13th
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 103,804,637
 • Rank 3rd
 • Density 1,102/km2 (2,850/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Bihari
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
ISO 3166 code IN-BR
Vehicle registration BR
HDI Increase 0.367 (low)
HDI rank 21st (2007-08)
Literacy 63.4% (29th)
73.4% (male)
53.3% (female)
Official language Hindi[2]
Additional official language Urdu[3]
Symbols of Bihar[4]
Animal Ox(बैल)
Bird Sparrow(गौरैया)
Flower Marigold(गेंदा)
Tree Peepal(पीपल)

Bihar (/bɨˈhɑr/; Hindustani pronunciation: [bɪˈɦaːr]) is a state in East India.[5][6] It is the 13th largest state, with an area of 94,163 km2 (36,357 sq mi) and the 3rd largest by population. It is contiguous with Uttar Pradesh to its west, Nepal to the north, the northern part of West Bengal to the east, and with Jharkhand to the south. The Bihar plain is bifurcated by the river Ganges which flows from west to east.[5]

In 2000, southern Bihar was separated from Bihar to form the new state of Jharkhand.[7] Close to 85% of the population lives in villages. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25,[8] which is the highest proportion of youngsters of the population of any state in India. Hindi and Urdu are the official languages of the State.[2][3] Other languages of the state are Bhojpuri, Maithili, Magahi, Bajjika, and Angika, of which only Maithili is recognized by the government of India.[9][10]

Bihar was a centre of power, learning and culture in ancient and classical India.[11] From Magadha arose India's first empire, the Maurya empire, as well as one of the world's most widely adhered-to religions, Buddhism.[12] Magadha empires, notably under the Maurya and Gupta dynasties, unified large parts of South Asia under a central rule.[13]

Since the late 1970s, Bihar has lagged behind other Indian states in terms of its social and economic development.[14][15][16] Economists and social scientists claimed that this is a direct result of the policies of the central government, such as the Freight equalization policy,[17][18] its apathy towards Bihar,[8][19][20] lack of Bihari sub-nationalism (resulting in no spokesperson for the state),[18][21][22] and the Permanent Settlement of 1793 by the British East India Company.[18] The state government has however made significant strides in developing the state.[23] The improved governance has led to an economic revival[24] in the state through increased investment in infrastructure, better health care facilities, greater emphasis on education, and a diminution in crime and corruption.[25][26]


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.[27][28] Later, Bakhtiyar learned that the town was a college, and the word for college is bihar.


Main article: History of Bihar


Different regions of Bihar—such as Magadha, Mithila, Anga, and Vaishali—are mentioned in different religious texts and epics of ancient India. The power centre of ancient Bihar was situated in the region of modern-day southwestern 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). The two well-known kings from this dynasty were Bimbisara and his son Ajatashatru, who imprisoned his own father to ascend 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 its capital at Vaishali. Vaishali was ruled by the Licchvi, who had a republican form of government where the king was elected from the number of rajas. Based on the information found in texts pertaining to both Jainism and Buddhism, Vaishali was established as a republic by the 6th century BCE, prior to the birth of Gautama Buddha in 563 BCE, making it the world's first republic. The Haryanka dynasty was followed by the Shishunaga dynasty, and later the Nanda Dynasty ruled a vast tract stretching from Bengal to Punjab.

The Nanda dynasty was replaced by the Maurya Empire, India's first empire. The Maurya Empire and the religion of Buddhism arose in the region that now makes up modern Bihar. The Mauryan Empire, which originated from Magadha in 325 BC, was founded by Chandragupta Maurya, who was born in Magadha, and it 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 the world.[29][30]

The Gupta Empire, which originated in Magadha in 240 AD is referred as the Golden Age of India in science, mathematics, astronomy, commerce, religion, and Indian philosophy.[31] Bihar and Bengal was invaded by Rajendra Chola I of the Chola dynasty in the 11th century.[32][33]


Buddhism in Magadha went into decline due to the invasion of Muhammad Bin Bakhtiar Khilji, during which many of the viharas and the famed universities of Nalanda and Vikramashila were destroyed, and thousands of Buddhist monks were massacred during 12th century.[34][35][36] D. N. Jha suggests, instead, that these incidents were the result of Buddhist-Brahmin skirmishes in a fight for supremacy.[37] In 1540 the great Pathan chieftain, Sher Shah Suri, from Sasaram, Bihar, took over the reins of North-India from the mughals. He defeated the Mughal army of emperor Humayun and drove the mughals out of India . Sher Shah declared Delhi his capital.

The tenth and the last Guru of Sikhism, Guru Gobind Singh was born in Patna. After the downfall of Mughal Empire, Bihar came under Nawabs of Bengal.

Colonial Era[edit]

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 agriculture-based industries had been started in Bihar by foreign entrepreneurs.[38] 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.[39][better source needed]

Pre- and post-Independence[edit]

(Sitting L to R)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.[40][41]

In the northern and central regions of Bihar, the Kisan Sabha (peasant movement) was an important consequence of the independence 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.[42]

Bihari migrant workers have faced violence and prejudice in many parts of India, such as Maharashtra, Punjab and Assam after independence.[43][44]

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

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.

Flora and fauna[edit]

Bauhinia acuminata, locally known as Kachnaar
Main articles: Flora of Bihar and Fauna of Bihar

Bihar has notified forest area of 6,764.14 km2 (2,612 sq mi), which is 7.2% of its geographical area.[45][not in citation given] 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.[46] Shorea Robusta (sal), Diospyros melanoxylon (kendu), Boswellia serrata (salai), Terminalia tomentose (Asan), Terminalia bellerica (Bahera), Terminalia Arjuna (Arjun), Pterocarpus Marsupium (Paisar), Madhuca indica (Mahua) are the common flora across the forest of Bihar.

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.[47] It has a diverse landscape, sheltering rich wildlife habitats and floral and faunal composition, along with the prime protected carnivores.


Main article: Demographics of Bihar
See also: Bihari people

After 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][49] 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-speaking ethnic groups along with few Dravidian-speaking and Austroasiatic-speaking people mostly in Chhotanagpur Plateau (now part of Jharkhand). It also attracted Punjabi Hindu refugees during the Partition of British India in 1947.[50] 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.[51][52]
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.

Religion in Bihar[53]
Religion Percent

According to the 2011 census, 82.7% of Bihar's population practiced Hinduism, while 16.9% followed Islam.[53]

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.


Main article: Politics of Bihar
See also: Political parties in Bihar, Elections in Bihar and List of politicians from Bihar; Bihar Legislative Assembly election, 2015
Krishna Sinha (right) with Anugrah Narayan Sinha during swearing-in ceremony of independent Bihar's first government on 15 August 1947

By 2004, 14 years after Lalu Prasad 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".[55] 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".[56] Currently, there are two main political formations: the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) which comprises Bharatiya Janata Party, Lok Janashakti Party,and the Rashtriya Lok Samatha Party. RJD-led coalition which includes Janata Dal United and Indian National Congress. There are many other political formations. The Communist Party of India had a strong presence in Bihar at one time, but is weakened now.[57] The CPM and Forward Bloc have a minor presence, along with the other extreme Left.[58]

In contrast to prior governments, which emphasised divisions of caste and religion, Nitish 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.[59] Simultaneously they introduced Bihar Special Court Act to curb crime.[60] 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.[61]


Bihar accounts for 71% of India's annual litchi production.[64]
A village market
Main article: Economy of Bihar

Gross state domestic product of Bihar for the year 2013/2014 has been around 3683.37 billion INR. By sectors, its composition is:

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


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.[65]

Bihar has significant levels of production of mango, guava, litchi, pineapple, brinjal, cauliflower, bhindi, and cabbage.[66]

Hajipur, near Patna, remains a major industrial city in the Bihar, linked to the capital city through the Ganges bridge and good road infrastructure.[67]

The state's debt was estimated at 77% of GDP by 2007.[68] 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[69] took over the Australian guard and mobile patrol services business of American conglomerate, United Technologies Corporation (UTC). SIS is registered and taxed in Bihar.[70] The capital city, Patna, is one of the better-off cities in India when measured by per capita income.[71]^ The State Government is setting up an Information Technology (IT) City at Rajgir in Nalanda district.[72] Additionally, India's first Media Hub is also proposed to be set up in Bihar.[73]

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 31,441, 10,087 and 9,312, respectively in 2004–05.[71]


Main article: Culture of Bihar

Language and literature[edit]

Hindi and Urdu are the official languages of the State.[2][3] Other languages of the state are Bhojpuri (38.5 million speakers), Maithili (25 million), Magahi (20 million), Bajjika (8.7 million), and Angika (0.7 million), of which only Maithili is recognized by the government of India.[9][10]

Urdu—which is the mother tongue of Muslims—is secondary to Hindi in official use. It was only recently that Maithili was also included as one of the state's official languages, although such use of it is negligible. Presently, the Bihari languages are considered one of the five subgroups of Hindi by the government of India, although Maithili was declared a separate language. Bihari languages are considered to be derived from the language of the erstwhile Magadha state, Magadhi Prakrit, along with Assamese, Bengali, and Odia. Surajpuri is spoken in northeastern districts such as Kishanganj.

Performing arts[edit]

See also: Music of Bihar
Magahi folk singers

Gaya is another centre of excellence in classical music, particularly of the Tappa and Thumri varieties. 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 Padma Shri Gajendra Narayan Singh, founding secretary of the Sangeet Natak Academi of Bihar. Gajendra Narayan Singh also writes, in his memoir, that Champanagar, Banaili, was another major centre of classical music. Rajkumar Shyamanand Sinha of Champanagar, Banaili princely state, was a great patron of music and was himself one of the finest exponents of classical vocal music in Bihar in his time.[74] Singh, in another book on Indian classical music, has written that "Kumar Shyamanand Singh of Banaili estate had such expertise in singing that many great singers including Kesarbai Kerkar acknowledged his ability. After listening to bandishes from Kumar Sahib, Pandit Jasraj was moved to tears and lamented that, alas!, he did not have such ability himself." [free translation of Hindi text].[75][76]

During the 19th century, when the condition of Bihar worsened under the British misrule, many Biharis had to emigrate as indentured labourers to the West Indies, Fiji, and Mauritius. During this time many sad plays and songs called birha became popular, in the Bhojpur area, thus Bhojpuri Birha. Dramas incorporating this theme continue to be popular in the theatres of Patna.[77]


Main article: Cinema of Bihar

Bihar has a robust Bhojpuri-language film industry. There is also a smaller production of Magadhi-, Maithili-, as well as Angika-language films. The first film with Bhojpuri dialog was Ganga Jamuna, released in 1961.[78] Bhaiyaa, the first Magadhi film, was released in 1961.[79] The first Maithili movie was Kanyadan released in 1965,[80] of which a significant portion was made in the Maithili language.

The history of films entirely in Bhojpuri 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.[81] 1963's Lagi nahin chute ram was the all-time hit Bhojpuri film, and had higher attendance than Mughal-e-Azam in the eastern and northern regions of India. Bollywood's Nadiya Ke Paar is another of the most famous Bhojpuri-language movies. However, in the following years, 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 support a dedicated 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.[82]

The Bhojpuri film industry took off again in 2001 with the super hit Saiyyan Hamar ("My Sweetheart", directed by Mohan Prasad), which vaulted the hero of that film, Ravi Kissan, to superstardom.[83] 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.[84] Sasura Bada Paisa Wala also introduced Manoj Tiwari, formerly a well-loved folk singer, to the wider audiences of Bhojpuri cinema. The success of Ravi Kishan & Manoj Tiwari's films has led to a dramatic increase in Bhojpuri cinema's visibility, and the industry now supports an awards show[85] and a trade magazine, Bhojpuri City,[86] which chronicles the production and release of what are now over one hundred films per year.


Main article: Religion in Bihar

Gautam Buddha attained Enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, a town located in the modern day district of Gaya in Bihar. Vasupujya, the 12th Jain Tirthankara was born in Champapuri, Bhagalpur. Vardhamana Mahavira, the 24th and the last Tirthankara of Jainism, was born in Vaishali around the 6th century BC.[87]


Main article: Media in Bihar

Biharbandhu was the first Hindi newspaper published in Bihar. It was started in 1872 by Madan Mohan Bhatta, a Maharashtrian Brahman who settled in Biharsharif.[88] Hindi journalism in Bihar, and specially Patna, could make little headway initially, because of a lack of respect for Hindi among the people at large. Many Hindi journals were born and, after a lapse of time, vanished. Many journals were shelved even in the planning stages.[89] But once Hindi had the support of being an official language, it started making inroads, even into the remote areas of Bihar. Hindi journalism acquired wisdom and maturity, and its longevity was assured. Hindi was introduced in the law courts in Bihar in 1880.[88][90]

Urdu journalism and poetry has a glorious past in Bihar. Many poets belong to Bihar, such as Shaad Azimabadi, Kaif Azimabadi, and Kalim Ajiz. Shanurahman, a world famous radio announcer, is from Bihar. Many Urdu dailies— such as Qomi Tanzim and Sahara—are published in Bihar. There is a monthly Urdu magazine called Voice of Bihar – which is the first of its kind and is 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 in Patna, in 1901. It was followed by Ksahtriya Hitaishi, Aryavarta from Dinapure, Udyoga, and Chaitanya Chandrika.[91] Udyog was edited by Vijyaanand Tripathy, a famous poet of the time, and Chaitanya Chandrika by Krishna Chaitanya Goswami, a literary figure of that time. The literary activity was not confined to Patna alone but to other districts of Bihar.[88][92]

Hindustan, Dainik Jagran, Aaj, Nayee Baat and Prabhat Khabar are some of the Hindi newspapers of Bihar. National English dailies like The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Navbharat Times, The Telegraph, and The Economic Times have readers in the urban regions.


Main article: Transport in Bihar
Map showing national inland waterways-1 and various river ports or terminals along its stretch.
Patna river port on national inland waterways-1 at Gai Ghat
Steamers and dredgers at Gai Ghat, Patna


Bihar has three operational airports at Patna, Gaya Airport, and Purnea Airport. The Patna airport is categorised as a restricted international airport, with customs facilities to receive international chartered flights.

Inland Waterways[edit]

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.[93]


Trolley ride in Rajgir
Remains of the ancient city of Vaishali
Main article: Tourism in Bihar

The 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,[94] with about 24,000,000 (24 million) tourists visiting the state each year.[94]

In earlier days, tourism in the region was purely based on educational tourism, as Bihar was home of some prominent ancient universities like Nalanda & Vikramashila.[95][96]

The tomb of Sher Shah Suri is in the Sasaram town of Bihar state, India.


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 Vikramashila (established in 783 CE).[97] 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 .[98] 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.[99] 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, the pace slackened. Modern Bihar has a grossly inadequate educational infrastructure creating a huge mismatch between demand and supply. This problem is further 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[100]
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[101] 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 [102] by Aspiring Minds, which makes Bihar one of the top three states producing best Engineering Graduates in terms of Quality and Employability [103]

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.[104][105] [106] 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,[107][108] while the process to create infrastructure for two new engineering colleges – one each at Madhepura and Sitamarhi — has started.[109][110]

NIT Patna Main building

NIT Patna is the sixth oldest engineering college of India. Its origin can be traced to 1886 with the establishment of a survey training school and subsequent renaming it to Bihar college of Engineering in 1900. A graduate level curriculum was introduced in 1924. It was renamed Bihar College of Engineering in 1932. In 2004 the government of India upgraded the college to National Institute of Technology (NIT) status, as the state of Bihar had lost its only Regional Engineering College (REC), located at Jamshedpur, when Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar in 2000. By 2002, the Indian government decided to upgrade all RECs to NITs, with the aim of having at least one NIT per state. Bihar College of Engineering was the first institute to be directly upgraded to NIT status. In 2007, it was granted Institute of National Importance status in accordance with the National Institutes of Technology Act, 2007. 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 [111] NSIT opened its new college in Bihta, which is now emerging as a new education hub in Bihar, in 2008.[112][113] BCE, Bhagalpur, MIT, Muzaffarpur, and the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Hajipur (NIPER)[114] are in Bihar. On 4 August 2008, National Institute of Fashion Technology Patna was established as ninth such institute in India.[115] 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 Mahavihara 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[116] 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 the youth of the state to improve their technical, professional, and soft skills, to meet the current requirements of the industrial job market.[117]

Bihar has the Central Institute of Plastic Engineering & Technology (CIPET) and the Institute of Hotel Management (a central government unit) in Hajipur.

The Central University of Bihar (CUB) is one of the sixteen newly established Central Universities by the Government of India under the Central Universities Act, 2009 (Section 25 of 2009).[1] The university is located at the premises of Birla Institute of Technology, Patna (BIT Campus, P.O.- B.V. College, Patna – 800 014).[2] The university is likely to be relocated to Panchanpur, approximately 10 km from Gaya on Defence land to be transferred soon. Keeping in view of the permanent location of the university at Gaya, it has been decided to launch new academic programmes at Gaya. It operates from a temporary campus on the grounds of Birla Institute of Technology, Patna. The university will now have its own campus in Gaya. On 28 February 2014, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar laid the foundation stone of the Central University of Bihar at Gaya.[3] It will be spread in 300 acre campus One of India's premier medical institute – AIIMS Patna started functioning in Patna. It is in line with AIIMS, New Delhi.

Nalanda University was re-established in 2014.

See also[edit]

 Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Behar". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 


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Further reading[edit]

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

External links[edit]