|State of India|
Location of Bihar in India
Map of Bihar
|Coordinates (Patna): Coordinates:|
1 April 1936
|• Governor||Ram Nath Kovind|
|• Chief Minister||Nitish Kumar|
Legislative Council 75
Legislative Assembly 243
|• Parliamentary constituency||40|
|• High Court||Patna High Court|
|• Total||94,163 km2 (36,357 sq mi)|
|• Density||1,102/km2 (2,850/sq mi)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+05:30)|
|ISO 3166 code||IN-BR|
|HDI rank||21st (2007-08)|
|Additional official language||Urdu|
|Symbols of Bihar|
Bihar (//; Hindustani pronunciation: [bɪˈɦaːr]) is a state in East India. It is the 13th largest state, with an area of 94,163 km2 (36,357 sq mi) and the 3rd largest by population; its population is the fastest-growing of any state. 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.
In 2000, southern Bihar was separated from Bihar to form the new state of Jharkhand. Close to 85% of the population lives in villages. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, 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. Other languages of the state are Bhojpuri, Maithili, Magahi, Bajjika, and Angika, of which only Maithili is recognized by the government of India.
Bihar was a centre of power, learning and culture in ancient and classical India. From Magadha arose India's first and arguably greatest empire, the Maurya empire, as well as one of the world's most widely adhered-to religions, Buddhism. Magadha empires, notably under the Maurya and Gupta dynasties, unified large parts of South Asia under a central rule. Its capital Patna, earlier known as Pataliputra, was an important centre of Indian civilisation. Close to Patna, Nalanda and Vikramashila were centres of learning which were established in the 5th and 8th century respectively in Bihar, and are counted as amongst the oldest international universities of the time.
Since the late 1970s, Bihar has lagged behind other Indian states in terms of its social and economic development. Economists and social scientists claimed that this is a direct result of the policies of the central government, such as the Freight equalization policy, its apathy towards Bihar, lack of Bihari sub-nationalism (resulting in no spokesperson for the state), and the Permanent Settlement of 1793 by the British East India Company. The state government has however made significant strides in developing the state. The improved governance has led to an economic revival in the state through increased investment in infrastructure, better health care facilities, greater emphasis on education, and a diminution in crime and corruption.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography and climate
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Government and administration
- 6 Economy
- 7 Culture
- 8 Media
- 9 Transportation
- 10 Tourism
- 11 Education
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 Further reading
- 15 External links
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. Later, Bakhtiyar learned that the town was a college, and the word for college is 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.
Bihar remained an important place of culture and education over the next 1000 years. 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. Bihar and Bengal was invaded by Rajendra Chola I of the Chola dynasty in the 11th century.
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. D. N. Jha suggests, instead, that these incidents were the result of Buddhist-Brahmin skirmishes in a fight for supremacy. In 1540 the great Pathan 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.
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. 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. In 1935, certain portions of Bihar were reorganised into the separate province of Orissa. According to Bihar Vibhuti Vol 111 published by Bihar govt. archives, South Asian History & culture published from London & Vision & Mission Manohar Delhi independence activist Dr. Maghfoor Ahmad Ajazi vehemently opposed Two Nation theory of Jinnah & creation of Pakistan. All India Jamhur Muslim League was formed parallel to Muslim league to oppose Jinnah, with Raja of Mahmoodabad as president & Dr. Ajazi as general secretary.
Pre- and post-Independence
Farmers in Champaran had revolted against indigo cultivation in 1914 (at Pipra) and 1916 (Turkaulia). In April 1917, Mahatma Gandhi visited Champaran, where Raj Kumar Shukla had drawn his attention to the exploitation of the peasants by European indigo planters. The Champaran Satyagraha that followed received support from many Bihari nationalists, such as Rajendra Prasad and Anugrah Narayan Sinha.
In the northern and central regions of Bihar, the Kisan Sabha (peasant movement) was an important consequence of the 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. 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. Hunkar later became the mouthpiece of the peasant movement and the agrarian movement in Bihar and was instrumental in spreading it.
Bihar played a very important and vital role in the Independence of India. Much revolutionary activity took place in Bihar during the movement for Indian independence, and Champaran, especially, figured largely in that movement. MK Gandhi and many other leaders of the independence movement held marches and rallies in Bihar. Babu Kunwar Singh of Jagdishpur is the most famous independence activist of Bihar.
Geography and climate
|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
Bihar has notified forest area of 6,764.14 km2 (2,612 sq mi), which is 7.2% of its geographical area.[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. 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.
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. It has a diverse landscape, sheltering rich wildlife habitats and floral and faunal composition, along with the prime protected carnivores.
|This section is outdated. (August 2015)|
|Source:Census of India|
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). 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. 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.
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.
According to the 2011 census, 82.7% of Bihar's population practiced Hinduism, while 16.9% followed Islam.
|Largest cities in Bihar|
|Source: Census of India 2011|
Government and administration
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 first Bihar ministry during the British raj was from 1 April 1937 to 19 July 1937, and was led by Premier Mohammad Yunus. The second, democratically elected, Bihar ministry under the raj was from 20 July 1937 to 1939. The latter ministry, and the first and second Bihar governments after Independence, were led by Sri Krishna Sinha and Anugrah Narayan Sinha.Jairamdas Daulatram is appointed as the first governor of bihar. Subsequently, Bihar gained an anti-establishment image and it was often projected as prone to low discipline and anarchy. Caste-based politics came to the fore, with power initially being in the hands of the Yadavs, Bhumihar Brahmin, Rajput, Kayastha and Brahmin communities. For two decades, the Indian National Congress governed the state hand-in-glove with the central government of Indira Gandhi. 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. There were occasional breaks in Congress governance, as in 1977. 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.
Janata Dal came to power in the state in 1990 on the back of its victory at the national stage in 1989. 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. Yadav gained support among the masses through a series of popular and populist measures. 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). 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. The administration is believed to have deteriorated during this period.
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". 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".
In 2005, as disaffection mounted, the RJD was voted out of power and replaced by a coalition headed by his former ally, Nitish Kumar.
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. The CPM and Forward Bloc have a minor presence, along with the other extreme Left.
In the 2010 state elections Bihar's current Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led government won 206 seats out of 243 seats. 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. Simultaneously they introduced Bihar Special Court Act to curb crime. 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.
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%.
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.
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. Rice, wheat, and maize are the major cereal crops of Bihar, while turmeric/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, especially potatoes, onions, brinjle/egg-plant, and cauliflower. In fruit cultivation, it is the largest producer of litchi, the third largest producer of pineapples and a major producer of mangoes, bananas, and guava. Sugarcane and jute are the other two important cash crops of Bihar.
Bihar has a very small industrial base compared to the other Indian states including neighbouring Jharkhand. The 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.
Bihar has significant levels of production of mango, guava, litchi, pineapple, brinjal, cauliflower, bhindi, and cabbage. 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.
The state's debt was estimated at 77% of GDP by 2007. 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 took over the Australian guard and mobile patrol services business of American conglomerate, United Technologies Corporation (UTC). SIS is registered and taxed in Bihar. The capital city, Patna, is one of the better-off cities in India when measured by per capita income.^ The State Government is setting up an Information Technology (IT) City at Rajgir in Nalanda district. Additionally, India's first Media Hub is also proposed to be set up in Bihar.
Income distribution: north-south divide
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.
Language and literature
Hindi and Urdu are the official languages of the State. 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.
Urdu—which is the mother tongue of Muslims, who form about 17% of the state's population—is very much secondary to Hindi in official use, although nearly 25% people in Bihar read and write Urdu. 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.
Arts and crafts
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2014)|
Mithila painting is a style of Indian painting practised in the Mithila region of Bihar - especially Darbhanga and Madhubani districts - where powdered rice is coloured and used as a pigment. Tradition states that this style of painting originated, according to the Ramayana, when King Janak commissioned paintings to celebrate the marriage of his daughter, Sita, to Lord Ram. The painting was traditionally done on freshly plastered mud walls of huts, but now it is also done on cloth, handmade paper and canvas. Mithila painting mostly depicts men and their association with nature. There are scenes and deities from ancient epics, including Krishna, Ram, Shiva, Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. Natural objects like the sun, the moon, and religious plants like tulsi are much painted. Finally, there are scenes of royal courts and social events, such as weddings. Generally no space is left empty in the composition. 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 in people's lives, such as birth, Upanayanam (sacred thread ceremony), and marriage. There are many renowned Mithila artists, such as Smt. Bharti Dayal, Mahasundari Devi, the late Ganga Devi, the late Sita Devi, and others, who have brought an intellectual element to their paintings. Bharti Dayal is considered one of the greatest Madhubani painters, as her art is a unique amalgamation of heritage and modernity.
Not less in importance or expressiveness is the ancient and historically significant Manjusha Art, or Manjusha Kala, or Angika Art, an art form of the Anga region of Bihar, originating in the old Anga kingdom, which encompassed present-day Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and the Terai area of Nepal. Manjushas - temple-shaped boxes, with eight pillars (but see referenced video); made of bamboo, jute-straw and paper; and containing, or decorated with (again, see video), paintings of gods, goddesses, snakes and other characters (dubbed "snake paintings" by foreigners) - are used in the Bihula-Bishahari Puja, celebrated in Bhagalpur, usually in August, in remembrance of Bihula’s tale of love and sacrifice, and to appease the snake goddess (Manasa or Bishahari) and gods (Nāgas). A notable Manjusha artist is Jahar Dasgupta, born in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand (formerly Bihar).
The Patna School of Painting or Patna Qalaam, some times also called Company Painting, is an offshoot of the well-known Mughal Miniature school of painting, which flourished in Bihar during the early 18th to the mid-20th centuries. The practitioners of this art form were descendants of Hindu artisans of Mughal painting who facing persecution under the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and who found refuge, via Murshidabad, in Patna during the late 18th century. The Patna painters differed from the Mughal painters, whose subjects included only royalty and court scenes, in that they included as subjects bazaar scenes, scenes of Indian daily life, local dignitaries, festivals and ceremonies, and nature scenes. The paintings were executed in watercolours on paper and on mica, but the style was generally of a hybrid and undistinguished quality. It is this school of painting that inspired the formation of the College of Arts and Crafts, Patna, under the leadership of Shri Radha Mohan, which is an important centre of fine arts in Bihar.
In caning and weaving, artisans of Bihar are skilful in creating articles using local materials. Baskets, cups, and saucers made from bamboo-strips or cane reed 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 cotton dhurries and curtains. These 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 sericulture, manufacture of tussar silk yarn, and weaving it into lovely products.
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2014)|
Bihar has contributed to Indian (Hindustani) classical music and has produced musicians such as Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan, who, however, left Bihar at an early age. Dhrupad singers like the Malliks (of the Darbhanga Gharana), and the Mishras (of the Bettiah Gharana), who were patronised by the Zamindars of Darbhanga and Bettiah respectively, have produced masters like Ram Chatur Mallik, Abhay Narayan Mallik, and Indra Kishore Mishra. While perhaps not as well-known and commercially successful as those of the Dagar school of Dhrupad, these masters have kept the Dhrupad tradition in perhaps the purest form.
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. 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].
Bihar has a very old tradition of folk singing, sung during important family occasions, such as marriage, birth ceremonies, festivals, etc. The songs are usually sung by groups without the accompaniment of musical instruments, although Dholak, Bansuri and, occasionally, Tabla and Harmonium are sometimes used. The most famous folk singer has been Padma Shri Sharda Sinha. Bihar also has a tradition of lively Holi songs known as Phaguwa, filled with fun rhythms.
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.
Dance forms of Bihar are another expression of rich traditions and ethnic identity. There are many folk dance forms that can keep one enthralled, such as Dhobi Nach (nach meaning dance), 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.
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. Bhaiyaa, the first Magadhi film, was released in 1961. The first Maithili movie was Kanyadan released in 1965, 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. 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.
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. 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. 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 success of their films has led to a dramatic increase in Bhojpuri cinema's visibility, and the industry now supports an awards show and a trade magazine, Bhojpuri City, 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.
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 the 6th century BC.
In rural Bihar, religion is the main component of popular culture. Shrines are located everywhere – at the foot of trees, at 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 also a minority of villages also practising Islam in various district's.
There is a wide variety of religious festivals. While some are celebrated all over the state, others are observed only in certain areas. Bihar is so diverse that different regions and religions have something to celebrate at some time or 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.
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Chhath, also called Dala Chhath, is an ancient and major festival in Bihar. It is celebrated twice a year: once in the summer, called the Chaiti Chhath, and once about 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 at the crack of dawn, usually on the banks of a flowing river, or a common large body of water. The occasion is almost a carnival, and besides every worshipper, usually women, who are mostly the senior 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 running. 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 dawn is a beautiful, elating spiritual experience connecting the modern Indian to his ancient cultural roots. Chhath is believed to have been initiated 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, then walk barefooted 108 km (67 mi) to the town of Deoghar, there to bathe a sacred Shiva–Lingam. The observance draws thousands of people to 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.
Besides Chhath (mostly celebrated in Bihar), 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 (celebrated with a grandeur akin to the neighbouring state of Bengal), Diwali, Kali Puja/Shyama Puja/Nisha Puja (celebrated in the Mithilanchal region of the north), Kojagra (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.
Bihari cuisine (Hindi: बिहारी खाना, Urdu: بِہاری کھانا) is eaten in Bihar, Jharkhand, Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bangladesh, and Nepal, as well as Mauritius, Fiji, some cities of Pakistan, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago, as these last are destinations of large Bihari emigration. Bihari cuisine is predominantly vegetarian because traditional Bihar society - influenced by Buddhist and Hindu values of non-violence - did not eat eggs, chicken, fish and other animal products. However, meat and sea food are also common, the latter due to the number of rivers in Bihar.
Dairy products are consumed frequently throughout the year, including yogurt (dahi), buttermilk (mattha), lassi, ghee, chanch and butter. The cuisine of Bihar is similar in large extent to North Indian cuisine but is influenced by other East Indian cuisines, such as Bengali. Bihari cuisine is seasonal; with watery foods such as watermelon, and sherbet made of the pulp of the wood-apple fruit, being consumed mainly in the summer months; and dry foods, prepared with sesame and poppy seeds, in the winter months.
Some dishes which Bihar is famous for include Sattu Paratha, which are parathas stuffed with fried chickpea flour, chokha (spicy mashed potatoes and/or brinjal ), fish curry, Bihari kebab, and Posta-dana ka Halwa (or Khas-khas ka Halwa [खसखस का हलवा], a sweet poppy seed pudding). Litti chokha is a year-round food prepared by cooking the litti (sattu stuffed in atta [a mixture of flour and water]) over an open fire. When prepared, the litti is dipped in ghee and eaten with chokha. The food is best eaten while hot.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
Hindustan, Dainik Jagran, Aaj, Nayee Baat and Prabhat Khabar are some of the popular 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.
Bihar is very well-connected by railways 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 Bihar with major cities in India.
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.
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. The Gaya Airport is an international airport connected to Colombo, Singapore, Bangkok, Paro and more.
The state has a vast network of National and State highways. East-West corridor goes through the cities of Bihar (Muzaffarpur-Darbhanga-Purnia NH57) and has between 4–6 lanes.
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.
Bihar is one of the oldest inhabited places in the world, with a history spanning 3,000 years. 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, with about 24,000,000 (24 million) tourists visiting the state each year.
Bihar is a sacred place for religions such as 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.
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). 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 . 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. 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.
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 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  by Aspiring Minds, which makes Bihar one of the top three states producing best Engineering Graduates in terms of Quality and Employability 
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.  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, while the process to create infrastructure for two new engineering colleges – one each at Madhepura and Sitamarhi — has started.
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 these are also prominent engineering colleges in Bihar. NSIT opened its new college in Bihta, which is now emerging as a new education hub in Bihar, in 2008. BCE, Bhagalpur and MIT, Muzaffarpur National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) is being set up in Hajipur. On 4 August 2008, National Institute of Fashion Technology Patna was established as ninth such institute in India. 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 of Social Studies is a premier research institute in the state.
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.
Bihar has the Central Institute of Plastic Engineering & Technology (CIPET), the Institute of Hotel Management (a central government unit) in Hajipur, and the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER).
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). The university is located at the premises of Birla Institute of Technology, Patna (BIT Campus, P.O.- B.V. College, Patna – 800 014). 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. 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.
- Timeline of Bihar
- Bihari languages
- Bihari people
- Bihari culture
- List of people from Bihar
- Bihar Sthapana Diwas
- Anti-Bihari sentiment
- India – Wikipedia book
- Outline of India
- Index of India-related articles
- Bibliography of India
- History of India
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