Bihar State

Introduction :

Bihar has notified forest area of 6,764.14 km², which is 7.1 percent of its geographical area.[4] The sub Himalayan foothill of Someshwar and Dun ranges in Champaran district another belt of moist deciduous forests. These also consists of scrub, grass and reeds. Here the rainfall is above 1,600 mm and thus promotes luxuriant Sal forests in the favoured areas. The hot and dry summer gives the deduous forests. The most important trees are Shorea Robusta (Sal), Shisham, Cedrela Toona, Khair, and Semal. This type of forests also occurs in Saharsa district and Purnia district.[54] Shorea Robusta (sal), Dispyros 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 dolphin, or “sois” occur in the Ganga and Brahmaputra,it is the national aquatic animal of India. It can now be considered amongst the most endangered mammals of the region.They ranges from 2.3 to 2.6 meters in length.They have very impaired vision due to Muddy water but uses sonar efficiency.Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary ,near Bhagalpur is setup to ensure protection of this species. Valmiki National Park, West Champaran district, covering about 800 km² of forest, is the 18th Tiger Reserve of India and is ranked fourth in terms of density of tiger population.[55] It has diverse landscapes, sheltering rich wildlife habitats and floral and faunal composition, with the prime protected carnivores.

Ancient Bihar (which consisted of Anga (East Bihar), Videha (North Bihar), Magadha (South Bihar) and Vaishali (North Bihar)) was a center of power, learning and culture in ancient and classical India. From Magadha arose India's first 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 center of Indian civilization. Nalanda was a centre of learning established by the 5th century CE in Bihar.

Today, Bihar lags behind the other Indian states in human and economic development terms, Economists and social scientists claim that this is a direct result of the skewed policies of the central government, such as the freight equalisation 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 current state government has however made significant strides in improving governance.

History :

A part of Bihar was called "Magadha" in ancient times. From Magadha arose two traditions, Jainism and Buddhism. The greatest Indian empire, the Maurya empire, originated from Magadha, with its capital at Patliputra (modern Patna) in 325 BC. The Mauryan Emperor, Ashoka, who was born in Patliputra ( Patna ) is believed to be one of the greatest rulers in the history of India and the world. After seeing all the carnage that war causes he was placed on the path of Lord Buddha by his Brahmin spiritual guide Manjushri. According to indologist A.L. Basham, the author of the book The Wonder that was India, “ The age in which true history appeared in India was one of great intellectual and spiritual ferment. Mystics and sophists of all kinds roamed through the Ganga Valley, all advocating some form of mental discipline and asceticism as a means to salvation; but the age of the Buddha, when many of the best minds were abandoning their homes and professions for a life of asceticism, was also a time of advance in commerce and politics. It produced not only philosophers and ascetics, but also merchant princes and men of action.”

Bihar remained an important place of power, culture and education during the next one thousand years. The Gupta Empire, which again originated from Magadha in 240 CE, is referred to as the Golden Age of India in science, mathematics, astronomy, religion and Indian philosophy. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the pursuit of scientific and artistic endeavors. Historians place the Gupta dynasty alongside with the Han Dynasty, Tang Dynasty and Roman Empire as a model of a classical civilization. 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 the 400 CE and 1000 CE saw gains by Hinduism at the expense of Buddhism. Although the Hindu kings gave much grants to the Buddhist monks for building Brahmaviharas. A National Geographic edition reads, "The essential tenets of Buddhism and Hinduism arose from similar ideas best described in the Upanishads, a set of Hindu treatises set down in India largely between the eighth and fourth centuries B.C." Kalidasa's Sanskrit play Abhijñanasakuntala is one of the Legacy of the Gupta Empire.

The Buddhism of Magadha was swept away by the Muslim 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 CE.

The region saw a brief period of glory for six years (1540 -1546 CE) during the rule of Sher Shah Suri, who built the longest road of the Indian subcontinent, the Grand Trunk Road. The economic reforms carried out by Sher Shah, like the introduction of Rupee and Custom Duties, is still used in the Republic of India. He revived the city of Patna, where he built up his headquarter. During 1557-1576, Akbar, the Mughal emperor, annexed Bihar and Bengal to his empire. With the decline of the Mughals, Bihar passed under the control of the Nawabs of Bengal. Thus, the medieval period was mostly one of anonymous provincial existence.

The tenth and the last human 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 Orissa. From this point, Bihar remained a part the Bengal Presidency of the British Raj until 1912, when the province of Bihar and Orissa was carved out as a separate province. Bihar now celebrates its birthday as Bihar Diwas on 22nd March from 2010. In 1935, certain portions of Bihar were reorganised into the separate province of Orissa.

Babu Kunwar Singh of Jagdishpur and his army, as well as countless other persons from Bihar, contributed to the India's First War of Independence (1857), also called the Sepoy Mutiny by some historians. Resurgence in the history of Bihar came during the struggle for India's independence. Rajendra Prasad (Sitting left) & Anugrah Narayan Sinha (sitting right) during 1917 Satyagraha movement.

It was from Bihar that Mahatma Gandhi launched his pioneering civil-disobedience movement, Champaran Satyagraha. Bhumihar Brahmins in Champaran had earlier revolted against indigo cultivation in 1914 (at Pipra) and 1916 (Turkaulia) and Pandit Raj Kumar Shukla took Mahatma Gandhi to Champaran and the Champaran Satyagraha began. Raj Kumar Shukla drew the attention of Mahatma Gandhi to the exploitation of the peasants by European indigo planters.Champaran Satyagraha received the spontaneous support from many Bihari nationalists like Rajendra Prasad who became the first President of India and Anugrah Narayan Sinha who ultimately became the first Deputy Chief Minister cum Finance Minister of Bihar.

In North and Central Bihar, peasants movement was an important side effect of the freedom movement. The Kisan Sabha movement started in Bihar under the leadership of Swami Sahajanand Saraswati who had formed in 1929 the Bihar Provincial Kisan Sabha (BPKS) in order to mobilise peasant grievances against the zamindari attacks on their occupancy rights. Gradually the peasant movement intensified and spread across the rest of India. All these radical developments on the peasant front culminated in the formation of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) at the Lucknow session of the Indian National Congress in April 1936 with Swami Sahajanand Saraswati elected as its first President. This movement aimed at overthrowing the feudal (zamindari) system instituted by Britishers. It was being led by Swami Sahajanand 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 the movement.

Bihar's contribution in the Indian freedom struggle has been immense with outstanding leaders like Swami Sahajanand Saraswati, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Sri Krishna Sinha, Dr.Anugrah Narayan Sinha, Brajkishore Prasad, Mulana Mazharul Haque, Jayaprakash Narayan, Satyendra Narayan Sinha, Basawon Singh, Rameshwar Prasad Sinha, Yogendra Shukla,Jaglal Mahto, Baikuntha Shukla, Sheel Bhadra Yajee, Pandit Yamuna Karjee and many others who worked for India's freedom relentlessly and helped in the upliftment of the underprivileged masses. Khudiram Bose, Upendra Narayan Jha "Azad", Prafulla Chaki and Baikuntha Shukla were active in revolutionary movement in Bihar. On 15 January 1934, Bihar was devastated by an earthquake of magnitude 8.4. Some 30,000 people were said to have died. The state of Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar in the year 2000. 2005 Bihar assembly elections ended the 15 years of continuous RJD rule in the state, giving way to NDA led by Nitish Kumar. Bihari migrant workers have faced violence and prejudice in many parts of India, like Maharashtra, Punjab and Assam.

Geography And Climate :

Bihar is mainly a vast stretch of very fertile flat land. It is drained by the Ganges River, including 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. the state is located between 21°-58'-10" N - 27°-31'-15" N latitude and between 82°-19'-50" E - 88°-17'-40" E longitude. Its average elevation above sea level is 173 feet (53 m). The Bihar plain is divided into two unequal halves by the river Ganga which flows through the middle from west to east. Other Ganges tributaries are the Son, Budhi Gandak, Chandan, Orhani and Falgu. The Himalayas begin at foothills a short distance inside Nepal but influence Bihar's landforms, climate, hydrology and culture. Central parts of Bihar have some small hills, for example the Rajgir hills. The Himalayan Mountains are to the north of Bihar, in Nepal. 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 has notified forest area of 6,764.14 km², which is 7.1 percent of its geographical area.

Bihar is mildly cold in the winter (the lowest temperatures being around 4 to 10 degrees Celsius; 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit). Winter months are December and January. It is hot in the summer (with average highs around 35-40 Celsius; 95-105 Fahrenheit). April to mid June are the hot months. The monsoon months of June, July, August, and September see good rainfall. October & November and February & March have pleasant climate.

Flora And Fauna :

Bihar has notified forest area of 6,764.14 km², which is 7.1 percent of its geographical area. The sub Himalayan foothill of Someshwar and Dun ranges in Champaran district another belt of moist deciduous forests. These also consists of scrub, grass and reeds. Here the rainfall is above 1,600 mm and thus promotes luxuriant Sal forests in the favoured areas. The hot and dry summer gives the deduous forests. The most important trees are Shorea Robusta (Sal), Shisham, Cedrela Toona, Khair, and Semal. This type of forests also occurs in Saharsa district and Purnia district. Shorea Robusta (sal), Dispyros 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 dolphin, or “sois” occur in the Ganga and Brahmaputra,it is the national aquatic animal of India. It can now be considered amongst the most endangered mammals of the region.They ranges from 2.3 to 2.6 meters in length.They have very impaired vision due to Muddy water but uses sonar efficiency.Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary ,near Bhagalpur is setup to ensure protection of this species.