ECONOMICAL BACKWARD REGION OF BIHAR (GANGES PLANE)
BY- ANUPAM SUNIL, SPA ( school of planning and architecture), Bhopal
The region consists of parts of eastern U.P and Bihar located along the Ganges fertile agriculture belt. Bihar is a state in eastern India It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size of 38,202 sq. m (99,200 km²) and 3rd largest by population. Close to 85% of the population lives in villages. Almost 58% of population is below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India. 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 Himalayas and the Bagmati originating in the Kathmandu Valley that regularly flood parts of the Bihar plains. It is well recognized that the South and the West are the engines of growth, along with the region in and around Delhi. The North and the East, with the exception of West Bengal are in dire straits, though considerable potential exists in the fertile Gangetic plains. Bihar lies mid-way between the humid West Bengal in the east and the sub humid Uttar Pradesh in the west which provides it with a transitional position in respect of climate, economy and culture. It is bounded by the country of Nepal to the north and by Jharkhand to the south. The Bihar plain is divided into two parts by the river Ganges which flows through the middle from west to east. It is often quoted as a state with enormous opportunity and potential, though it has remained in dormancy for the past decade.
Ancient Bihar (which consisted of Anga, Videha/Mithila, Magadha and Vaishali) was a centre of power, learning and culture in ancient and classical India. From Magadha arose India's first great 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 civilization. Nalanda was a centre of learning established by the 5th century in Bihar. Bihar (ancient name Magadha) is literally the history of India condensed into one region. The birthplace of the author of The Ramayana, the birth of Buddhism when the Buddha achieved enlightenment within, the birth of Jainism, as well as the home of the last Sikh Guru. It acted as the capital and seat of power for the Mauryan Empire. The greatest Indian empire, the Mauryan empire, originated from Magadha in 325 BC, it was started by Chandragupta Maurya who was born in Magadha, and had its capital at Patliputra (modern Patna). 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. 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 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. Bihar had been tagged to Bengal even in pre- British days which ended its independent economic and political personality and even then it was merely a transit route. Bihar made an immense contribution to the Freedom Struggle, with outstanding leaders and freedom movements. On the eve of independence, Bihar had the lowest per capita income among all the states, and that too lower by a wide margin, although it produced 8 per cent of India’s food grains, it was 4th among the states in terms of industrial output and the largest producer of coal and steel. Now, after 50 years of India’s independence, Bihar...
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