Bihar and Jharkhand Association of Canada

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About Bihar

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The history of Bihar is one of the most varied in India. Ancient Bihar, known as Magadha, was the center of power, learning, and culture in India for 1000 years. India’s first empire, the Maurya empire as well as one of the world’s greatest pacifist religion, Buddhism arose from the region that now makes modern Bihar.

 Magadha empires, notably under the Maurya and Gupta dynasties, unified large parts of South Asiaunder a central rule. Its capital Patna, earlier known as Pataliputra, was an important political, military, and economic center of Indiancivilization during the ancient and classical periods of history. Many of the ancient Indian text, written outside of the religious epics, were written in ancient Bihar. 

Abhijñānaśākuntala was the most prominent. One of the first known republics in the world, Licchavi, existed in the region since before the birth of Mahavira (c. 599 BC). The classical Gupta dynasty of Bihar, was known to have been a period of great culture and learning inside India. The Gupta period is known today as the Golden Age of India. Post the Gupta period, Bihar played a very small role in Indian affairs, until the emergence of the Suri dynasty during the Islamic period in the 1540s.

After the fall of the Suri dynasty in 1556, Bihar again became a marginal player in India and was the staging post for the Bengal Presidency from the 1750s and up to the war of 1857-58. In 1935, Bihar was carved out as a separate provience in the British Indian Empire. Since 1947, Bihar has been a state in the Indian Union. The earliest proof of human activity in Bihar is Mesolithic habitational remains at Paisra, Munger. Prehistoric rock paintings have been discoveredv in hills of Kaimur, Nawada and Jamui.

It was for the first time that a Neolithic settlement was discovered in the thick of the alluvium, over the bank of the Ganga at Chirand. The rock paintings depict prehistoric lifestyle and natural environment. The paintains display the sun, moon, stars, animals, plants, trees, rivers and is said to represent love towards nature. Also the paintaings highlight daily life of the early humans in Bihar, like hunting, running, dancing, and walking. The rock paintings in Bihar are not only identical to those which found in central and southern India but also are akin with those in Europe and Africa.

 The rock paintings of Spain’s Alta Mira and France’s Lascaux are almost identical to those found in Bihar.

The Magadha Kingdom was established by semi-mythical king Jarasandha who was, as it stated in the Puranas, a king of Brihadrathas dynasty, one of the descendants of eponymical Puru. Jarasandha appears in the Mahabharatha as the “Magadhan Emperor who rules all India” and meets with an unceremonious ending.

Jarasandha was the greatest among them during epic times. His capital was Rajagriha orRajgir is now a modern hill resort in Bihar. Jarasandha’s continuous assault on the Yadava kingdom of Surasena resulted in their withdrawal from central India to western India. Jarasandha was a threat not only for Yadavas but also for Kurus.

Pandava Bhima killed him in a mace dual aided by the intelligence of Vasudeva Krishna. Thus, Yudhisthira, the Pandava King, could complete his campaign of bring the whole of India in to his empire. Jarasandha had friendly relations with Chedi king Shishupala, Kuru king Duryodhana and Anga king Karna.

 His descendants, according to the Vayu Purana, ruled Magadha for 1000 years followed by the Pradyota dynasty which ruled for 138 years. However, no sufficient evidence to prove the historicity of this claim. However, these rulers are mentioned in the Hindu texts, Buddhist texts and Jaina texts. Pradyota dynasty succeeded the Brihadrathas dynasty in Magadha. According to the Vayu Purana, Pradyotas ruled Magadha for 138 years from 799-684 BC. Palaka, the son of the Avanti king Pradyota, conquered Kaushambi, making the kingdom powerful.

Bimbisara’s jail, where KingBimbisara was imprisoned by his sonAjatasatru, in Rajgir.  Vaishali was the capital of “Licchavi,” believed to be the world’s first republic  The Nanda Empire at its greatest extent under Dhana Nanda circa 323 BC.  The Maurya Empire at its largest extent under Ashoka the Great.

More updates will follow soon!!!

Written by bajca

April 17, 2010 at 5:59 am

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