Bihar: Short Story
Bihar or ancient Magadha, has been the cradle of Indian civilization and the centre of Indian culture and education. It was the land of "Ashoka The Great" and where the origins of "Buddhism took place". Mahavira, the last Jain Tirthankara was born in the ancient kingdom of Vaishali and attained Moksha or Nirvana at Pawapuri (also known as the sinless city), 90 kilometers from Patna, the capital of Bihar. It was here where the ancient universities of India - Nalanda and Vikramshila were built. It has to be said that is the people of Bihar that has shaped Indian history for generations to marvel upon for times to come.
Bihar is a landlocked state that has borders with Nepal in the north, Uttar Pradesh on the west, Jharkhand on the south and West Bengal on the east. Although it's the part of the Hindi speaking heartland of India, it nevertheless has several Hindi dialects such as Bhojpuri, Magadhi (Magahi), Angika, Maithili and Sarnami Hindustani. Interestingly it was this Magahi that was spoken during the reign of Ashoka. Bihar is situated on the eastern part of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. It is rich in untapped mineral wealth, with its fertile alluvial plain occupying the north while rocky and mineral rich plateau in the south, also called the Chhotanagpur Plateau region. Bihar also has an amazing and glorious history as the centre of the subcontinent's culture and politics since ancient times. Throughout its history, from the 6th century BC to 5th century AD, Bihar has been the seat of major empires. Not to mention its heavy influence on the politics of modern India.
Unfortunately, the rich and glorious history of Bihar is in complete contrast today from being the first democratic republic of the world to a lawless and ungovernable state. As India enters into the economic boom Bihar still stands aloof untouched. It was once the greatest seat of learning, Bihar has now the lowest literacy rate in India. Basic infrastructure is clearly lacking and most houses in the villages are still made of bricks mortared only with mud and covered with cow dung. Potbellies of half-starved children is highly visible
Visiting Bihar today you will find that the locals are less worried about its glorious history and its historical ruins. They have far more pressing needs to worry about. The false impression today is that if you visit certain parts of Bihar it is advised you to get off the road before dark for fear of armed robberies as crime is out of control.
Nevertheless a new government is in place. The new Chief Minister has to be admired for his attempt to remove the "unruly and backward" label from the state and increase development but the work culture still needs to be improved for the road to better health. The great and remarkable people of Bihar welcomes you.
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