The historical importance of Bihar is centuries old. Although Bihar as a separate and organized province originated about eight decades ago and its present geographical boundaries were determined only sixty years ago, but the historical past of this region is very old and glorious.
Importance of Bihar during Ancient Period
Bihar has been an important center of developing cultures since pre-historic times and has played a decisive role in the history and cultural life of the country in different eras. Evidence of pre-historic stone age life has been found in the plateau area of Chotanagpur in South Bihar.
Bihar had special importance in the process of expansion of Aryans in eastern India and second urbanization in the area of the Ganga basin. As the source of Buddhism and Jainism, Bihar gave the message of peace, non-violence, and brotherhood to the world.
The process of origin of huge empires from this region started in the Indian subcontinent. The Mauryas built an efficient, centralized system of governance here. Emperor Ashoka presented the ideal of a welfare state for the first time. During the Gupta period, this region was witness to the wonderful progress of learning, literature, and science. The Pala rulers made this a famous center of Buddhist learning which gained international fame.
Importance of Bihar during Medieval Period
During the medieval period, Bihar was the center of the challenge of the Afghans against the Mughal power. The work of the great Afghan ruler Sher Shah was in Bihar itself. This area was the laboratory of his administrative reforms.
Bihar was a prosperous center of international trade developed under the Mughals in the seventeenth century. European trading companies remained active in this area. It was in Bihar that the tenth and last Guru of the Sikhs, Shri Govind Singh Ji was born. On this land of Bihar, great Sufi saints preached love, harmony, and religious tolerance.
Importance of Bihar in Modern Age
In the modern period, Bengal and Bihar were the initial centers of the rise of British power in India. In the course of the development of British power, the decisive battle of Buxar (22/23 October 1764) was fought in Bihar itself. The Wahabi movement, the first powerful challenger to British power, was organized in Bihar itself.
The region of plateau Bihar was an active center of tribal revolts against the British. In 1857 patriots like Babu Kunwar Singh and Pir Ali challenged the British power here. For the first time in Champaran, Gandhiji used Satyagraha as a weapon of mass movement in India in 1917.
The first President of independent India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, was provided by the land of Bihar and Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan’s idea of ”Total Revolution” was the inspiration source of mass movement in this area.