History of Bihar – Ancient, Medieval and Modern Period
The history of Bihar is one of the most different and varied in India. To study Bihar’s History in easy way we can divide it into three parts which are Ancient, Medieval and Modern Period.
The time limit of the history of the ancient period of Bihar is considered till the 6th century. To study the ancient period of Bihar, we can divide it into two parts.
- pre-historic period
- historical period
- This is a very old period. During this period, there used to be the residence of primitive people in Bihar, whose evidence has been found from places like Munger, Gaya, Patna etc. of Bihar.
- The remains of this period include axes, knives, khurpi, objects made of small pieces of stone and tools with sharp edge and pointed etc.
In the history of Bihar, the 6th century BC is considered to be the ancient historical period. At this time there were mainly four states in Bihar, Videha (Mithila), Vajji, Anga, and Magadha.
1. Videha (Mithila)
- It was one of the oldest kingdoms in Vedic period of India founded by King Janak.
- The capital of Videha kingdom was Mithila and Videha was also known as Mithila.
- The range of Videha extended from the Mithila region of north Bihar to the eastern Terai region of Nepal.
- Vajji was one of the sixteen Mahajanapadas of ancient India whose capital was Vaishali.
- Vajji was situated on the right bank of the river Ganges in Bihar.
- Anga was also one of the sixteen mahajanapadas of ancient India, whose capital was Champa, whose old name was Malini, which was situated on the banks of the Champa river.
- The first mention of Anga Mahajanapada is found in the Atharvaveda.
- The eastern border of Anga was with its neighboring kingdom Magadha, which was divided by the Champa river.
- The area of Magadha up to present-day Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha state and Bangladesh and Nepal was
- The first capital of Magadha was Rajagriha and later Pataliputra was made the capital of Magadha.
- The old name of Rajgriha, the capital of Magadha was Girivraja, which was made Rajgriha during the reign of Ajatashatru.
- Magadha was a vast empire which was ruled by many dynasties in turn.
Major Dynasties of Magadha
- The founder of this dynasty was Brihadratha who was also known as Maharatha.
- The Brihadratha dynasty was an early dynasty of the Magadha Empire.
- The Haryaka dynasty was the second dynasty to rule Magadha, whose capital was initially at Rajgir and later at Pataliputra.
- The founder of Haryanka dynasty is considered to be Bimbisara or his father Bhattiya.
- The main rulers of Haryanka dynasty were Bimbisara, Ajatashatru, Udayin etc.
- After Haryanka dynasty, Shishunag dynasty ruled in Bihar.
- This dynasty was founded by Shishunaga in 413 BC, who was the minister of King Nagdasaka of Haryaka dynasty.
- Initially the capital of this dynasty was Rajgir which was later shifted to Pataliputra.
- The Second Buddhist Council was held in Vaishali in 383 BC during the reign of Shishunaga Empire.
- The Nanda dynasty was founded by Mahapadam Nanda, the reign of the Nanda dynasty lasted from 345 to 321 BC.
- Mahapadam Nanda has been described in the Puranas as ‘the destroyer of all Kshatriyas’.
- The last ruler of the Nanda dynasty was Ghanananda, who was the son of Mahapadam Nanda.
- The Maurya Empire was founded by Chandragupta Maurya, who ascended the throne of Magadha in 322 BC.
- The chief kings of the Maurya Empire were Chandragupta Maurya, Bindusara, Ashoka.
- After the Maurya dynasty, many small dynasties ruled Bihar, after which the Gupta Empire emerged.
- Srigupta was the founder of the Gupta dynasty
- Chandragupta I, Samudra Gupta and Chandragupta II were the main rulers of the Gupta dynasty.
In the medieval period Bihar was ruled by dynasties like Slave Dynasty, Khilji Dynasty, Tughlaq Dynasty, Nuhani Dynasty, Cher Dynasty, Mughal Dynasty etc.
- The slave dynasty was established by Qutubuddin Aibak in 1206 AD, he was a slave of Muhammad Ghori.
- Qutbuddin Aibak’s capital was Lahore.
- Qutubuddin Aibak was also known as Lal Baksh.
- The founder of the Khilji dynasty was Jalaluddin Firoz Khilji.
- After killing Jalaluddin Firoz Khilji in 1296, his nephew Alauddin Khilji became the ruler.
- Alauddin Khilji sent Sheikh Mohammed Ismail to conquer Darbhanga in Bihar but Raja Sakra Singh defeated him there but after some time Alauddin Khilji again attacked and made him his ally.
- The Tughlaq dynasty was founded by Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq in 1320 AD.
- Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq defeated Harisingh Dev, the Karnat dynasty ruler of North Bihar, while returning from the Bengal campaign in 1324 AD.
- Darbhanga of Bihar was called Tughlaqpur during Tughlaq rule.
- The Nuhani dynasty came into existence after Sikandar Lodi acquired the throne of Delhi.
- The king of this dynasty was Darya Khan and Bahar Khan was his successor who assumed the title of ‘Sultan Mohammad’.
Sher Shah Suri
- Sher Shah Suri’s real name was Farid Khan.
- Sher Shah Suri’s father Hasan was a Zamindar of Sasaram in Bihar.
- Sher Shah Suri’s tomb is located in Sasaram city of Bihar
- The famous battle of Buxar of Indian history was fought in 1764, Buxar is situated at a distance of 115 km from Patna in present Bihar itself.
- Patna in Bihar was a major trade center during the reign of the British East India Company.
- Bihar played an important role in the first freedom struggle of 1857, this struggle is also known as Sepoy Mutiny here.
- Babu Kunwar Singh of Bihar was prominent among the first freedom fighters of 1857, he revolted against many troops of the East India Company and was victorious.
- Bihar was a part of Bengal Presidency till 1912.
- In 1912, the Bengal Presidency was divided and a new province named Bihar and Odisha was created and Patna was made the capital of Bihar.
- In Bihar, Swami Sahajanand Saraswati formed the Bihar Provincial Kisan Sabha in 1929, its purpose was to unite the farmers.
- The first cabinet of Bihar was constituted on 2 April 1946, in which S. Shri Krishna Singh was made the first Chief Minister of Bihar and Dr. Anugrah Narayan Singh was made the Deputy Chief Minister, this cabinet took charge after independence in 1947.
- The first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was also from Bihar.
Bihar Census 2011