Bihar is a state in the eastern part of India. It is the 13th-largest state of India, with an area of 94,163 km2 (36,357 sq mi). The third-largest state of India by population, it is contiguous with Uttar Pradesh to its west, Nepal to the north, the northern part of West Bengal to the east, with Jharkhand to the south. The Bihar plain is split by the river Ganges which flows from west to east.
On November 15, 2000, southern Bihar was ceded to form the new state of Jharkhand. Only 11.3% of the population of Bihar lives in urban areas, which is lowest in India after Himachal Pradesh. Additionally, almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, giving Bihar the highest proportion of young people of any Indian state. The official languages of the state are Hindi and Urdu. Other languages commonly used within the state include Bhojpuri, Maithili, Magahi, Bajjika, and Angika (Maithili is the only one of these to be officially accepted by the government).
In ancient and classical India, Bihar was considered a centre of power, learning, and culture. From Magadha arose India's first 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. Another region of Bihar is Mithila which was an early centre of Brahmanical learning and the centre of the Videha kingdom.
Since the late 1970s, Bihar has lagged far behind other Indian states in terms of social and economic development. Many economists and social scientists claim that this is a direct result of the policies of the central government, such as the Freight equalisation policy, its apathy towards Bihar, lack of Bihari sub-nationalism, and the Permanent Settlement of 1793 by the British East India Company. The state government has, however, made significant strides in developing the state. Improved governance has led to an economic revival in the state through increased investment in infrastructure, better health care facilities, greater emphasis on education, and a reduction in crime and corruption
Government and Politics
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