Showing posts with label Bihar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bihar. Show all posts

Hinduism - Where Is Rajagrha In India?


Ancient name for the city that corresponds to modern-day Rajgir in Bihar's Nalanda district.

Although Rajgir is a tiny and inconsequential city now, it was the capital of the Magadhan kingdom and the focus of the region's political and intellectual life during the time of the Buddha.

Rajgir was the location of the first Buddhist council, convened immediately after the Buddha's death and intended to document his teachings, according to Buddhist tradition.

The Buddhist scriptures went through a considerably longer period of development, thus this narrative is probably definitely mythical, but its context indicates Rajagrha's importance around the middle of the first millennium before the common era.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Hinduism - Where Is The Champaran Region In India?


The Champaran region is located in northern Bihar, between the Gandaki River and the Nepalese border. 

It is now divided into two provinces: eastern and western Champaran. 

The Champaran area is well-known for being the site of Mohandas K. Gandhi's first successful satyagraha (nonviolent struggle) against British authority. 

The province was mainly agricultural at the time, as it still is now, with the majority of the people living in poverty. 

Farmers had historically set aside a part of their property for producing indigo, which they would then rent to the landlords. 

The development of a far cheaper synthetic indigo shattered this arrangement. 

The landlords reacted by ordering the tenants to cease producing indigo, but then proceeded to increase the rent on their property, based on a long-standing agreement that permitted them to do so if a renter did not produce indigo. 

The unrest started in 1912, but it was not until 1917 that Gandhi arrived. 

After a nearly year-long effort, the tenants were able to get concessions from the landlords, including a promise of no future rent increases and a 25% refund on past hikes. 

For additional detail, see Mohandas K. Gandhi's An Autobiography, published in 1993; Louis Fischer's Gandhi, published in 1954, provides a more accessible, though incomplete, narrative.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Hinduism - Where Is Bihar?

Bihar is one of the contemporary northern Indian states, wedged between Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, and bordered on the north by Nepal. 

Bihar has a long and illustrious history; it was the birthplace of the Maurya dynasty, which controlled most of the Indian subcontinent during the fourth and third centuries BCE. 

  • Pataliputra, which is now known as Patna, was the capital city. 
  • Bihar also includes the town of Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha gained enlightenment, as well as many other sites connected with his life. 
  • Despite its rich history, contemporary Bihar is an exceedingly tough place to live, with high rates of illiteracy and infant mortality, a short life expectancy, and feudal social circumstances. 
  • The majority of its people struggle to make ends meet and depend on agriculture, while a tiny portion of the population is very rich. 

Bihar is also a classic example of what contemporary Indians refer to as the "criminalization of politics," in which convicted criminals work for politicians or occupy political office themselves. 

  • Despite the fact that Bihar has rich natural resources, corruption guarantees that just a few people profit from them. 

Despite these drawbacks, Bihar boasts a number of well-known holy places (tirthas). 

  • The village of Gaya, for example, is well-known for performing funeral rituals (antyeshthi samskara). 
  • Another holy location is the Vaidyanath temple, which is one of the twelve jyotirlingas, or sacred places dedicated to the deity Shiva. 

Christine Nivin et al., India. 8th ed., Lonely Planet, 1998, is an accessible resource for general information on Bihar and all of India's provinces.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.