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Great Buddha Statue, Bodh Gaya.jpg
Rajgir - 028 Bathing Pool at foot of Hill (9245042360).jpg
Nalanda University India ruins.jpg
Art of Mithla, Darbhanga, Bihar.jpg
Clockwise from top: Great Buddha Statue at Bodh Gaya, Ruins of ancient Nalanda UniversityMadhubani paintingfrom Mithila region, Brahma Kund hot springs in Rajgir
Official seal of Bihar
Location of Bihar in India
Location of Bihar in India
Coordinates (Patna): 25.4°N 85.1°ECoordinates25.4°N 85.1°E
Country  India
Formation 22 March 1912
(Bihar Diwas)
Statehood 26 January 1950
Capital Patna
Largest city Patna
Districts 38
 • Governor Lal Ji Tandon
 • Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (JD(U))
 • Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi[1] (BJP)
 • Legislature Bicameral 
Legislative Council 75 
Legislative Assembly 243
 • High Court Patna High Court
 • Total 94,163 km2 (36,357 sq mi)
Area rank 13th
Population (2011)[3]
 • Total 103,804,637
 • Rank 3rd
 • Density 1,102/km2 (2,850/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Bihari
GDP (2016–17)[4]
 • Total ₹3.32 lakh crore(US$46 billion)
 • Per capita ₹29,178 (US$410)
Time zone UTC+05:30 (IST)
ISO 3166 code IN-BR
Vehicle registration BR
HDI Increase 0.551[5] (medium)
HDI rank 29th (2015)
Literacy 63.8% (2011)[6]
Official language Hindi[7]
Other recognised languages Urdu is an official language in 15 districts,[8] Maithili is recognised under the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India[9]
Website gov.bih.nic.in

Bihar (/bɪˈhɑːr/Hindustani pronunciation: [bɪˈɦaːr]) is an Indian state considered to be a part of Eastern[10][11] as well as Northern India.[12][13] 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.[10] Bihar is an amalgamation of three distinct regions: MagadhMithila, and Bhojpur.[14]

On 15 November 2000, southern Bihar was ceded to form the new state of Jharkhand.[15] Only 11.3% of the population of Bihar lives in urban areas, which is the lowest in India after Himachal Pradesh.[16] Additionally, almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25,[17] giving Bihar the highest proportion of young people of any Indian state.

In ancient and classical India, the area that is now Bihar was considered a centre of power, learning, and culture.[18] From Magadha arose India’s first empire, the Maurya empire, as well as one of the world’s most widely adhered-to religions, Buddhism.[19] Magadha empires, notably under the Maurya and Gupta dynasties, unified large parts of South Asia under a central rule.[20] Another region of Bihar is Mithila which was an early centre of Brahmanical learning and the centre of the Videha kingdom.[21] There is an ongoing movement in the Maithili speaking region of Bihar for a separate Indian state of Mithila. What would be the capital of the state has yet to be decided, but Darbhanga is the most likely candidate. Other potential capitals include MuzaffarpurPurniaMadhubani and Begusarai.[22]

Since the late 1970s, Bihar has lagged far behind other Indian states in terms of social and economic development.[23][24][25] 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,[26][27] its apathy towards Bihar,[17][28][29] lack of Bihari sub-nationalism,[27][30][31] and the Permanent Settlement of 1793 by the British East India Company.[27] The state government has, however, made significant strides in developing the state.[32] Improved governance has led to an economic revival in the state through increased investment in infrastructure,[33] better health care facilities, greater emphasis on education, and a reduction in crime and corruption.[34][35]


The name Bihar is derived from the Sanskrit and Pali word, Vihāra(Devanagari: विहार), meaning “abode”. The region roughly encompassing the present state was dotted with Buddhist vihara, the abodes of Buddhist monks in the ancient and medieval periods. Medieval writer Minhaj al-Siraj Juzjanirecords in the Tabakat-i-Nasiri that in 1198, Bakhtiyar Khalji committed a massacre in a town now known as Bihar Sharif, about 70 km away from Bodh Gaya.[36][37]




Copy of the seal excavated from Kundpur, Vaishali. The Brahmi letters on the seal means: Kundpur was in Vaishali. Prince Vardhaman (Mahavira) used this seal after the Judgement


Magadha, Anga and Vrijji (or Vajji) Confederacy of Mithila in circa600 BCE

Chirand, on the northern bank of the Ganga River, in Saran district, has an archaeological record from the Neolithic age (about 2500–1345 BC).[38][39] Regions of Bihar—such as MagadhaMithila and Anga—are mentioned in religious texts and epics of ancient India.

Mithila gained prominence when people of Āryāvarta (an ancient name for India) established the Videha Kingdom.[40][41] During the late Vedic period (c. 1100-500 BCE), Videha became one of the major political and cultural centers of South Asia, along with Kuru and Pañcāla. The kings of the Videha Kingdom were called Janakas.[42] Sita, a daughter of one of the Janaks of Mithila is mentioned as the consort of Lord Rama, in the Hindu epicRamayana, written by Valmiki.[43][40] The Videha Kingdom later became incorporated into the Vajji confederacy which had its capital in the city of Vaishali, which is also in Mithila.[44] Vajji had a republican form of government where the king was elected from the number of rajas. Based on the information found in texts pertaining to Jainism and Buddhism, Vajji was established as a republic by the 6th century BCE, before the birth of Gautama Buddha in 563 BCE, making it the world’s first republic.

The region of modern-day southwestern Bihar called Magadha remained the centre of power, learning, and culture in India for 1000 years. The Haryanka dynasty, founded in 684 BC, ruled Magadha from the city of Rajgriha (modern Rajgir). The two well-known kings from this dynasty were Bimbisara and his son Ajatashatru, who imprisoned his father to ascend the throne. Ajatashatru founded the city of Pataliputra which later became the capital of Magadha. He declared war and conquered the Vajji. The Haryanka dynasty was followed by the Shishunaga dynasty. Later the Nanda Dynasty ruled a vast tract stretching from Bengal to Punjab.

The Nanda dynasty was replaced by the Maurya EmpireIndia‘s first empire. The Maurya Empire and the religion of Buddhismarose in the region that now makes up modern Bihar. The Mauryan Empire, which originated from Magadha in 325 BC, was founded by Chandragupta Maurya, who was born in Magadha. It had its capital at Pataliputra (modern Patna). The Mauryanemperor, Ashoka, who was born in Pataliputra (Patna) is believed to be one of the greatest rulers in the history of the world.[45][46]

The Gupta Empire, which originated in Magadha in 240 AD, is referred as the Golden Age of India in science, mathematics, astronomy, commerce, religion, and Indian philosophy.[47] Bihar and Bengal was invaded by Rajendra Chola I of the Chola dynasty in the 11th century.[48][49]


Buddhism in Magadha went into decline due to the invasion of Muhammad Bin Bakhtiar Khilji, during which many of the viharas and the famed universities of Nalanda and Vikramashila were destroyed. It was claimed that thousands of Buddhist monks were massacred during the 12th century.[50][51][52] D. N. Jha suggests, instead, that these incidents were the result of Buddhist-Brahmin skirmishes in a fight for supremacy.[53] In 1540, the great Pathan chieftain, Sher Shah Suri, from Sasaram, took northern India from the Mughals, defeating the Mughal army of Emperor Humayun. Sher Shah declared Delhi his capital.

From the 11th century to the 20th century, Mithila was ruled by various indigenous dynasties. The first of these where the Karnatas, followed by the Oinwar dynastyRaghuvanshi and finally Raj Darbhanga.[54] It was during this period that the capital of Mithila was shifted to Darbhanga.[55][56]

The tenth and the last Guru of SikhismGuru Gobind Singh was born in Patna.

Colonial Era[edit]

After the Battle of Buxar (1764), the British East India Company obtained the diwani rights (rights to administer, and collect revenue or tax) for Bihar, Bengal and Odisha. The rich resources of fertile land, water and skilled labour had attracted the foreign imperialists, particularly the Dutch and British, in the 18th century. A number of agriculture-based industries had been started in Bihar by foreign entrepreneurs.[57] Bihar remained a part of the Bengal Presidency of British India until 1912, when the province of Bihar and Orissa was carved out as a separate province. Since 2010, Bihar has celebrated its birthday as Bihar Diwas on 22 March.[58][59]

Pre- and post-Independence[edit]


(Sitting L to R)Rajendra Prasad and Anugrah Narayan Sinha during Mahatma Gandhi‘s 1917 Champaran Satyagraha

Farmers in Champaran had revolted against indigo cultivation in 1914 (at Pipra) and 1916 (Turkaulia). In April 1917, Mahatma Gandhi visited Champaran, where Raj Kumar Shukla had drawn his attention to the exploitation of the peasants by European indigoplanters. The Champaran Satyagraha that followed received support from many Bihari nationalists, such as Rajendra Prasad and Anugrah Narayan Sinha.[60][61]

In the northern and central regions of Bihar, the Kisan Sabha (peasant movement) was an important consequence of the independence movement. It began in 1929 under the leadership of Swami Sahajanand Saraswati who formed the Bihar Provincial Kisan Sabha (BPKS), to mobilise peasant grievances against the zamindari attacks on their occupancy rights. The movement intensified and spread from Bihar across the rest of India, culminating in the formation of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) at the Lucknowsession of the Indian National Congress in April 1936, where Saraswati was elected as its first president.[62]

Bihari migrant workers have faced violence and prejudice in many parts of India, such as MaharashtraPunjab and Assam after independence.[63][64]

Geography and climate[edit]


River Map of Bihar


Mountain of Ashrams, near Sena Village, at Buddha Gaya


Flooded farmlands in northern Bihar during the 2008 Bihar flood

Classification Cwa
Avg. temperature 27 °C (81 °F)
• Summer 34 °C (93 °F)
• Winter 10 °C (50 °F)
Precipitation 1,200 mm (47 in)

Bihar has a diverse climate. Its temperature is subtropical in general, with hot summers and cool winters. Bihar is a vast stretch of fertile plain. It is drained by the Ganges River, including its northern tributaries Gandak and Koshi, originating in the Nepal Himalayas and the Bagmati originating in the Kathmandu Valley that regularly flood parts of the Bihar plains. The total area covered by the state of Bihar is 94,163 km2 (36,357 sq mi). the state is located between 24°-20′-10″ N ~ 27°-31′-15″ N latitude and between 83°-19′-50″ E ~ 88°-17′-40″ E longitude. Its average elevation above sea level is 173 feet (53 m).

The Ganges divides Bihar into two unequal halves and flows through the middle from west to east. Other Ganges tributaries are the Son, Budhi Gandak, Chandan, Orhani and Phalgu. Though the Himalayas begin at the foothills, a short distance inside Nepal and to the north of Bihar, the mountains influence Bihar’s landforms, climate, hydrology and culture. Central parts of Bihar have some small hills, for example the Rajgir hills. To the south is the Chota Nagpur plateau, which was part of Bihar until 2000 but now is part of a separate state called Jharkhand.

Flora and fauna[edit]


Bauhinia acuminata, locally known as Kachnaar

Bihar has notified forest area of 6,764.14 km2 (2,612 sq mi), which is 7.2% of its geographical area.[65][not in citation given] The sub Himalayan foothill of Someshwar and the Dun ranges in the Champaran district are another belt of moist deciduous forests. These also consist of scrub, grass and reeds. Here the rainfall is above 1,600 millimetres (63 in) and thus promotes luxuriant Sal forests in the area. The most important trees are Shorea Robusta, Sal Cedrela Toona, Khair, and Semal. Deciduous forests also occur in the Saharsa and Purnia districts.[66]Shorea Robusta (sal), Diospyros melanoxylon (kendu), Boswellia serrata (salai), Terminalia tomentose (Asan), Terminalia bellerica (Bahera), Terminalia Arjuna (Arjun), Pterocarpus Marsupium (Paisar), Madhuca indica(Mahua) are the common flora across the forest of Bihar.

Valmiki National ParkWest Champaran district, covering about 800 km2 (309 sq mi) of forest, is the 18th Tiger Reserve of India and is ranked fourth in terms of density of tiger population.[67] It has a diverse landscape, sheltering rich wildlife habitats and floral and faunal composition, along with the prime protected carnivores.


After the 2011 Census, Bihar was the third most populous state of India with total population of 104,099,452 (54,278,157 male and 49,821,295 female). Nearly 89% of Bihar’s population lived in rural areas. The density was 1,106. The sex ratio was 918 females per 1000 males.[69] Almost 58% of Bihar’s population was below 25 years age, which is the highest in India. Most of Bihar’s population belongs to Indo-Aryan-speaking ethnic groups along with few Dravidian-speaking and Austroasiatic-speaking people mostly in Chhotanagpur Plateau (now part of Jharkhand). It also attracted Punjabi Hindu refugees during the Partition of British India in 1947.[70] Bihar has a total literacy rate of 63.82% (75.7% for males and 53% for females), recording a growth of 20% in female literacy over the period of a decade.[71][6]

At 11.3%, Bihar has the second lowest urbanisation rate in India.[72] As of the 2011 census, population density surpassed 1,000 per square kilometre, making Bihar India’s most densely-populated state, but still lower than West Java or Banten of Indonesia.

According to the 2011 census, 82.7% of Bihar’s population practised Hinduism, while 16.9% followed Islam.[73][74]

Government and administration[edit]

The constitutional head of the government of Bihar is the governor, who is appointed by the President of India. The real executive power rests with the chief minister and the cabinet. The political party or the coalition of political parties having a majority in the Legislative Assembly forms the government.

The head of the bureaucracy of the state is the chief secretary. Under this position, is a hierarchy of officials drawn from the Indian Administrative ServiceIndian Police ServiceIndian Forest Service, and different wings of the state civil services. The judiciary is headed by the Chief Justice. Bihar has a High Court which has been functioning since 1916. All the branches of the government are located in the state capital, Patna.

The state is divided into nine divisions and 38 districts, for administrative purposes. Bihar has 12 Municipal Corporations, 49 Nagar Parishads, and 80 Nagar Panchayats.[76][77][78][79][80]


See also: Political parties in BiharElections in Bihar and List of politicians from BiharBihar Legislative Assembly election, 2015

By 2004, 14 years after Lalu Prasad Yadav‘s victory, The Economist magazine said that “Bihar [had] become a byword for the worst of India, of widespread and inescapable poverty, of corrupt politicians indistinguishable from mafia-dons they patronise, caste-ridden social order that has retained the worst feudal cruelties”.[81] In 2005, the World Bank believed that issues faced by the state were “enormous” because of “persistent poverty, complex social stratification, unsatisfactory infrastructure and weak governance”.[82] Currently, there are two main political formations: the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) which comprises Bharatiya Janata PartyLok Janashakti PartyRashtriya Lok Samta PartyHindustani Awam Morcha and JD(U) (Joined recently after breaking the Grand Alliance with RJD and INC), Second is alliance between RJD and Indian National Congress. There are many other political formations. The Communist Party of India had a strong presence in Bihar at one time, but is weakened now.[83] The CPM and Forward Bloc have a minor presence, along with the other extreme Left.[84]

In contrast to prior governments, which emphasised divisions of caste and religion, Nitish Kumar‘s manifesto was based on economic development, curbs on crime and corruption and greater social equality for all sections of society. Since 2010, the government has confiscated the properties of corrupt officials and redeployed them as schools buildings.[85] Simultaneously they introduced Bihar Special Court Act to curb crime.[86] It has also legislated for a two-hour break on Fridays, including lunch, to enable Muslim employees to pray and thus cut down on post-lunch absenteeism by them.[87] The government has prohibited the sale and consumption of alcohol in the state since March 2016;[88] this ban has been linked to a drop in tourism to Bihar.[89]

Public Health[edit]

In Bihar, attempts have been made to establish a well-functioning department of public health. National efforts like the National Health Mission, the Clinical Establishments Act of 2010, and the formation of the Empowered Action Group (EAG) catalyze the disbursement of federal funds by expanding healthcare access and improving the quality of healthcare services to states in need. However, Bihar’s ability to fully utilize this funding is lacking. Bihar’s health care system has the appropriate policies in place to allow for the implementation of comprehensive healthcare treatment. However, it is in the execution and management of the funding and services where it falls behind. Overall, the lack of consistent monitoring tools for policy evaluation explain why a strategic, evidence based public health system has been slow to take root in the state of Bihar. Consequently, Bihar generally ranks weakest in health outcomes in comparison to other Indian states and even among its EAG counterparts.[90][91]

Research indicates that Bihar relies on privatized hospitals to provide healthcare to the masses, it has high levels of unacknowledged corruption and also implements a vertical system of disease management. In fact, the ratio of private spending on health care relative to public spending in Bihar is the second highest in India.[90] These factors have been found to be associated with slower healthcare delivery and a higher degree of economic burden as a consequence of steep healthcare costs.[92][93][94][95] Much of this is because Bihar lacks in the continuity and transparency of health reporting as required by the Clinical Establishments Act of 2010. In turn, this prevents the government from making evidence based conclusions about policy changes and hospital effectiveness. Rather, Bihar’s health department displays patterns of ill-informed spending, inconsistent hiring, and erratic spending on healthcare infrastructure.

For example, according to the Government of India’s “Ministry of Health & Family Welfare Health and Family Welfare Census Data 2008-2015”,[96] the number of healthcare professionals including registered nurses, auxiliary nurses, physicians and health supervisors at each hospital in Bihar have remained significantly lower compared to those working in Kerala, and do not seem to follow any sort of pattern. Rather, its number of registered healthcare professionals remains constant over time. Compared to Bihar, we see that Kerala’s number of registered healthcare professionals consistently increase over time. According to “Rural Health Statistics 2015”, the greatest shortfalls exist among physicians and specialists across the state at least 75%.[90] This extends to the number of actual health centers across Bihar as well, as it only has 50% of the sub health centers, 60% of the primary health centers, and a mere 9% of the community health centers it needs based on the national government’s supply to population norms. At a closer look, the number of hospital beds that Bihar includes in each government run hospital actually decreased between 2008 and 2015, compared to the consistently increasing number of hospital beds in government run Kerala hospitals.[96] Given the population of Bihar (population: 99 million) is much denser than Kerala (population: 35 million), these numbers suggest that Bihar is significantly behind in the number of healthcare professionals that should be employed within the state.[97][96] It is likely that because there is a lack of data reporting, analysis and evaluation within Bihar that these trends exist.

Despite these shortcomings, Bihar has shown gradual signs of public health improvement in a few areas. There is indeed a shortage of skilled healthcare professionals, but Bihar still benefits from a surplus of female health workers compared to male health workers.[90] In terms of key impact indicators, between 2010 and 2013, the crude birth rate decreased by 2.3%, crude death rate decreased by 5.6%, infant mortality rate decreased by 12.7%, neo-natal mortality rate decreased by 8.6%, under 5 mortality rate decreased by 9.1%, and maternal mortality ratio decreased by 10.2%.[90]

It would suit Bihar well to continue to adapt common cost effective practices to strengthen their health systems data measurement and research.[91] Research has shown that the implementation of patient and caregiver surveys, exit interviews at health centers, vignettes, and audit studies are simple methods of bolstering reporting and evaluation in lower income areas such as Bihar.[98]


Year Gross State Domestic Product
(millions of Indian Rupees)[99]



Bihar accounts for 71% of India’s annual litchiproduction.[101]


A village market

Gross state domestic product of Bihar for the year 2013/2014 has been around 3683.37 billion INR. By sectors, its composition is:

Agriculture = 22%
Industry = 5%
Services = 73%.

Bihar is the fastest growing state in terms of gross state domestic product (GSDP), clocking a growth rate of 17.06% in FY 2014–15.[102] The economy of Bihar was projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.4% during 2012–2017, i.e. the 12th Five-Year Plan. Bihar has witnessed strong growth in per capita net state domestic product (NSDP). At current prices, per capita NSDP of the state grew at a CAGR of 12.91 per cent during 2004–05 to 2014–15.[103] Bihar’s per capita income went up by 40.6 per cent in the financial year 2014–15.[104]


Bihar is the largest producer of vegetables and the second-largest producer of fruits in India. Bihar has high agricultural production making it one of the strongest sectors of the state. About 80 per cent of the state’s population is employed in agriculture, which is higher as compared to India’s average.[103] The main agricultural products produced in Bihar are litchi, guava, mango, pineapple, brinjal, lady’s finger, cauliflower, cabbage, rice, wheat and sugarcane. Though good soil and favourable climatic conditions such as good rainfall favour agriculture, it has to encounter flood threat as well, which may drain off the fertile soil, if not conserved properly.[105] The state (mostly southern parts) faces droughts almost every year affecting production of crops such as paddy.[106]


Bihar has emerged as brewery hub with major domestic and foreign firms setting up production units in the state. Three major firms – United Breweries Group, Danish Brewery Company Carlsberg Group and Cobra Beer – are to set up new units in Patna and Muzaffarpur in 2012.[107]

Hajipur, near Patna, remains a major industrial city in Bihar, linked to the capital city through the Ganges bridge and good road infrastructure.[108]

The state’s debt was estimated at 77% of GDP by 2007.[109] The Finance Ministry has given top priority to create investment opportunities for big industrial houses like Reliance Industries. Further developments have taken place in the growth of small industries, improvements in IT infrastructure, the new software park in Patna, Darbhanga, Bhagalpur[110] and the completion of the expressway from the Purvanchal border through Bihar to Jharkhand. In August 2008, a Patna registered company called the Security and Intelligence Services (SIS) India Limited[111] took over the Australian guard and mobile patrol services business of American conglomerate, United Technologies Corporation (UTC). SIS is registered and taxed in Bihar.[112] The capital city, Patna, is one of the better-off cities in India when measured by per capita income.[113]^ The State Government is setting up an Information Technology (IT) City at Rajgir in Nalanda district.[114] Additionally, India’s first Media Hub is also proposed to be set up in Bihar.[115]

Income distribution[edit]

In terms of income, the districts of PatnaMunger, and Begusarai were the three best-off out of a total of 38 districts in the state, recording the highest per capita gross district domestic product of ₹31,441, ₹10,087 and ₹9,312, respectively, in 2004–05.[113]



Paag of Mithila

Language and literature[edit]


Maithili language in Tirhuta and Devanagari scripts

Hindi is the official language of the state.[7] Urdu is the second official language in 15 districts of the state.[8] Maithili (including its dialect Bajjika), BhojpuriAngika and Magahi are also widely spoken in the state.[116][117] Maithili is a recognised regional language of India under the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India.[9]Bhojpuriand Magahi are sociolinguistically a part of the Hindi Belt languages fold, thus they were not granted official status in the state.



Mithila Painting also known as Madhubani art is a distinct type of painting style hailing from Mithila region of Bihar

There are several traditional styles of painting practiced in Bihar. One is Mithila painting, a style of Indian painting used in the Mithila region of Bihar.Traditionally, painting was one of the skills that was passed down from generation to generation in the families of the Mithila region, mainly by women. Painting was usually done on walls during festivals, religious events, and other milestones of the life cycle, like birth, Upanayanam (the sacred thread ceremony), and marriage.[118]

Mithila painting was traditionally done on huts’ freshly plastered mud walls, but today it is also done on cloth, handmade paper, and canvas. Famous Mithila painters have included Smt Bharti Dayal, Mahasundari Devi, the late Ganga Devi, and Sita Devi.

Mithila painting is also called Madhubani art. It mostly depicts human beings and their association with nature. Common scenes illustrate deities like KrishnaRamShivaDurgaLakshmi, and Saraswati from ancient epics. Natural objects like the sun, moon, and religious plants like tulsi are also widely painted, along with scenes from the royal court and social events like weddings. Generally no space is left empty.[118]

Historically, the Patna School of Painting (Patna Salaam), sometimes called Company Painting, flourished in Bihar during the early 18th to mid-20th centuries. The Patna School of Painting was an offshoot of the well-known Mughal Miniature School of Painting. Those who practiced this art form were descendants of Hindu artisans of Mughal painting. Facing persecution from the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb, these artisans found refuge, via Murshidabad, in Patna during the late 18th century. Their art shared the characteristics of the Mughal painters, but whereas the Mughal style depicted only royalty and court scenes, the Patna artists also started painting bazaar scenes. They used watercolours on paper and on mica. The style’s subject matter evolved to include scenes of Indian daily life, local rulers, festivals, and ceremonies. This school of painting formed the basis for the formation of the Patna Art School under the leadership of Shri Radha Mohan. The School is an important center of fine arts in Bihar.

Performing arts[edit]


Magahi folk singers

Bihar has produced musicians like Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan and dhrupad singers like the Malliks (Darbhanga Gharana) and the Mishras (Bettiah Gharana) along with poets like Vidyapati Thakur who contributed to Maithili Music. The classical music in Bihar is a form of the Hindustani classical musicGaya is another centre of excellence in classical music, particularly of the Tappa and Thumri varieties. Pandit Govardhan Mishra – son of the Ram Prasad Mishra, himself an accomplished singer – is perhaps the finest living exponent of Tappa singing in India today, according to Padma ShriGajendra Narayan Singh, founding secretary of the Sangeet Natak Academi of Bihar. Gajendra Narayan Singh also writes, in his memoir, that Champanagar, Banaili, was another major centre of classical music. Rajkumar Shyamanand Sinha of Champanagar, Banaili princely state, was a great patron of music and was himself one of the finest exponents of classical vocal music in Bihar in his time.[119] Singh, in another book on Indian classical music, has written that “Kumar Shyamanand Singh of Banaili estate had such expertise in singing that many great singers including Kesarbai Kerkar acknowledged his ability. After listening to bandishes from Kumar Sahib, Pandit Jasraj was moved to tears and lamented that, alas!, he did not have such ability himself.” [free translation of Hindi text].[120][121]

During the 19th century, when the condition of Bihar worsened under the British misrule, many Biharis had to emigrate as indentured labourers to the West IndiesFiji, and Mauritius. During this time many sad plays and songs called birha became popular, in the Bhojpur region, thus Bhojpuri Birha. Dramas incorporating this theme continue to be popular in the theatres of Patna.[122][better source needed]



Anurita Jha acted as the lead actress in Maithili film Mithila Makhaan

Bihar has a robust Bhojpuri-language film industry. There is also a smaller production of Magadhi-, Maithili-, as well as Angika-language films. The first film with Bhojpuri dialogue was Ganga Jamuna, released in 1961.[123] Bhaiyaa, the first Magadhi film, was released in 1961.[124] The first Maithili movie was Kanyadan released in 1965.[125] Maithili film Mithila Makhaan won the National Film Award for Best Maithili Film in 2016.[126] The history of films entirely in Bhojpuri begins in 1962 with the well-received film Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo (“Mother Ganges, I will offer you a yellow sari”), which was directed by Kundan Kumar.[127] 1963’s Lagi nahin chute ram was the all-time hit Bhojpuri film, and had higher attendance than Mughal-e-Azam in the eastern and northern regions of India. Bollywood‘s Nadiya Ke Paar is another of the most famous Bhojpuri-language movies. However, in the following years, films were produced only in fits and starts. Films such as Bidesiya(“Foreigner”, 1963, directed by S. N. Tripathi) and Ganga (“Ganges”, 1965, directed by Kundan Kumar) were profitable and popular, but in general Bhojpuri films were not commonly produced in the 1960s and 1970s.

In the 1980s, enough Bhojpuri films were produced to tentatively support a dedicated industry. Films such as Mai (“Mom”, 1989, directed by Rajkumar Sharma) and Hamar Bhauji(“My Brother’s Wife”, 1983, directed by Kalpataru) continued to have at least sporadic success at the box office. However, this trend faded out by the end of the decade, and by 1990, the nascent industry seemed to be completely finished.[128]

The Bhojpuri film industry took off again in 2001 with the super hit Saiyyan Hamar (“My Sweetheart”, directed by Mohan Prasad), which vaulted the hero of that film, Ravi Kishan, to superstardom.[129] This success was quickly followed by several other remarkably successful films, including Panditji Batai Na Biyah Kab Hoi (“Priest, tell me when I will marry”, 2005, directed by Mohan Prasad) and Sasura Bada Paisa Wala (“My father-in-law, the rich guy”, 2005). In a measure of the Bhojpuri film industry’s rise, both of these did much better business in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar than mainstream Bollywood hits at the time, and both films, made on extremely tight budgets, earned back more than ten times their production costs.[130]Sasura Bada Paisa Wala also introduced Manoj Tiwari, formerly a well-loved folk singer, to the wider audiences of Bhojpuri cinema. The success of Ravi Kishan & Manoj Tiwari’s films has led to a dramatic increase in Bhojpuri cinema’s visibility, and the industry now supports an awards show[131] and a trade magazine, Bhojpuri City,[132] which chronicles the production and release of what are now over one hundred films per year.


<div class=”transborder” style=”position:absolute;width:100px;line-height:0;<div class=”transborder” style=”position:absolute;width:100px;line-height:0;


Religions in Bihar[73]

  Hinduism (82.69%)
  Islam (16.87%)
  Christianity (0.12%)
  Other religions (0.31%)

Hindu Goddess Sita, the consort of Lord Rama is believed to be born in Sitamarhi districtin the Mithila region of modern-day Bihar.[133][134] Gautama Buddha attained Enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, a town located in the modern day district of Gaya in Bihar. Vasupujya, the 12th Jain Tirthankara was born in ChampapuriBhagalpur. Vardhamana Mahavira, the 24th and the last Tirthankara of Jainism, was born in Vaishali around the 6th century BC.[135]




Biharbandhu was the first Hindi newspaper published in Bihar. It was started in 1872 by Madan Mohan Bhatta, a MarathiBrahman who settled in Bihar Sharif.[137] Hindi journalism in Bihar, and specially Patna, could make little headway initially. Many Hindi journals were born and, after a lapse of time, vanished. Many journals were shelved even in the planning stages.[138] But once Hindi had the support of being an official language, it started making inroads, even into the remote areas of Bihar. Hindi journalism acquired wisdom and maturity, and its longevity was assured. Hindi was introduced in the law courts in Bihar in 1880.[137][139]

Urdu journalism and poetry has a glorious past in Bihar. Many poets belong to Bihar, such as Shaad Azimabadi, Kaif Azimabadi, and Kalim Ajiz. Shanurahman, a world-famous radio announcer, is from Bihar. Many Urdu dailies— such as Qomi Tanzim and Sahara—are published in Bihar. There is a monthly Urdu magazine called Voice of Bihar – which is the first of its kind and is becoming popular among the Urdu speaking people.

The beginning of the 20th century was marked by a number of notable new publications. A monthly magazine named Bharat Ratna was started in Patna, in 1901. It was followed by Ksahtriya HitaishiAryavarta from DinapureUdyoga, and Chaitanya Chandrika.[140] Udyog was edited by Vijyaanand Tripathy, a famous poet of the time, and Chaitanya Chandrika by Krishna Chaitanya Goswami, a literary figure of that time. The literary activity was not confined to Patna alone but to other districts of Bihar.[137][141]

HindustanDainik JagranRajasthan PatrikaAaj, and Prabhat Khabar are some of the Hindi newspapers of Bihar. National English dailies like The Times of IndiaHindustan TimesNavbharat TimesThe Telegraph, and The Economic Times have readers in the urban regions.



Patna river port on national inland waterways-1 at Gai Ghat


Steamers and dredgers at Gai Ghat, Patna


Bihar has three operational airports: Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Airport, Patna; Gaya Airport; and Purnea Airport. The Patna airport is categorised as a restricted international airport, with customs facilities to receive international chartered flights. An airport at Muzaffarpur is under construction. Darbhanga Airport is scheduled to start operation in under UDAN 2 scheme.[citation needed]

Inland Waterways[edit]

The Ganges – navigable throughout the year – was the principal river highway across the vast north Indo-Gangetic Plain. Vessels capable of accommodating five hundred merchants were known to ply this river in the ancient period; it served as a conduit for overseas trade, as goods were carried from Pataliputra (later Patna) and Champa (later Bhagalpur) out to the seas and to ports in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. The role of the Ganges as a channel for trade was enhanced by its natural links – it embraces all the major rivers and streams in both north and south Bihar.[142]



The Mahabodhi Temple, among the four holy sites related to the life of the Lord Buddha and UNESCO World Heritage Site

The culture and heritage of Bihar can be observed from the large number of ancientmonuments spread throughout the state. Bihar is visited by many tourists from around the world,[143] with about 24,000,000 (24 million) tourists visiting the state each year.[143]

In earlier days, tourism in the region was purely based on educational tourism, as Bihar was home of some prominent ancient universities like Nalanda & Vikramashila.[144][145]








Front view of administrative building of IIT Patna

Historically, Bihar has been a major centre of learning, home to the ancient universities of Nalanda (established in 450 CE)Odantapurā (established in 550CE) and Vikramashila (established in 783 CE).[146] This tradition of learning may have been stultified during the period of Turkic invasions, c. 1000 CE, at which point it is believed major education centres, maintained by reclusive communities of Buddhist monks removed from the local populace, were suppressed by the Turkic raids originating from central Asia .[147]

Bihar saw a revival of its education system during the later part of the British rule, when Patna University, the seventh oldest university of the Indian subcontinent, was established in 1917.[148] Some other centres of high learning established under British rule are Patna College (established 1839), Bihar School of Engineering (1900; now known as National Institute of Technology, Patna), Prince of Wales Medical College (1925; now Patna Medical College and Hospital), Science College, Patna (1928), and Patna Women’s College, among others.

A recent survey by Pratham rated the receptivity of Bihari children to their teaching as being better than those in other states.[149]

Bihar is striving to increase female literacy, now at 53.3%, as the government establishes educational institutions. At the time of independence, women’s literacy in Bihar was 4.22%.

Literacy rate from 1951 to 2011[150]
Year Total Males Females
1961 21.95 35.85 8.11
1971 23.17 35.86 9.86
1981 32.32 47.11 16.61
1991 37.49 51.37 21.99
2001 47.53 60.32 33.57
2011 63.82 73.39 53.33

Bihar has a National Institute of Technology (NIT) and an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Patna. The National Employability Report of Engineering Graduates, 2014[151] puts graduates from Bihar in the top 25 percent of the country, and rating Bihar as one of the three top states at producing engineering graduates in terms of quality and employability.[152]

As of December 2013, there are seven government engineering colleges in the public sector, and 12 engineering colleges in the private sector, in Bihar, besides government-aided BIT Patna and Women’s Institute of Technology, Darbhanga. The overall annual intake of students of these technical institutes in Bihar is only 6,200.[153][154][155]

In Bihar, government colleges are located at Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur, Gaya, Darbhanga, Motihari, Nalanda, and Saran (Chhapra). All institutes are recognised by All India Council for Technical Education(AICTE), affiliated with Aryabhatta Knowledge University (AKU). As it is, the foundation stone of the eighth engineering college of the state government, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar Engineering College, was laid on 22 December 2013 at Begusarai,[156][157]while the process of creating the infrastructure for two new engineering colleges – one each at Madhepura and Sitamarhi – has started.[158][159]


NIT Patna main building

NIT Patna is the second oldest engineering college of India. Its origin can be traced to 1886, with the establishment of a survey training school, subsequently renamed Bihar College of Engineering in 1932. In 2004, the government of India upgraded the college to National Institute of Technology (NIT) status. In 2007, NIT Patna was granted Institute of National Importance status, in accordance with the National Institutes of Technology Act, 2007.

Bihar established several new educational institutes between 2006 and 2008. BIT Mesra started its Patna extension centre in September 2006. On 8 August 2008, Indian Institutes of Technology Patna was inaugurated with students from all over India[160] In 2008, NSIT opened its new college in Bihta, which is now emerging as an education hub.[161][162] BCE, BhagalpurMIT, Muzaffarpur, and the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Hajipur (NIPER)[163] are in Bihar. On 4 August 2008, National Institute of Fashion Technology Patna was established as the ninth such institute in India.[164] Chanakya National Law University and Chandragupt Institute of Management were established in the later half of 2008. Steps are being taken to revive the ancient Nalanda Mahavihara as Nalanda International University. Countries such as Japan, Korea, and China have also taken initiatives. The Aryabhatt Knowledge University in Patna is a centre with which all the engineering and medical colleges in Bihar are affiliated.[citation needed] The A.N. Sinha Institute[165] of Social Studies is a premier research institute in the state.

Bihar e-Governance Services & Technologies (BeST) and the Government of Bihar have initiated a unique program to establish a centre of excellence called Bihar Knowledge Center, a finishing school to equip students with the latest skills and customised short-term training programs at an affordable cost. The centre aims to attract the youth of the state to improve their technical, professional, and soft skills, to meet the current requirements of the industrial job market.[166]

Bihar has the Central Institute of Plastic Engineering & Technology (CIPET) and the Institute of Hotel Management (a central government unit) in Hajipur.

The Central University of Bihar (CUB) is one of the sixteen central universities newly established by the Government of India under the Central Universities Act, 2009 (Section 25 of 2009). The university is temporarily located on the premises of the Birla Institute of Technology, Patna. The university is likely to be relocated to Panchanpur, approximately 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from Gaya, on 300 acres (120 ha) of land to be transferred soon from the military. On 28 February 2014, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar laid the foundation stone.

Mahatma Gandhi Central University—also established under the Central Universities Act, and Amendment Act of 2014—is situated in Motihari, the district headquarters of East Champaran district.

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna was established in 2012. It is affiliated with AIIMS, New Delhi.

Nalanda University was re-established in 2014.

The Indian Institute of Management Bodh Gaya was established in 2015.

See also[edit]

Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). “Behar“. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.


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  84. Jump up^ “The Decline of Communist Mass Base in Bihar: Jagannath Sardar”. 25 September 2011.
  85. Jump up^ “Nitish Kumar government orders corrupt official’s home to be made into school”. Archived from the original on 4 May 2015. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  86. Jump up^ NK. “Online News, Information & Entertainment – newkerala.com, India”. Archived from the original on 10 May 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2015.[dead link]
  87. Jump up^ “Bihar fixes time for Friday prayers by its employees”The Indian Express. 25 July 2012.
  88. Jump up^ “Bihar Brings New Law on Alcohol Ban After HC Quashed Old One”The WirePTI. 4 October 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  89. Jump up^ “Bihar witnesses serious drop in tourism after liquor ban”Pradesh18. 3 September 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
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  91. Jump up to:a b “Quality improvement efforts in public health facilities of Bihar – Some general findings, Sector Wide Approach to Strengthening Health (SWASTH) in Bihar, Government of Bihar Initiative Supported by Department for International Development (DFID)”. 2016.
  92. Jump up^ Karvande, Shilpa; Sonawane, Devendra; Chavan, Sandeep; Mistry, Nerges (2016-02-20). “What does quality of care mean for maternal health providers from two vulnerable states of India? Case study of Bihar and Jharkhand”Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition35 (1). doi:10.1186/s41043-016-0043-3ISSN 2072-1315PMC 5025984PMID 26897522.
  93. Jump up^ Quintussi, Marta; Van de Poel, Ellen; Panda, Pradeep; Rutten, Frans (2015-04-26). “Economic consequences of ill-health for households in northern rural India”BMC Health Services Research15 (1). doi:10.1186/s12913-015-0833-0ISSN 1472-6963PMC 4419476PMID 25928097.
  94. Jump up^ Raza, Wameq A.; van de Poel, Ellen; Bedi, Arjun; Rutten, Frans (2015-12-28). “Impact of Community-based Health Insurance on Access and Financial Protection: Evidence from Three Randomized Control Trials in Rural India”Health Economics25 (6): 675–687. doi:10.1002/hec.3307ISSN 1057-9230.
  95. Jump up^ Strategic issues and challenges in health management. Ramani, K. V., Mavalankar, Dileep., Govil, Dipti. New Delhi: Sage. 2008. ISBN 8132100204OCLC 316005200.
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  98. Jump up^ Das, Jishnu; Holla, Alaka; Mohpal, Aakash; Muralidharan, Karthik (December 2016). “Quality and Accountability in Health Care Delivery: Audit-Study Evidence from Primary Care in India”American Economic Review106 (12): 3765–3799. doi:10.1257/aer.20151138ISSN 0002-8282.
  99. Jump up^ “National Accounts Division : Press release & Statements”. Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. Archived from the original on 13 April 2006. Retrieved 16 August 2006.
  100. Jump up^ “Bihar’s economy climbs to $12b by 2005”. Specials.rediff.com. 31 March 2009. Retrieved 15 October2009.
  101. Jump up^ Das, Anand ST (5 July 2008). “Distressed Delicacy”Tehelka5 (26). Archived from the original on 14 February 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  102. Jump up^ “Bihar fastest growing state, Maharashtra tops in economic size: Report”dna. 2 December 2015.
  103. Jump up to:a b “GSDP of Bihar, Economic Growth in Bihar, Bihar Tourism”www.IBEF.org. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  104. Jump up^ “Bihar posts avg GDP growth rate of 10.5% last decade”Business Standard. 25 February 2016.
  105. Jump up^ “Economy Of Bihar”www.ILoveIndia.com. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  106. Jump up^ “26 Bihar districts declared drought-hit – igovernment.in”www.iGovernment.in. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  107. Jump up^ “Bihar emerging as brewery hub”. Economic Times. 16 January 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  108. Jump up^ “About Hajipur, General Information on Hajipur, Hajipur Profile”www.HajipurOnline.in. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  109. Jump up^ “Bihar’s debt soars to 77% of GDP”. Specials.rediff.com. 31 March 2009. Retrieved 15 October 2009.
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  113. Jump up to:a b Nigam, Aditi (27 April 2008). “For Bihar, P stands for Patna and prosperity”The Financial Express. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  114. Jump up^ “Bihar’s first IT City to come up at Nalanda : Nitish Kumar”IANS. news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  115. Jump up^ “Bihar prepares to be India’s 1st Multimedia Hub within 3 Years”IANS. news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  116. Jump up^ Chitransh, Anugya (1 September 2012). “Bhojpuri is not the only language in Bihar”Hill Post. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  117. Jump up^ Cardona, George; Jain, Dhanesh, eds. (11 September 2003). The Indo-Aryan Languages. Routledge Language Family Series. Routledge. p. 500. ISBN 978-0-415-77294-5…the number of speakers of Bihari languages are difficult to indicate because of unreliable sources. In the urban region most educated speakers of the language name Hindi as their language because this is what they use in formal contexts and believe it to be the appropriate response because of lack of awareness. The uneducated and the urban population of the region return Hindi as the generic name for their language.
  118. Jump up to:a b Carolyn Brown Heinz, 2006, “Documenting the Image in Mithila Art,” Visual Anthropology Review, Vol. 22, Issue 2, pp. 5-33
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  122. Jump up^ Jugnu, Haidar Ali. Sati Sulochana – Bhojpuri Birha By Haidar Ali- JugnuYouTube. hamaarbhojpuri. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  123. Jump up^ Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Charaihbo – First Bhojpuri language film Archived 15 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  124. Jump up^ Bhaiyaa – First Magadhi language film
  125. Jump up^ Kanyadan – First Maithili language film
  126. Jump up^ “National Awards 2016: Here is the complete List of Winners”The Indian Express. 29 March 2016.
  127. Jump up^ “Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo (1962)”IMDb. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  128. Jump up^ Tripathy, Ratnakar (2007) ‘BHOJPURI CINEMA’, South Asian Popular Culture, 5:2, 145–165
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  130. Jump up^ “Move over Bollywood, Here’s Bhojpuri”BBC News.
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  135. Jump up^ Pathak Prabhu Nath,Society and Culture in Early Bihar, Commonwealth Publishers, 1988, p. 140
  136. Jump up^ http://www.india.com/travel/articles/sita-temples-in-india-that-you-may-not-know-about/
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  138. Jump up^ Rajendra Abhinandan Granth, “Nagri Pracharini Sabha”, Arrah, 3 March 1950, pp. 353
  139. Jump up^ Kumar, Nagendra (1971). Journalism in Bihar: A Supplement to Bihar State Gazette. Government of Bihar, Gazetteers Branch. p. 28. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  140. Jump up^ Bihar ki Sahityik Pragati, Bihar Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Patna 1956, p. 73
  141. Jump up^ Jayanti Smarak Granth, pp. 583–585
  142. Jump up^ Yang, Anand A (1998). Bazaar India: Markets, Society, and the Colonial State in Gangetic BiharISBN 978-0-520-21100-1. Retrieved 15 October 2009.
  143. Jump up to:a b Statics Tourism in Bihar on Indian Government‘s website Archived 22 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  144. Jump up^ Wriggins, Sally Hovey. Xuanzang: A Buddhist Pilgrim on the Silk Road. Westview Press, 1996. Revised and updated as The Silk Road Journey With Xuanzang. Westview Press, 2003. ISBN 0-8133-6599-6.
  145. Jump up^ A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms: Being an account by the Chinese Monk Fa-Hien of his travels in India and Ceylon (A.D. 399–414) in search of the Buddhist Books of Discipline. Oxford, Clarendon Press. Reprint: New York, Paragon Book Reprint Corp. 1965. ISBN 0-486-21344-7Archived 24 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
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  148. Jump up^ “Profile of Patna University”Patna University. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
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  150. Jump up^ “Census Statistics for Bihar”. Gov.bih.nic.in. Retrieved 15 October 2009.
  151. Jump up^ “National Employability Report – Engineers, Annual Report 2014” (PDF)www.aspiringminds.com. www.aspiringminds.com. p. 22. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  152. Jump up^ “Delhi, Bihar produce top engineers in India: Report”The Times Of India.
  153. Jump up^ “Parents want wards to go for tech education outside Bihar”. Times of India. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  154. Jump up^ “CM inaugurates new engineering college at Chhapra”The Times Of India. 26 December 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  155. Jump up^ “7th engineering college of state to open in July”. Times of India. 8 November 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  156. Jump up^ “CM lays foundation of engineering college”. Times of India. 23 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  157. Jump up^ “Nitish lists special tag cry as LS poll plank”. Calcutta, India: The Telegraph. 23 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  158. Jump up^ “Shortage of engineering colleges in Bihar”. Times of India. 6 January 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  159. Jump up^ “New engineering colleges, polytechs to get impetus soon”. Times of India. 26 December 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  160. Jump up^ Jha, Abhay Mohan (4 August 2008). “Brand new IIT in Patna impresses all”. NDTV. Archived from the originalon 7 August 2008. Retrieved 4 August 2008.
  161. Jump up^ “Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology (Nsit), Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology (Nsit) Address, Admission, Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology (Nsit) Courses, Ranking, Contact Details”www.StudyGuideIndia.com. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
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  163. Jump up^ NITPU Chandigarh. “National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, S.A.S. Nagar”. Niper.ac.in. Retrieved 15 October 2009.
  164. Jump up^ NIFT starts classes in Patna Archived 11 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.[dead link]
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General information
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