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Bihar has a very very long history. Here one of the most advanced civilization flourished which is comparable to any of the contemporary civilization of that time. Beginning around the fourth century BC the Mauryan Dynasty flourished under different Mauryan Monarchs for around 140 years followed by the Gupta Dynasty, who also ruled for another 200 years.
The Chotanagpur plateau was a virtual "no man's land" and the refuge of the ethnological sweepings of the plain until the 18th Century owning mainly to its rugged and dense forest-clad terrain. It is stated that during the reign of Ashoka the Atavi or forest states too acknowledged Magadh supremacy and this may justify the conclusion that Chotanagpur was included in the Mauryan empire at least during his reign. His invasion of Kalinga in Orissa further testifies to this. This region has been, nevertheless, avoided by the rulers of the plain. The invasion thrusts of the Moughuls, the Marathas and the British which have been very significant factors in the early history of Modern India, avoided Chotanagpur and the adjoining hilly area. All the inter-regional movements before the advent of railways were directed east-west through the plains. the entire area lying between Rohtas in the west, Panchet bill in the east, and Ratanpur in Central India, extending upto the borders of Orissa in the south was known as Jharkhand or jungle land during the Moghul period. Chotanagpur was also known as Kokrah during the Moghul period and was loosely annexed to Moghul empire, its chief attraction being some diamond mines. There were small princely states such as those of Ramgarh, Kharagdiha, Kendy, etc., with very local influence within the region, before the British period. In 1765, Shah Alam II granted Diwani to the East India Company authorising it to claim the tribute of such small states. The hold of the company was only nominal. The first effective measure to integrate this hilly in accessible tract to the South Bihar plain was taken in 1772, when Capt. Camac invaded the region. In the succeeding period, roads linking Patna to Deosai (headquaters of Chotanagpur) through Gaya-Chatra, and Hilsa-Muckundganj (Hazaribagh)-Ramgarh-Chutia (ranchi), were constructed to exercise effective control over the region. Subsequently, the area was systematically surveyed which brought to light the vast deposits of coal, iron ore, and other minerals. The extension of railways prompted by desire to exploit these minerals brought further economic and administrative integration with the Bihar and Bengal plains.
This state which gave the nation the first President of the Indian Republic, Dr Rajendra Prasad is taking slow but confident steps to join the mainstream of economic growth and occupy its rightful place in the country's economy in the next millenium.
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