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Khagaria District

Khagaria, as a district, is only twenty Years old. Earlier, it was a part of the district of Munger, as a subdivision. The sub-division of Khagaria was created in the Year 1943-44. It was upgraded as district, with effect from 10th May, 1981, vide Government of Bihar notification no. 7/T-1-207/79 dated 30th April,1981. As a sub-division of the old district of Munger, Khagaria was the youngest, in terms of creation of sundivision, before independence. The other three older subdivision were Munger sadar, Begusarai and Jamui. The Jamui sub-division was created on 22nd July,1864 and Begusarai sub-division on the 14th February 1870.

Khagaria was created as a separate sub-division mainly because of the difficulties arising out of a lack of easy means of communications. Railways were a very old means of communication in this district. As per the Gazetteer of 1960,this Sub-division had three railway lines - the north Eastern Railway, passing west to East had four Stations – Khagaria, Mansi, Maheshkhunt and Pasraha . One branch Line shot off from Khagaria passing through Olapur and Imli, while another branch line shot off from Mansi, which went up to Saharsa. This Mansi- Saharsa branch line, during that period was however disturbed during rains between Katyani Asthan and Koparia, a distance of 6 miles, which had to be covered by boats. Apart from railways, the other means of communication was roads, which were in a very bad shape. The only metalled road at that time was 22 mile long Maheshkhunt- Aguawani ghat road, which was still under construction. During that period Khagaria- Parihara- bakhri Road was also under construction and National Highway linking Moakamaghat to Assam was under contemplation.

Recurrence of floods was an annual affair, as five major rivers – The Ganga, The Gandak, The Bagmati, The Kamala and The Koshi passed through the area of the subdivision of Khagaria. The recurrence of floods along with water logging made communication extremely difficult in the rainy season. Before the construction of South embankment of Baghmati and Gogari- Narayanpur embankment, the vast portion of land between the railway line and three streams, namely, the Bagmati, the Kamla and The Ghaghri ( the main stream of Koshi) and the various streams, as the Maria river and the Maitha river, used to abound in marshes.

It is said that the entire areas, now included in the district of khagaria, was "Dahnal", affected by floods of the Ganga, the Gandak, the Kamla, the Bagmati and the Koshi and that because of its physical situation, any site of importance must have been washed away. That is why, it does not possess any historical site of importance. According to the history, commonly known in this part, it is said that during the time of Emperor Akbar, Raja Todarmal had been entrusted with the duty of making a survey of the entire area, but as he failed to do it, he advise that this area should be excluded, in other words, he adopted the policy of "Farak Kiya" and that is why the area is Known as "Pharkiya Pargana".

Early History
The teritony, included in the old district of Munger, formed part of the Madhya- desa or "Midland" of the first Aryan settlers. It has been identified with Modagiri, a place mentined in the Mahabharata, which was the capital of a kingdom in Eastern India near Vanga and Tamralipta. At the dawn of history, the territory apparently comprised within the Kingdom of Anga, the capital of which was at Champa near Bhagalpur. Anga comprised of the modern districts of Bhagalpur and Munger, and also extended north wards up to the river koshi and included the western portion of the district of Purnea. Rahul Sankritayan in "Budh Charya" has mentioned that the area lying north of the Ganga was known as Anguttarap.

The first historical account of the old district of Munger appears in the Travels of Hiuen-Tsiang who visited the portions of it, towards the close of the first half of the seventh century A.D. After that there is a gap in the history of the district until the ninth century A.D., when it passed into the hands of Pala kings. The history during Pala period has become known mainly through the inscriptions. However, it is true that both Hiuen – Tsang’s account and Pala inscriptions cover maibly the Southern part of Munger district. The area passed through Muslim rule after the advent of Muslim rule in India.

Munger, in the later history, came into prominence, in the year 1762, when Kasim Ali Khan made it his capital instead of Murshidabad , from which he removed his treasure, his elephants and horses, and even the gold and silver decorations of the Imambara. He built himself a palace with a breast work before it for thirty guns, and had the fortifications strengthened; while his favourite General Gurghin Khan, an Armenian who had formerly been a cloth merchant at Ispahan, reorganized the army, had it drilled and equipped after the English model, and established an arsenal; the manufacture of fire-arms, which still is carried on at Munger, is said to date back to this period. Soon after he had established himself at Munger, Mir Kasim Ali came into collision with the English, which finally resulted in capture of Munger in the year 1763.

With the extension of the British dominions, Munger ceased to be an important frontier post. The existence of Munger, as a separate executive centre is believed to date from the year 1812. The extent of the Munger jurisdiction is not mentioned in the local records till september 1814, when it is stated to comprise five Thanas or Police divisions, namely, Munger,Tarapur,Surajgarha, Mallepur and Gogari. In 1834 pargana chakai was transferred from the district of Ramgarh and in 1839 pargana Bishazari from the district of Patna. Numerous minor changes followed but the greatest change was effected in June 1874, when parganas Sakhrabadi, Darra, Singhaul, Kharagpur and Parbatta were transferred from Bhagalpur to Munger, together with tappas Lowdah and Simrawan and 281 villages from parganas Sahuri and Lakhanpur comprising in all an area of 613.62 square miles. The subdivision of Jamui was formed in 1864, at first with headquarters at Sikandra, but in 1869 they were transferred to Jamui. The Begusarai subdivision was established in 1870 and in 1943-44, Khagaria subdivision was established with headquarters at Khagaria.

When Khagaria subdivision was created, it comprised of an area of 752 square miles and as per the census of 1951, had a population of 5,84,625 persons. It had seven Police Thanas, namely, Khagaria, Gogari, Chautham, Parbatta, Alauli, Beldaur and Bakhtiyarpur. Presently, Bakhtiyarpur forms part of Saharsa district, Most of the part of Khagaria district was referred to as ‘ Pharkiya Pargana.’ In the 1926 District Gazetter of Munger, it has been referred as "a pargana in the north east of the Munger subdivision, with an area of 506 square miles comprised mainly within the Gogri thana." This tract formerly belonged to an ancient family of Zamindars, of whose history little is known except what was collected in 1787 by Mr. Adair, the collector of Bhagalpur. Towards the close of the 15th century, the Emperor of Delhi sent a Rajput, namely Biswanath Rai, to contain lawlessness in the area. He successfully accomplished the task and obtained the grant of a Zamindari in this part of the country, and the estate developed on his posterity without interruption for ten generations. The annals of the family, however, after the first quarter of the 18th century, are a record of little but bloodshed and violence. At the time of publication of the 1926 Gazetteer , the greater portion of the estate was the property of Babu Kedarnath Goenka and Babu Deonandan Prasad.

Physical features
Before the construction of embankments along the Ganga, the Bagmati, the Burhi Gandak and the Kosi, namely karachi badlaghat embankment, Badla- Nagarpara embankment, Burhi Gandak protection embankment and Gogri- Narayanpur embankment, the vast tract of present Khagaria district was flat alluvial plain and was abound in marshy and swampy land. The characteristics of this part, north of the Ganga has been described as follows by a former collector of Munger, Mr. E. Lockwood in "Natural History, Sports and Travel"- "The northern part is an extensive plain formed by the rich alluvial soil brought down by the ever changing river. In the north, nine tenths of the trees are cultivated mangoes, whilst wheat, Indian corn, various kinds of millet peas, masur, rahar, oats, indigo, mustard, linseed and castor oil, are the principal crops which the land holders find profitable to grow." He further describes that in contrast, "the southern portion (south of the Ganga) consists of vast rice tracts and forests, which cover the metamorphic hills extending far away into central India from the town of Monghyr. In the forest of the south are found the ebony tree, the sal and the mahua. The south also yields vast quantities of rice,and a hundred and fifty tons of opium, grown on twenty five thousand acres of land, whilst, after crossing the Ganges, little rice and not a single poppy will be seen."

The major part of the alluvial plain comprising this district, at present, is mainly a saucer- shaped depression, the center of which was innundated during the rains by the over flow of the rivers and for the rest of the year was full of marshy hollows. The inundation has decreased after construction of embankments but still a large part in the north eastern part of the district, contained in west by Gogari- Maheshkhunt – Saharsa Road, in the north by the Koshi and in the south by the Ganga is completely inundated during rainy season except for the National Highway and the New Delhi – Gauhati Railway line .

River System
The principal rivers of the district are the Ganga, the Burhi Gandak, the Bagmati, the Kamla and the Ghaghri (the mainstream of Koshi). The Ganga forms the southern boundary of the district in its entire length. This river has severe shifting tendencies resulting in a vast tract of diara land, on the northern side and several hamlets of the present Munger district have resettled on the north of the Ganga due to erosion caused by the shifting of the river. Due to vast tract of diara land, during rainy season, at some places, the breadth of the river runs into miles.

The Burhi Gandak, runs a Zig-Zag course through the district of Begusarai and enters Khagaria for a short while, running by the side of the town of Khagaria, and flows in to the Ganga. It forms the western boundary of the Khagaria town and a protection embankment built along the eastern side of this river, protects Khagaria town from the floods of Burhi Gandak.

The Bagmati enters the district from the western side, through the district of Begusarai. It then pursues a winding but generally easterly direction, till it flows into the Tilijuga or the Kamla near Chautham.

The Tilijuga or the Kamla enters the district from Darbhnga, near Mohraghat, It then flows south east to Chautham, merges into the Bagmati, and the united stream flows into the district of Bhagalpur under the name of the Ghaghri, which is known as one of the main branches of the Koshi.

Climate, the flora and the fauna
The climate of the district may be said to form a medium between the dry, parching heat of the up country and the close moist atmosphere of the south valley of Bengal. The heat is often intense but is very favourable during the rains because of law humidity. The seasons are the same as in the other parts of Bihar. The summer begins towards the middle of march and continues upto the end of June, when the rainy season begins, The months of April and May combine heat with high humidity relieved by intermittent rain falls. The rainy season continues upto October , while the water logging due to rain water continues in some areas up to the end of December. The winters are quite pleasant in this area.

Land use pattern
In the whole district, there is no hill and no mineral is found in this district. As far as the land use pattern is concerned, wheat is the prominent rabi crop in the district. Due to floods and water logging, the paddy production is very low, except in the southern part of the district. Maize is grown abundantly almost through out the district, while banana cultivation as a cash crop, has grown into prominence in last two decades. Banana cultivation is done mostly in Choutham, Gogari and Parvatta blocks.

Apart from these mango and litchi orchards are abundant in this district and are found almost through out the entire area. The study of old gazetteers show that these orchards have been in existence since long.

Irrigation facilities
After independence, the government has tried to create irrigation facilities through state tubewells and lift irrigation schemes. There are around 150 state tubewells and 20 lift irrigation schemes but 75 percent of the tubewells and 80 percent of the lift irrigation schemes are non-functional because of poor maintenance. Despite the abundance of rivers in the district, there does not exist any system of canal irrigation. As a result, the cultivators are dependent on the use of private borings fitted with pump sets. Fortunately, due to high water table in the area, the cost of boring is not very high and even middle class farmers can afford to have private boring and pumpsets. Agriculture, being the mainstay of the economy of the district, Government sponsored financing programmes, also give importance to bank financing of individual owned irrigation projects, comprising mainly of 5-7.5 KVA pumpsets and boring. To improve the functioning of the state owned tube wells, The Government has taken a decision to transfer thr ownership and maintenance of the tube wells to groups of beneficiaries and this is under the process of implementation in this district.

Animal Husbandry
The rearing of milch cattle had been a traditional occupation in this area. The 1960 Gazetteer says, "There is good pasturage among the hills to the south during the rainy season and in pasturage grounds of Pharkiya, in the dry season, but elsewhere grazing lands are scarce. Even in the south of the district, jungles yield poor grazing during the dry season, and only those who can afford to send their animals to the north gangetic plains in pargana Pharkiya keep good stock." Even people from the district of Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur and Bhagalpur usedto visit this tract for the grazing of the cattle during dry season.

This district is well connected to other parts of Bihar and the country through railways as well as roads. New Delhi – Gauhati railway lines passes through Khagaria. Other prominent stations are Mansi, Maheshkhunt and Pasraha. From Mansi, one branch line goes towards Saharsa, while from Khagaria, one branch line goes towards Samastipur. Both these branch lines are still meter- gauge. Between Khagaria and Mansi, both broad gauge and meter gauge railway lines run parallel. Mansi had been an important place from the point of view of railways, since it used to be the headquarters of an Engineering district of railway but now most of important offices of railways have shifted from this place to other places, and mostly to Khagaria or Barauni, which falls in Begusarai district.

National Highway No. 31 passes through the district almost parallel to the railway line in west-east direction, the intersection of the two existing at a place called Chukati, eight kms. eastward from Khagaria. Almost 46 Km. of NH- 31 falls within the jurisdiction of Khagaria district. NH-31 goes right upto Gauhati and is an important road link of Bihar to the north – eastern part of the country and to Northern Bengal. From Maheshkhunt, on NH-31, branches off one road to Saharsa district. It is maintained by Road Construction Department of Government of Bihar.

Apart from National highway, the condition of other roads in the district is not very good. Historically also the situation had been the same. Excessive rains and water logging coupled with poor maintenance account for this. Prominent roads of the district, which are maintained by Road Construction department are Maheshkhunt- Chautham- Beldaur Road (26 Km.), Maheshkhunt – Gogari- Parvatta- sultanganj ghat Road (32 Km.), Khagaria- Alauli Road (18 Km.), Khagaria – Parihara- Bakhri Road (19 Km.), Khagaria-Munger ghat Road (6.5 Km.) , Khagaria- Sonmankhi Road (6.5 Km.) and Pansalwa – Baijnathpur Road (11 Km.).The condition of other roads, some maintained by Rural Engineering organisation and some by Block and Panchayats are also worse . Due to existence of several rivers and rivulets, all weather communication in the interiors of the district would require huge investment in bridges and culverts, the lack of which makes large part of country side accessible by boats only during the rainy season.

Trade and Commerce
Trade and commerce are the only non- agricultural economic activity in the district . Khagaria and Gogri Jamalpur are the two important trade centres. Main trading item is foodgrains. Apart from foodgrains there are small number of traders in other items, as, textiles, hardware, jewellery and other commonly used items. Khagaria is a municipality while Gogari is a notified area. None of these is a fast growing township. In 1921 census, Khagaria town had a population of 9521 persons, which increased to 10,050 in 1951 census and in 2001, it is estimated to be near 45,000 persons. The 1960 Gazetteer of Munger terms Khagaria as "an important trade centre", wherefrom large amount of chillies and grains were exported; and "merchants from far and near corners of India have come and settled down here". In comparison, it seems that during last fifty years, most of the trading community has shifted out of the district, either to Begusarai and Patna, or to Siliguri.

Due to the abundance of milch cattles in this area ,sale of milk and milk-product ,especially ghee is also an important business activity here.This has been a traditional occupation of this area. The 1960Gazetter says , "the only small industry ,which has earned a good name among the people is ghee making ,which is carried on in this subdivision on a large scale .This ils entirely due to a large number of she-buffaloes being reared in the Pharkiya Paragna. Many good cultivators send their cattle to the Pharakiya paragna for pasturage. Khagaria is famous for ghee making and in the Bazar a good trade has sprung up. There are certain firms in Khagaria,Mansi ,Badlaghat and Pasraha ,which send ghee to district places."

An organized boost has been given to this trade of milk,through formation of dairy co-operative societies. Societies collect raw milk from members and send it to the chilling plant at Khagaria ,which sends chilled milk to Barauni processing plant of Barauni Milk Union ,where the chilled milk is processed and various milk products as well as packaged milk is sent to the market .The co-operative system ensures steady income to the farmers and provides market at their door-step itself. Still due to poor communication in their interiors , large amount of milk production is still outside the net of co-operative system . Increasing the number of societies as well as increasing the membership of existing societies, can be a very viable means to inject additional capital lin the economy of this district and will specially be beneficial to small and medium farmers. As on 31/12/1999, the membership of dairy co-operative societies is 7322,and the daily average collection of the year 1996-97, 1997-98, and 1998-99 is respectively 6,920 ; 7,800 and 9000 litres. The number of organized and functional dairy co-operative societies , blockwise are as follows:-

. . Units . . Units
Headquarters: KHAGARIA .  Total Area: 1486.0 sq. Kms.
Forest Area : 6.98 sq. Kms. Net Sown Area: 836.96 sq. Kms.
Occupied House: 170.06 '000 Net Irrigation Area : 460.83 sq. Kms.
Total Population 987.23 '000 Total Literates 251.78 '000
Total Male 528.63 '000 Total Female 458.6 '000
Urban Population 58.8 '000 Rural Population 928.42 '000
Rural Population - Male 497.94 '000 Rural Population - Female 431.49 '000
Urban Population - Male 31.7 '000 Urban Population - Female 27.11 '000
Total SC Population 143.03 '000 Total ST Population 0.04 '000
SC Population - Rural 138.79 '000 ST Population - Rural 0.02 '000
SC Population - Urban 4.23 '000 ST Population - Urban 0.02 '000
Total Male Literacy 181.03 '000 Total Female Literacy 70.75 '000
Rural Literates 223.33 '000 Urban Literates 28.45 '000
Rural Literates - Male 163.11 '000 Rural Literates - Female 60.22 '000
Urban Literates - Male 17.93 '000 Urban Literates - Female 10.53 '000
Rural Male Literacy % 41.26 % . Rural Female Literacy % 17.94 % .
Urban Male Literacy % 68.88 % . Urban Female Literacy % 48.47 % .
Total Workers ('000) . . Male Workers ('000) . .

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