About Haryana

About Haryana

The name of Haryana instantly conjures up the image of a state which astonishingly combines antiquity and modernity. The Vedic land of Haryana has been the cradle of Indian culture and civilization. Indian traditions regard this region as the northern end of the altar where Brahma performed the pristine sacrifice and created the universe. This theory of creation has been confirmed to a large extent by archaeological investigations carried out by Guy E. Pilgrim in 1915, who established that 15 million years ago, early man lived in the Haryana Shivaliks. The Vamana Purana states that King Kuru ploughed the field of Kurukshetra with a golden ploughshare drawn by the Nandi of Lord Shiva, and reclaimed an area of seven Kosas.

Replete with myths, legends and Vedic references, Haryana’s past is steeped in glory. It was on this soil that saint Ved Vyas wrote Mahabharata. It was here that Lord Krishna preached the gospel of duty to Arjuna just before the beginning of the epic battle of Mahabharata 5,000 long years ago, and said, ”Your right is to do your duty and not to bother about the fruits (outcome) thereof !” Since then, this philosophy of the supremacy of duty has served as a beacon guiding succeeding generations. During the days of the Mahabharata war, Haryana was known as the land of plentiful grains (Bahudhanyaka) and immense riches (Bahudhana). Before this epic war, a battle of ten kings took place in the Kurukshetra region. But it was Mahabharata, fought for the highest values of righteousness, that gave the region world-wide fame because of the profound and sophisticated thoughts expounded in the holy Bhagavad Gita by Lord Krishna recited to a quivering Arjuna.

Being a gateway to north India, this region has been the scene of many a war. As years rolled by, successive streams of the Huns, the Turks and the Tughlaqs invaded India and decisive battles were fought on this land. At the end of the 14 century, the Tamur led an army through this area to Delhi. Later, the Mughals defeated the Lodhis in the historic battle of Panipat in 1526. Another decisive battle was fought in 1556 at this very site, establishing the supremacy of the Mughals for centuries to come. It was towards the middle of the 18th century that the Marathas established their sway over Haryana. The intrusion of Ahmed Shah Durrani into India culminating in Maratha ascendancy, and rapid decline of the Mughal empire, ultimately led to the advent of the British rule.

Indeed, the history of Haryana is the saga of the struggle of a virile, righteous, forthright and proud people. Since ancient times, the people of Haryana have borne the brunt of foreign invaders with bravery and valour. They have survived many an upheaval, upholding the traditional glory and greatness of the land. The epoch-making events of the yore, the martyrdom attained by brave fighters from the state in the First War of Indian Independence in 1857, the great sacrifices made by people during the freedom struggle, and the display of outstanding valour, unflinching courage, and heroism in recent years, are all in keeping with the character of this land of action. Bold in spirit and action, the people of Haryana have always formed a bulwark against the forces of aggression and anti-nationalism.

Haryana has always remained a rendezvous for diverse races, cultures and faiths. It is on this soil that they met, fused and crystallized into something truly Indian. Hindu Saints and Sikh Gurus traversed the land of Haryana spreading the message of universal love and brotherhood. Sihi in Faridabad, the birthplace of great Hindi poet Surdas, is another nucleus of culture in Haryana while the legend of Lord Krishna is very evident in the lives of the people. The love for cattle and abundance of milk and curd in the diet of Haryanvis persists to this day and brought the region world-wide fame.

Haryana was carved out of Punjab as a separate entity of the galaxy of Indian Republic on November 1, 1966. Occupying just 1.37% of the total geographical area and having less than 2% of India’s population, Haryana has carved a place of distinction for itself during the past three decades. Whether it is agriculture or industry, canal irrigation or rural electrification, Haryana has made rapid strides and kept pace with modernity. Today, it enjoys the unique distinction of having provided electricity, metalled roads and potable drinking water to all its villages, that too, in record time. Having third highest per capita income in the northern states, Haryana ranks among the most prosperous and progressive states in India.



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Historical aspects of the emergence of Haryana as a state

The origin of the demand of Haryana as a state can be visualised in its historical perspective. The emotional participation by Haryanavis in the First War of Independence made the British rulers vengeful. They tagged Haryana region with Punjab in 1858 as a measure of political punishment to the people of this region. “Of course, it was their political isolation but they were still more related socially and culturally to the people of Delhi and Western U.P.” They lost political boundaries but maintained the cultural ties of Roti and Beti. Perhaps, it was due to the repressive policy of the British Government that no significant development was made in the region in the sphere of education, trade, industry, means of communication and irrigation.

Consequently, the region remained backward socially, educationally, economically and politically throughout the 19th century. With the change of capital from Calcutta to Delhi on December 12, 1911, the Haryana region got further isolated. In 1920, certain changes in Delhi district were suggested. The Muslim League suggested extension of the boundaries of Delhi with the inclusion of Agra, Meerut and Ambala Division. A similar demand was made to Sir J.P. Thomson, Commissioner of Delhi, by the people.

In 1928, an all-party conference in Delhi again made a demand for extension of the boundaries of Delhi. Some prominent leaders of Haryana like Pt. Neki Ram Sharma, Lala Desbandhu Gupta and Sri Ram Sharma met Gandhi ji and requested him that the districts of Haryana region be merged with Delhi. In 1931, at the Second Round Table Conference, Sir Geoffrey Corbert, Financial Commissioner of the then Punjab Government and Secretary of the Indian delegation to the Round Table Conference, suggested re-organisation of Punjab boundaries and separation of the Ambala Division from Punjab. He argued, “Historically, Ambala Division was a part of then Hindustan, and, its inclusion in the province of then Punjab was an incident of British rule.”

Origin of the name of the state

There are diverse interpretations regarding the origin of the name Hariyana (Haryana). Hariyana is an ancient name. During the olden period, this region was known as Brahmavarta, Aryavarta and Brahomoupdesa. These names are based on the emergence of Brahma, Lord of the land of Haryana, the abode of Aryans, and home of the preachings of Vedic cultures and other rites. Professor H.A. Phadke says, “With the inter-mingling of various peoples and races, Haryana’s contribution to the making of the composite Indian culture has been remarkable. Quite significantly, the region has been hailed as the matrix of creation, and heaven on the earth. Its other names ‘Bahudhanyaka’ and ‘Hariyanka’ suggest abundance of food supply and vegetation”. According to an inscription found in Bohar village, Rohtak district, this region was known as Hariyanak. The inscription pertains to the period of Balban during 1337 Vikram Samvat.

Later, the word `Haryana’ was found inscribed on a stone during the reign of Sultan Mohammad-bin-Tughlaq. Dharanidhar, in his work Akhand Prakash, says, “This word comes from Haribanka, connected with the worship of Hari, Lord Indra. Since the tract is dry, its people worshipped Indra (Hari) always for rain”. Another thinker, Girish Chander Avasthi traces its origin to Rigveda where Hariyana is used as a qualifying adjective with the name of a king (Vasuraja). He says, the king ruled over this region, and, as such, the tract came to be known as Hariyana after him.

History of the state as an administrative unit

As a geographical unit, Haryana was not known before 12th century A.D. The name Haryana may be of late origin but the antiquity of this area has never been questioned. Tomara Rajputs ruled over `Hariyana’ from Delhi when the Ghaznavids invaded India from north-west. The kingdom of Lahore was annexed by the Ghaznavids in 1020. Sultan Masud, the successor of Sultan Mahmud, in the effort to extend his power and sway, advanced towards Hansi and captured the fort.

After the fall of Hansi, he marched to Sonipat and defeated its Governor, Dipal Hari. While the Tomaras of Delhi succeeded in recovering these territories, they made no attempt to oust Muslims from the kingdom of Lahore. The position, however, changed with the fall of Ghaznavids, when the kingdom of Lahore fell into the hands of Ghuris (IS IT GHURIDS) and the Tomaras of Delhi were overpowered by the Chahamanas. The Chahamanas of Ajmer, after subduing the Tomaras by the middle of the 12th century, came face to face with the Ghuris.

After taking Lahore in 1186 A.D., Muhammad Ghuri encountered the Chahamanas under Prithvi Raj. Beaten in his first encounter in 1190-91 at Tarain (Traori) in Karnal district, he came back the following year to defeat Prithvi Raj in 1192. Prithvi Raj was defeated and taken prisoner or killed near Saraswati river. During this encounter, he destroyed the most important town of Meham in Rohtak district.

After the battle of Traori in 1192, the Karnal area was firmly attached to Delhi. On June 24, 1206, Qutab-ud-din Aibak sat on the throne of Delhi and inaugurated Muslim rule in North India. The Turks of central Asia, professing the religion of Islam in a fanatic and militant form, became masters of a country, the teeming millions of which believed in diverse cults collectively described as Hinduism. In spite of relentless pressure and ruthless persecutions, a vast majority of people offered unflinching resistance to the alien conqueror and his creed, and exhibited dogged persistence in maintaining their exclusiveness.