Haryana


Haryana
/hur'ee ah"neuh/, n.
a state in NW India, formed in 1966 from the S part of Punjab. 11,610,000; 17,074 sq. mi. (44,222 sq. km). Cap. (shared with Punjab): Chandigarh.
Also, Hariana.

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State (pop., 2001 prelim.: 21,082,989), northern India.

Bordered by the states of Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttaranchal, and Uttar Pradesh and the Delhi national capital territory, it occupies an area of 17,070 sq mi (44,212 sq km). The city of Chandigarh is the joint administrative capital of Haryana and Punjab. The region is the legendary birthplace of Hinduism, and its festivals attract many pilgrims. Most of Haryana lies on the flat Gangetic Plain, an area that has seen waves of migration from the time of Alexander the Great. It came under the control of the British East India Company in 1803, became a part of Punjab in 1858, and became a separate state in 1966. Its economy is mainly agricultural.

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Introduction

      state in north-central India. It is bounded on the northwest by the state of Punjab and the union territory of Chandīgarh, on the north and northeast by the state of Himāchal Pradesh, on the east by the state of Uttar Pradesh and the union territory of Delhi, and on the south and southwest by the state of Rājasthān. The area is 17,070 square miles (44,212 square kilometres). The city of Chandīgarh (Chandigarh), within the Chandīgarh union territory, serves as the capital of not only that territory but also of the states of Haryāna and Punjab.

      Haryāna was constituted on Nov. 1, 1966, as a result of the partition of the former state of Punjab into two separate states—Punjābī-speaking Punjab and Hindī-speaking Haryāna. The reorganization followed agitation by the Sikh Akalī party for a Punjābī Suba (Punjābī-speaking province), but it also substantially met the aspirations of people in the Hindī-speaking region of Punjab for a Vishāl Haryāna (Greater Haryāna). The name Haryāna means “The Abode of God,” from Hari (the Hindu god Vishnu [Viṣṇu]) and ayana (home), although it has also been suggested that the derivation may be from the word hari (“green”), denoting the fertility of the countryside.

Physical and human geography

The land
      Haryāna has two major physiographic regions: the flat alluvial plain covering most of the state and, in the northeast, a narrow strip of the highly dissected Shiwālik Hills. This plain, between 700 and 900 feet (210 and 270 metres) in elevation, is drained by only one perennial river, the Yamuna (Yamuna River), located on the state's eastern margin. Many seasonal streams flowing from the Shiwālik Hills (Siwalik Range) pass through the area. The most notable of these is the Ghaggar (Ghaggar River) (near the state's northern boundary), which once flowed far enough to join the Indus River, now in Pakistan. Evidence of pre-Aryan settlements has been uncovered along the lower course of this river.

      Rainfall is scanty in most areas. Although the state has a system of canal irrigation, there are chronic drought-prone areas and occasional floods from the tributaries of the Yamuna and the Ghaggar. The climate is hot in summer and markedly cold in winter. The maximum temperature in summer (May–June) goes up to 114° F (46° C). The minimum temperature of 28° F ( -2° C) occurs in January.

      The soils are deep and fertile except in the eroded lands of the northeast and in the sandy areas of the southwest bordering the Great Indian (Thar) Desert in Rājasthān. More than 90 percent of the land is arable, of which more than two-thirds is irrigated. Little natural vegetation remains. The largest indigenous trees are the shisham (Dalbergia sissoo) and the kikar (Acacia arabica).

The people
      Hindus constitute about 90 percent of Haryāna's population. Most of the state's Sikh population is located in the northeast and northwest; Muslims are concentrated in the southeastern districts adjoining Delhi. Jāts (a peasant caste) form the backbone of Haryāna's agricultural economy and, like the Sikhs of the Punjab, are prominent in India's armed forces. Although roughly 75 percent of the population is rural, cities have been growing rapidly as commercial, industrial, and agricultural marketing centres. Cities with more than 100,000 persons include Faridābād Complex, Yamunanagar, Rohtak, Pānīpat, Hisār, Karnāl, Sonīpat, Ambāla (city and cantonment), Gurgaon, Bhiwāni, and Sirsa.

The economy
 Haryāna, an agriculturally prosperous state, contributes a large amount of wheat and rice to the Central Pool (a national repository system of surplus food grain). Sugarcane, cotton, and corn (maize) are other major crops. The state's agricultural production has been greatly aided by the Green Revolution, which has involved large-scale investment in irrigation, fertilizers, and high-quality seeds. More than three-fourths of the population is employed in agriculture.

      Haryāna has made rapid strides in the development of agriculture-based industries (e.g., cotton and sugar), farm machinery, and a great variety of consumer goods industries, including the largest bicycle industry in India. Areas adjoining the union territory of Delhi, especially along major transportation arteries (e.g., the historic Grand Trunk Road and the main line of the Northern Railway), are particularly attractive to new factories. Some of the state's industrial investment has come from Punjābī entrepreneurs unwilling to invest in Punjab because of political uncertainties and continued violence.

Administration and social conditions
      The governor, appointed by the president of India, is the head of the state. The governor is aided and advised by a Council of Ministers, which is led by a chief minister and is responsible to the state Legislative Assembly (Vidhān Sabhā). Election to the assembly is normally for a five-year term. The state has a common High Court with Punjab.

      Haryāna is divided into 16 districts—Ambāla, Bhiwāni, Faridābād, Gurgaon, Hisār, Jīnd, Kaithal, Karnāl, Kurukshetra, Mahendragarh, Pānīpat, Rewāri, Rohtak, Sirsa, Sonīpat, and Yamunanagar. The system of village self-government (pañcāyat raj) has been extended to all the villages.

Education and welfare
      Education has been given a high priority in the state's development program. As a result, there has been a large increase in school enrollment since the 1960s, although, as in the northern states in general, the education of girls continues to lag behind, in both enrollment and quality, and the literacy rate for both boys and girls is lower than in the southern states of India. The state, however, has more than 100 teaching colleges, and Kurukshetra University (founded 1956) at Kurukshetra has a regional engineering college. Maharshī Dayānand University at Rohtak has operated since 1976. Hisār (Hisar) is the seat of the Haryāna Agricultural University, including its renowned College of Veterinary Sciences.

      Haryāna has a network of district and subdivisional hospitals and primary health centres. Of the nearly 7,000 villages in the state, some 80 percent now have access to safe drinking water. Government assistance in education and housing is provided to a significant minority of those belonging to Scheduled Castes (former “untouchables”) and other disadvantaged classes.

      Haryāna has more than 14,000 miles of surfaced roads, most of which were constructed between 1970 and 1985. The state-owned Haryāna Roadways operates the overburdened local and interstate bus system.

Cultural life
      Haryāna's cultural life reflects both the seasonal rhythm of its agricultural economy and a treasure of traditions and legends originating in ancient India. The boisterous spring festival of Holī is celebrated by people showering coloured powder (or coloured powder mixed with water) on each other, irrespective of age or social status. Janmāṣṭamī, the birthday of Krishna (an incarnation of the god Vishnu), is of special religious importance in Haryāna because it was on a battlefield at Kurukshetra that Krishna is said to have delivered to the warrior Arjuna the teachings contained in the Bhagavadgītā (a part of the epic known as the Mahābhārata).

      The solar eclipse bathing festival at Kurukshetra attracts more than half a million pilgrims from various parts of India. Among numerous ancient pilgrimage centres in the state are Agroha (near Hisār) and Pehowa. The latter, situated on the bank of the sacred Sarasvatī River (identified in the Vedas with Sarasvatī, a Hindu goddess of learning and the arts), is considered the premier place for performing propitiatory rites (śrāddha pinda) for ancestors. Fairs in honour of various deities and saints are an important element of Haryāna culture. Cattle fairs are also held at several locations.

History
      The region now known as Haryāna—the Madhyamā Diś (middle region) of the Later Vedic Period (c. 800–500 BC)—was the birthplace of the Hindu religion. It was in this area that the first hymns of the so-called Aryans were sung and the most ancient manuscripts were written.

      Lying athwart the route of overland invasions into India, Haryāna underwent successive waves of migration from the time of Alexander the Great (326 BC) and was the scene of many decisive battles of Indian history, including the battles of Pānīpat (Pānīpat, Battles of) in 1526 (when the Mughal leader Bābur defeated Ibrāhīm Lodī and established Mughal rule in India), 1556 (when the Afghan forces were defeated by the army of the Mughal emperor Akbar), and 1761 (when Aḥmad Shāh ʿAbdāli decisively defeated the Marāṭhās, paving the way for British control in India) and the Battle of Karnāl (Karnal, Battle of) in 1739 (when Nāder Shāh of Persia dealt a blow to the crumbling Mughal Empire).

      The area included in the present state was ceded to the British East India Company in 1803. In 1832 it was transferred to the then North-Western Provinces, and in 1858 Haryāna became a part of Punjab, remaining as such after the partition of India in 1947. The demand for a Haryāna state, however, was raised even before India's independence in 1947. Lala Lajpat Rai (Lajpat Rai, Lala) and Asaf Ali, prominent figures in the national movement, advocated a separate state of Haryāna. Sri Ram Sharma, a veteran freedom fighter, headed a Haryāna Development Committee to focus attention on the concept of an autonomous state. The demand for unilingual states by Sikhs and Hindus gained momentum in the early 1960s. In 1966, with the passage of the Punjab Reorganization Act (and in accordance with the earlier recommendations of the States Reorganization Commission), Haryāna became India's 17th state.

Chakravarthi Raghavan Surinder M. Bhardwaj

Additional Reading
Jasbir Singh, An Agricultural Geography of Haryana (1976), is a useful introduction. Agricultural conditions in the state are described in G.S. Bhalla, Changing Agrarian Structure in India: A Study of the Impact of Green Revolution in Haryana (1974), focusing on income distribution.

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Universalium. 2010.

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