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Notes on the District of Gaya

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Item Code: HAP332
Author: George Abraham Grierson
Publisher: Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University, Bihar
Language: English
Edition: 2011
ISBN: 9788190880695
Pages: 145
Other Details 10x6.5 inch
Weight 454 gm
Book Description
About The Book

"As District Officer of Gaya, he (George Grierson) issued a small book... (Notes on the District of Gaya). In it he propounded views on the economic condition of the Indian masses which were startling by reason of their outspokenness. This... publication is now rare, and fetches high price at book auctions in London, where it is eagerly sought after by keen students of Indian economics." Sachchidananda - Sinha, "Sir George Grierson "The Scholar", A Selection from the speeches and writings of Sachchidananda Sinha Thacker Spink & Co. Calcutta, 1942, p 707

About the Author

Hetukar Jha, former Professor of sociology, Patna University, has been working on socio-economic and cultural traditions of Bihar since the end of the 1960s. His publications include twenty books and more than one hundred research papers. He is the editor of the Kameshwar Singh Bihar Heritage Series launched by Maharajadhiraja Kameshwar Singh Kalyani Foundation for contributing to the knowledge of Bihar's socio- economic and cultural conditions by bringing to light old and rare records / documents and books.


THESE notes on the district of Gaya have been compiled by me at different times, as occasion required them, during the past five years.

The volume of the Statistical Account of Bengal relating to that district is far from complete, and what is found here is intended to supplement its deficiencies. It does not, therefore, pretend to be a complete account of the district. Only those subjects dealt with which a five years' knowledge of the district has shown to me to be ones on which a district officer is likely to want information and concerning which information is not readily accessible.

Although printed at the Government Press, it must be distinctly understood that Government is in no way responsible for any of the opinions or facts brought forward.

In transliterating native words, I have followed the rules laid down in Government Resolution No. 526 Mis., dated 9th February 1892.


Gaya is one of the oldest centres of Hindu and Buddhist traditions. The archaeologists and historians have been working on the old sites and records of Gaya region since the nineteenth century, whose contributions throw significant light on its status in Indian civilization. The religious and political significance of the area is generally well known. However, one hardly gets details regarding the socio-economic and cultural aspects of life lived by the people from the records (such as the travel accounts of Fa Hian, Yuan Chwang, Dharmasvamin, etc.) of ancient and medieval periods. It may be said in this context that interest in the knowledge regarding the socio-economic and cultural conditions of existence of the people living in villages began to grow since the emergence of British power in Bengal (including Bihar). Initially, it seems that efforts were made to organize and objectify the local administrative territories. The case of Gaya (district) was described in this connection by P.C.Roy Chaudhury' in the following words: "In the early English administration, the district of Gaya was not a separate unit and its boundaries varied from time to time. In 1784 Thomas Law was appointed Collector of Rohtas with his headquarters at Gaya. This may be described as the first stage of the formation of the district of Gaya as a separate unit. The district of Rohtas consisted of the southern portion parganas Sasaram, Chainpur and Rohtas, two parganas now in Palamau (Japla and Belaunja) and a portion of Gaya district. In 1787 there was a rearrangement and Thomas Law was made the Collector of Bihar district (commonly described as Bahar also). Bihar district then comprised the districts of Patna and Gaya with a portion of Monghyr lying west of the Kiul river. Gaya was the headquarters although the Collector used to move to Bihar (modern Biharsharif) and Patna occasionally Hawkins, the collector of Bihar district, moved his headquarters to Patna in 1797. This change was approved by the Board of Revenue but the Governor-General ordered a return to Gaya.. In 1805. Ricketts, the Collector sent up proposals for building offices at Gaya, but it does not appear that his request was implemented. The unwieldy size of the district and the bad communications made the administration in the remote parts rather difficult. To obviate the difficulty a proposal was sanctioned in 1814 for stationing a special Joint Magistrate at Sherghati with jurisdiction over the southern parts of Gaya. An officer as Magistrate and Assistant Collector was posted at Gaya in 1820. The headquarters returned to Gaya when Patna district was separated from Bihar in 1825. In 1800 the Bihar mahals of Ramgarh, namely, Chakai, Kendi, Nagpur, Palamau and Ramgarh were handed over to Bihar. In 1801, the Governor-General proposed a division of the whole of Bihar into two districts, one north and the other, south of the Ganges. The parganas of Siris, Kutumba, Charkawan and Sherghati were made over to Ramgarh while the revenue administration remained with Bihar... By 1865 the formation of the present district of Gaya was completed and comprised the parts of the old districts of Bihar and Ramgarh. The subdivision of Bihar with an area of about 800 square miles was transferred to the Patna district. Six years later, i.e., in 1871, the parganas of Japla and Belaunja, covering 650 square miles, were amalgamated with Lohardagga (now Palamau) and in 1875 an area of 6 square miles was transferred to Hazaribagh. The present area of the district of Gaya stands almost intact since 1875". In 1825, Patna as a separate district was created and the name of the district of Bahar was changed to that of Gaya in 1865, which lies between 24°17' and 25°19' north latitude and 84° and 86° east longitude having the total area of about 4,766 square miles, bounded on the north by the Patna district, on the east by Monghyr and Hazaribagh districts, on the south by Hazaribagh and Palamau districts and on the west by the river Son.

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