A Brief History of Tirhut Division

 

Tirhut Division came into existence in 1908 after the proposal for its creation was approved by the Secretary of State for India in London. Tirhut or Muzaffarpur district comprising of the districts of Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga formed a part of Bhagalpur Division of Bengal Province till 1856. After the Santhal Revolt in 1855 when the district of Santhal Parganas was carved out, Tirhut district was placed under the Patna Division as a matter of administrative convenience. In 1875 Darbhanga was separated and was given the status of a district. Administrative exigency again brought about the division of Patna Commissionership when Bihar was part of Bengal. In 1912 a new Province called "Bihar and Orissa" was carved out from the old Bengal Presidency. In 1936 the Province of Bihar was separate from Orissa on the basis of race, language, economic interest and geographical position.

 

††††††††††† Before curving out Tirhut Division from Patna Division, there was a practice for many years to appoint an Additional Commissioner to assist the Commissioner in the discharge of his duties over a large territory. However, due to prevalence of famine conditions in part of Patna Division, Sir Andrews Fraser, the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal felt very strongly for bifurcation of the Patna Division into two Commissionersí charges as a matter of administrative expediency. The move for the partition was made by the Governor-General of India in Council in their no. 348, dated Simla, the 5th September, 1907, after measuring public opinion

 

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Accordinglyin Resolution no. 202-Appointment, dated Calcutta, the 10th January, 1908, the proposal for splitting the Patna Commissionership was circularized. Criticisms and suggestions were invited and after duly considering them the Government decided that the districts of Patna, Gaya and Shahabad south of the river Ganges (Ganga) be known as Patna Division with headquarters at Patna and the districts of Saran, Champaran, Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga on the north of the river Ganges be known as Tirhut Division with headquarters at Muzaffarpur. There was some controversy as to the name of the new Division. Sir Andrews Fraser proposed the name of Muzaffarpur Division. But the Government accepted the suggestion of Mr. Ridgley, Secretary to the Government of India, Home Department, that the name of the new Division should be Tirhut Division. Ultimately Lord Morley gave his sanction to the division of Patna Commissionership into two Commissioners' charges in his letter no. 65, dated the 15th May, 1908, issued from India Office, London- thus born Tirhut Division

 

At present there are six districts in the division namely Muzaffarpur, Vaishali (Hajipur), Sitamarhi, Sheohar, East Champaran (Motihari) & West Champaran (Bettiah). The decision to constitute the 7th district of the Division, viz Bagaha is yet to be implemented. There are already 7 Police Districts as named above under two Ranges viz Tirhut Range (comprising Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Sitamarhi & Sheohar) and Champaran Range comprising of East Champaran, West Champaran & Bagaha)

 

The word Tirhut is derived from Tirbhukti because it is situated on the bank of rivers. The land of Tirhut was ploughed by king Mithik, so it is called Mithila also & She is the nucleus of Ramayan.

 

"The ancient name for the tract of country bounded on the north by Himalayas, on south by the Ganga, on the west by the river Gandak and on the east by the river Kosi .Tirhut then comprised the districts of Champaran, Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga, as well as the strip of Nepal Tarai which runs between these districts and the lower ranges of the Himalayas. General Cunninghum considers that the term referred to the lands lying in the valleys of the Little Gandak and Baghmati rivers.He points out that all the chief places in the country are found upon the banks of the former river ,which he says must have been the channel of the Great Gandak until the 7th Century A.D. Mahamahopadhyaya Hara Prasad Sastri thought that the term meant a province bordering on the Ganga and that the word bhuklti is often used in the Sena inscriptions in the sense of the province during the 10th ,11th and 12th centuries.

 

It is, of course very difficult to trace back the history of this region to its earliest origins, but we can trace back itís stream of strong heritage a very long way through the ancient Indian epic Ramayan, which still bears a significant role in Indian civilization. To initiate with the Legend, Rajarshi Janak was ruling Videha, the mythological name of this entire region including eastern Nepal and northern Bihar. Sitamarhi, a place in this region, bears a value of sacred Hindu belief where, Sita (other name Vaidehi: The Princess of Videha) or Janakisprang to life out of an earthen pot while Rajarshi Janak was tilling the land. Hence Janaki and Janki Sthan..

(Adapted from Bihar District Gazetteer- Muzaffarpur by P.C. Roy Chaudhury, printed by the Superintendent, Secretariat Press, Bihar, Patna, 1958)