Haryana has a rich cultural heritage. It is endowed with fine human resource and favourable physical environment. It is strategically located. The people of Haryana have always been in the country’ main stream as one of its best farmers and best soldiers. Haryana has experienced tremendous all round development since its inception as a separate state. With a sound agricultural base, Haryana is in the process of rapid industrialisation.
Prof. D.C. Verma was a former Vice-Chancellor of Kurukshetra University. He served as the Director of Panchayats for several years. He authored The Unfinished Revolution which is a treatise on democratic decentralisation. He died on 14 October, 1997.
Dr. Sukhbir Singh, the co-author retired as a senior I.A.S. officer of Haryana government. He has also been a Fulbright scholar at Illinous Institute of Technology, Chicago (U.S.A.) He has over forty papers, both in science and humanities, published in national and international journals.
As a separate State, Haryana came into existence only a few years ago. As a historical entity, however, the region has existed since time immemorial. Yet in spite of its long history, there is hardly any publication on the subject, which could serve as a comprehensive study of the people of this area. This is mainly due to the fact that Haryana was generally treated as a part of a larger province. During the medieval period it was a part of Delhi Subah; the British tagged it first to the Bengal Presidency (1803- 1833) and later to the NW Provinces until 1858. After the Mutiny the entire Haryana region was made a part of the Punjab. On our independence in 1947, when Pamjab was partitioned, Haryana became a part of the new State of East Punjab. The present Haryana State was formed on 1November, 1966.
The source material for a study of the history of Haryana is not, and never has been lacking though it has to be sorted out by laborious research. Some years ago a beginning was made in this direction at the Kurukshetra University and as a result a number of monographs on different aspects of Haryana were published. A research journal, called Journal of Haryana Studies was also started. The subject demands a more sustained and comprehensive treatment, however.
I have attempted in the present volume to bring together all the information that I could lay my hands on, within the limited time at my disposal. I have fried to present the various facets of life in Haryana, as objectively as I could, but I do not rule out errors of judgement and interpretation, which I hope, will1 be corrected by future writers. Nevertheless, I shall consider myself amply rewarded if this stimulates further interest in the subject.
I have received help from many persons for doing this work. I am greatly indebted to them all.
Since the first edition was published (1975) there have been various developments, which I have tried to reflect in the present edition.
The period of comparative stability (1968-77) came to an end with the general elections in March 1977 followed by the elections in Haryana in June 1977.
The infrastructure built up in the previous period has not been dismantled but nothing noticeable has been added to it.
In spite of this the pace of progress in industry and agriculture has been maintained and in some directions even new ground has been broken.
There is now awareness that greater attention needs to be paid to project the image of the State, Past and Present, but a proper Institute of Haryana State Studies has yet to be established.
The Kurukshetra University has introduced courses of study in Regional History but obviously much more is required to be done.
The first edition appears to have been well-received as it was soon followed by a Hindi edition.
I have tried to update the text for the second edition and have also made some changes and additions.
A new chapter (Summing Up) has been added at the end to mark development since the first edition.
I would like to repeat what I said in the Preface to the First Edition that this is at best an introductory study but the subject, because of its overall attraction, deserves further probe, in depth.
Haryana as a distinct social and cultural region goes back to ancient times. The great ‘Mahabharata War’ was fought at Kurukshetra and the soul-stirring message of the ‘Gita Song Celestial’, was delivered here.
Since then vast historical changes have taken place. Being the gateway of Northern India, Haryana has been the scene of many historical events, which changed the fate of the country. In recent times, Haryana remained a part of the Punjab till 1947. After partition it became one of the two regions of East Punjab. On 1 November, 1966 Haryana became a State in its own right, when East Punjab was further reorganized into a Punjabi speaking Punjab and a Hindi speaking Haryana.
Haryana is a small state with a total area of 44,212 sq. km and a population of 12.9 million. The State however, has a strategic importance, surrounding the capital city of Delhi on three sides. About half of the proposed National Capital Region, representing about 35% of its population falls within the Haryana state. As the plan of the National Capital Region has great potential for industrial and economic growth, Haryana with its strong infrastructure, of power, water and transport, provides great attraction to industrial enterprise.
A silent change has been going on over the entire Haryana region and new social and economic structure is emerging. Education facilities have recorded a phenomenal growth since its creation. Even female education, where the state had been backward, is catching up. The three Universities in the State are opening new horizons thus providing new opportunities. The state has a unique Institution in Mob Lal Sports school at Rai, in the Sonepat district. A sound infrastructure for sports is being built up. Haryana has rich material for creating a new consciousness amongst its people by exploiting the emotional urges of its people, through its folklore of dance, drama and song..
A new achievement in the state has been the production of a dozen films in the Haryanvi dialect. Nobody had thought of this earlier. The initiative was taken by Parbhakar Films, whose ‘Chandrawal’ and ‘Phool-Badan’ have been seen by record audiences, in Haryana and the neighbouring areas.
With the formation of a new government in June 1987, there is an increasing emphasis on providing better facilities to the small farmers, who constitute an over-whelming majority in the state. Plans are also being formulated to reorganize the state Panchayati system. This is in line with developments in the country as a whole. The central government has emphasised the need of ‘Democratic Decentralization’ by conferring large powers on the Panchayats at various levels.
For effective decentralization, substantial powers must be devolved on the ‘Village Panchayats’, the ‘Block Samitis’ and the ‘Zila-Parishads’. The Haryana government is planning to undertake urgent steps to decentralize the entire administration, by strengthening the base at the grassroots.
During its brief existence as a separate state, Haryana has made significant progress. To maintain the tempo it is essential to provide political stability and social harmony.
Haryana has a rich cultural heritage. The ancient Indian civilisation flourished within the present geographical boundaries of Haryana. The Vedas were written by the ancient sages on the Banks of Saraswati river which flowed through the holy land of Kurukshetra. Rishi Ved Vyas wrote the epic of Mahabharata here. Lord Krishna delivered the immortal message of Gita to the humanity at large at the battle field of Kurukshetra.
Haryana is located on the cross-road of history. Many historical events have taken place here which changed the fate of the country. It is a corridor stare which surrounds the national capital from three sides.
The people of Haryana have always been in the country’s mainstream as one of its best farmers and best soldiers. They are the sword arms of the country who can beat their swords into plough shares in the times of peace with equal ease and enthusiasm.
Due to its proximity to Delhi and Agra, Haryana remained under Muslim rule from 12th to 18th century AD. In the recent times, it came under the rule of East India Company in 1803 all and in 1832 A.D. this area was transferred to the then united provinces and in 1858 A.D after the first war of Indian independence this whole area was tagged with Punjab. Haryana attained its statehood on 1 November, 1966.
It was referred to as the ‘Dust-Bowl’ State because of the arid nature of its soil and the lack of irrigation facilities. Some people even doubted the economic viability of the new state. But by dint of the hard work of the people, the determined political leadership and the efforts of the officers and staff of the Haryana Government it has experienced tremendous all round development since its inception as a separate state. Now it is one of the most developed and best administered state in the country.
All the 6745 villages of Haryana have electricity and safe drinking water supply. All the villages in the state are also corrected with roads. Haryana has the unique distinction to be the first state of the Indian union to achieve these land marks.
The food grain production in the state which was a meagre 2.6 million tonnes in the year 1966-67 has increased to 10.2 million tonnes in 1995-96 and the so called ‘dust bowl’ state has become the ‘grain bowl’ of India. Haryana is also in the process of rapid industrialisation. It is the foremost state in the production of small cars and produces most of the country’s tractors.
Haryana Roadways enjoys a good reputation both as a commercial and public service organisation. Haryana’s tourism is excellent. Educational facilities in the state are adequate and health services and veterinary facilities are up to the mark. In the field of sports also the state is doing quite well.
This book has been revised radically. Certain important economic, cultural, social, historical and developmental aspects have been added to fill the gaps.
The economic and demographic data has been updated. Sufi Pirs of Panipat and Hansi etc. and the saints of the Nath Sampradaya have been given due importance. Mention has also been made of Abhai Chand who inspired Sarmad the Fir Murshid of Dara Shikoh. The topics of the initiation of Swami Rama Krishna Paramahansa by Tota Pur and the praise accorded to Nischal Das’s (contemporary of Tulsi Das) Vichar Sagar by Swami Vivekananda have also been dealt with.
The contributions of writers of Haryana e.g. Balmukand Gupta, Madhav Prasad Mishra, Din Dayalu Sharma etc. have also been covered. The role of Chand Bardai (the poet confidant of Prithvi Raj Chauhan) and Bhartendu Harish Chandra (whose family is traced to Agroha) in enriching modem Hindi has also been dealt with.
The services of Chhajju Ram (benefactor of Sir Chhotu Ram), Iala Lajpat Rai, the Mishra brothers and Sita Ram of Bhiwani have also been mentioned, as also that of Sir Chhotu Ram.
A write up has been added on ‘Bishnois’ and ‘Displaced Persons’ who form an important part of Haryana’s population.
The information on Ahirs, Gujars, Jats and Rajputs, regarding the sequence of their arrival in India has been supplemented. Teej, the unique festival of Haryana has been mentioned.
The period from 1966-1999 has also been dealt with in a separate sub-head “A vibrant state, 1966-1999.”
A detailed account of Haryana’s progress since its inception as a separate state has been substituted for the old one under the head ‘Developmental Work’ giving the quantum of development that has taken place during the period-from 1966 to 1996 in 49 indicators of development in 14 broad heads with facts and figures, in an analytical form.
The economic development, and its impact has been discussed with a view to assess the progress that has taken place in the state. Six important thrust areas have also been identified on which the state must now concentrate to keep its present pace of development intact.
According to John Ruskin’s maxim, “the autobiography of a State is written in three manuscripts—a book of deeds, a book of words and a book of art.” What has been depicted in the revised edition, for the period 1966 to 1996 is the account of deeds of the State accomplished during the last thirty years. There is nothing much to write about the words and the art during this period. Even the Institute of Haryana Studies is yet to be established. Haryana does not even have a separate State capital. Cultural institutions require a separate State capital to thrive. A lot more is required to be done on these two fronts i.e. the words and the art.
Even in the front of the deeds, a lot more hard work will be required to be done to the keep the present tempo of development intact. The base of various development parameters have now become broader and to register any significant increase, some very serious, sincere and concerted efforts are required to be made. The new thrust areas (i) provision of irrigation facilities for each and every field, (ii) production of electricity both for agriculture and industry in adequate measure, (iii) development of dairy farming, (iv) industrialisation, especially by setting up more agro-based, electronic and chemical industries, (v) use of science and technology for the socio-economic development of common man and (vi) propagation of technical and vocational education including women’s education in adequate measure; will have to be adequately impressed upon for their effective implementation. This is the most urgent need.
Haryana is endowed with enormous human resource. What is required is the channelization of this tremendous human energy for the continued development of the State through the next century. For this the State will have to throw up leadership in various spheres which can inculcate the appropriate work culture and the scientific temper in the citizens of Haryana and inspire them in the pursuit for excellence. This will also require a strong, enlightened and determined political leadership and of course political stability in the state.
With the formation of Haryana as a separate State, the historic land where Indian civilization found its fruition has come into its own again. During this long period, the Haryana region had passed through many vicissitudes of fortune. Through the centuries, the area remained the hub of not only socio-cultural developments but political too, because of its strategic situation, of its geographic proximity to Delhi.
From the early beginnings, which saw the rise of ancient Indian civilization, to the days of colonial rule, Haryana occupied a prominent place in the happenings in the country. Its people find mention repeatedly in literature and historical lore of the period.
The fortunes of Haryana dipped however, in the last quarter of the 12th century when Prithviraj Chauhan, one of the greatest warriors and ruler of the region, suffered defeat at Terrain, not far from Kurukshetra. From this period onward, through the succeeding Muslim and British periods, the Haryana people passed through great trials and tribulations. The region was repeatedly devastated and ransacked, the invaders laying it waste. But phoenix-like the people of Haryana re-emerged. It is this resilience, the capacity to revive, that has helped the people to preserve their way of life.
The people of Haryana, whose racial, religious and cultural composition has undergone repeated changes, have retained some of their pristine traits and characteristics. While political systems changed, one ruler replacing another, they stood fast by their own traditions, taking little or no notice of what transpired at the imperial city of Delhi, the storm-centre of politics through the ages. The social composition and components of its village,—-for instance, the gotras of the different communities and the Biradari Panchayats (as distinguished from the Panchayati Raj system, recently introduced) which have been the main instruments in regulating rural life, and thereby ensuring its continuity—these are some of the features that await the labours of students of sociology, anthropology and history.
The folklore of Haryana shows the many-sided richness of the emotional life of its people. Despite regional difference, there is a common pattern in these which symbolized the unity of our entire nation. This folklore has been on from generation to generation, much like other aspects of our culture. One really marvels, how in those early times, when means of communication were difficult and sometimes non-existent, the people of one region were influenced by those of other regions, even in far distant parts of the country. The bards and Jogis of the region would often sing songs of events and of romances that occurred at places thousands of miles away. These have become inseparable part of the folk culture of the entire people, irrespective of their place of occurrence.
Many people know Haryana for its fellicose soldiery. Indeed, Haryana’s contribution to the defence of the country before and after independence has been outstanding. But Haryana has not lagged behind in the arts of peace either. Along with the sister state of the Punjab, its people are the most advanced in agriculture. The houses in rural Haryana are perhaps the best in the country. The state is ahead of the rest of the country in development work.
Haryana is still backward in certain aspects, the people being somewhat parochial, caste-ridden and lacking in political and civic consciousness. Qualities, which in earlier times were an asset, such as social and economic conservatism, strict adherence to traditions and practices, and a generally rigid outlook, may become a handicap in a fast-changing environment, which calls for a more progressive and dynamic approach. In education, particularly higher education, and in cultural matters Haryana has still to catch up with some other regions in the country. Furthermore, in a democratic system, where governments reflect the people’s mind, the education of the electorate is important. One of the means for this is the print media. There are few newspapers in the state and the masses, particularly in the rural areas are by and large without any such medium through which they could formulate and express their needs and aspirations.
Yet there is a great future for Haryana, because its people have inherited a great past and they are endowed with many qualities which provide the basis for a sound and healthy polity.
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