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Historical Background

Due to its distinct identity as an abode of spiritualism this land came to be known as Brahma Rishi Desh (the land of sages and saints) in the Later Vedic Age. It produced a galaxy of Sages like Bhardwaj, Yajnavalkya, Vashishtha, Vishwamitra, Jamdagni, Parasuram and Valmiki. The Epic heroes of 'Ramayana' and 'Mahabharata' Rama and Krishna-belonged to this very land. During 6th century BC Buddhism and Janis evolved over here. Eight of the 16 Mahajanpadas of the grand Mahajanpada Age fell within the present frontiers of Uttar Pradesh. The whole area of the State was included within the expires of the Great Mauryan Monarchs Chandragupta Mary, Bindusara and Ashoka the Great in 3rd century B.C. The Lion Capital of Sarnath (near Varanasi) erected by Ashoka is the National emblem of India. During the reign of the Gupta Dynasty (circa 3rd A.D.) - the Golden Age of Indian History - this land rose to new peaks of peace and prosperity. When Harshavardhan ascended the throne in 7th century A.D. Kannauj became the nerve center of the then political scenario. The cultural grandeur of the State acquired new dimensions in the Middle Ages of Indian History. Uttar Pradesh touched a new high during Mughal Period. Efficient administration, brotherhood, art and architecture, music and culture-all touched new peaks of perfection and glory. Agra was the capital of Mughal and Shahjahan here erected the fascinating monument of eternal love, Taj Mal. Renowned saint poets like Kabir, Tulsi, Surdas and Jayasi graced this era. In 1732 the Subedar of this region Saadat Ali Khan declared himself independent and the central part of the State became the Oudh Province.

During the reign of Shuja-ud-daula the third Nawab of Oudh, the East India Company came into contact with the rulers of Oudh and since then systematically the British Company sowed the seeds of disintegration of Oudh. Finally the East India Company through craft and diplomacy annexed the Nawabi of Oudh in the year 1856. The year 1857 could be termed as the turning point of Indian History. It was in this year that the mutiny of the British sepoys in Meerut against their superiors gradually assumed the form of the First Indian Struggle for Fr6edom. Spreading from Meerut to Ballia and then engulfing nearly the whole of India in its all pervasive fold, this First War of Independence was brutally suppressed by the British but Ran! Lakshmi Bai, Mangal Pande, Begam Hazrat Mahal, Nana Saheb, Maulvi Ahamadullah Shah became heroes of this outbreak and attained martyrdom. The 'Power to Rule' was transferred to the British Empire in 1858. From 1902 to 1935 the State came to be known as 'United Provinces of Agra and Avadh ' under the British rule. In 1935 it was renamed as 'United Provices' which continued till 1950. The Lucknow Pact between the Indian National Congress and Muslim League signed in 1916 During the Lucknow Session of the Congress Symbolizes the tradition of ideological harmony for which the State has always been known. In 1919 Gandhiji met Pt. Motilal Nehru and since then the Anand Bhawan of Allahabad became the nerve-centre of lndia's Freedom Struggle for the next 30 years. During the Non-Cooperation and Civil disobedience movements of Gandhiji, Uttar Pradesh set a new example for the country. Against heavy odds and brutal suppression by Britishers, U. P. played a prominent role throughout the Freedom Movement. Heroes like Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru and Madan Mohan Malaya led the Freedom Struggle of India between 1922 and 1947. Uttar Pradesh also became the centrestage for the Indian Revolutionary Movement in the 20's and 30's. In 1925 revolutionaries looted the Government exchequer at Kakori near Lucknow. The main accused Pt. Rama Prasad 'Bismil', Ashfaqullah Khan, Rajendra Lahiri and Roshan Singh were hanged later and Chandrashekhar Azad shot himself when surrounded by the police in the Alfred Park of Allahabad. Around 1928 and later Kanpur, Allahabad and Varanasi became prominent centres of the Revolutionary Movement. At the same time 'Simon Commission' was given a spectacular and unforgettable resistance by the people of U.P. From 1930 Uttar Pradesh was up in arms against the notorious Salt Laws. Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru and his daughter lndira Gandhi led this movement. In 1942 the State rose in unison in response to Mahatma Gandhi's call against Britishers to quit India. People made remarkable sacrifices in every part of the State and U.P. became the hottest scene of action during those eventful days.

After Independence, in 1950 its name was finally changed from United Provinces to 'Uttar Pradesh'. This State has produced a galaxy of leaders for the Indian Republic. Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Chaudhary Charan Singh, Rajiv Gandhi, Vishwanath Pratap Singh, Chandra Shekhar and Atal Behari Vajpayee - all of them former Prime Ministers of India belonged to Uttar Pradesh.

 

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