Saturday, January 5, 2008

Purvanchal demand on the anvil?

Note: In the wake of upcoming 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Purvanchal demand is likely to emerge as an election issue.

In August 2007, Lalu Prasad Yadav had raised the bogey of a separate Purvanchal state with Varanasi as its capital at his party's Convention in Sarnath.

Later, in the Lok Sabha when Prabunath Singh, JD(U) MP from Maharajganj argued for Purvanchal, Lalu spoke on behalf of the UPA Government in support of the same.

The people in this area comprising of some twenty-five districts of eastern UP and neighboring Bihar have sought inclusion of Bhojpuri language in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian constitution.

Purvanchal is a geographic region of north-central India, which comprises the eastern end of Uttar Pradesh state. It is bounded by Nepal to the north, Bihar state to the east, Bagelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh state to the south, the Awadh region of Uttar Pradesh to the west.

There is a political demand to make it into a separate state, See Aspirant states of India. Purvanchal area is represented by 23 Members of Parliament to the Lok Sabha and 117 legislators in the 403 member Uttar Pradesh state assebly or Vidhan Sabha.

Purvanchal comprises chiefly of three divisions -- the eastern-Awadhi region in the west, the western-Bhojpuri region in the east and the northern-Baghelkhand region in the south. It lies on the Indo-Gangetic plain, and together with western Bihar is the most densely populated area in the world. The rich quality of soil and the high earthworm density in the soil than adjoining districts of U.P. is favourable for agriculture. Most of the countryside is given to intensive agriculture. Bhojpuri is the predominant language or dialect in the region in addition to Hindi although Awadhi and Baghelkhandi are also spoken in the western and southern areas. Like Bihar state to the east, a large population, s low economic growth, agricultural mechanization, and the closure of sugar mills have led to increased unemployment, social and political discontent, and some unrest in the region.

Baba Raghavdas was the father of the Independence Struggle in this region following the principles of Gandhi. He was called the 'Purvanchal Gandhi'.

In 1991 the government of Uttar Pradesh established the Purvanchal Vikas Nidhi, to fund regional development projects that advance balanced development, meet local needs, and redress regional disparities.

Purvanchal includes the districts of Varanasi, Chandoli, Ghazipur, Jaunpur, Mirzapur, Sonbhadra, Sant Ravidas Nagar, Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Deoria, Azamgarh, Mau, Maharajganj, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Siddharth Nagar, Ballia.

In the year 2000, the Mayawati government, at the time of reorganisation of the Uttar Pradesh state, formed the Purvanchal Ecomonic Zone and rather arbitrarily included the following non-Purvanchal districts into the zone:

Allahabad, Pratapgarh, Kaushambi, Fatehpur, Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Sultanpur, Gonda, Bahraich, Shravasti and Balrampur.

This has created some confusion as the people of the above districts do not relate with the Purvanchal or Bhojpuri identity and have traditionally not been associated with the 'Purabia' identity. Indeed most are unaware of this inclusion in the newly formed economic zone. But other administrative departments in these districts are slowly being aligned with Purvanchal, which amounts to reorganisation of an entire area from west to east.


P.S: The MPs of Purvanchal areas of Uttar Pradesh used to get funds till 1998.


Unknown said...

Purvanchal is necessity of the hour for proper development of purvanchal region of UP & Bihar. Please visit and comment of

Unknown said...

Its difficult to say that Faizabad, Sultanpur, Pratapgarh or even Allahabad are non-purvanchal districts. It is not so black and white. If purvanchal is at all formed, what guarantee is there that it will not become even worse than Bihar if pre-Nitish era? In such a scenario wouldnt staying with UP comparatively better? Afterall not all states have prospered after seperating, look at Jharkhand.. Rgrds Md Danish

Awadhi said...


I'm surprised that you're saying that there is any doubt that Allahabad is not in Purvanchal. Except for the fact that a large number of Bhojpuri people have migrated to the city in the past few years, and that there is an insidious politics by some Purvanchalis to lay a false claim to Allahabad by misrepresenting Allahabad and its culture/ language (as Bhojpuri), there is not a single reason behind including Allahabad in Purvanchal.

Awadhi said...

Here's an article that totally clears the confusion created by some overzealous Bhojpuri activists:


When forming new administrative zones, the government should be sensitive to the historical, geographical, cultural, administrative and political aspirations of people.

The Allahabad division, which today includes the Kaushambi, Fatehpur, Pratapgarh and Allahabad districts are not geographically, historically, culturally, administratively or ethnically a part of Purvanchal. When bureaucrats and politicians reorganise regions they should take into account these considerations.

Geographically: Geographically, Allahabad is an extremely important and integral part of the Ganga-Yamuna Doab as it is situated at the confluence of the two rivers. Allahabad is situated in the southern part of Uttar Pradesh. Its land is typical Doabi — very fertile, but not too moist like Purvanchal. This land is very suitable for the production of wheat which is the major crop of the entire Doaba area.

The southern and eastern parts of Allahabad are dry and rocky like its neighbours Bundelkhand and Baghelkhand. On its north and north east is the Awadhi region. And to its west are other areas of lower Doab.

Awadhi said...

2. For all the empires that came from the east (including the British) Allahabad has been the gateway to the north-west.

Historically too, Allahabad has always been an integral part of the Doab (which includes the Delhi region). When Aryans first settled down in India, their territory which they named Aryavarta included Prayag/ Kaushambi. Kaushambi was established by the vatsa kingdom of Hastinapur, and when Hastinapur was destroyed by floods, they shifted their capital to Kaushambi. In every forthcoming age, Allahabad‘s fortunes have been locked with this Doabi piece of land. Whether it was the Gupta Dynasty or the Kushan or the local Kannauj dynasty.

When Muslims came Allahabad became part of the various Delhi Sultanates and then rose to prominense once again as an important part of the Doab under the Moghuls. Akbar built a fort here recognising its strategic position in the Doab. Purvanchal’s history on the other hand followed its own course. When the British came they made Allahabad the capital of the North western Province of Agra which it remained for 20 years.

As a distinct region Allahabad‘s history is tied with that of Doab rather than Purvanchal.

Culturally speaking Allahabad has always been the last frontier of the west. It has been an important player in determining the Doabi culture. In today’s U.P. it is a part of central UP and forms an unbreakable cultural triangle together with Kanpur and Lucknow. Bhojpuri people themselves never considered Allahabad a part of the east. None of the Bhojpuri movies ever go beyond Kashi in their depiction.

Eventhough Purvanchal, like Allahabad is part of the mainstream UP culture, and Bhojpuri is a great culture in itself, but if the state is being divided on regional basis, then Allahabad most certainly belongs in central UP.

Thus if we look at it from a regional point of view, there are also important differences between the cultures of Allahabad and Purvanchal. E.g. the staple food of Allahabad is wheat, while rice is an important secondary food, like the rest of UP. However, in Purvanchal rice is the staple food. Likewise, while the language of Allahabad is Awadhi, which is a central UP language, Purvanchal’s language is Bhojpuri. Important festivals of Purvanchal like the Chath are not celebrated in Allahabad. On the contrary, Allahabad is completely connected with the central UP, culturally.

Administratively/ Politically, Allahabad division has always been constituted of the lower doab districts of Etawah, Farrukhabad, Kanpur, Fatehpur and Allahabad. While the reorganisation of districts is not unusual, it has to be a very special reason to organise the entire division. Today most of the above districts have been truncated from Allahabad division and have been included in western or central UP as part of Agra and newly created Kanpur divisions. There are some insidious factors behind play in this huge reorganisation of divisions — and one of them is the aggressive Bhojpuri politics.

The western part of the Allahabad district — which is the main/ doabi part and where the city is situated, was truncated into two parts and a new district of Kaushambi was created out of it. Kaushambi is an extremely small and unnecessary district whose only purpose seems to be to make the remaining Allahabad division which now had just one district, look plausible. For the same reason, Pratapgarh and Unnao districts of the Lucknow division were added to the Allahabad and Kanpur divisions respectively.

Awadhi said...

Allahabad is connected to its west for most other administrative/ political purposes. E.g. the Allahabad-Jhansi division is a separate constituency of the legislative council of UP. Many important administrative headquarters of the districts of lower Doab are still in Allahabad. These inlcude agriculture deptt, horticulture deptt., animal husbandry, Co-operative deptt., education deptt., industry, minor irrigation etc. Likewise the police zone of Allahabad includes the Jhansi and Chirtrakoot ranges. Again, several important administrative seats of Allahabad are head quartered in other areas of lower Doab like Etawah, e.g. the handicraft deptt and sericulture deptt of the entire Doab region. Allahabad is also the headquarters of the North-Central railway, which basically covers the Doab region. To include Allahabad with the Purvanchal zone just for economic reasons will create additional expenditure and confusion.

Ethnically, Allahabadis are not known by the traditional ‘Purabia’ or ‘Bhaiyya’ or ‘Bhojpuri’ identities.

Awadhi said...

Conclusion: About 20 years ago, when the concept of dividing UP into east/ west first started and there were just two zones, it was not a problem. But now when the regions are being divided on the basis of ethnicity/ cultural affiliation, then it would be unethical to put people in a mismatching region.

Being thrown unwillingly into the wrong region creates unnecessary problems for the people of that place. Thus, in Delhi university and other places, people of Purvanchal often create a closed group. Allahabadis don’t feel themselves to be a part of this group. Purvanchal is the most populated region of the entire country. As such, the identity and culture of Allahabad is threatened to be lost in this Bhojpuri deluge. The youth of Allahabad today is already confused about his identity.

A possible option: Allahabad is a large district areawise. However the main part of the district is the western Doabi part which is rather small. It was a big mistake to carve out a tiny district of Kaushambi from this western part.

If the district needs to be divided, Kaushambi should be merged back into it and the large eastern areas of the district can be made into another district, if the people of the area so wish, and the new district can be made part of Purvanchal, while the main Allahabad district can become part of Central UP.

affi said...

i too is deeply disturbed when i see "allahabadis" speaking bhojpuri in tv serials.either these tv wallas(probabily they are biharis) dont know abt allahabad or doing it deliberately.....allahabad was never a part of bhojpuri culture.allahabadis should be made aware of the hijacking of their culture and identity by these outsiders...repeating a lie hundred times wont make it true...............allahabad will be in awadh forever......
frm :
a true awadhi

affi said...

@mohammad sahab

you must be a bhojpuri.... faizabad was the erstwhile capital of awadh...... faizabad , sultanpur, allahabad or pratapgarh have nothing to do with the purvanchal .they are awadhi towns . purvanchal can only have bhojpuri speaking areas.......

manish singh said...

"allahabad agr purvanchal me nhi aaya to purvanchal nhi bane ga"
samj lo sab........

ravi baaba said...

purvanchal ka capital banaras hi hoga, allahabad ya gorakhpur nahi

ravi baaba said...

allahabad waise bhi culturally awadhi hai na ki bhojpuri

ravi baaba said...

purvanchal ka capital banaras hi hoga, allahabad ya gorakhpur nahi

Awadhi said...

@ manish,

Purvanchal rajya bane na bane, Allahabad kabhi Purvanchal sub-region ka bhi hissa nahin hai, aur isme purvanchaliyon ki zabardasti ka koi sawaal hi nahin hona chahiye.

Political conspiracy ke tahat Allahabad ko east mein dhakela ja raha hai, jiska hamein virodh karna chahiye.

sandeep yash said...

Nobody can force Allahbad into Purvanchal. We have nothing against Purvanchal but Allahabad is NOT part of Purvanchal..Aur uska virodh shuru ho gaya hai. We have the best Alumni,legacy and drive in this country whether politics, sports, films, culture or anything on one can think of. Let all Famed Allahabadis and allahabad univ alumi come together to foil this political conspiracy to hijack our language and culture. By the way just for the records...Allahabad is the only city which have the distinction of being capital of the country for 8 days..was capital of United Provinces for a long time...Hamara pet bhara hua hai ...and we simply do not care which city becomes capital of Poorvanchal..god bless poorvanchalis and their demand.

vijay dwivedi said...

bhai na allahabad kabi poorvanchal me tha aur na purabia chahate hai ki hum poorvanchal me aa jaye..yabi to sab yaha aake base h...yahha aake bhojpuri bolte h...aur sochte h ki hum yaha ke ho gaye....inke to pichwadde me laat mar ke bhej dena chahiye..

vijay dwivedi said...

bhai na allahabad kabi poorvanchal me tha aur na purabia chahate hai ki hum poorvanchal me aa jaye..yabi to sab yaha aake base h...yahha aake bhojpuri bolte h...aur sochte h ki hum yaha ke ho gaye....inke to pichwadde me laat mar ke bhej dena chahiye..