Haryana is a state in northern India. Etymologically the name Haryana means ‘the Abode of God’, derived from the Sanskrit words Hari (the Hindu God Vishnu) and Ayana (home).
It is geo-politically bordered by the Punjab and Himachal Pradesh to the north, Rajasthan to the west and south, and Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh to the east. The river Yamuna defines its eastern border. It also surrounds the country’s capital Delhi on three sides—northern, southern, and western. Chandigarh, being on the border of Punjab and Haryana, serves as the capital of both the States.
Earlier, Haryana was a part of the Indus Valley and Vedic civilizations. Several decisive battles were fought in the area, which shaped much of the history of India. These include the epic battle of the Mahabharata at Kurukshetra and three battles of Panipat in the Mughal period.
Later, Haryana was administered as part of the Punjab province of British India, and, after Independence, it was carved out on linguistic lines as India’s 17th State in 1966.
The total area of the State is 44,212 km’ and out of it, 1,684 km² is covered by forest. It has four main geographical features—the Yamuna-Ghagar plain forming the largest part of the State, the Shivalik Hills to the northeast, semi-desert sandy plain to the south-west and the Aravalli Range in the south. The ancient Saraswati River is said to have flowed from Yamuna Nagar, but it has now disappeared and believed to flow subterranean (underground)— which is substantiated by satellite pictures.
The climate in Haryana is almost similar to other States of India lying in the northern plains. It is very hot in summer and cold in winter. The hottest months are May and June, and the coldest being December and January. Rainfall is varied—the Shivalik Hills region the wettest and the Aravalli Hills region the driest. About 80% of the rainfall occurs in the monsoon season (July-September) and sometimes causes local floods.
The total population of the State is 25,353,081 as per 2011 census. The literacy rate is 76.64% and as for religion, Hindus are the majority, and Sikhs take the second place. There are Muslims, Christians, Jains, and Buddhists in small numbers.
Like all other States in India, Haryana has a system of representative democracy for its government. It has a unicameral Legislative Assembly of 90 members with the Chief Minister as the executive head. It also contributes 10 members in the Lok Sabha and 5 members in the Rajya Sabha of the Indian Parliament.
Hindi is the official language, and Haryanavi—a dialect of Hindi and Punjabi—has traditionally been the dominant mother tongue in Haryana. Since 1947, Punjabi has also been spoken by a lot of people, especially by those Hindus and Sikhs who came over from the older Punjab at the time of Partition. As such, Punjabi is the second official language of Haryana.
With rapid urbanization, and due to Haryana’s close proximity to Delhi, the cultural aspects are now taking a more modern hue. The economy of Haryana depends on agriculture, manufacturing industries, and business process outsourcing. Despite recent industrial development, Haryana is primarily an agricultural State. About 70% of people are engaged in agriculture. Wheat and rice are the major crops, while sugarcane, cotton, oilseeds, pulses, barley etc. are other crops. There are two main types of crops in Haryana—Rabi and Kharif. About 86% of the total land is arable, and about 76% of that area is irrigated. The State contributed significantly to the Green Revolution in India in the 1970s and White Revolution by the production of milk afterwards. Moreover, there is a remarkable development in manufacturing industries. Yamuna Nagar is the largest industrial hub wholly within Haryana. It has Asia’s largest paper mill BILT, and Asia’s largest sugar mill and timber industry, and India’s largest railway workshop. Faridabad is another big industrial town. Rohtak is the largest wholesale cloth market in Asia. Gurgaon has emerged as an information technology industry-centre in recent years. Haryana has always given high priority to the expansion of electricity infrastructure as it is one of the most important inputs for the development of the State.
Haryana has a good transport system. It has 29 national highways with many State highways. It was the first state in the country to introduce luxury video coaches. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation connects Gurgaon with Delhi. Haryana and Delhi Government have also constructed Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway which has the largest toll plaza in Asia and 3rd largest in the world. The State is in close contact with the cosmopolitan world, being right next to Delhi. As a result, international and domestic airports, diplomatic and commercial complexes are located in close proximity to the State.
Haryana has a good record in sports. It has produced some of the best Indian players in various fields. In 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, 22 out of 38 Gold Medals came from Haryana. In the National Games held in Assam in 2007, Haryana stood first in the nation, with 80 medals including 30 Gold, 22 Silver, and 28 Bronze. In team sports, the State is the national champion in men’s volleyball and women’s hockey. Haryana is a traditional powerhouse in games like Kabbadi, Kho-Kho, Judo, Boxing and Wrestling. Moden India’s most enjoyed game cricket is very popular in Haryana. And it is noteworthy that Haryana hurricane’ Kapil Dev is from Haryana. Haryana has many tourist spots including umpteen places of historical importance, Chandigarh Monument, etc.