The name ‘Jharkhand’ means ‘the land of forests’. It is a state in eastern India, being cut out of the southern part of Bihar on 15 November 2000. Jharkhand shares its border with the States of Bihar to the north, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to the west, Odisha to the south, and West Bengal to the east.
It is the 28th State of India after almost six decades of Jharkhand Movement. It has an area of 79,710 km2. The industrial city of Ranchi is the capital city, and Dumka is sub-capital while Jamshedpur is the largest and biggest industrial city of the State. Some of the other major cities and industrial centres are Dhanbad, Bokaro and Hazaribagh.
Most of the land of the State lies on the Chhota Nagpur Plateau which is the source of the river Damodar, Subarnarekha, Brahmani, Kharkai, etc. Much of the State is still covered by forest which supports the habitation of tigers and elephants.
The soil content of Jharkhand State is mainly formed from the disintegration of rocks and stones, and rich in natural resources. Soil composition may be divided into (a) Red soil found mostly in the Damodar valley and in some parts of Rajmahal area, (b) Mica-soil found in Kodarma, Jhumri Telaiya, Barkagaon and areas around the Mandar Hill, (c) Sandy soil generally found in Hazaribagh and Dhanbad, (d) Black soil found in Rajmahal area, (e) Laterite soil found in the western part of Ranchi, Palamu, Dumka and parts of Santhal Parganas and Singhbhum.
There are three well-defined seasons in Jharkhand. The cold-weather Season that mildly begins in October and continues from. November to February is the most pleasant part of the year. The hot-weather season lasts Hom March to mid-June. The rainy season takes place during the months from July to September that accounts for more than 90% of total rainfall in the State.
Jharkhand has a rich variety of flora and fauna. Rice and wheat are the main agricultural crops. The National Parks and the Zoological Gardens located in Jharkhand present a panorama of wild animals. Betla National Park in the Latehar district covers an area of about 250 square kilometres. It has a large variety of wildlife including tigers, elephants, bison (locally known as gaurs), sambhars, wild boars, pythons (up to 6 meters 20 feet long), spotted deer (chitals), monkeys, blue bulls, rabbits and foxes.
Jharkhand, as per census 2011, has a population of 32.96 million consisting of 16.93 million males and 16.03 million females. The sex ratio is 947 females to 1,000 males. The population consists of 60% general castes, 28% tribal people and 12% Scheduled Castes. The population density is, on average, 414 persons per square kilometre of land. Census data since 1881 has shown a gradual decline of the tribal population as against the gradual increase of the non-tribal population in the region. The reasons for this are low birth of the tribal people, immigration of non-tribal people and extensive deforestation in the region. Tribal leaders, however, assert that their numbers are not as low as recorded by the census and they remain a demographic force to reckon with. Scheduled Tribes are mostly found in the district of Santhal Parganas which has been named after them. They include Santhal, Oraon, Munda, Ho, Kharia, and Bhumij.
As for religion, as per census 2011, Hinduism is followed by 68.5% of the population of Jharkhand. Muslim is followed by 13.8% and Animistic Sarna is practised by 13% of the population. Christianity with 4.1% of the population is the fourth religious community. Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism are all practised making a few less than 1% of the total population of Jharkhand.
Although Hindi is the State language, the people of Jharkhand speak a number of languages belonging to three major language families—the Munda including Santhali, Mondavi, Ho, Kariya, Bhumij; the Indo-Aryan including Bengali, Oriya, Maithili; and the Dravidian including Oraon (Kurukh), Korwa and Paharia (Malto).
Being a tribe-dominated State, Nature has been given utmost importance in every sphere of life and culture. Devotees worship some special trees associated with gods or goddesses. Karma Puja, Jitia Puja, Sarhul are a few examples. Poush Mela or Tusu Fair is a folk harvesting festival. Tusu is not any god or goddess, but a sweet little girl of the tribal folk. The Karma festival holds a very important place in their social and religious life. Boys and girls are given ‘Karam clothes’ which are considered very auspicious.
Jharkhand is currently under the Chief Minister Hemant Soren, after Arjun Munda of BJP, as the eighth Chief Minister from 13 July 2013. Jharkhand is one of the thirteen States in which Naxalite and Maoist rebels have considerable influence. A lot of people have been killed between the Maoists and counter-insurgency operations by the police and its paramilitary groups such as Salwa Judum.
Since Jharkhand is rich in minerals, the per capita income in the State is high though it is not well-distributed among the poor. The literacy rate of the State is 67.6% as per 2011 census, The medium of instruction in schools is Hindi with English/Bengali/Oriya as a second language.
In certain areas of Jharkhand, poverty and consequent malnutrition have given rise to diseases like tuberculosis though it has now been challenged by the State. However, on account of salubrious climate, Jharkhand, particularly its capital Ranchi, has become a health resort.
Hockey, cricket and football are popular games in Jharkhand. The State has produced some brilliant players like Jaipal Singh, a former Indian Hockey captain and Olympian. An international cricket stadium with an indoor stadium and a practice ground has also been built in the State.