Bhopal is the capital of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and the administrative headquarter of Bhopal District and Bhopal Division. Bhopal is known as the Lake city (or City of Lakes as its landscape is dotted with a number of natural lakes. Bhopal is also one of the greenest cities of India.
Historically, Bhopal was capital of the Bhopal state.
The city attracted international attention due to the tragic Bhopal disaster, when the Union Carbide plant, which manufactured pesticides, leaked deadly methyl isocyanate gas during the night of 3 December 1984. The plant was operated by Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL).
This gas leak caused the worst industrial disaster in history. There was a massive loss of human life - numbering in thousands. Thousands others were rendered sick and have been facing chronic health problems such as psychological and neurological disabilities, blindness etc. Skin, vision and breathing disorders also are common. The rate of birth defects, in children whose parents or even grandparents (i.e. second generation) were exposed, is still very high.The soil and ground water, near the factory site, has been polluted due to toxic contaminants still leaking from the factory. The Indian government, however, maintains that no such pollution has taken place or that any such toxins are even present at the site.Since the disaster, Bhopal has been a center of protests and campaigns which have been joined by many people from across the globe.
On 11 April 2005, the Indian Space Research Organisation established a Master Control Facility in Ayodhya Nagar, to control the movements of satellites. It is the second such installation in the country (the first being at Hassan. Bhopal would be the second city to have an All India Institute of Medical Sciences campus, the first one being in Delhi.
Shahjehan Kaikhusrau Jahan Begum 'Sarkar Amma' ruled during 1901-26Bhopal is said to have been founded by the Parmar King Bhoj (1000–1055), who had his capital at Dhar. The city was originally known as Bhojpal named after Bhoj and the dam ('pal') that he is said to have constructed to form the lakes surrounding Bhopal. The fortunes of Bhopal rose and fell with that of its reigning dynasty. As the Parmaras declined in power, the city was ransacked several times and finally faded away into obscurity.
An Afghan soldier of the Orakzai tribe called Dost Mohammad Khan (not to be confused with the later Afghan King carrying the same name) laid out the present city at the same site following the death of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707. He brought with himself the Islamic influence on the culture and architecture of Bhopal, the ruins of which can be found at Islam Nagar. Bhopal, the second largest Muslim state in pre-independence India was ruled by four Begums from 1819 to 1926. Qudisa Begum was the first female ruler of Bhopal City, who was succeeded by her only daughter Sikandari, who in turn was succeeded by her only daughter, Shahjehan. Kaikhusrau Jahan Begum was the last female ruler, and stepped down to her son. The succession of the ‘Begums’ gave the city such innovations as waterworks, railways and a postal system. Several monuments still stand in the city as reminders of this glorious period in its history. A municipality was constituted in 1907.It was one of the last princely states to sign the 'Instrument of Accession' 1947. Though India achieved Independence in August 1947, the ruler of Bhopal acceded to India only on 1 May 1949. Sindhi refugees from Pakistan were accommodated in West Bhopal Cities, Bairagarh Sub-Area (Sant Hirdaram nagar), a western suburb of Bhopal. According to the States Reorganization Act of 1956, Bhopal state was integrated into the state of Madhya Pradesh, and Bhopal was declared as its capital. The population of the city rose rapidly thereafter.
Protest Rally Against DOW, Bhopal. Union Carbide is now a subsidiary of DOW Chemicals.On December 3, 1984, a Union Carbide Corporation plant in Bhopal leaked 32 tons of toxic methyl isocyanate gas, leading to the Bhopal disaster. The official death toll of this disaster was about 5,000 initially. A more probable figure is that 18,000 died within two weeks, and it is estimated that an additional 8,000 have since died from gas-poisoning-related diseases. The Greenpeace organization cites a total casualty figure of 20,000 as its own conservative estimate. The Bhopal disaster is often cited as the world's worst industrial disaster. December 3 is observed as an annual day of mourning for this disaster, and each year, all of the government offices in Bhopal are closed on this day.
The Union Carbide India, Ltd., (UCIL) plant was established in 1969 in East Bhopal City. 51% of it was owned by Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) and 49% by Indian authorities, although UCC was responsible for all techniques and designs. It produced the pesticide carbaryl (trade mark Sevin). Methyl isocyanate (MIC), an intermediate in carbaryl manufacture, was also used, and in 1979 a plant for producing MIC was added to the site.
During the night of December 3, 1984, large amounts of water entered the chemical storage tank E610, which contained about 40 tonnes of methyl isocyanate. The resulting reaction generated a major increase in the temperature of liquid inside the tank to over 200°C (400°F). The MIC holding tank then gave off a large volume of mixed toxic gases, forcing the emergency release of pressure. Massive panic resulted as people woke up in a cloud of noxious gasses that burned their lungs. About nine thousand people died immediately from the gasses, and many more were trampled by others who were fleeing.
Upper Lake and Takia Taapu seen from Winds and Waves restaurant near Upper Lake,Bhopal.Bhopal has an average elevation of 499 metres (1637 ft). Bhopal is located in the central part of India, and is just north of the upper limit of the Vindhya mountain ranges. Located on the Malwa plateau, it is higher than the north Indian plains and the land rises towards the Vindhya Range to the south. The city has uneven elevation and has small hills within its boundaries. The major hills in Bhopal comprise of Idgah hills and Shyamala hills in the northern region and Arera hills in the central region.
The municipality covers 298 square kilometres. It has two very beautiful big lakes, collectively known as the Bhoj Wetland . These lakes are the Upper Lake (built by King Bhoj) and the Lower Lake. Locally these are known as the Bada Talab and Chota Talab respectively. The catchment area of the Upper Lake is 361 km² while that of the Lower Lake is 9.6 km². The Upper Lake drains into the Kolar River. The Van Vihar National Park is a national park situated beside the Upper Lake.
A leopard in Van Vihar,BhopalThe national park also has a museum in its premises. Kheoni Wild Life Sanctuary is situated 125 km from Bhopal.
Bhopal has a humid subtropical climate, with mild, dry winters, a hot summer and a humid monsoon season. Summers start in late March and go on till mid-June, the average temperature being around 30 °C (86 °F), with the peak of summer in May, when the highs regularly exceed 40 °C (104 °F). The monsoon starts in late June and ends in late September. These months see about 40 inches (1020 mm) of precipitation, frequent thunderstorms and flooding. The average temperature is around 25 °C (77 °F) and the humidity is quite high. Temperatures rise again up to late October when winter starts, which lasts up to early March. Winters in Bhopal are mild, sunny and dry, with average temperatures around 18 °C (64 °F) and little or no rain. The winter peaks in January when temperatures may drop close to freezing on some nights. Total annual rainfall is about 1146 mm (46 inches).
The city is divided into six major areas and about 75 suburbs.The major areas include Old City and the New City. The major industries in the old city are electrical goods, cotton, chemicals and jewelry. Other industries include cotton and flour milling, cloth weaving and painting, as well as making matches, sealing wax, and sporting equipment. The residents of Bhopal also engage in large retail businesses. Handicraft is a major product of the old city. There is a huge demand for its very famous zardozi work, which is a kind of embroidery done on bridal dresses, sherwanis, and purses. Another famous handicraft of Bhopal is 'Batua', a small string purse, usually used with Indian traditional dresses. There are a large number of garages in the older city which specialise in automobile conversion. These garages produce custom-modified and tuned cars, SUVs and motorbikes.
Construction of infrastructure has become huge businessBeing a state capital, the New City has a majority of residents working for the State and Central Government Departments. There are two major office complexes on Arera Hills named Satpura and Vindhyachal, which house a number of State Government offices and projects. Adjacent to them is the State Secretariat, Vallabh Bhavan. In their vicinity are other State and Central Government offices which include major national banks and insurance companies. Bhopal's major commercial area is M.P Nagar, Bhopal which accommodates many business houses. There are a number of hardware as well as software vendors in this part of the city. Other businesses include daily newsletter offices and press, hotels and restaurants, coaching and tuition centers and entertainment.
Bhopal has a cantonment in the old city as well as military presence near Shahjahanabad (Selection Centre ), Bairagarh and the airport. The Shahjahanabad cantonment houses one of the Services Selection board centers that recruits troops and officers for the armed forces.
Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, the largest engineering and manufacturing enterprise in India, has a unit in Bhopal. It occupies a large area on the eastern side of the city and maintains a suburb named after it. A majority of the residents of the suburb are employed by the unit. Mandideep is an industrial suburb of Bhopal. It is located to the South of Bhopal on the Bhopal-Itarsi highway and houses a number of plants belonging to some of the reputed companies of India like Procter & Gamble, Fujitsu, Eicher, L&T, HEG,crompton greaves Ltd.having many of its branches like the traction motor plant, the transformer plant etc. and VA Tech Hydro. A North Western suburb of Bhopal called Bairagarh, which was earlier a camp for Sindhi refugees from Pakistan, has developed into market for textiles.
Bhopal is also home to the Bhaskar Group which is a Rs. 2500 crore (Rs. 25 billion) business conglomerate with strong presence in newspapers, television, entertainment, printing, textiles, fast moving consumer goods, oils, solvents and internet services. Its head office is located in Maharana Pratap Nagar. Manjul Publishing House, located in the old city, is a major publishing house made famous by the translation of the Harry Potter series of novels into Hindi.
The Madhya Pradesh State Electronics Development Corporation Ltd. is going to develop a software and hardware technology park in Bhopal. Multinational companies like Genpact, Fujitsu and Taurus Microsystems are expected to open their centers in the Technology Park.
EDUCATION AND HEALTH CARE
There are more than 550 state government sponsored schools and affiliated to the Madhya Pradesh Board of Secondary Education (MPBSE) located within the city limits. In addition, there are four Kendriya Vidyalayas in the city affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). The city is also served by numerous other private schools affiliated to either CBSE or MPBSE. And there are some schools which are affiliated to National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) board.
Bhopal is home to one of India's premier engineering colleges, the Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology, established in 1960 and one of the first Regional Engineering Colleges. Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology is also categorized by the Government of India as an Institute of National Importance. There are several other public and private engineering schools (numbering almost 90) located in and around the city. Government of India established an Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and a School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) in the year 2008.
The city is also home to several management and law institutes. The prominent ones include the Indian Institute of Forest Management, The National Judicial Academy (for training judges and one of its' kind in India) and the National Law Institute University, one of the premier law schools in India.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Bhopal is the capital city of Madhya Pradesh. It houses the State Legislative Assembly, or the Vidhan Sabha, which seats 230 members of Legislative Assembly. The twelfth (and current) Vidhan Sabha was elected in May, 2008. Currently, the party in the majority in Vidhan Sabha is Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is led by Shivraj Singh Chauhan. Bhopal district elects seven seats to the Assembly.
The administration of Bhopal city is handled by Bhopal Municipal Corporation, also known as BMC. The total area under BMC is 285 km². The city is divided into 66 wards. Each ward elects a corporator. The winning party elects a council of members, who are responsible for various departments. The council members chose the Mayor among themselves. At present, there are ten members in the council. The Commissioner of Bhopal is the highest officer of Municipal Corporate Office, which is responsible for the departments of public works, revenue and tax, water supply, planning and development, fire brigade, health and sanitation, finance and accounts etc.
According to the 2001 census the total Bhopal population is about 1,458,416. The population consists of 56% Hindus and 38% Muslims, with the rest of the population including Christians, Sikhs, Jains, and, Buddhists. The Old City of Bhopal is a predominantly Muslim area with large population that claims Pashtun descent, but New Bhopal is a demographically cosmopolitan area.
The chief languages are Urdu (Hindustani) and English, but there are a substantial number of Marathi, Sindhi, Marwari speakers as well. In the princely state of Bhopal, Persian was the court language until nineteenth century. The common street Urdu spoken in Bhopal is termed as Bhopali and is the subject of comedy in Bollywood movies. An example of the language is used by actor Jagdeep in the film Sholay and Arshad Warsi in the film Ishquia
Population: 1.46 million
Total waste generation: 6 ton/day
Waste generation per capita: 0.43 kg/person per day
Shairis and poetry recitals are popular in Bhopal. Bhopal is famous for its culture of parda and zarda. Parda is a curtain, which was used to veil the women of the house from outsiders, zarda is a kind of tobacco product which is quite famous with Bhopalis. The official language of Bhopal City is Hindi, and Hindi-Urdu with a peculiar Bhopali accent is spoken in western and eastern parts of the city.
Bhopal has an extensive culture of paan eating. Paan (Beetle leaf) is a preparation with a betel leaf topped with variety of seasonings, the most common being chuna, kattha and supari(nut). Bhopalites treat paan preparation as a science and an art, which is perfected among the streets of Bhopal, a tradition passed down generations. The paans in Bhopal are wide in variety and innovations
Diwali is celebrated with equal pomp and glory as Eid. Gifts and sweets are exchanged and donation are made to the poor. Diwali is celebrated by worshiping the wealth goddess Lakshmi. Later that night, firecrackers are burst in the open by young and old. Eid is special to the city as all the Hindus take time out to visit their Muslim friends and greet them and get treated with delicacies, the specialty of the day being sweet sewaiya. Bhopali culture is such that both Hindus and Muslims visit each other on their respective festivals to greet and exchange sweets. During Ganesh puja and Durga Puja (Navratras), idols of Ganesh and Durga are established in jhankis throughout the city. People throng to offer prayers to their deities. At the end of Navratras, on the day of Vijayadashami (or Dussehra), huge effigies of Ravan are burnt in different parts of the city. Some of them are organized by the local administration and stand as tall as 60 feet (18 m).
Bharat Bhawan,a big centre for theatre,music,arts and other cultural activities.Bharat Bhavan is the main cultural centre of the city and of the most important cultural centers of India. It has an art gallery, an open-air amphitheatre facing the Upper Lake, two other theatres and a tribal museum. Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (National Museum of Humans) showcases the various hutments that tribals of across India use for shelter. Popular holiday spots near Bhopal include :
Bhojpur (famous for a Shiva temple which is India's biggest Shivling built by Raja Bhoj. and Jain shrines)
Sanchi (notable for ancient Buddhist Stupas built by Ashoka),
Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (a World Heritage Site of archaeological interest).
Islamnagar was the palace of Bhopal's Afghan rulers and was built by Dost Mohammed Khan. Formal gardens surround the palace and the pavilion.
Delawadi, a picturesque picnic spot
Those into archeology can venture about forty kilometres from Bhopal to Bhimbetka, which has one of the largest collections of pre-historic paintings and rocks, some of which date back more than 10,000 years.Shiva temple in Bhojpur holds great religious value and is famous for a massive Shivalingam. Anglers can head about 10 kilometres from the city to Hathaikheda, which is a popular fishing zone. Or, you can travel fifty kilometres to the city of Sanchi, a site famous for Buddhist monuments and temples dating back several centuries.
Bhopal has many mosques including Taj-ul-Masajid (one of the largest mosques in Asia), Dhai Seedi ki Masjid (one of the smallest mosques in Asia), Jama Masjid (built by Qudsia Begum in 1837) and Moti Masjid (built by Sikander Begum in 1860). Some of the major historical buildings in Bhopal include Shaukat Mahal (a mixture of Indo-Islamic and European styles of architecture).
Gohar Mahal (built by Qudsia Begum, fusion of Hindu and Mughal architecture), Sadar Manzil (used by the Begums for public audience, now used as the head office of the Municipal Corporation) and Purana Kila (part of the 300-year-old fort of Queen Kamalapati, situated in the Kamala Nehru Park). Lakshmi Narayan Temple (or Birla Mandir), situated to the south of Lower Lake, is a temple devoted to Vishnu and his mythological consort Laxmi. An annual fare is held on Kartik Purnima at Manua Bhan Ki Tekri (Mahavir Giri), a Jain pilgrimage center located around seven kilometres away from Bhopal.
The Udaygiri Caves, located near the town of Vidisha, are cut into the side at a sandstone hill, date back from A.D. 320 to 606. An inscription in one of these caves states that it was carved out during the reign of Chandragupta II (A.D. 382-401). A three-day Iztima-Muslim dhaarmik sammelan or Muslim religious assembly (religious congregation) used to be held in the precincts of the Taj-ul-Masjid annually. It draws scores at Muslim pilgrims from all parts of India. It has now been shifted outside the city limits. Every year in January/February, the villages of the Manav Sangrahalaya hosts the potters' workshops, folk music and dance, and open-air plays. It showcases the tribals of the region who demonstrate their skills in painting, weaving, and the fashioning of bell metal into works of art.