GORAKHPUR: Origin, history and why it is called the ‘heart’ for ‘Purvanchal’
Origin Of Name
The district Gorakhpur takes its name and fame from renowned, ascetic ‘Gorakshnath’, who was an eminent profounder saint of ‘Nath Sampradaya’. A famous shrine ‘Gorakhnath’ was built in his honour on the same spot where he practised austerities.
The ancient Gorakhpur, in addition to modern, comprised the districts of Basti, Deoria, Azamgarh and parts of Nepal tarai. These region, which may be called as Gorakhpur Janpad, had been an important centre of Aryan culture and civilization.
Modern period was marked by the transfer of this region by the Nawab of Avadh to the East India Company in 1801. With this cession, Gorakhpur was raised to the status of a DISTRICT.
In 1865, new district Basti was carved out from Gorakhpur. The latter was further split up in 1946 to form new district Deoria. The third division of Gorakhpur led to the creation of district Mahrajganj in 1989.
Cultural & Historical Importance
Gorakhpur has its own cultural and historical importance.
* It belongs to the Great Lord Buddha, founderof Buddhism, who renounced his princely costumes at the confluence of rivers Rapti & Rohini and proceeded further in the quest of truth in 600 BC.
* It is also associated with Lord Mahavir, 24th tirthankar, founder of Jainism.
* The next event of importance was the association of Gorakhpur with Gorakhnath. The date and place of his birth have not yet been finally settled, but it was probably in the twelfth century that he flourished. His samadhi at Gorakhpur attracts a large number of pilgrims every year.
* The most significant event in the medieval period, however, was the coming of mystic poet and famous saint Kabir to Maghar. Born in Varanasi, his workplace was Maghar where most of his beautiful poems were composed. It was here that he gave the message to his countrymen to live in peace and religious harmony. The co-existence of ‘Samadhi’ and ‘Makbara’ at his burial place in Maghar attracts a large number of followers.
* Gorakhpur is also identified with the Gita Press, the world famous publisher of the Hindu religious books. The most famous publication is ‘KALYAN’ magazine. All 18 parts of Shree Bhagwat Gita is written on its marble-walls. Other wall hangings and paintings reveal the events of life of Lord Ram and Krishna. The Gita Press is fore-front in dissemination of religious and spiritual consciousness across the country.
* Gorakhpur rose to great eminence due to the historic ‘CHAURI CHAURA’ incident of 4th Feb., 1922, which was a turning -point in the history of India’s freedom struggle. Enraged at the inhuman barbaric atrocities of the police, the volunteers burnt down the Chauri-Chaura Police Station, killing nineteen policemen at the premises. With this violence, Mahatma Gandhi withdrew the Non-Cooperation Movement launched in 1920.
* Another important event took place at Doharia (In Sahjanwa Tehsil ) on 23rd August,1942. In response to the famous Quit India Movement of 1942, a meeting was held to register its protest against the British Government at Doharia but the latter responded with unprovoked firing, killing nine and injuring hundreds. A Shaheed Smarak , in their memory, stands there which still today keeps their memory alive.
* The trial of Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru took place in this district in 1940. Here he was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment of 4 years.
* Gorakhpur is also the Head Quarter of Air Force and known for Cobra Squadran.