Haryana became a state of India on November 1, 1966. The present day Haryana is the region where, along the banks of the River Saraswati, the Vedic Civilization began and matured. It was here that the Vedas were written, as the Aryans chanted their sacred Mantras. Replete with myths and legends, Haryana’s 5000 year old history is steeped in glory. It was here that Lord Krishna preached Bhagvad-Gita at the start of the battle of Mahabharat. It was on this soil that saint Ved Vyas wrote Mahabharat in Sanskrit. Before the Mahabharat war, a battle of ten kings took place in the Kurukshetra region in the Saraswati valley. But it was the Mahabharat War, approximately in 900 BC, which gave to the region worldwide fame. Mahabharat knows Haryana as Bahudhhanyaka, land of plentiful grains and Bahudhana, the land of immense riches. The word Hariana, occurs in a 1328 AD Sanskrit inscription kept in the Delhi Museum, which refers to the Haryana region as The heaven on earth.
Excavations of various archeological sites in Haryana, like Naurangabad and Mittathal in Bhiwani, Kunal in Fatehbad, Agroha near Hissar, Rakhi Garhi (Rakhigarhi) in Jind, Sites in Rukhi (Rohtak) and Banawali in Sirsa have evidence of pre-Harappan and Harappan culture. Findings of pottery, sculpture and jewellery in sites at Pehowa, Kurukshetra, Tilpat and Panipat have proved the historicity of the Mahabharat war. These places are mentioned in the Mahabharat as Prithudaka (Pehowa), Tilprastha (Tilput), Panprastha (Panipat) and Sonprastha (Sonipat.
Haryana has been the scene of many wars because of it being “The Gateway of North India”. As years rolled by, successive streams of Huns, Turks and the Afghans invaded India and decisive battles were fought on this land. After the downfall of the Gupta empire in the middle of 6th century AD north India was again split into several kingdoms. The Huns established their supremacy over the Punjab. It was after this period that one of the greatest King of ancient India, Harshvardhan began his rule. He became the King of Thanesar (Kurukshetra) in 606 AD, and later went on to rule the most of north India. In the 14th century, the Tomar kings led an army through this region to Delhi.
Later the Mughal, Babur, defeated the Lodhis in the first battle of Panipat in the year 1526. Another decisive battle was fought in Panipat in 1556, establishing the reign of the Mughals for centuries to come. Taking advantage of Humayun’s death, Hemu had marched to Agra and Delhi and occupied it without difficulty. In response, Bairam Khan (Akbar’s guardian) marched towards Delhi. Both the armies clashed in the second battle of Panipat. Hemu was in a winning position when a stray arrow struck him in the eye. He fell unconscious causing panic among his troops. The tide of the battle turned and the Mughals won the battle. Towards the middle of the 18th century, the Marathas had control over Haryana. The intrusion of Ahmed Shah Durrani in India, culminated in the third battle of Panipat in 1761. Marathas’ defeat in this battle marked the end of their ascendancy and the decline of the Mughal Empire, leading to the advent of the British rule.
In 1857, the people of Haryana joined the Indian leaders in the 1857 Revolt against the British Government. By the end of June, 1857, most of the present Haryana region was liberated from the British. But the British managed to put down the rebellion in November, 1857 by bringing in additional forces from outside the area.
Indian history is replete with tales of heroism of the highest order and in this context, the historic significance of the battles of Panipat and Kurukshetra in Haryana cannot be ignored by any means. The sacrifices of Haryana’s brave soldiers have played a very important role in maintaining the territorial and sovereign integrity of our nation. The new state which emerged as a separate political entity of the Indian Union on November 1, 1966, is considered to be the cradle of rich Indian cultural heritage. In terms of economic development too, Haryana has come a long way during the few past years.