Knowledge Corner

Madhya Pradesh (MP) is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal and the largest city is Indore. Nicknamed the “heart of India” due to its geographical location in India, Madhya Pradesh is the second-largest state in the country by area. With over 75 million inhabitants, it is the fifth-largest state in India by population. It borders the states of Uttar Pradesh to the north-east, Chhattisgarh to the south-east, Maharashtra to the south, Gujarat to the west, and Rajasthan to the northwest. Its total area is 308,245 km². Before 2000, When Chattisgarh was a part of Madhya Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh was the largest state in India and the distance between Singoli and Konta was 1500 km.

The area covered by the present-day Madhya Pradesh includes the area of the ancient Avanti mahajanapada, whose capital Ujjain (also known as Avanti) arose as a major city during the second wave of Indian urbanisation in the sixth century BCE. Subsequently, the region was ruled by the major dynasties of India. By the early 18th century, the region was divided into several small kingdoms which were captured by the British and incorporated into Central Provinces and Berar and the Central India Agency. After India’s independence, Madhya Pradesh state was created withNagpur as its capital: this state included the southern parts of the present-day Madhya Pradesh and north-eastern portion of today’s Maharashtra. In 1956, this state was reorganised and its parts were combined with the states of Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh and Bhopal to form the new Madhya Pradesh state with Bhopal as its capital; the Marathi-speaking Vidarbha region was removed and merged with the then Bombay State. This state was the largest in India by area until 2000, when its southeastern Chhattisgarh region was made a separate state.In recent years, the state’s GDP growth has been above the national average.

Rich in mineral resources, MP has the largest reserves of diamond and copper in India. More than 30% of its area is under the forest cover. Its tourism industry has seen considerable growth, with the state topping the National Tourism Awards in the year 2010–11.


Isolated remains of Homo erectus found in Hathnora in the Narmada Valley indicate that Madhya Pradesh might have been inhabited in the Middle Pleistocene era. Painted pottery dated to the later mesolithic period has been found in the Bhimbetka rock shelters. Chalcolithic sites belonging to Kayatha culture (2100–1800 BCE) and Malwa culture (1700–1500 BCE) have been discovered in the western part of the state.

The city of Ujjain arose as a major centre in the region, during the second wave of Indian urbanisation in the sixth century BCE. It served as the capital of the Avanti kingdom. Other kingdoms mentioned in ancient epics — Malava, Karusha, Dasarna and Nishada — have also been identified with parts of Madhya Pradesh.

Chandragupta Maurya united northern India around 320 BCE, establishing the Mauryan Empire, which included all of modern-day Madhya Pradesh. Ashoka the greatest of Mauryan rulers brought the region under firmer control. After the decline of the Maurya empire, the region was contested among the Sakas, the Kushanas, the Satavahanas, and several local dynasties during the 1st to 3rd centuries CE. Heliodorus, the Greek Ambassador to the court of the Shunga king Bhagabhadra erected the Heliodorus pillar near Vidisha.

Ujjain emerged as the predominant commercial centre of western India from the first century BCE, located on the trade routes between the Ganges plain and India’s Arabian Sea ports. TheSatavahana dynasty of the northern Deccan and the Saka dynasty of the Western Satraps fought for the control of Madhya Pradesh during the 1st to 3rd centuries CE.

The Satavahana king Gautamiputra Satakarni inflicted a crushing defeat upon the Saka rulers and conquered parts of Malwa and Gujarat in the 2nd century CE.

Subsequently, the region came under the control of the Gupta empire in the 4th and 5th centuries, and their southern neighbours, the Vakataka’s. The rock-cut temples at Bagh Caves in the Kukshi tehsil of the Dhar district attest to the presence of the Gupta dynasty in the region, supported by the testimony of a Badwani inscription dated to the year of 487 CE. The attacks of theHephthalites or White Huns brought about the collapse of the Gupta empire, which broke up into smaller states. The king Yasodharman of Malwa defeated the Huns in 528, ending their expansion. Later, Harsha (c. 590—647) ruled the northern parts of the state. Malwa was ruled by the south Indian Rashtrakuta Dynasty from the late 8th century to the 10th century. When the south Indian Emperor Govinda III of the Rashtrakuta dynasty annexed Malwa, he set up the family of one of his subordinates there, who took the name of Paramara.

The Medieval period saw the rise of the Gurjar clans, including the Paramaras of Malwa and the Chandelas of Bundelkhand. The Chandellas built the majestic Hindu-Jain temples at Khajuraho, which represent the culmination of Hindu temple architecture in Central India. The Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty also held sway in northern and western Madhya Pradesh at this time. It also left some monuments of architectural value in Gwalior. Southern parts of Madhya Pradesh like Malwa were several times invaded by the south Indian Western Chalukya Empire which imposed its rule on the Paramara kingdom of Malwa. The Paramara king Bhoja (c. 1010–1060) was a renowned polymath. The smallGond kingdoms emerged in the Gondwana and Mahakoshal regions of the state. Northern Madhya Pradesh was conquered by the Turkic Delhi Sultanate in the 13th century. After the collapse of the Delhi Sultanate at the end of the 14th century, independent regional kingdoms re-emerged, including the Tomara Gurjar kingdom of Gwalior and the Muslim Sultanate of Malwa, with its capital at Mandu.

The Malwa Sultanate was conquered by the Sultanate of Gujarat in 1531. In the 1540s, most parts of the state fell to Sher Shah Suri, and subsequently to the Hindu king Hemu. Hemu, who had earlier served as the General of the Suri dynasty, operated from the Gwalior Fort during 1553–56 and became the rural of Delhi as a Vikramaditya king winning 22 battles continuously from Bengal to Gujrat and defeating Akbar’s forces in Battle of Delhi 1556 on 7th Oct. 1556. However, he chose Delhi as his capital after his formal Coronation and left Gwalior. After Hemu’s defeat in the Second Battle of Panipat in 1556 to Akbar, most of Madhya Pradesh came under the Mughal rule. Gondwana and Mahakoshal remained under the control of Gond kings, who acknowledged Mughal supremacy but enjoyed virtual autonomy.

The Mughal control weakened considerably after the death of Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707. Between 1720 and 1760, the Marathas took control of most of Madhya Pradesh, resulting in the establishment of semi-autonomous states under the nominal control of the Peshwa of Pune: the Holkars of Indore ruled much of Malwa,Puars ruled Dewas and Dhar, the Bhonsles of Nagpur dominated Mahakoshal-Gondwana area, while the Scindias of Gwalior controlled the northern parts of the state. The most notable Maratha rulers of the region were Mahadji Shinde, Ahilyabai Holkar and Yashwantrao Holkar. Besides these, there were several other small states, including Bhopal, Orchha, and Rewa. The Bhopal state, which paid tribute to both the Marathas and the Nizam of Hyderabad, was founded by Dost Mohammed Khan, a former General in the Mughal army.

After the Third Anglo-Maratha War, the British took control of the entire region. All the sovereign states in the region became princely states of British India, governed by the Central India Agency. The Mahakoshal region became a British province: the Saugor and Nerbudda Territories. In 1861, the British merged theNagpur Province with the Saugor and Nerbudda Territories to form the Central Provinces.

During the 1857 uprising, rebellions happened in the northern parts of the state, led by leaders like Tatya Tope. However, these were crushed by the British and the princes loyal to them. The state witnessed a number of anti-British activities and protests during the Indian independence movement. Several notable leaders such as Chandra Shekhar Azad, B. R. Ambedkar, Shankar Dayal Sharma and Atal Bihari Vajpayee were born in what is now Madhya Pradesh.

After the independence of India, Madhya Pradesh was created in 1950 from the former British Central Provinces and Berar and the princely states of Makrai and Chhattisgarh, with Nagpur as the capital of the state. The new states of Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh, and Bhopal were formed out of the Central India Agency. In 1956, the states of Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh, and Bhopal were merged into Madhya Pradesh, and the Marathi-speaking southern region Vidarbha, which included Nagpur, was ceded to Bombay state. Bhopal became the new capital of the state. In November 2000, as part of the Madhya Pradesh Reorganization Act, the southeastern portion of the state split off to form the new state of Chhattisgarh.


Madhya Pradesh literally means “Central Province”, and is located in the geographic heart of India, between latitude 21.2°N-26.87°N and longitude 74°02′-82°49′ E. The state straddles the Narmada River, which runs east and west between the Vindhya and Satpura ranges; these ranges and the Narmada are the traditional boundary between the north and south of India. The highest point in Madhya Pradesh is Dhupgarh, with an elevation of 1,350 m (4,429 ft).

The state is bordered on the west by Gujarat, on the northwest by Rajasthan, on the northeast by Uttar Pradesh, on the east by Chhattisgarh, and on the south byMaharashtra.

The Narmada is the longest river in Madhya Pradesh. It flows westward through a rift valley, with the Vindhya ranges sprawling along its northern bank and the Satpura range of mountains along the southern. Its tributaries include the Banjar, the Tawa, the Machna, the Shakkar, the Denwa and the Sonbhardra rivers. TheTapti River runs parallel to Narmada, and also flows through a rift valley. The Narmada–Tapti systems carry and enormous volume of water and provide drainage for almost a quarter of the land area of Madhya Pradesh.

The Vindhyas form the southern boundary of the Ganges basin, with the western part of the Ganges basin draining into the Yamuna and the eastern part directly into the Ganges itself. All the rivers, which drain into the Ganges, flow from south to north, with the Chambal, Shipra, Kali Sindh, Parbati, Kuno, Sind, Betwa,Dhasan and Ken rivers being the main tributaries of the Yamuna. Shipra River is one of the most sacred rivers of Hinduism. It is the site of the Simhastha Kumbh Mela, which is held every 12 years. The land drained by these rivers is agriculturally rich, with the natural vegetation largely consisting of grass and dry deciduous forest types, largely thorny. The eastern part of the Ganges basin consists of the Son, the Tons and the Rihand Rivers. Son, which arises in the Maikal hills aroundAmarkantak, is the largest tributary that goes into the Ganges on the south bank and that does not arise from the Himalayas. Son and its tributaries contribute the bulk of the monsoon flow into the Ganges, because the north bank tributaries are all snow fed. The forests in their basins are much richer than the thorn forests of the northwestern part of Madhya Pradesh.


The population of Madhya Pradesh consists of a number of ethnic groups and tribes, castes and communities, including the indigenous tribals and relatively more recent migrants from other states. The scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes constitute a significant portion of the population of the State. The main tribal groups in Madhya Pradesh are Gond, Bhil, Baiga, Korku, Bhadia (or Bhariya), Halba, Kaul, Mariya, Maltoand Sahariya. Dhar, Jhabua and Mandla districts have more than 50 percent tribal population. In Khargone, Chhindwara, Seoni, Sidhi, Singrauli and Shahdol districts 30–50 percent population is of tribes. According to the 2001 census, the population of the tribals in Madhya Pradesh was 12,233,000, constituting 20.27% of the total population. There were 46 recognised Scheduled Tribes and three of them have been identified as “Special Primitive Tribal Groups” in the State.


The official language of the state is Hindi. In addition Urdu and Marathi are spoken by a substantial number of the population since the state was home to several important and prestigious Maratha states. The state in fact has the highest concentration of Marathi people outside Maharashtra. Several regional variants are spoken, which are considered by some to be dialects of Hindi, and by others to be distinct but related languages. Among these dialects are Malvi in Malwa,Nimadi in Nimar, Bundeli in Bundelkhand, and Bagheli in Bagelkhand and the southeast. Each of these languages has dialects of its own. Other languages include Telugu, Bhilodi (Bhili), Gondi, Korku, Kalto (Nahali), and Nihali (Nahali), all spoken by tribal groups.


According to the census of 2011, 90.9% of the MP residents followed Hinduism, while others are Muslim (6.6%), Jain (0.8%), Christians (0.3%), Buddhists (0.3%), and Sikhs (0.2%).

Skill Test

1. Name the place where the first sugar mill was established in 1934.

2. Who founded the city of Jhansi?

3. For which metal is the trio of Sidhi, Shehdol and Katni famous for?

4. How many police stations are there in Madhya Pradesh?

5. Which is the state bird of Madhya Pradesh?

6. Name the official language of Madhya Pradesh.

7. In which year Chhattisgarh became a separate state and not a part of Madhya Pradesh?

8. What is the total number of districts in Madhya Pradesh?

9. On how many hills does the city of Bhopal lies?

10. Name the capital city of Madhya Pradesh before 1 November 1956.

11. Which of the following movie was based on Madhya Pradesh?

12. What is Piyawen in Madhya Pradesh?

13. Where is the Dhupgarh peak?

14. In which year was the Project Tiger launched?

15. Which of the following is the Khan in Madhya Pradesh?

16. What was the earlier name of Madhya Pradesh?

17. From which river does the Haleli Canal originates?

18. Where is the note printing industry located in Madhya Pradesh?

19. Name the famous Prime Minister of India who belonged to Madhya Pradesh

20. Name the state that borders Madhya Pradesh from the east.

21. Which is Madhya Pradesh’s highest point?