Diocese of Buxar
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The diocesan territory of 11,298 square kilometers covers the four districts of Bhojpur, Buxar, Kaimur and Rohtas in the southwestern part of Bihar state, known as the Shahabad region. The flat alluvial bed of the Ganges spreads along the upper half of the territory in northern Bhojpur and Buxar

Population

7,985,362 total

Language

Hindi, Urdu and the Bhojpuri dialect

History

When Patna Diocese was established in 1919, its territory included all of what was then central and north Bihar, besides Nepal. With the arrival and management of Jesuit missionaries, the local Church grew both in numbers and institutional structures. They founded many Christian communities, leading to the creation of new dioceses. By the time Patna was made an archdiocese in 1999, it had given birth to four new dioceses: Bhagalpur (1956), Muzaffarpur (1980), Bettiah (1998) and Purnea (1998). Additionally, Nepal had been separated off as an independent mission in 1983. The creation of yet another diocese, Buxar, in 2000 testifies to the continuing growth of the Christian community in Bihar.

The first Christian presence in the Buxar diocesan area seems to date back to 1887, when the Methodist Episcopal Church was founded at Ara. Baptists later established some centers, including the Sawtelle Memorial High School in Ara (1918) and a hospital in Pratapsagar, near Dumraon.

Invited by some Protestant converts to Catholicism, missionaries from Patna established the first mission in Shahabad in 1937, at Ara. Other mission centers followed and Christian communities grew around them, especially in Piro, Shahpur, Buxar, Dumraon, Itarhi, Chenari, Koath, and Sasaram. As the number and size of the these communities increased, Church institutions and organizational structures grew with them, leading to significant socio-cultural change among the majority Dalit (formerly called "untouchable") Christians of the area.

Over the past 60 years, the Catholic presence in the area has been visible not only in Church's physical infrastructure, such as churches, institutions, etc., but more importantly in and through the members of the Church: laity, clergy and religious. Due to lack of development in the region and few employment opportunities, many Christians migrated to cities. Buxar diocese was created to enhance the building of a strong Christian community in Shahabad.

Political

The diocesan territory straddles the states of Bihar and Jharkhand, which was created from Bihar in 2000. Judicial, executive and legislative powers in the federal Republic of India are vested in elected representatives. Majority parties or coalitions form governments at the federal and state levels.

Districts are administered by district magistrates, appointed by the government, whose subordinates in blocks, or anchal, are called Development Officers, or anchal adhikari. They collect revenue and coordinate all developmental works. Now local governance under the Panchayat Raj has elected representatives of a panchayat, or village council, monitoring development work in the village.

However, all policy decisions at the state level are made by the executive body of a Cabinet of ministers headed by the Chief Minister. Political parties play a significant role in the work of administration of a state.

Transportation

Railway, bus, vans, tempo (passenger jeeps or motorized tricyles) and taxis are the means of transport.

Economy

Agriculture is the main occupation of the local people, who grow sugar cane, tobacco, rice, lentils and wheat as major crops. Production of oil is also a major industry.

Telecommunication

All India Radio Sasaram (AIR Sasaram/ Akashvani Sasaram) broadcasts in the diocesan area.

Education

Rohtas and Bhojpuri have the second- and fourth-highest literacy rates in Bihar, respectively, at 62.36 percent and 59.71 percent. The rate for Buxar is 57.49 percent and for Kaimur 55.57 percent.

The average litercay rate in Bihar is 47.5 percent (60.3 for males and 33.6 percent for females).

Culture

A majority of the local people can be identified primarily as belonging to Hindu caste groups. Other identifiable groups include Anglo Indians, Bengalis, Pathans, South Indians, as a whole and Shia Muslims of non-Indian origin in particular. Christians form a separate group, though they originally belonged to Hindu castes. The vast majority of Christians of the region are Dalit.

Location

Ara, Sasaram, Buxar, Dumraon and Jagdishpur