State of north India, bordered by Nepal and Uttarakhand to the northeast, with Madhya Pradesh to the south, Haryana, Delhi, and Rajasthan to the west, and Bihar in the east; area 243,288 sq km/93,934 sq mi; population (2001 est) 166,052,900. The capital is Lucknow. Economically the state is one of the least developed in India, with three-quarters of the population dependent on agriculture, much of it on a subsistence basis in very small holdings. Wheat, rice, millet, barley, sugar cane, groundnuts, peas, cotton, oilseed, potatoes and fruit are grown, and there is livestock raising and dairy farming. Silica, limestone, and coal are mined and industries, mostly on a small scale in centres such as Varanasi and Lucknow and based on the mineral and agricultural outputs, include the production of sugar, vegetable oil, textiles, leatherwork, cement, chemicals and handicrafts. As part of the Uttar Pradesh Reorganization Act, the region was split in November 2000 to form the new state of Uttaranchal, carved out of its northwest section.
Geography The Gangetic is a low-lying alluvial plain that covers most of the state and is formed by the Yamuna, Ganges, and Ghaghara rivers. To the south are the Shiwalik hills. Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state of India. Towns and cities include Kanpur, Varanasi, Agra, Allahabad, and Meerut.
Language and religion The main language is Hindi. The principal religion is Hinduism (80% of the population); religious sites in the state include Varanasi and Allahabad. Some 15% are Muslims.
History The region has formed part of every great empire of the Gangetic plain: the Aryans, Turks, Mongolians, Persians, and the British, often advancing southwards from Delhi. Agra was the capital of the Mogul empire until the 18th century when the Marathas gained control, before being ousted by the British in 1903. Oudh became an independent kingdom under the former Mogul governor. The British annexed Oudh in 1856, an act that contributed to the start of the Indian Mutiny, much of which took place in Uttar Pradesh. Agra was joined to Oudh as the North-West Province in 1856, and the name was changed to United Provinces of Agra and Oudh in 1902. The name Uttar Pradesh has been used since 1950. There are secessionist demands for a new hill state carved out of Uttar Pradesh.
Hydroelectric schemes In October 1997 the Tehri Dam was still under construction despite continuing opposition from environmentalists.
Education Universities include Agra, Aligarh (Muslim), Allahabad, Varanasi (Hindu), Gorakhpur, Lucknow, and Uttar Pradesh Agricultural College.
Famous people Indira Gandhi, Ravi Shankar.
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