Bhojpur came into existence in 1972 AD. Previously this district was the part of the erstwhile Shahabad district. During the year 1972 AD, Shahabad district was bifurcated in two parts namely Bhojpur and Rohtas. Buxar was a sub-division of the old Bhojpur district. In 1992 AD, Buxar was made into a separate district and the rest of Bhojpur district now consists of three sub-divisions - Ara Sadar, Jagdishpur and Piro. Ara town is the district headquarters and also its main town.
Bhojpur has a close link with that of its parent district of Shahabad, which had an ancient and interesting history. In the pre-historic days also there is proof of the region being inhabited. According to the 1961 Census report, Shahabad was described in the following way.
In the old days, Shahabad remained part of the ancient kingdom of Magadh which also consisted of the portions of Patna & Gaya district. Though included in the kingdom of Emperor Ashoka, the absence of Buddhists' monuments from a major part of the region refers that it remained almost isolated from the Buddhist influence of the time.
The famous Chinese pilgrim, Hieun-Tsang, who traveled through the country during the seventh century A.D., paid a visit to Mo-Ho-Solo in Shahabad. This place has been considered on part with the present village Masarh, which is 10 km west of Ara on Ara-Buxar Road. The Chinese pilgrim observed that the inhabitants respect the law of Buddha. He, eventually, felt convinced and did not further venture into any other place in the district.
Not much is evident about the history of the district after the fall of the Gupta Empire. In all probability, it came under the administration of aboriginal tribes and petty chieftains. The most authoritative people during this period were Cheros. They reigned over the major portion of the region. Then, it came to the turn of Rajputs from Ujjain in the Province of Malwa which was ruled by Raja Bhoj.
While camping at Ara in 1529 AD post victory over the Afghan rulers, Babar announced his sovereignty over Bihar. In the memory of this event, the place was called Shahabad, which literally means the city of Emperor. This term was later conferred to the Sarkar within which Ara was included and eventually to the whole district.
Akbar, after his accession, included the district of Shahabad in his empire, though the administration was not very tight. Akbar's General Man Singh, made efforts to manage the revenue administration of the district in an effective way. However, the local chiefs continued to resist. The Rajas of Jagdishpur and Bhojpur defended the Mughals. The Raja of Bhojpur rebelled against Mughal emperor Jahangir. His successor Raja Pratap, was hacked to death by Shahjahan and the Queen was forced to marry a Muslim courtier. This eventually silenced the Bhojpur family but stray troubles remained till the final days of The Mughals.
After this event, the district had a very insignificant history till 1857 AD when Kunwar Singh revolted against the British in line with the Mutineers.
The history of Quit India Movement in 1942 AD is also written by the blood of the virtuous revolutionaries of this region. Two incidents are very crucial in the month of September 1942 AD for this district. Village Lasarhi, 32 km south of the district headquarters, Ara was the centre of the underground revolutionaries of Shahabad district. On 15 Sep. 1942, the British police surrounded the Lasarhi village. The people of Lasarhi along with near-by villages like Dhakani and Chasi bravely faced the bullets of Stengun and LMGs. During this course, seven men and a woman were killed.
After passing of the Quit India Resolution on 9 Aug 1942, the district of Shahabad had witnessed several protest movements. To heighten the movement, the revolutionaries of the district made up to hoist the tri-color at Ara collectorate. On 28 Sep 1942, it was decided by the district administration to deposit the "Role-Cess". On this very day, a group of Satyagrahi began Satyagrah at collectorate from the village Jagwalia. The group was spearheaded by a brave soldier of independence, Kavi Kailash belonging to the village Ghoradei. Deceiving the attention of police, the group reached somehow at Ara collectorate and hoisted the tri-color in the campus of Ara collectorate. The Satyagrahi were cruelly beaten-up there. Kavi Kailash was picked up and thrashed on a big stone near Ara collectorate tank. He was also tied to a horse and mercilessly dragged on the roads. Then, boiled water was poured over him.
Eventually, chanting the slogans of Bharat Mata Ki Jai, the brave son of Bhojpur led his life to the rest and became the famous martyr of this region. Another village called Kulhariya, which is located 12 km east of Ara is also known for a crucial role in Quit India Movement.
The Magadhas, Emperor Ashoka, The Guptas, The Cheros, The Rajputs, Raja Bhoj, The Afghans, Babar, Akbar, The Rajas of Jagdishpur and Bhojpur, The Mughals, Mughal emperor Jahangir, Raja Pratap, Shahjahan, Kunwar Singh and The British are the rulers who ruled the kingdom.
Bhojpur is famous for its rapid industrialization. Several industries that are of mining and mineral importance are being established in the region. From an entertainment viewpoint, Bhojpuri films are made on a large scale. These films enjoy a wide viewership. Fashion industry is much prevalent in the region with Western and other international brands are making their grand foray.
Famous personalities – Emperor Ashoka, Raja Bhoj, Babar, Akbar, The Rajas of Jagdishpur and Bhojpur, Mughal emperor Jahangir, Raja Pratap, Shahjahan, Kunwar Singh, Chinese pilgrim Hieun-Tsang and Bhojpuri soldier Kavi Kailash.
Rishi Verma from Sheoganj, a product of DAV Ara won the Best Student Award of the University at prestigious KIIT University, Bhubaneswar. He also served as Vice-President for the largest youth run organization, AIESEC at an age of 23.
Mr. Viswanth Shahabadi is a famous Bhojpuri film personality who made Ganga Maiya Tohen Piyari Chadhaibo in 1960, which is still today widely acclaimed. Also, Mr. Janardan Singh of Ara made Piya Nirmohia with Jai Tilak of Ara as hero. Sri Ashok Chand Jain and Mr. Laxman Shahabadi have made the film Ganga Kinare Mora Gaon, in which the latter's songs had been appreciated a lot. Mr. Jai Mohan of Ara was the villain of this film. Similarly many more artists have worked in films from this region and have made Ara the Hollywood of Bhojpuri films. The rising & bright future in Bhojpuri singer Pawan Singh, Manoj Tiwary, Vinit Singh, Chotu Chaliya and many more also belong to ARA. Arun Kumar Mahto (actor, writer, editor, director & producer) is making short films since 2009. Laika Mafiya was his first film based on failed students.
Literally, Munshi Sadasukh Lal, Sayed Ishautullah, Lallu Lal and Sadal Mishra Ara famous for their work in Khari Boli. From Bhartendu era, Akhoury Yashodanad was as famous as editor and Sri Shivnandan Sahay for biography writings. Sri Jainendra Kishor Jain was well known novelist and dramatist. In Dwivedi era, Mahamahopadhyay Pundit Sakal Narayan Sharma and Pundit Ramdahin Mishra were famous for prose writing. Acharya Shivpujan Sahay, great story writer, novelist and essayist, was from this area. In Chayavadi era Sri Kedarnath Mishra Prabhat, Sri Ramdayal Pandey, Collector Singh Keshari, Sri Nandkisor Tiwari, Sri Ramnath Pathak Pranaye and Prof. Sarvdev Tiwary Rakesh (well known Rakesh ji) were famous for their poetic skills. The first Bhojpuri Mahakabya Kaljayi Kunwar Singh" was written by Prof. Sarvdev Tiwary Rakesh.