this article change your opinion about bihar
A number of states would contend for this title [including UP, Kashmir, Punjab and Maharashtra, Bengal], but I would say Bihar would narrowly edge out to be the top candidate.
When people think of India, a number of images appear – zero & number system, the epics of Hinduism, Buddhism & other religions, Ashoka, Chandra Guptas, freedom struggle, rupee, India’s national emblem, Ganges, Gaya, Constitution, Nalanda & ancient universities, Mauryan & Gupta dynasties and their varied contributions, Emergency & JP Movement and so on.
Bihar and its predecessors Magadha/Maurya/Gupta/Pala had a small to big hand in all of these.
India’s key religions come from here. Mahavira was born in Vaishali, while Siddhartha received enlightenment in Gaya. Plenty of “Hindu” ideas were born here. Guru Gobind Singh, the founder of Khalsa and one who made Sikhism into a major region, was born here too.
Many of India’s major empires – Maurya, Pala and Gupta – were born here. It is the city of Pataliputra that the Greeks primarily traded and awed with. The Maurya and Gupta eras were extraordinary for growing Indian culture – the script, the languages, sciences, laws and so on. Ashoka’s various pillars provide basis for our culture as well as our national symbols.
It is during this time that world’s one of the world and longest roads – Grand Trunk Road – connecting the Ganga and Indus were built allowing the Mauryan rulers to move from Pataliputra to Takshashila easily. To the great university of Nalanda came scholars from the wide world.
The modern rupee owes its existence to Sher Shah Suri a ruler of Bihar. He set the rupee standard with a 178 grain silver coin and that was the basis for its conversion to Pound and other currencies into the modern period. When you wonder why the conversion rate of rupee to pound sterling is so much realize that one coin of Suri weighed 1/40 of a pound of silver [in weight]. At some point, the silver standard was removed and we have had bit of inflation to make it like 1/80 like we have now.
A Bihari named Hemachandra Vikramaditya (Hemu) narrowly missed an opportunity to remove the Mughals and move the capital of India back to Patna. That would have continued the Maurya-Gupta-Pala era. And finally, it was in the Battle of Buxar [2 hours from Patna] the EIC won the Mughal empire to begin their takeover of India.
EDIT: As Tushar Khatri mentioned in the comments, the contributions were not just in the past. In the modern day, Gandhi’s satyagraha had a key start in Champaran that eventually became the Noncooperation movement. Although most of the writers of the Constitution were from the Deccan/south, the Assembly was headed by Rajendra Prasad. And most of present Indian politics resulted out of the Bihar Movement – where JP took on Indira Gandhi [resulting in the Emergency and the birth of most major political parties of the present]
While all state contribute to the Indian’ness, I believe Bihar has contributed a little more to our culture than other states.