Basti district is a district of Uttar Pradesh state with its administrative headquarters located at Basti town. The district got its name from the great saint Basisth, whose ashram was situated in this place. It is also believe that the district derived its name from the well and sarai or rest house built by Sher Shah Suri. Earlier, the district was known as Pakka Bazar but later its name was changed to Basti. In 1801 it became the Tehsil headquarter and was chosen as the district headquarter of the newly established district in the year 1865. Ancient history of Basti District states that in ancient times the country around Basti was known as Kosala. Natives of the district believe that Basti was occupied by the Bhars for a long period. The Mughal rule started at the beginning of the 13th century when Nasir-ud-din Mahmud, the elder son of Iltutmish, ruled Awadh in 1225 as the governor. Khawaja Jahan, the ruler of kingdom of Jaunpur overpowered the Basti district in 1479. Then for a short period of time the place was ruled by the local Hindu Rajas. During the 14th century Kayasth dynasty ruled over the Basti district and at that time Amorha was a part of the district. Later, the British came to the district and started to rule the place. At the time of Indian struggle for independence, the natives of the district participated actively.
Sarveshwar Dayal Saxena, a distinguished Hindi writer, poet, columnist and playwright was born on 15th September, 1927 in the district. He was honoured by the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award for his poetry collection named Khutiyon Par Tange Log.
Geographically, the district lies at 26°79'N latitude, 79°72'E longitude and 78 m altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 1.17% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 2,688 sq. km. and in terms of geographical area it occupies the rank of 46th in the state and 415th in India. It is bounded by Siddharthnagar district on the north, Faizabad district and Ambedkar Nagar District on the south, Sant Kabir Nagar district on the east and Gonda district on the west. The major river that passes through the district is Kuwano. The climate of the district is characterized as moderate climate. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 1270.5 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 4 tehsils namely Basti, Harriya, Sonaha Bhanpur and Rudhauli. There are 1 Lok Sabha seat and 5 Assembly constituencies in the district. Moreover, the district comprises 3 towns and 3,348 villages. The administrative language in the district is Hindi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 24,64,464 including 12,55,272 are males and 12,09,192 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 963 females for every1000 males. During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 18.21% out of which 16.69% were males and 19.83% were females. The population density in the district is 917 persons per sq. km. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 56,653 including 29,285 were males and 27,368 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 16,934 out of which 10,657 were males and 6,277 were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 84.52% of the total population. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Hindi with 97.77%.
Agriculture is the backbone of the economy of the district. Most of the lands in the district are used for the agricultural purposes. Some of its chief agricultural products are sugarcane, maize, pulses, paddy, wheat, barley, potato, etc. The adoption of the new agricultural technologies amongst the farmers of the district helps to increase the production of various agricultural items. Cotton textiles and sugar industries of the district are famous which contributes in its economy to a great extent. Some other industries are also available in the district such as brass-ware, iron and carpentry goods, bricks, footwear, agro implements, candles, soaps, pottery, etc. Every year a huge chunk of revenue comes from these industries. In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj declared Basti as one of the country's 250 most backward districts that is currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF). In the year 2020-21 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 15,34,906 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 9,21,373 lakh at Constant Prices during the year 2011-2012. The Net Domestic Product in the district during the period 2020-21 was Rs. 13,39,211 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 7,75,797 lakh at Constant Prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost in the district during the period 2020-21 was Rs. 47,869 at Current Price and Rs. 27,730 at Constant Prices in the year 2011-2012.
The district is an abode of numerous reputed educational institutions. It also provides platform for higher education. Some of its recognised educational institutions are Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Unique Science Academy, Government Girl’s Inter College, Khair Inter College, APN Degree College, Kisan Degree College, St. Basils School, St. Xavier's Senior Secondary School, Karma Devi Smriti Mahavidyalaya, All India Institute of Information Technology, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 67.22% including 77.88% are males and 56.23% are females. The total number of literates in the district is 13,93,783 including 8,19,719 are males and 5,74,064 are females.
Jagdambika Pal, an illustrious India politician and served as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh from 21st February, 1998-23rd February, 1998 was born in 21st October, 1950 at Bharvaliya in the district. He is also the current member of Lok Sabha from the Domariyaganj constituency. He is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Kazi Jalil Abbasi, an eminent Indian freedom fighter and member of the 7th and 8th Lok Sabha from the Domariaganj constituency was born on 12th February, 1912 at Bayara village in the district. He was a member of the Congress (I) political party.
During the year 2021, there were 58,606 domestic tourists who visited these places of the district. The district has a very limited number of centres of attraction with historical and religious significance which allures only a countable number of travellers from different parts of the country. Pakke bazaar is the core market of this place, full of different shops which are established over a long time. Ahmuth pull, a well known bridge of the district which is built over the Kuwano River. This bridge was constructed by the British during their rule in India. Some other places of interest in the district are Chawni Bazaar, Chando Tal, Sant Ravi Das Van Vihar, Bhadeshwar temple, Barah temple, etc.s