Mau district, a part of Azamgarh division is a district of Uttar Pradesh state with its administrative headquarters located at Mau town, at present known as Maunath Bhanjan. There are many theories regarding its name Mau. In Turkish language the meaning of the term 'Mau' means 'padaav' or 'chhavani' i.e. barrack. In the ancient time many rulers such as Shershah Suri, Akbar and Aurangzeb used this place as barracks. Once Sher Shah Suri, the famous Mughal emperor decided to visit the Kolhuvavan (Madhuban) in order to meet the great Sufi saint named Syed Ahmad Wadva. After that Mahvani, one of the daughters of emperor, Sher Shah was started to settle permanently near the dargah of Syed Sahab. An interesting folk story is also associated with the place. Once upon a time there was a man called 'Muhoo Natt Bhajjan', a dancer who was cruel in nature and always use to tease people the entire area. For this very reason Malik tahir baba, a holy man and the chief of the area asked him to leave that area but 'Muhoo Natt Bhajjan' refused to leave. After that the chief organised a wrestling competition and he too announced that if he wins then Natt will leave the area else he himself will. After the wrestle the Malik tahir baba won which compelled Natt to leave the place but he (Natt) made a condition that Malik tahir baba to keep the name of his area on his (Natt's) name. So, at that time the name of the area was changed to 'Muhoo Natt Bhajjan'. Later the name of the place was modified to 'Maunath Bhanjan'.
Laxmi Narayan Mishra, an eminent Hindi play writer and theatre personality of Uttar Pradesh was born in the year 1903 at the Basti village in the district. His works became very famous in between the period 1930-1950. Some of his most admired works are Ashok, Sanyasi, Rakshas ka mandir, Sindur ki Holi, Vatsaraj, Gudiya ka Ghar, etc.
Geographically, the district lies at 25°94'N latitude, 83°56'E longitude and 75 m altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 0.64% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 1,713 sq. km. and it is surrounded by Ghazipur district on the south, Ballia district on the east, Azamgarh district on the west and Gorakhpur district on the north. The prominent rivers that flows through the district are Ghaghara. The climate of the district remains extremely hot and humid during the summers. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 793 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 4 tehsils namely Ghosi, Madhuban, Maunath Bhanjan and Muhammadabad Gohna. There are one Lok Sabha seat and 6 Assembly constituencies in the district. Moreover, the district comprises 4 sub-districts, 14 towns and 1,610 villages. The administrative language in the district is Hindi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 22,05,968 including 11,14,709 are males and 10,91,259 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 979 females for every 1000 males. During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 18.98% out of which 19.41% were males and 18.55% were females. The population density in the district is 1,288 persons per sq. km. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 62,481 including 32,548 were males and 29,933 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 11,061 out of which 7,109 were males and 3,952 were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 80.23% of the total population. According to 2001 census the principal language in the district is Hindi with 86.43%.
The economy of the district is solely based on agriculture. Some of its chief agricultural products are cotton, soybean, tur, etc. Every year a huge chunk of revenue comes from these agricultural products. In the whole eastern Uttar Pradesh, Mau is a significant industrial town. Textile and power looms are the foremost industries in the district which helps in its economy to a great extent. Mau emerges as one of the last bastion of textile centres of the state after the downfall of the textile industry of Banares and Mubarakpur. Some other core products produced in the district are Sarees, however lungis, dhotis, towels, etc. In the year 2020-21 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 13,65,063 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 8,53,624 lakh at Constant Prices during the year 2011-2012. The Net Domestic Product in the district during the period 2020-21 was Rs. 11,76,303 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 7,11,258 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. 46,680 at Current Price and Rs. 28,225 at Constant Prices in the year 2011-2012.
As compared to the other districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh, the literacy rate of the Mau district is a bit high. Some of the reputed educational institutions in the district are Central Academy, Fatima Convent School, Fatima School, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Little Flower Children School, Smt. Ram Rati Devi Senior Secondary School, St. Joseph High School, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 73.09% including 82.45% are males and 63.63% are females.
Shri Kalpnath Rai, a prominent Indian politician and a Rajya Sabha member from 1974–80, 1980-86, 1986-92 was born on 4th January, 1941 at Mau in Uttar Pradesh. He was also served as a member of Lok Sabha for four times in which he represented Ghosi constituency. He was a senior Congress Leader. Chandradeo Prasad Rajbhar, an illustrious Indian politician and a former Member of Parliament from the Ghosi (Lok Sabha constituency) was born on 2nd January, 1953 at Mau town. He is a member of Samajwadi Party.
During the year 2021, there were 1,45,990 domestic tourists who visited these places of the district. Mau is a place of religious importance since it is an abode of numerous ancient temples. The principal centres of attraction in the district are Shitala Mata Mandir, Dohrighat, Sonadih, Van Devi Dham, etc. Pilgrims from far distance comes to these religious places to offer their prayers.