The Bihar of the Future

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Also read this article at Indimag

(The idea to pen a futuristic story about Bihar came when my parents called me up to know if I would be home for Holi. Watching the Delhites here enjoy the festivals with their near and dear ones makes me jealous. Why didn’t we stay back in Bihar? Because bihar would have given very few to no opportunities for growth. So the Bihar of the future would be one where the people are able to get all opportunities for growth, education, and a good life in their own state. The achievements may be quite a feat for Bihar today, still we can always dream and focus in the direction. The article may not be factually correct.)

Laxman Sharan was taking his evening stroll in the newly built Gulabi Bagh in nearby Patna when a group of kids catch up with him and start pressing him to talk of the time when a few bandits attacked Gaya town. Laxman Sharan, in his 70s and baba to the kids here, has narrated the story so many times; yet the excitement of the kids here shows no exhaustion.

A group of badits attacked Gaya town and held the town administration to ransom for a complete night. He was a kid then. Hiding in his mother’s lap, he didn’t know how to react. Later as he grew up, he learnt that they were Naxallites who attacked that fateful night, taking away the lives of some 25 police personnel. Also a few civilians were injured.

With fading memories of that black night, Sharan baba usually gets very excited while recounting the events. It’s heartening to see the new Bihar, free from its various flaws, for which Bihar and Biharis were forever cursed. Today Bihar has the second largest per capita income in the country. Also its share in the country’s GDP is increasing year on year. Agriculture, still a major employer, is an example to the country. Focussing on organic farming, farmers are now selling to the World. The top companies have set base here. Several giant SEZs have come up at places as Danapur, Ranchi, Dhanbad, Mujaffarpur, Darbhanga, Singhbhum, etc. The changes are cheering.

If Sharan Baba is to be believed, it all started with the efforts of Pritish Kumar, nephew of Nitish Kumar, Ex-Chief minister of Bihar. Once he came to hold the office of chief minister, he ensured that the state and it’s people benefited from the policies and processes. As against his predecessors, he ensured that there was little to no corruption in usage of the funds. The funds reached the people for who they were destined. First things first- the young Chief Minister often used to say. And starting off with agriculture and then industry, basically sunrise sector, he brought about this transition to Bihar.

Though Pritish Kumar cannot surely miss the credit for heralding Bihar into a new future (he was a good man and bihar forever needed a visionary as him), it was also the desire in Biharis to rise above the mess that bihar was in then that actually helped Bihar to its present state.

Due to lack of employment opportunities in their own state, the people from Bihar ventured into other states to earn livelihood. For want of higher education facilities, students had to travel thousands of miles away from their homes and finally settle there after completing their studies. But poor as they were and belonged to one of the BIMARU states (it was once told that India could have easily become a world superpower, had it not been for the underdevelopment of Bihar and UP), Biharis were forever chided. While the word ‘Bihari’ became an addition to the slang dictionary, the educated Biharis would hide any connection with the state.

But the fuel in fire was the widespread demand for ouster of Biharis from states where these people were seeking livelihood. Poor auto and taxi drivers were beaten up in public. The state and its people was accused of polluting the culture of the state. Quite a large number of people had to return back to their villages because of the rampant violence.

Pritish Kumar took the reins of Bihar immediately thereafter. Rising above petty politics, he sensed the mood of Biharis then. Pride in Bihar – he wooed the hearts of people with this slogan. And as if people were waiting for the torch to be lighted, they followed the Chief Minister to revolutionise Bihar.

There was no lack of example. India was already shining and Bihar was very far. So much had to be done. Improving the infrastructure, reviving the almost dead agriculture, reorganising the state machinery, fighting against corruption, setting up new industries, strengthening the educational system, and above all taking pride in ones culture.

Even though there was support for this revolution from people, the process was not at all easy. To wake Bihar from the centuries old slumber was not an easy task. Politics had almost left Bihar hollow. Being one of the largest contributors to the parliament in terms of count of MPs, most political parties dreaded the newfound conscious among Biharis.

A majority of the Bihari talent had travelled outside. The second important challenge was to bring these talent back. It was a dilemma. The state wanted its talent to return to engineer the revolution. But until the state could offer them better opportunities, the people who had left long back to search for greener pastures feared the return.

Security was an important concern. The Maoists movement was ripe then. A few first industrialists were warned of dire consequences if they didn’t move out.

However, many challenges won, Bihar rose. And the new Bihar today is one of the top grossers for india. Very few Biharis venture to other states now seeking livelihood. in fact there is quite a large amont of influx of people from outside states as well.

The rewards of the growth has been fairly distributed. Take sharan baba for instance. Now he celebrates Chath Pooja and Dussehra with his sons, daughters, their own spouses and children in his flat in the posh Nathnagar locality of Patna. He has recently shifted here and is liking it here because of its proximity to the Gulabi Bagh and a Walmart shopping mall closeby. His parents were not as fortunate then. Their sons, being thousands of miles away from them, were seldom able to be together for the celebrations. But his sons can stay along and closer – thanks to the New Bihar.

17 thoughts on “The Bihar of the Future

  1. Liked your post…can’t we dream of creating opportunties in Bihar?

    Why do we have to wait and watch for others to offer us something?

    Why can’t we plung into the affairs in Bihar and be an agent of change?

    When are we going to realise that rantings and ramblings on the lack of opportunities in Bihar will not change ground realities?

    If we cant do it , no one will else will do it for us and we dont have anyone else but ourselves to blame.

  2. thanx ajit for liking my post. i went thru your blog and it was good to learn abt the various good things that are happening in the state.

    you are right abt doing something on our own for our state and that none will do it for us. if you or your sanstha is doing something, please let me know. i too wud like to contribute in my own way if possible.


  3. Hi to all,

    I am agree on your views but we have to do some thing to improve the state.First we have to set a goal for this.I do not know that what will be our work and what will we do to achieve our goal. I think to achieve anything for that we all have to do work togetherly. I am ready for this If any one you have the idea then please let me know and please feel free to mail or call me.

    I really thankful if i am be the part of state improvement.

    Thanks & Regards
    Roshan Jha

  4. I am too from Bihar. And, I, very confidently, blame people of Bihar(including myself) from every walk of life – starting politician, ministers, officers, contractors, doctors, teachers, drivers, police men, common public – for deplorable condition of Bihar for past many centuries. Why, because we, not all but most of Biharis, are corrupt in financial matter, be it demanding dowry in marriage, demanding bribe for doing any work for other, offering bribe for getting one’s work done, or anything. I have seen it everywhere in Bihar. Corruption is everywhere in the world, but not in the highest degree as it is in Bihar.

    So, not only the politician and ministers but people from all section also need to change and turn to honesty and discharge their duty with due truthfulness, then only our dream of vibrant and prosperous Bihar would be fulfilled.

  5. the image of a bihari is that 1) u cant trust him/her , he/she will betray u anytime he gets a chance , 2)wherever they goes, they brings down the prevailing living standard of the area concerned

    why is it so?
    no other ppl from any other indian states have this image… pretty SAD…

  6. this is in response to the comment left by Ms. Pooja Barua.

    about the trust issue, this would have been your personal experience and i can’t guarantee that biharis as a whole will be very trustworthy. so before posing trust on any bihari, do check if he is deserving of that trust. by the way that rule follows on all, whatever region he belongs to.

    about the second issue. biharis, by nature, are not very extravagant. they are people of the soil and they wl save and save for the future events, rather than spending it all on the present. that surely brings down the living standards of the area that they belong to.

    since they didn’t have much to depend on at their villages, they came to the cities. it is the biharis that live in slums who have the dirtiest lifestyle. they wear unclean clothes. their homes are abodes of mosquitoes and houseflies. their children walk naked on roads.

    However, that is not by choice. this life has been forced upon them.

    slums don’t have facilities like water, drainage, hygeine etc. how then can we expect of them to live in good and clean conditions.

    talk of slums or other such establishments, and it is not biharis who are alone here. there are people from many regions. and all of them are forced to live a life that is unclean and that we people look down upon.

    Therefore, i think blaming biharis alone is wrong.

  7. In reference to Pooja … i dont trust has anything to do with a certain state .. trust is about the person. Therefore i dont agree with you..
    Yeah .. Bihar is from the villages .. but most of India is from the villages, historically. And villages are much cleaner and well arranged when compared to the cities… Its a pity that the Political arrangements have made the villages miss out on the infrastructure !!
    Its almost fashionable to blame … these days the blame is on the Northies .. and specially Biharies.. and its the Biharies who can break the chain .. Make what is rightfully their own .. stive for a better future …

  8. Regards to Pooja comment, she has spilled the normad view of ideas and experience faced in current life . However the real truth is a Bihari is targeted as of their revolt thought and ideas. They have language with no trace of sarcasm and grand duals. I’d rather say they speak their mind out.
    Regarding the descrimination of ‘north indians’, biharis are proclaimed for the same. I’d like to clarify ‘ is only Bihari are referred in word north indians? If it is correct then what about the other northern states of india. As of my knowledge of geography , Bihar is the mideastern part of india. This the sacred land where Ashoka, Gautam, Mahaveer and Gurunanak were created and received their unquestionable knowledge and spread it in the whole world. Sitting at my flat in this weird morning of Amsterdam, I’d like to wish ” Almighty, please give the political heirs of India a view to seperate the culture rich state of Bihar from the multicultural India and honor them with their own country.Folks, we have sufferted a lot and I believe post independence we are literally on our own seeking resoucesto fulfill our dreams, leaving ailing parents from a very moulding age.I know, this suggestion of mine is quite depressing. But, whom we shall expect to for a makeover as I believe ‘ Expectations leads to sorrow’. On ending notes, all personal nothing profressional.

  9. looks like ms pooja barua is getting much criticism for her views. exactly, her perception abt biharis is drawn from her personal experiences.

    but chandan ur suggestion of a separate country for biharis is no solution. it will only add to the several ills facing the state of bihar.

    what instead will be required is a concerted effort towards development of the state. not only from the govt but also the people themselves, people like u and me.

  10. I am from Patna too! 😀
    And the first thought that came to my mind after reading this post… “hey we don’t need to wait for Pritish Kumar to come and improve things! They are already improving real fast under Nitish Kumar!”
    Security has been more-or-less sorted out… at least in Patna. I feel more safe in Patna than in Delhi! Malls are opening up faster than the surrounding infrastructure can accommodate them! We even have a multiplex now at Patna.
    Roads are still a problem though… too many vehicles on the road & not enough roads to drive them on! But fly-overs are in plan. The floods last year were a major set-back… but we are recovering. People are optimistic & have faith in this government. Although it would surely help a lot more if their basic attitudes can also change… & they become more proactive in the development of their own state.

    • yeah i heard this from many others…about patna n bihar improving. but there was doubt that it may b propaganda. but i believe u. in fact i wud like to believe u. it doesn’t look good to me if someone calls me a bihari, particularly when they mean the underdevelopment n lawlessness in my native state.

  11. Regarding Pooja’s comment… nobody is trustworthy today. I have had more than my fair share of such people from the Punjabi community! So it’s totally personal. You can’t generalize an entire community based on some personal experiences!

    As for hygiene… well the others have answered that already very nicely up there. Men of soil… true workers. Some have become rish & affluent now… but it’s “new money” as they say. So it will take some time for the “class” to seep in. It’s a natural process of social evolution. Gujjus, Marwaris & Punjabis also didn’t get there overnight you know. Indians, as a race, are still developing… hence the other developed nations (like Australia!) dub ALL of us Indians as unhygienic! And if you were to bring out some tribals and make them stand against a few Biharis, Biharis would seem civilized in comparison! So it’s all relative.

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