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The Real Bihar
|by Naghma Masroor|
Thus said an ex-CM of Bihar, as an answer to his opponents, who were doubting his tenure. I wonder what he has to say, now. The belief across India, that Bihar is synonymous with all evil happenings in the country, and is one sore eye, which mustn't be shown to the world---is all an off-shoot of the events that occurred during the reign of this ex-CM. He is the most prominent political face on the global front 'not because of what he has done for his state, but for what he has done to his state.
We have entered the 21st century, technology is at its pinnacle, the world has flattened ' ya, all this has happened, but there is one dark corner, which is still waiting for light. It is the same Bihar, that existed 20 years back!!! No change at all. Absolutely no change! The world may have advanced on all fronts, but in Bihar, everything has stood still.
For me, its a fact that Bihar is a breeding ground for intellects ' from various fields. But above this, there is one more fact--the biggest and most serious of the criminal acts are masterminded by Biharis, majority of the time. For the first time in the history of CAT, the question paper was leaked. And the culprits were--from Bihar. Another incident brought to the fore, a family of doctors, where it was a custom to give each other medical and engineering degrees as gifts!! No doubt Biharis have brains, but its not being canalized effectively. If adequate opportunities are provided to them, why will they go berserk?
In our college, Mital could speak endlessly on dhoklas, khakhras, theplas, and of course, dandiya. Sundari could go on for hours about idli, vada, dosa... Sulochana could give a vivid description of the lavish Ganesh festival in her state, but poor Priyanka (Jha), didn't have any subject to talk about. Nevertheless, it wasn't any disincentive for her ' subject or no subject ' she could chatter anyway. It was my sincere wish that Laalu could have done at least something, so that my poor friend had some material to talk!
As one Mishraji, rightly joked ' Look at the other states, they have at least One USP ' Gujarat has industries, MP has steel plants, Maharashtra has Bombay ' what do I have, as a Bihari? Nothing except Laalu's dairy farms!!
I think all Biharis will find resonance, in my friend's words. Anyway, whatever little Bihar had as gifts from nature, has been taken away by politics. All its erstwhile assets have been transferred to Jharkhand.
But thank God, the story is different for the life of Bihar--its people. They have made progress, and how! A quick look at top 20 IAS toppers. and you get 16 Biharis. They are there--on the CBSE PMT list, IIT-JEE, CAT, Indian Army...they are everywhere...and even on crime hit list!!
Bihar is the most uncivilized, illiterate and unkempt state of India--thats what has been projected, and sadly, that's true to some extent. Bihar and Education?? They've been made to appear absolute antonyms. But what is the real picture?
Its Gol Ghar, is the biggest granary in Asia. The Gandhi Setu arching over the Ganges, is Asia's longest and World's second longest bridge, connecting two cities. If promoted aptly, and with great marketing fervor, these places can bring in many more foreign currencies to our country.
The people, there are highly emotional and aggressive--both at the same time. The families there are closely-knit ' where people have voluntarily surrendered their independence, to each other. It has to be so--after all, its a part of a bigger, more beautiful and enduring entity ' India. And how do I know this? 5 years of my life in Patna, gave me an enriching experience, washing away all misconceptions about the place.
The moment we entered Patna, I fell in love with the huge palace-like building of St. Joseph's Convent. I secretly nurtured a dream of crossing its huge gates. In std IV, I was finally able to clear its entrance. Those five years, transformed me completely, or rather, laid a strong foundation for a life ahead. Being in the best school, I had the so-called honor of having our then CM's daughter as my classmate!! It gave me a chance to be aware about the social disparities at an early age. Apart from that, SJC gave me an opportunity, which I wouldn't have got elsewhere. Apart from studies I participated in many extra-curricular activities, most were a total disaster but it taught me to be cool with it and laugh at my mistakes. Some how in my final year I also won a silver medal, and was the ICSE topper, and I must confess, I was shocked! Very pleasantly shocked. SJC gave me friends ' all Biharis ' who are my friends for life. I have never come across such simple people--heads held high, but feet on ground!! They are my biggest treasure.
Those five years introduced or rather reintroduced Bihar to me ' The Real Bihar.
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08/03/2012 12:50 PM
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