Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Days of one sided Bihar coverge is over

This had to happen. I am so glad it has finally happened. The realization that there is more to the barrage of negative news emanating from Bihar than a desire to expose wrong doings. Or even a neutral desire to report the happenings. Such news, inevitably accompanied by commentary like "the most lawless state", "the state where civilization has ended", "where the state has withered away", are an attempt to sully our image. It is meant to take away our self confidence so that we dare not ask for what is rightfully ours.

If a rape took place in Delhi, a snide link was created with Bihar. If there was a bomb blast in Mumbai, there were allusions to Bihar. The one that I found the most hilarious in this ever growing and long list was one linking Bihar to Katara and his human trafficking business.

We Biharis, having been brought up in a culture nurtured by nationalists like Dr Rajendra Prasad, Sri Krishna Singh, Anugrah Babu and JP, had a misplaced faith in the impartiality of national institutions like the national press, the national planning commission and so on. This misplaced faith was so deeply ingrained that we always justified their sins of commissions and omissions. When Indian Express exposed the Bhagalpur blindings, we genuinely felt that it is an attempt to improve the Bihari society, not to denigrate it. When MV Kamath wrote in the Illustrated Weekly of India that Biharis are not fit to rule Bihar, we somehow convinced ourselves that it is genuine criticism. When hare brained schemes like freight equalization scheme were introduced, we bore its brunt for the national cause. When NHAI drew up the alignment of the Golden Quadrilateral or the East West corridor through Bihar (and Jharkhand) bypassing our population centers, we never complained. When the Central Water Commission gave us its misplaced embankments for flood control, we did not find anything amiss. And the flood prone area of Bihar increased from 2.5 M hectares to 7 M hectares. And this went on for sixty years!!

With increased exposure to the world, there is now a realization that there is no benign external agency that will look after our needs. WE have to fight our own battle. And this realization is now finding expression in various forms. Here are two samples. Mayank Rasu gives expression to his angst in Musings of a Bihari. And Sunny writes a satirical piece in a similar vein.

People are even questioning the alacrity with which the media highlighted the Nathnagar case. What were TV cameramen doing in this remote town? How could they film the sad incident and telecast it immediately? Did they try to intervene or were they also part of the mob? These are questions being asked by Mr Indra Sharma.

The new found confidence of Bihari has resulted in a sea change in attitude and he is not willing to take things lying down. He is in a mood to question Shivraj Patil why he is so slothful in giving security to the poor Bihari in Assam. He wants to know from Chidambaram what happened to his solemn promise in the parliament that Bihar would be given a special financial package? He wishes to question Saifuddin Soz what is Central Water Commission doing to reduce the flood menace. And if they fail, Bihari is in a mood to take them to task and ensure that his genuine interests are not compromised.

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