Monday, 25 January 2010

An inexorable Bihar.

Imagine a civilized society. A society where people lived fearlessly, citizens pursued happiness and had access to the means to that purpose. Pride in tradition coexisted seamlessly with modernistic values. Human life drew respect and had significant value. Wouldn't that be an ideal definition of a political state? It's hard to say if India stands up to that ideal, but certainly Bihar is an antithesis. A perfect contrast, rather.

India took off with this promise, of a progressive nation state on the eve of independence. Fevers of hope ran high and the change, for good, seemed inevitable. No doubt the path was never going to be an easy one; yet, the hopes were belied for much of the populace. A nation, made of its impoverished constituent states, faltered. Indians bore the hardship with time. However, steps were taken to lift up the Indian landscape, scattered though, but Bihar remained a perpetual laggard.

Bihar, our state, was negligently left to stand in the sun. A newly synthesized India had several other problems to worry about, rather than looking east. Bihar was left to rot in its idealistic pursuit of ideological supremacy. It gave leaders of national stature, all talking in terms of an India. But, it never came to pass to our leaders to realize that progress was the central requirement. None of them showed the foresightedness of planting the seeds of economical progress. If someone is to be blamed for the impoverishment of state, it would be dealt to our idealistic and rhetorical regional leaders.

I don’t mean to say that our leaders were in any way incompetent, rather, at an intellectual level, they surpassed several others political leasers of their time, they answered the call of times. J P Narayan, Kriplani, Karpoori Thakur, etc. were leaders of unmatched integrity and solidarity. But they failed to vouch for their state. They could not sow the seeds of progress, economic progress in particular. It’s true that the state had its own problem of a disparate social order, where the majority, lower caste, were at the receiving end of higher caste .But, the ideological pursuits of these leaders made social justice a farther dream for everyone. They forgot to address the main concern.

Next there was government of L N Mishra, a sycophant of center. His government sold Bihar’s popular vote to center without letting progress ever become an issue. Laloo followed, and he made hay of the field plowed by socialist leaders, establishing the most corrupt and impoverished regime under his one-upmanship. Together with his YM (Yadav-Muslim) Card and rigging of elections, he secured his post and let Bihar to ruins. In the recent times, when someone calls him up for being an extra-ordinary manager for managing Indian railways, I just marvel at the idiocy and short sightedness of that person .But that’s a different issue, for some other essay.

In particular, after the student agitation of J P Narayan , center unobtrusively turned a blind eye towards the progress of this unruly state. No mega projects or investments were made, particularly in the Ganga belt and the Nepal border region. Situation aggravated with the passage of time. Load of population, lawlessness, and lack of opportunities, made things far worse. But the faith of Bihari population wasn't lost. They kept on migrating, wherever job opportunities presented itself. While people migrated, Bihar crept into disarray with each passing year. Successive congress governments only fed on the popular support. Bihar became a symbol of everything that could be wrong with a state. And then, once such notion came to fore, the broken window theory came into action. Since Bihar was already considered crippled, none felt any pangs in gnawing it further. In its self-fulfilled prophecy, Bihar, comforted itself with lack of development. Development, as an issue never came to the front. And it is so even today, but to lesser extent.

In one view of the analysis of the failure of Bihar, as a state, its populace could be blamed. But, it’s not right. People elect leaders with good will; they don’t understand the intricacies of development and foresightedness. None of our leaders showed it. Our leaders deserve most of the blame. People of Bihar aren’t non-industrious or non-intelligent, rather they are one of the most industrious and intelligent people India has. It’s only, by these properties of the masses that our state has existed. But its leaders have let them down. None of the great leaders, mentioned above, harnessed the potential of state.

But, now is the hope. Here is a leader, ready to take giant strides. To separate itself from rhetoric and push the agenda of progress further. To bring the state out of its torpor and enthuse energy among people. Anyone, visiting the state in last few years, would testify that. Anyone. Nitish is not lamenting that Bihar has severe natural problems ( as Laloo hath once said, “Bihar doesn’t have scope”). He is moving his own way, against all odds. Testimonies of his government’s achievements are revamped colleges, functioning hospitals, enthused police system, active government offices and most importantly calm law and order. I do not wish to prolong this essay by going into the details over here, yet I know you too agree with my contention that the air of the state has changed.

"History is a set of lies written by winners against losers", Napoleon hath quoted. Stories become legends and then myth. Yet, Bihar did verifiably enjoyed prosperity in historic days. It was the center of powerful kingdoms such as Maurya, and Gupta dynasty. But, let's not wallow in that self glorification of past. In the present times, Bihar has been an anathema. A name synonymous with anarchy and chaos. An element of ridicule. People from state too do not want to be associated with the name Bihari. What a shame!

I should keep the mushy feel out, yet, we know our original identity shall always give us same pleasure, which Rama gets when he states " Janani Janmbhoomis ch swargadyapi gariyasi". Whether we like it or not, whether we lie to ourselves of our identity. It's inalterable. It cannot be parted with, wherever we may go. We have a stake in our state, there can be no denying that truth.

And, as we have stake, we have concern too. That's why I am writing and you are reading this article. But what can we possibly do?

We are all doing our bit in our own ways. But it's mainly on the level of individual families. A social upheaval is due from us.Yet, I am sure; we are never reluctant to do more. But how and what? We, fortunately, have the answer to that question now. By raising our stake in our democracy. By voting. It's a clichéd term to use, but we live through a clichéd life, so I don't mind repeating it. Vote.

Population of Bihar is over 8 crore. It’s almost 10% of India’s population. Our hope and thus India’s hope, lies in its well being. In bringing order, infrastructure, governance and most importantly hope to the state. The breeze has started flowing in, but the winds of change have to be fanned, and for that purpose I do not wish to be boring by stating the obvious. Give Nitish another chance. There are two primary things that would serve as the motivation . Feel and Facts. Facts can be found from the links on our site. But feel the change that has crept in. It's in the air. Change, now, from the old decrepit order is inevitable. I am convinced of its inexorable certainty. We don't want to be sitting on the fence when such a thing happens. I am going to vote this year, to do my bit. To add that %, even though it's negligible. Yet, I am certain the strength of the resolve lies in its effect, like say, Butterfly effect, where my one vote is going to ensure a better state and thus a better India. You already are its part, you can help realize the dream of the ideal political state for Bihar, just get your forefinger painted with ink this year to bolster the winds of change. Let’vote.

Jai Hind.


mythripk said...

precisely .With nitish kumar gdp has shot up exponentially too , but i disagree that individuals cant do anything it is always an individual who makes a difference .here is a wonderful portal for and data on india

Siddharth said...

Certainly. In the past four years the GDP growth
rate has been 11.03% , next only to Gujarat.
Yet, GDP is just one of the thing. An important thing
that Nitish has brought to the state is hope and optimism.
I just hope and pray, he given another chance.
As regards the Induvidual effort, I didn't mean it to be
puny, yet , a social order and thus a conducive
goverenment is very much necessary for individualistic efforts to succeed.
Thanks for the link. I have actually written this article
for a website managed by my friend, however
published ony blog too.