I remember, during my days at IIM Ahmedabad, one of my batch mate was from Bihar. His seniors and the batch mates always used to tease him as “Bihari” and every time he would invariably show his anger and frustration- what an insult it is to be called a Bihari. Sardarjis sportingly crack jokes on Sardarjis, any south Indian in North is referred to as Madrasi, people make fun of Bengalis for their accent, It still eludes me why Biharis take offense to be addressed as Biharis. I wonder, if there is a Bihari World Congress held today , how many Biharis would really identify themselves to be so and register them to attend it.
While the accomplished Biharis who pride in being called so include Shatrughan Sinha, Laloo Prasad and the likes, It is heartening to see many of my Bihari friends (I have too many of them) like Rajesh Kumar, T V Sinha, taking extreme pride in being a Bihari and in their own way they explore what ever little they can do to better the image of Bihar, at times using internet, as a mass media tool for consensus building.
The recent act of a Bihari youth Rahul has again cast a shadow on the prudence of possible Bihari terrorists or extremists ! Will anyone with sound sense dare to hijack a crowded bus in broad daylight in a crowded city like Mumbai with a single pistol? Do you think any international terrorist group will ever hire a Bihari now ?
When Gujarat was pitching for Nano, Narendra Modi and his arch rival the Congress leader of opposition joined hands to ensure Tata moves their prestigious Nano plant to Gujarat and finally they won. When Tamil Nadu Chief Minister wanted to create pressure on the centre for the cause of Tamilians living in Sri Lanka , the disgruntled Dayanidhi Maran and MDMK Party leaders rose above partisan politics and joined hands with DMK to collectively make a protest to draw centre’s attention. But when the politicians from Bihar need to put up a joint fight for the sake of prejudiced Biharis in Mumbai, we find Laloo Prasad and Nitish Kumar are fighting over who would resign first , whether the– MP’s or the MLA’s ?
We have heard of so many scams – like scams in Defense deal, oil deals , Bofors Gun, Hawala scam, but can anyone think of fodder scam? Finally you come down to cheating the animals ! One colleague of mine told me that she removed her watch while travelling in a public bus in Patna fearing instances of watch snatching in Bihar. While in Delhi and other such “Developed Metros” the criminals lift the woman itself, the Bihari criminals are just happy to do away with a ladies watch.
Politicians to extremists or the thieves what Bihar needs today is a great vision moving away from fodders, Watches and the likes . Biharis must remember the IBM tagline – “Think Big” !
I am reproducing an extract from a mail from my friend TV Sinha which he wrote to Karan Thapar after he interviewed Shobha De and raised the B-Question.
“Do try to recall. Did Patna have a communal riot in decades? This decade? In the nineties? In the eighties? Seventies? Let me tell you, Patna has never had a communal riot. Regional feelings? Patna has a fairly large Bengali population which competes fiercely for the few jobs that are available. In fact, during the early British period, they had a virtual monopoly on the government jobs. But have you ever heard of a hate campaign against them? Marwaris control a large part of the trade in the city. Punjabis are in large number. The second holiest place of the Sikhs is at Patna: the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singhji. South Indians are a thriving community here, numbering about 30,000. Anglo Indians are another thriving community at Patna and nearby Danapur. Two seats in the Bihar assembly are reserved for the Anglo Indian community. The author William Dalrymple has himself written to me that his family has strong Bhagalpur connections. But for a few minor incidents of Sikh owned shops looted in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s murder (mind you, no murders of Sikhs at Patna at that time), can you give a single incident of hate crime or campaign based on ethnicity? The closest you will come to a riotous situation in Patna is during the 1942 Quit India movement and the JP movement of 1970’s: both for a national cause. “