“Are you a Bihari?” shouted a gentleman to a person who was nudging him to make him enter the lift quickly. My blood boiled inside, but two years in Christ University had taught me that fighting is not the solution. I had been suspended many times in school, fought many times, argued, but did that make any difference?
While going back to my room, I pondered about what it really meant to be a Bihari. When it comes to Bihar, people are a bit scared because of the crime rates and stories. They ask me if I can get fake certificates from there. They ask me about the Bihar Board toppers video (a video where students were cheating in the exam). They ask me about politicians. They ask me about guns. They ask me about corruption and scams.
Is this really only about Bihar? No.
So why are we abused? There must be some problem with us. Everyone has the power to make their own impression. The word “power” took me to a place 2,700 km from Bangalore to Patna. 1 Aney Marg has been the centre of power in the state since 1947 (1 Aney Marg is the official residence of the Bihar Chief Minister).
It has been almost 60 years since then, and nothing has changed. Power used to be transferred from one to another, and now it is shared. We were abused then, and we are abused now. But no one realises this till they are in Bihar. We consider our state to be the best or at least better than many others.
We have the oldest university in the world, Nalanda. It was a large Buddhist monastery during the Magadh Empire. People claim that the first republic in the world was established in Vaishali.
Non-Violence, the most enchanting thought in the history of humans was promoted from the land of Bihar. Buddha and Mahavira, the pioneering propagators of this idea, propagated this solution of human suffering about 2,600 years ago.
We produce more IAS officers than four states combined. We produce more IITans than many others. We gave India her first President. We gave zero to the world (aryabhatta). We had four of the five greatest emperors in India, namely Samudragupta, Ashoka, Vikramaditya and Chandragupta Maurya.
We were an epicenter of learning, culture and power in the ancient. The city, Pataliputra, in this state, is an integral part of Indian civilisation. Three major religions of the world namely, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism have their roots in Bihar. One of the Sikh gurus, Guru Gobind Singh, was born in Patna.
One of the most fertile plains in the world, formed by the mighty rivers like Ganga, Koshi and Gandak, is situated in Bihar. Magadha, Vaishali, Mithila/Videha, Anga, Sakyapradesh, Vijji, Janaka were the major kingdoms during Vedic period all situated in Bihar, making it the centre of trade and culture in India.
We have read these things from our childhood in books and magazines.
Here is my point. I have realised it in the last few years. If we have such an extensive list of achievements why are we abused? We are one of the most famous Buddhist destinations. We have Nalanda, Rajgir, Vaishali, Bodhgaya but what has been done to increase tourism? We all know about the revenue which can come through tourism.
We have the sharpest minds in our state but what facility has been given to shape their minds in the right direction. Why were we the epicenters of learning once upon a time; compare that to the present where we need to go out and study. Why? Why do people from other states consider it a nightmare if they get admission in any institution in Bihar?
We had one of the most fertile lands in the world, and now? Do we have any industry where people from our state can work, instead they have to go out and get abused. We produce the highest number of IAS officers but are they allowed to do any development? Most of them don’t take home state posting and if by chance they do take it they are not permitted to rise above politics and power.
We produce the most engineers but what is the use? We have very rich culture but has it been maintained? Bihar used to be the centre for trade and commerce in kingdoms like Magadha, Mathili, Vijj. Now?
We have the worst roads and infrastructure, the basic demands for any industry to be setup. The concept of non-violence originated from here, but now Bihari is synonymous with violence. It seems we have been running in the opposite direction of our achievements.
Every time, we come up with different development statistics to tackle people, but only on paper. The government and public should know that 60 years is enough to feel proud of the things already achieved.
We cannot keep talking about those things and escape from the harsh truth that we really need to develop. We the government and the public should work together now rather than fool each other.
We are abused and it hurts, it actually hurts. Have not those in power made enough for themselves? They now work just five years and show a bit of development? Please, we just need five years. Just five!
We can’t continue to see our state being abused worldwide and ruin our talent. We have had enough glory of our historic achievements. Has it helped anyway in development?
We now need real development. We should now concentrate on taking advantage of each and every resource, be it historical or anything. We are one of the most populated states, did we take advantage of our human resource? We keep blaming nature for not providing us with enough resources but did we see Japan?
What did we do till the year 2000? When Jharkhand was still part of our state. Enough of the blame game. Its time for development.We need to work together now.
This article is collectively authored by Saayan Kunal, Astha Singh and Shubham Priyadarshi.