Busting The Bihari Stereotype: We Are Not All About Paan, Khaini and Bhojpuri

Few days ago, I came across a post on Facebook. It was supposed to be funny.  The intelligent person behind the post was trying to predict search history of Biharis. It listed the following:

  • Lollipop lagelu
  • 420 best UPSC exam cheats
  • Chaini Khaini

On the clichéd grounds of Freedom of Expression, it should not offend me. Since we are living in a liberal world, I am expected to ignore or unfollow things I don’t like. But I chose to register my objection and a gentleman very ‘politely’ labelled me as another Rubi Rai.

Believe me, I pity your narrow world view my friend, but that was not the point I wanted to bring.

Wherever I go, people say I am not ‘Bihari’ enough! I actually wondered if we were supposed to have horns on our heads or look like aliens perhaps. Till I realised that the problem is with the narrow perception, the urge to jump to conclusions and to judge an entire community by one known person.

To the ‘intellectuals’ from ‘other’ states, I say this: Bihar is not Lalu Prasad Yadav, Bihar is not Rubi Rai and Bihar is certainly not what Bollywood portrays. Get it straight. We do not judge Karnataka by Veerappan, we do not condemn Odisha as Kalahandi, we do not call all Delhi-ites as ‘uncivilised’.

Hence, let me unfold the mystery of Bihar for all of you who aspire to comment without ever having visited the state.

Bihar is inhabited by humans (yup, Homo Sapiens with two hands and two legs). Residents lead normal lives, we earn our bread through positive means and we do NOT have guns in our homes.

People are aware and conscious of what is happening in their surroundings. Most importantly, Bihar is not all about Bhojpuri; there’s also Magahi, Maithili, Bajjika, Angika, Hindi, Urdu, Awadhi and many unlisted languages and dialects.

Women go out of homes to go to colleges, to work, and to socialize. Everyone is not a rapist there unlike many states.

People are warm-hearted and they welcome strangers. They treat guests like humans and not robots.

Communities are a collective force and we know who lives next door. Children are not born with a career plan on stamp paper, they explore their interests and do what really interests them.

The state does lag behind when it comes to development indicators but that does not make us less capable. We do move to other states and secure good positions there too.

So, the next time you meet a Bihari, do not be like our ruling party who only knows one agenda. We are global citizens, so do some background research on Bihar.

We can’t keep laughing off your ignorance and shallow perspectives. Bhojpuri accent, paan, Khaini and vulgarity are not what define Bihari culture, and we are kind enough to not laugh at the filth created by others.

For each person from Bihar who you think is ‘funny’, find out about other Biharis who have changed and shaped the world for better.

Our sincerity, hard work and commitment make us what we are, and we are proud of that.

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