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

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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.

You must be to comment.
  1. Tejaswini Panigrahi

    Very logical to those who actually had already built their perception about Biharis and for all those who hails from some other developing states being famous for illogical things. I wish, your article and a little bit of research could help them to understand how to differentiate between among people based on their caliber and performance rather than the infamous things. Well written dear ????

    1. Archana Gupta

      Thanks for your response, Tejaswini. I am glad that most of us could related to this experience.

  2. Akash Dwivedi

    Archana, I understand how you must feel and I don’t believe in stereotyping people but let me tell you, those who are not fond of Biharis, are not all wrong.
    I have met numerous people from Bihar, I have had friends from there and I have lived among them. I am not telling you something from an outsider’s perspective. My city is flooding with Biharis. They don’t respect the laws of the land, they are mostly notorious, they are definitely fond of gutka. They are over-confident, they think everyone, except for Biharis are fools, they come here in large numbers but they make fun of the locals and always tend to boast how Bihar is better than this place.
    I don’t know what it is like in Bihar but we are certainly much happier when we don’t have Biharis around us. They talk bad, curse often and they are bad with women (if you are not aware of it).
    Each and every examination scam unearthed in my state had involvement of people from Bihar. They have false birth certificate and degrees. A guy in my class, who was 27 then (first year of college) had a birth certificate which made him younger to me. I used to wonder what shiv Sena and Raj Thackrey use to cry about, now I know.
    I would request Bihar govt to open more colleges and provide more jobs so that those highly intelligent ‘homo-sapiens’ remain where they are belong.
    I know Archana it may look like I’m rude or I’m impolite, but I’m just being honest.

  3. Equity India

    बहुत ही उत्तम लिखा है !
    People who are having doubts in mind about #Bihar plz see the results of all sarkari exams UPSC,PCS,ARMY,AIRFORCE,NAVY,etc.
    IIT,PMT,and many more….

    1. Samarth Sundar

      No one questioned the IQ. The mentality and characterisation of Biharis was questioned. No doubt there are stereotypes that the author wants to banish but these mentalities need to change in Biharis. Over a period of time, it will. As Modern India rises, it will change for sure. In conclusion, I want to say IQ does not promise good character and humanity. Please understand that. BTW, Kerala has the best literacy rate in the country. That does not promise that they will be the most intelligent people in the nation. Let’s assess the facts.

  4. sree ramya

    Until Bihari’s came to our place (In Hyderabad) as workers, we are fearless to roam around. When they came here the things are getting changed. They behave rude. They don’t take tickets in Public buses. They misbehave with women. They theft many items from our houses. This is not happened until they are came here. When those items are found at their places and asked to give back they are coming to fight. Only police and law can answer them. They can not hear polite words. We need to speak in their language (like abusing, scolding, warnings and even man handling only works with them). Our community parks became public toilets for them.

    1. Jyotiraditya Bhumi

      Brother, firstly don’t misjudge the whole community due to some handful of people…
      And secondly just pay a visit to our state then you would come to know exactly who we are!!?
      And most importantly the crime rate of Hyderabad is high since the starting.
      The gangs of Hyderabad are well known for killings and other criminal activities. So this is only one side of Hyderabad and there is another side too that Hyderabad is one of the most beautiful cities of india..
      And so is in the case of BIHAR, so most honourably I would recommend you to first have a research on us then comment any filthy things..

  5. Venkatesh Choubey

    Why do you even care so much about what others think in the first place?! If you start thinking for others, then what would they do? Give them at least this job.

  6. Monika Iyer

    U please get your facts right! Veerappan is not from Karnataka and he is from Tamilnadu. Do some research before you actually make a comment like this on a public forum.

  7. Samarth Sundar

    First of all, Veerappan was a Tamilian and Karnataka is not known for him, he is known for Tamil Nadu. Second, yes I agree that stereotyping is in the nature of all humans and Indians are the best at it as they observe trends and media helps accentuate those perceptions. But Biharis are more than what they are made out to be. But can you tell me why all South Indians are called “Madrasi” in North India? Isn’t that stereotyping and racist? These things exist in a human society but I am glad you are speaking out for a fraternity of people in the nation. Let’s look at being Indian than Bihari, Kannadiga or Tamilian. Please!!

    1. Archana Gupta

      The entire idea of putting Karnataka was about bring Veerapan’s birth place, which is somewhere around Mysore. It isn’t the name of the birthplace which totally defines us. I appreciate your thoughts.


    That is a good take Archana. Don’t mind first name basis. I really appreciate the way you retorted all of those in the society who critcise, mock and ridicule a culture or any sect of people they meet based on their own pathetically, ignorant knowledge about the them.


    But I must reiterate or say something, on the basis of experience of several people of your state, who unfortunately has to come for work in several other states including mine. That there are always two sides of a coin, and never does it always land with same side up. I agree that its not always Ritu Rai, or Lalu Prasads. But there are. And this applies to every state, not exempting mine too.

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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