Most of the people think that visiting Bihar means endangering oneself. They think that people are poor and bad there, but that is not the reality. Like other states, Bihar also has some problems with law, order, poverty and infrastructure. But if someone who is not from the Northern belt visits Bihar, then they will feel good.
In Bihar everyone talks with respect; if you are from Delhi or Haryana, then you will be surprised to see an auto driver or a shopkeeper talk so politely. People think that people from Bihar are very poor, and that many are criminal-minded, but that’s not the case. If one visits Patna, then they’ll realise this bias. The tag of ‘Bihari’ is considered bad by outsiders, but they forget that not only historically does Bihar supports a rich culture like the Magadha Kingdom and prioritise education with its Nalanda University, but even in the current scenario, most of the people who crack exams like the UPSC and perform well in private sector are also ‘Biharis’.
You can easily visit Bihar if you want to, and you’ll feel good. If I talk about myself, I once convinced my friends from Delhi, Punjab, and Haryana to visit Bihar when I was in Delhi University, but I was unsure whether they’ll like Bihar. However, after reaching the Patna airport and seeing the open areas, the tall buildings, the historical Patna High Court, and Governor House, my friends felt great that got to visit Patna and said that people assume that the city is bad, without even visiting there.
After spending a few days and visiting Bodh Gaya, Rajgir, Nalanda, and interacting with people there, my friends thanked me for a memorable trip. Now the question arises: Why is Bihar infamous?
The answer lies in the fact that Bihar plays no major role in the economy of our country. If Hyderabad shuts down for four days, then it will affect the revenue of the country. But no one cares if Buxur or Begusarai shuts down for four days, as it doesn’t affect our country’s economy. But that’s an infrastructural issue because of which people go out of Bihar to find jobs.
The people of Bihar, who are considered poor because of their simplicity, are not so poor and they prefer this lifestyle – they prioritise providing good education to their children, and prefer education over owning a shop. Also, many people think that those people who are doing semi-skilled work in Delhi or Mumbai are like beggars. This is wrong because, in reality, most of them possess land, but don’t sell it for cash. Instead, they do whatever work they get because of lack of cash in hand.
Some cases of crime are committed by Biharis, even outside Bihar, and this can’t be justified. But unfortunately, it is the result of a sharp mind going directionless, and awareness on many issues is required there. In movies, Bihar is shown as a place of goons and crime, but that is far from reality. Which state doesn’t have musclemen? Every state has, but Bihar is branded for that and people enjoy by maligning its image.
If the government starts focusing on the development of Bihar, they’ll realise how intelligent people of Bihar are. During the recent flood in Bihar, just remember about how neglected Bihar was. While if we remember the Maharashtra and Kerela floods, then we can recall the donation, participation of celebrities and active involvement of media that followed, which forced the government to take an immediate step.
Now, many people of Bihar have married a boy or girl from outside the Bihar-UP belt, including me, and the partners of all these people feel happy after visiting Bihar.
I would say that before criticising Bihar, you must visit the place once. No one is going to loot you, except in exceptional circumstances that can happen anywhere else. And unlike Delhi, you will find that even less educated people have good knowledge of politics and national issues. You will be surprised to see that the minds and knowledge-base of most of them are sharper than those people who laugh at Biharis without knowing the actual condition.
Newspaper is the basic need of even a labourer in Bihar; you will find big open houses and lush green plots around. Patna, Gaya and Darbhanga (military air force base) are the airports in Bihar, and you will find the most helpful people there.
As a Bihari, I urge everyone not to discard or hate Bihar. What it needs is the support of NGOs, the government and media. It needs industries and money so that it can flourish. It doesn’t only need special status for itself, but also needs various issues related to women and children to be addressed. It needs a lot of awareness and tourism.
If the economy of the state flourishes, then people won’t need to go out of the state to find work. It will also improve law and order, because if there are proper job opportunities, then there will be fewer chances of people getting distracted. Villages of Bihar are neglected and are facing various misconceptions. What is required is funding and awareness. India as a country can’t grow by ignoring one state; it has to take care of all its parts.
-A proud Bihari!