Friday, February 14, 2014

The Republic of Bihar in 2014

The Republic of Bihar in 2014

Hi every one, I am back from my native place in Bihar, my annual trip since the age of 12, when I was sent to Delhi for school. Since then I continue to visit my place once in winter and other in summer and witness to the changes that is taking place very slowly there.

The mud houses in the villages have become brick houses, the bullock cart or horse cart has give way to motor cart, ‘Jharjariya’ in the rural landscape. The numbers of mobike riders have increased, the cycle people are far few in numbers. One thing that struck me is the education of the children, which is going on a big way. Most of the children in rural areas are now going to school, especially the girls.

Syed Murtaza High School that my father donated to the government after running it for some time has lot many children then when I was around. I still remember sitting in the class there and making yarn from the charkha, a legacy left behind by Mahtma Gandhi and the freedom struggle. I still remember my father hoisting national tri color on the independence and republic day.

The other noticeable change is the laying of roads that has increased the connectivity from one place to another. Mobile phones too have added to this change. If this is called change then Bihar is changing but when we compare it with other developed state Bihar is far behind in developmental terms.

Even though economists taut Bihar as the fastest growing state, I see there is little change on the surface The damage done by the Lalu regime to the system of governance is still in the repair stage. Nothing new is coming up on the ground that can showcase change. The exodus of the people especially unskilled workers and students to other states continues even today. The usual contractor mafia is ruling the state. What has changed is role of politicians has minimized but the government officials have become more powerful.

As usual two things casts its magic for getting work done in Bihar; one money to bribe the officials and whose rates has phenomenally increased, other use of contacts to influence the authorities to get work done. Everyone asked me who I am and what I do. I could read the faces, when I told I work for private organization in Chennai. They wished I was Manmohan Singh or Nitish Kumar, so that they can use my influence to get work done. Well if wishes were horses……

To sum up there is all round dissatisfaction among people in Bihar. Most of them like to leave Bihar to escape the hardships; those who cannot have to suffer. There is no other go. The developmental nightmares are glaring at its face.

Power crisis is the most acute one. Creation of jobs is another. Sanitation, hygiene, disease all needs attention. Monsoon vagaries have devastated the agriculture in Bihar. What appears that there is no redemption to the people from their compounded woes.

However, there is a category of people who are enjoying life in such chaos. It’s those whose approach towards life is to take it easy. They work less talk more. One deputy collector I talked to was lampooning the computer system and was saying I conducted the entire election through pen and paper and carbon copy.

There is no significant change noticed on the attitude of those who do not like to work but want to get money for free. This is the biggest drag on Bihar. If this attitude changes only then there will be a real turnaround of the Republic of Bihar.

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