This Page

has been moved to new address

Cool Bihari

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Cool Bihari: September 2006

Saturday, September 30, 2006

So far so good...

Media focus on Bihar continues with regular coverage of the new govt. activities and newly discovered interest in the changing face of Bihar . Aditi Phadnis has given an impressive first hand account of Nitish Kumar's initiatives in Bihar. The report has details about the Junta Darbar which Nitish has initiated and impact it has on the mindset of the state’s citizenry and administration functioning on day to day basis.

But the Bihar government has hit on a unique scheme that the President of India commended when he visited the state. It has already recruited 5,000 retired soldiers who have been banded as the Special Auxiliary Police for constabulary and cordon and search operations. Therefore, when you have an incident like the Jehanabad jailbreak case, or where the local police is suspected to be either involved or frightened of acting (and this happens a lot in Bihar), this force will be used.

The Bihar government is also, for the first time in many years, actually spending the money given to it for modernisation — buildings, secure communication, and brand new computer systems to replace the aged 486 and Pentium II systems they had earlier. Under another novel initiative, 50 officers have been headhunted in the CBI for vigilance functions. Beginning November, these officials will be tasked with handling cases relating to disproportionate assets, and entrapment.

It is not just on the law and order front that the state government has moved. A Single Window Act, 2006 seeks to cut red tape for industry wanting to invest in the state.

There are new rules for infrastructure development, the Rent Control Act has been abolished, stamp duty has been cut for better compliance, the Agricultural Produce Marketing Control Act used to force farmers to sell only at designated mandis has been abolished, the power sector has been unbundled into eight new entities, Bihar has a new sugarcane policy...

“Bihar is going to spend Rs 17,000 crore over three years just on roads. Apart from unbundling the power sector, we are going to franchise distribution,” says N K Singh, newly appointed vice chairman of the state’s Investment Board. A 180-acre tourism complex has been envisaged in Bodh Gaya-Rajgir-Nalanda that will combine spa and health tourism. A golf course-multiplex-shopping mall-luxury hotel complex is to be set up here.

The project cost will be anywhere between Rs 850-1,000 crore. At the invitation of the Bihar government, a representative of the World Tourism Organisation and UN expert on regional planning, James Esserman is currently touring this area. “The Nalanda University was world famous. We want to develop it into a modern world-class educational centre,” Nitish Kumar says. Singapore senior state minister for external affairs Balaji Sadashivan was in Patna earlier this week and he has promised Singapore’s support for the project.

Seductive as all this sounds, Kumar and his colleagues are acutely conscious that they need to have their feet firmly planted on the ground. Health is a formidable challenge with immunisation figures at a mere 11 per cent — against a national average of 54 per cent.

In January 2006, average patients per primary health centre (PHC) was 39 with 85 per cent or more patients going to doctors in the private sector. In the last eight months, Rs 222 crore has already been spent on the health sector and the outlay in next year’s budget could be Rs 400 crore (it used to be Rs 100 crore before 2005).

She reviews how this has allowed the common man to approach the new govt. and the change in perception of people towards a responsive govt. and improving law and order situation in the state.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Friday, September 29, 2006

Bihar Bollywood Brigade in Patna

Dussehra programs in Patna used to be a mega feast for music and arts lover in the state. Those days star Artists and musicians from all over the country used to visit Patna and grace the occasion with mesmerizing music and live performances. Looks like the culture is being revived now with Bihari Bollywood brigade will be performing this time around.

Zee news reports that in keeping with its aim to show a change in climate in Bihar with the change of guard, the Nitish Kumar government has decided to revive a cultural programme on the occasion of Dussehra here -- a tradition which had stopped for over a decade.

The two-day cultural programme beginning today at the historic Gandhi Maidan being organised at the initiative of the Chief Minister, will see a host of prominent artistes from across the country regaling the audience, Minister for Culture Janardan Singh Sigriwal said.

The three prominent Bollywood personalities hailing from Bihar -- Shatrughan Sinha, Sekhar Suman and Prakash Jha -- would grace the inaugural function today, Sigriwal said.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Times they are changing .....

Mumbai Mirror has a nostalgic and insightful article by Mayak Shekhar on the changing face of Patna. He ruminates over his visit to Patna and the new changing face of the state and how the state has got its act together despite facing the ignominy of backwardness and crime.

Waking up Sunday morning to screaming newspaper headlines about a delicately balanced hope of what Bihar could achieve from Anand Mahindra’s visit (he’s the new hero to Patna; Ratan Tata had left the week before), told me that things may actually be changing here, slowly though. A classified ad on the inside pages, for a forthcoming Rakhee Sawant concert, told me that change may not be as slow.

Over the weekend, we’d walked around a mall; been to bars, early evenings, with women friends;been cheated by cabbies and ‘chanawalas’… And I had heard my friends from Bangalore, Delhi and Bombay suggest, “It’s much better than we thought it would be.” If it gets better, we all know how that can save Mumbai or Delhi of a lot of urban burden too.

I just can’t help recalling the lines of famous Bob Dylan song

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call ,Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Aamir khan to interview Abhayanand

Aamir khan is likely to host a TV show on the eve of Gandhi Jayanthi for some unsung heroes of our country who have contributed in there own special way to the society. The show will honour individuals whose actions have made an impact in the society and will recognise the spirit of humanity.

The winners have been chosen from common people who have voted their hero in their community via sms and mail. Incidentally, among the winners one of them is Abhayanand, currently posted as Inspector General, economic offences, with the Bihar government. Two years ago, while teaching his children for the IIT entrance tests, he realized how underprivileged students don't have access to such facilities. That's when he decided to start a tutorial for poor rural students.

In 2002, he and a maths teacher Anand Kumar began Super 30 — a free tutorial to coach youngsters from underprivileged families for the IIT entrance test

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Nalanda University Revival

Reports suggest that in response to President APJ Abdul Kalam seeking international cooperation for revival of Nalanda University, the ancient seat of learning, a high level delegation from Singapore on Tuesday had a "fruitful talk" with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on the issue.

"We had a fruitful talk with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and other state government officials on Nalanda University and development of the Budhist circuit. Singapore will definitely play a prominent role in the project", Singapore senior state Minister for External Affairs, Balaji Sadashivan told reporters in Patna.

The Singapore minister said President Kalam during his visit to Singapore had sought international cooperation for revival of Nalanda University. "I along with a team of experts from department of tourism, trade and commerce, education and members from prominent Budhist associations came to Bihar to have a first-hand view of the place to decide our role."

Describing Nalanda as symbol of peace and learning in the entire South East Asia, Sadashivan said an international seminar would be organised in Singapore in November this year on Nalanda in which representatives of 18 countries would take part. Besides, an exhibition would be organised on Nalanda next year, he said.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bihar attracts India Inc.

Finally it appears that India Inc. is making amends in its investment pattern and trying to tap the unexplored potential of Bihar .People like Ratan Tata,Sunil Mittal, Analjit Singh,Ashok Ganguly, are some of the big names from India Inc. who have shown keen interest in starting new ventures in Bihar.

ET reports that” The diversified Mahindra and Mahindra group on Monday said it was keen on entering infrastructure, rural finance and the IT space in Bihar, besides utility vehicles but refrained from assigning any investment figures.

Sectors like tractors, infrastructure, rural financing and information technology are some of the key areas in which the Mahindras would like to register their presence in the state in a big way, Group Vice-Chairman Anand Mahindra told reporters after a meeting with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar here.

"We are a big group and when we will arrive in the state.. it will be in a big way," he said when asked about the quantum of investment proposed by his company. Mahindra said he was "very much impressed by the papers presented by Bihar government officials regarding investment opportunities in the state" and that his company was keen on availing of the "growth opportunity" the state

Another report suggests that “India Inc is rearranging its investment itinerary with little known investment destinations like Bihar, Assam, West Bengal and Orissa gaining a place on the country's economic roadmap.

An analysis of the recent investments made by big business houses reveal that corporates are getting attracted to these states, long known to have unrealised potential like abundant minerals, sufficient green cover and skilled and cost effective manpower but lagging behind on the investment scene.

Bihar could be a striking example of this shift in the investment paradigm after remaining out of the ambit of the corporates' investment radar for a long time, due to factors like socio-economic backwardness and infrastructure-related issues.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Monday, September 25, 2006

Patna gets a Brand ambassador

We felt it was coming and seriously Bihar could not have asked for a better branding exercise. None other than Ad man and marketing guru Suhel Seth highlights the changing face of Bihar in his recent article. The article is not based on flights of fancies of journalists in Delhi or any other metro nor is it based on account of some TV reports by jaundiced journalist. This is first hand account of what he saw, felt and experienced during his visit to Patna. I guess it serves the state right that we have a champion of our cause. Someone who realizes that the state deserves a much better coverage than what it has been given by the so called popular media. The best part about this article is the truth which has been highlighted in figures and facts.

For some strange reasons journalists have never been happy highlighting the positives of Bihar and its untapped potential. No one ever bothered to visit Patna (Patliputra ) but every one took dig when it came to flag Bihar and its people. Everyone criticized but no one came forward, everyone demonized but none turned savior. I think now the time has come when we turn the tides around and ensure that people of Bihar, which let me remind, is also part of India and has the 3rd largest population amongst all the states in the country ,gets a better treatment from media, policy makers, industry and academia .

It’s time citizens of this country realize that flagging Bihar speaks more about the partial and superficial understand of the complex socio-economic realities of the state. Bihar’s lack of development can’t solely be attributed to its people and political masters. The discrimination and shallow treatment by successive govt over the years at centre and lack of will to explore the untapped potential of Bihar is something no one speaks about. Is it just that no one has ever thought about it or do we have a deeper malaise. Every one I aware that students from Bihar migrate to states like Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Rajasthan for higher education and even specialized coaching for IIT, Medical and other competitive exams. The fact that it sends highest no of engineers, doctors, and administrative, banking officers to services and has got the best human resource in country has always been conveniently overlooked. Despite all the insurmountable hurdles the common Bihari junta goes out of way to ensure good education opportunities for their child.

I have a simple question for all the citizens of this country, if we as a country are not able to utilize and develop the 3rd highest populated state of the country ,do you think we will ever be able to realise the true untapped potential of the country.

•Do you think that the dream of having a 9% GDP growth rate will ever be fulfilled?
•Do you think the country can ever claim to be prosperous and developed if a State like Bihar remains trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty and illiteracy?
•Can the policy makes, industry and academia claim that it has done a fair job in creating a better nation if Bihar continues to be at bottom of Human development index?
The answer is well known but I skeptical if we have more people like Suhel Seth who will come forward and exhort people to go Patna .I’m sure some will question his whole intention as they always do but you can deny the truth for sometime but the truth will prevail in the long run and Bihar will see a better future in the days to come.

Here goes the article:

For starters, it is a better-looking city than most I have ever been to in India. It is certainly better than most parts of Delhi; there are more schools and colleges which have first-rate syllabi and students than the ones run in Delhi and Mumbai: most of which with dubious ownership! The Bihari people are more large-hearted and far brighter than we would have ever believed, and in many ways Bihar today is at the cusp of what I would imagine will be a boom time in its rather sordid history.

I don’t know how much real progress Lalu Prasad Yadav is making with the Indian Railways, the IIM sojourn notwithstanding, but there sure is a silent revolution taking place in Bihar under Nitish Kumar. I never ever imagined that I would visit Patna. For anything. But I did just that last week and am delighted I did. For starters, it is a better-looking city than most I have ever been to in India. It is certainly better than most parts of Delhi; there are more schools and colleges which have first-rate syllabi and students than the ones run in Delhi and Mumbai: most of which with dubious ownership! The Bihari people are more large-hearted and far brighter than we would have ever believed, and in many ways Bihar today is at the cusp of what I would imagine will be a boom time in its rather sordid history. And much of the blame for that must rest with people who’ve governed Bihar.

I sincerely feel that the rulers of Bihar have consistently damaged the cause of Bihar more than anyone else has or will ever do. There are perceptions about it being a mafia state, which are completely untrue. I saw Bihar’s chief secretary drive in a Tata Indigo without any escort, whereas in Delhi and Mumbai every third-tier secretary also uses a silly red light atop his car with fancy escort vehicles. There was none of the red tape that Bihar is so well-known for. I had gone for some work and the presentations that were made by some officers of the Bihar government were first-rate; and it was only then that some interesting trivia about Bihar became all the more relevant.

Bihar today consumes pharmaceutical drugs worth Rs 1,500 crores per annum: the largest consumption amongst any state, and yet the tragedy is, there is no pharma company in Bihar — an outcome of the negligent manner in which Bihar was run at the state-level and the treatment that was meted out to it by the Centre. Bihar today sends more people to the administrative services than any other state in the country. Of the 47,000 odd medical professionals working in the United States, 50 per cent are from Bihar. Bihar contributes 50 per cent to the patient inflow at AIIMS in New Delhi and so on and so forth.

The attitude of the Bihar government has also seemingly changed and it was no surprise that in the week gone by they’ve had Ratan Tata, Ashok Ganguly, Analjit Singh visit them, with people like Anand Mahindra and others expected this week. There is the obvious influence that the well-regarded N.K. Singh wields over the corporate world in India which plays a large role in getting these corporate honchos there. But having said that, one must applaud the changes that are being slowly brought into the very fabric of Bihar. And with N.K. heading the Planning Commission in Bihar, expect some more miracles.

The fact that you finally have a chief minister who is not a clown but a serious politician also helps, aided by people like G.S. Kang, the chief secretary whose integrity is unquestioned. I guess what Bihar now needs to do is cleanse itself of the past it so remarkably engendered and entrenched into people’s minds. In the serious talk for creating better infrastructure, for encouraging medical tourism, optimising the value of the hot sulphur springs in Rajgir, not to mention religious tourism in Bodh Gaya, you have a blend that just might work.

I believe from a marketing point too there is a lot of potential in Bihar that most of us, sadly, have not woken up to. I saw stretches of markets, not some odd number of shops, and I saw for myself the pattern of frenetic consumer buying: much more than what happens in our malls in the metros. I sometimes wonder why people have missed the Bihar bus.

Finally, the fact that the families in Bihar continue to lay a lot of emphasis on education, augurs well. I feel there may also be some merit in Bihar also becoming an important destination for the services backbone that Eastern India so desperately needs. I know Patna sounds a very incredible destination, but I guess this is what Incredible India is all about. We are so consumed by what we see and what we are fed by the so-called urbane media that we fail to observe the silent changes that are occurring right under our noses.

Go to Patna and see how India is really changing.

Thanks Suhel for this wonderful article....

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Ratan Tata on Bihar

Two very encouraging happening this week in Bihar which augurs well for the state and its citizens.

The Chief Minister inaugurated the Patna Branch of BIT Mesra and Ratan Tata visited Patna and was pleasantly surprised by the approach of the new govt. towards the state’s development.

"My government wishes to regain the old image of Bihar as a seat of learning. For this many top level educational institutions have already been opened and many more are in the pipeline," Kumar said addressing a function after inaugurating the Patna Branch of Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra (BIT).

An International Standard University would be built at Nalanda while Chankya Law University has already started functioning, he said adding many more are in the pipeline.

Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi stressed on the need to set up more professional institutions in Bihar to provide opportunity to students here to compete with students of other states. Minister of state for Science and Technology Anil Kumar said another branch of bit, Mesra would be opened at Gaya soon.

The Centre-appointed Investment Commission Chairman Ratan Tata was "pleasantly surprised" by the Nitish Kumar government's efforts to develop Bihar as an investor-friendly destination.

"I was pleasantly surprised by the presentations made by various secretaries of the government and the way the goals have been set and clarity of thinking about the future. I can say the path that the government has taken will revitalise the state and find Bihar a place among developed states," he told a press conference after talks with Kumar at the latter's official residence.

"There is so much enthusiasm, so much of genuine feeling for development. This i could see during the presentation," Tata, also chairman of Tata Sons, said.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Friday, September 22, 2006

Journalists and Bihar Bashing

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something" - Plato
Bihar has been the favourite punching bag of the Indian English language journalist community, actually not just the journalists but many English speaking "elite" of India. We see the parody of Bihar bashing being played out everyday. Sometimes one feels upset, sometime angry and sometimes pities those indulging in this. If one had hoped that with the end of the Lalu raj in Bihar, Bihar bashing would stop or at least abate, well nothing of the sort has happened.

What is it that makes Bihar bashing such a favourite pastime? Actually, it is not just a pastime, but a vocation or "dhandha" for a certain class of the journalist brethren, as we shall presently see.


Come to think of it, the rusticity of Lalu was just another ruse to denigrate Bihar and Biharis. Making fun of Bihar has existed for much longer than that.

There are unsavoury references to Biharis since the early days of journalism in Bengali. I remember seeing a black and white Bengali film whose protagonist was a thief who gradually reforms himself to become a saint. This person starts as a Hindi speaking guy when he is portrayed as a thief, but gradually starts to speak Bangla – his fluency in Bangla language keeps improving as he reforms himself.

There is also the oft repeated joke about the Bihari who was counting the floors of a tall building at the Chowringhee. A policeman catches him asking how many floors he had counted. Our rustic replies 8 floors and the policeman asks him to pay a fine of Rs 40 for having counted those floors without permission, Once the policeman departs, our man mumbles to himself, but I saved thirty rupees as I had counted fourteen floors by then!

Though not in a very good taste, this was something that one could live with, even make fun when interacting with one's Bengali friends. To be fair, Biharis gave it back to them as well with equally comical stories about the lack of courage of the Bengali and the score was more or less even.

There were also fulsome praise of Bihari leaders like Dr Rajendra Prasad and Syed Ali Imam. Hence one may conclude that the fun poking was done with sensitivity, a bit like sibling leg pulling and without much malice.

Post Independence India

However, Independent India brought in its wake competition amongst the states for development funds. That unfortunately proved to be the undoing of Bihar as Bihar bashing was raised to a different level. There was only so much fund for irrigation and one who could project the image of a more progressive administration could walk away with the cake. There were only five IITs that had to be located amongst the various states, So states started to enlist the services of the journalists to project their image so that you could win. And Bihar govt did nothing of the sorts. Though Bihar started to lose at this stage, the damage was still controllable,

The image started to take a battering of a vicious kind sometime in the sixties when the examinations of the universities started to get delayed due to student agitations. In the state elections, the socialists came to power. Whatever be the merit or otherwise of his policies, Mahamaya Prasad Sinha became a favourite whipping boy of the so called establishment oriented newspapers. The political situation was complex, and it required a very sensitive portrayal by the press. Unfortunately, they chose to play their own game. It did not help matter that there were no media barons who were native of Bihar. If anything, the situation became worse due to lack of press empathy with the ground situation and non-sensitive portrayal.

Days of JP's Movement and Janata Party Days

The situation somewhat improved when the Congress came to power and the "National" press held its gun back. But that proved the legendary lull before the storm. With JPs movement, all the media guns started to blaze in full glory, demonising Bihar to ingratiate themselves to the powers that be. This is the time when MV Kamath, then editor of the Illustrated Weekly of India, wrote his infamous "Biharis are not fit to rule Bihar" essay. In many ways, this essay may be called the turning point in vicious journalism for the portrayal of Bihar. It was to the utter dismay of the public of Bihar that no non-Bihari journalist of any standing deemed it fit to rebut Kamath. It was left to the speaker of the Bihar legislative Assembly to issue a rejoinder. Due to the lack of fluency in English, the rebuttal, even though of very sound logic, could not be very forceful and the journal of the powerful editor even used the rebuttal to further demonise Bihar.

It was expected that with the coming to power of the Janata Party, the situation would improve. However, Morarji Desai, suffering from a strange complex, soon sought to assert his 'authority' and distanced himself from JP. I still remember his totally unprovoked speech at Daltongunj asserting JP is not the Government of India as if Jayaprakash Narayan was interfering with the working of the government!!

Somewhere around this time, the Bhagalpur blinding incident was reported by the Indian Express and the 'national' press got a ready handle to start cursing Bihar. It is to the perpetual discredit of the editors and journalists of the time that none of them tried to see the other side of the picture. The same journalists who had earlier defended the police action against Naxals in Bengal or later went out of the way to defend KPS Gill, found absolutely no merit in the police officers who had sought to cleanse the riverine area near Bhagalpur of crime. In their hurry to denigrate Bihar, they refused to examine why the local people of Bhagalpur were so supportive of the police action. In a throwback to the colonial hangover, the 'national' press sought to portray this support of the local masses as some kind of innate love for crime by the Bihari people. There was hardly any mention of the fact that some of the criminals so blinded had committed up to 40 murders and the criminal justice system had utterly failed to bring them to justice. It was left to the deft hands of Prakash Jha a couple of decades later to give us a sensitive portrayal of the build up to the blindings in his movie Ganga Jal.

Sometime later, Belchi happened – an opportunity seized by Mrs Indira Gndhi to ride back to power. Again, the unfortunate caste killings ere sought to be portrayed as the innate weakness in the character of the Bihari public. No serious debate on the socio political situation ensued, only denigration of Bihar. Alas, this shortcut has resulted in many Belchis since. It is a result of the limited intellectual capacity of the journalists and the social scientists that to this day, the increase in caste violence is portrayed in the simplistic term of the empowerment of the hitherto un-empowered. Nobody has ever sought to seriously examine the increased social rift and its causes.

Bihar portrayal in eighties and nineties

In the eighties, every Bihar ill was attributed by the 'national' press to Casteism and Land Reforms. I did not observe any journalist of the national press examining the serious under- investment in the agriculture of Bihar. Nobody ever sought to question why there has been such rural prosperity in Punjab and Himalayan UP (now Uttaranchal) where there is no land ceiling. Nobody sought to question why our Ministry of External Affairs had failed to engage Nepal for a meaningful solution to the floods of North Bihar. The column-centimetres devoted to Bangladesh's flood problems and India's role in it in the 'national' newspapers would be order of magnitude more than to our own North Bihar's problem!!! There are no central universities, IITs, IIMs, CSIR labs or DRDO Labs in the land of Nalanda and Vikramshila. Yet the 'national' press has failed to see the injustice of it all. The modern highways of the Golden Quadrilateral and the East West corridor would avoid each town and city in the twin state of Jharkhand and Bihar like plague. Muzaffarpur is the only exception to prove the rule that the planners at Delhi consider each Bihari population centres unfit to be served by these modern means of communication. Yet these have never been sought to be highlighted by the 'national' fourth estate.

I have reasons to believe that the national planning commission refused to clear the Ganga Bridge at Patna in late sixties saying it is economically unfeasible. These so called journalists who are so vocal in seeing each transfer and posting done by Govt of Bihar through the prism of caste considerations have never sought to question this. From the power enjoyed by the son of Jagjiwan Babu to that of Ram Lakhan Singh Yadav and now by the family of Lalu Yadav, the national press has always highlighted how Bihar is the fountain head of dynastic politics. Yet they refused to acknowledge the contribution of the brilliant engineer Neel Kanth Prasad, son of formerCM KB Sahay, who kept the dream of the Ganga Bridge alive in spite of very limited resources in extremely trying circumstances and managed to execute it successfully. This great hero of Bihar finds no mention in any 'National' press.

In the nineties, the newsmagazines and the electronic media started to gain prominence and the importance of the Old lady of Boribunder and the Virgin Spinster of Chennai started to loose their importance in the National media. For sometime, there was relief as the new media barons sought to portray new ground. However, this was a short-lived honeymoon. Soon the new media discovered the power of denigrating Bihar to further their financial success. If one examines the news related to Bihar in the 'national' English press of this period, one would instead find the three issues of Land Reforms, Casteism and Criminalization of Politics. Like a broken record, each of these three issues was repeated to death. The portrayal became so hackneyed and to a script that one could almost predict the 'news' without going through it. Many journalistic careers were launched over the debris of Bihar by the tried and tested formula of raising these triple issues. Soon they found the success educated Biharis were seeing in various competitive examinations like civil services and officers of the bank and the issue of the corruption in education was added. Among these four, you could cover by far the majority of the articles on Bihar in the 'national' English media. I sometimes wondered if there was a special subject in journalism to indoctrinate the budding journalists in them.

Sometime around this period, the National media discovered Lalu and his rusticity and they had a new stick to beat Bihar. Mind you, Lalu was introduced only as a character in the script, the issues remained the same. None of the issues that Lalu stood for ever got a column centimetre of space. No consideration was spared for what Lalu meant to his constituency. It was either hate Lalu or love Lalu. If the journalist hated Lalu, he lamented what Bihar had become thereby giving full verbosity to his bile. If he loved Lalu, he would lament what Lalu had inherited, again repeating the same three or four points that I have mentioned above. Either way, Bihar came out as the living hell that the two types of journalists took turn to describe. And thus we stumbled into the twentieth century. If this were a joke, one would have had a hearty laugh. Unfortunately, this was the question of the future of so many youths from Bihar who would be joining the job market in days to come.

Modern Times Bihar haters

In this media savvy age, image is as important if not more important than the real stuff. We just can't afford to ignore the image anymore. With the objective to get a fair coverage to Bihar and Bihari, I would now try to analyse the characteristics of the modern Bihar bashers who increasingly operate in the interactive and instantaneous mode. The modern mainstream media is largely TV led since the channels are the ones with the power of money. The visual impact scores over every other way of reaching out to the audience.

The instantaneous nature of coverage by TV ensures there is little time to verify what is being reported. The visual appeal ensures that anecdotal evidence scores over well researched material. The debate format of coverage ensures that one can use casual language to bring home one's point. This also affords the opportunity to hit below the belt and draw instant conclusions.

This then brings us to the examination of the types of the modern era Bihar bashers whom I prefer to call the Oye Bihari Brigade or OBBs for short.

The most influential of the OBBs are the pseudo liberals. They are very fluent in English and are educated at a particular college of Delhi University. Many of them also have a degree from UK. They are a throwback to the days when going abroad itself was an achievement. Acquiring a degree abroad was the equivalent of being blue blood, even if the degree was in some obscure subject from some obscure university. They use a language that is quite peculiar, let us call it OBBLISH. It has heavy usage of terms like Biharisation, or Biharism as if these have already replaced terms like hopeless, dregs of the society and uncouth from the lexicon of English. It is as if the editorial board of the Oxford English Dictionary had already adopted this OBBLISH term into its latest edition.

Then comes the OBB category of the Bully. They are the unabashed Bihar haters. Not very sophisticated, the intensity of their hate is the highest. They were probably beaten by a Bihari in whatever pursuit they had undertaken in their younger days and carry that to this day. They are most likely to have a Bihar connection, though the connection is often tenuous, like marriage to a Bihari or posting of the parent in Bihar when they were kids. Short on self confidence, they have to denigrate something to feel better, and Bihar and Biharis are the easiest targets. Usage of OBBLISH is the highest in this category since they are always in the race with the pseudo liberal described above. They are also the easiest to spot. Due to the high intensity of their hate towards Bihar, they lose their influence pretty fast and are consigned to the dustbin of history. However, there are always new ones joining rank ensuring an unbroken chain of this variety.

The next category is of the prodigal child – he comes in two varieties: One who altogether denies his Bihari roots and clings on to his Cal/Noida/Mumbai/UK/US education or upbringing. In the Delhi Univ of the seventies, they were called the Harrys. The second variety of the prodigal son is loud in his proclamation of Bihari roots, but feels if he can be equally stringent in his criticism of Bihar, somehow the 'sin' of his Bihari roots would be washed away. Insensitivity to Bihari sensitivity is rather conspicuous in his demeanour as he is well aware of the Bihari sensitivity in the first place. A variant of this type is the eternal moralist who was born to find fault in the Bihari culture. From usage of Khaini to consumption of Sattu, he can find fault in the most innocent of situations. He can always find an explanation as to why Biharis are not doing well. If you want to provoke this type, criticise someone who is criticising Bihar and watch the fun.

A common characteristic to judge all the three types described is their superficial behaviour: More superficial a person, more insensitive and stringent he would be in condemning Bihar. Thus superficial behaviour is a rather accurate barometer to ascertain the Bihar Bashing Propensity: These dumb witted supercilious homo sapiens were brought up believing Bihar is the very nadir of civilisation. When they find a successful Bihari who more than matches their template of agreeable traits, the limited grey matter of these low on self esteem creatures is unable to explain the phenomenon. They then resort to hitting below the belt.

If you want to see the output of the OBBs, just pick up any Indian English media published from a metro and you would find of examples of that.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

It happens only in Patna...

So finally our Journalist friend Prabhakar from Patna has come up with something worth appreciating .He talks about the unque Islamic school in Patna which has 40 Hindu students and they are at ease with both the Koran Sharif and Sanskrit hymns.

This unique Madrassa in Patna teaches Hindu students about the Koran and Muslim students about Sanskrit texts. The national song, Vande Mataram is recited at this madrassa everyday irrespective of the directives of any ministers. And the teachers of the madrassa are proud of it.

Crossing over the religious barriers and bridging the divide between temples and mosques, the message children in Patna are giving, if followed by their elders could well help end the communal divide.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Monday, September 18, 2006

Bihar Milkmen turn a new leaf..

Bihar’s Milkmen, under the guidance of the Bihar State Co-operative Milk Producers' Federation, or COMPFED in short, have tied up with UTI MF for investing in a fund that aims at the retirement market.

The latest micro-pension initiative taken by the fund house, consecrated by the State Government, will seek to tap members of milk producers' unions, whose contributions will be invested in UTI Retirement Benefit Pension Fund (RBFP).

Considering the fact that there are more than a couple of lakh members, the arrangement may well assume far bigger proportions, notes Mr Amir Subhani, CMD of COMPFED, adding that each contributor will be required to put in at least the minimum amount at regular intervals till he or she is 55. The `pension' will flow in after the individual concerned turns 58. For starters, roughly 40,000 members will join.

The State's recent proposals have included insurance of animal resources as well. An insurance plan, in which the Government bears 50 per cent of the cost and a cattle owner pays the remaining 50 per cent, has been worked out. This has been set off in a few districts already.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Press Freedom In India of Today

How many times have you heard the big press editors raising the fear of press freedom getting curtailed?
How many times have you found journalists blaming the politicians for trying to muzzle the voice of the press?
How many times have you read articles lamenting that bureaucrats are trying to prevent the press from doing its duty?
From the banning of Salman Rushdie's novel to questioning of Tehelka journalists, we have so many times heard the press protesting the imposition of curbs on its freedom. And why not? We all value the right to express outselves very highly and come to the defence of the press whenever there is even a perceived threat to its freedom.
Alas, when it comes to the Indian English press themselves, they are seem to have a different standard altogether. For them , freedom of press means right of _expression for the accredited journalists of their type only. And they feel quite alright to muzzle the voice of those they donot find in line with their own thinking. Some of us are aware of the rather lukewarm response of the 'National' English press when the journalists of the native language press are under attack.
A peculiar pejorative - vernacular press - is used for the press of Hindi, Bengali, Tamil or Telugu or any other Indian language. This term owes its origin to the Raj days when the rulers of the day had their own way of describing the people who were not like them. Incidentally, the dictionary meaning of the term vernacular is colloquial speech or argot - none of which is exactly used for a language of some standing.
Recently, there was a huge outpouring of emotions among the educated class of Bihar when Rajdeep Sardesai decided to once again use Bihar as an adjective. In his infamous article in the Hindustan Times, we found usage of words like Biharisation as if they had already replaced terms like hopeless, dregs and uncouth from the lexicon of English.
It was as if the editorial board of the Oxford English Dictionary had already adopted this OBBLISH term into its latest edition. For the uninitiated, OBBLISH is the special English used by the Oye Bihari Brigade or the OBBs. This is a special class of homo sapiens who are reputed to have been 'educated' at colleges like St Stephens and universities of UK - they are always INDIANS. They are a throwback to the days when going abroad itself was an achievement. Acquiring a degree abroad was the equivalent of being blue blood, even if the degree was in some obscure subject from some obscure university.
To come back to the main story, when some of us felt offended by the rather churlish language used by the leading OBB Rajdeep Sardesai, we chose to respond to him. We took great care as to not offend anyone's sensibilities even though the tempers were running high. In a sense, we were justified to spit some venom in reply to the highly venomous bile secreted by Rajdeep.
The expectation was that if we are civil and respond with logic and politeness, it may have some impact on these OBBs. As some of us are rather 'tight' in expresing ourselves in English, we had to struggle hard to draft our responses which took several hours. The feeling was that if we express ourselves in a language of the People Like Them, we would be heard. The hopes were further raised since in these days of internet, the media houses do not have to use expensive paper to let its readers express themselves, just a few inexpensive bytes of HDD is sufficient.
But all our hopes were dashed. The OBBs have their own way of censorship. Not even one response that we crafted with such care has found a place with this article in the Hindustan Times. Dont believe me. Here is the surfer page of HT taken by yours truly a few minutes back.
And why not, HT was till recently edited by a fellow OBB with all the right credentials. Some of us may remember his aptly titled syndicated column Rude Food where he had chosen to denigrate the food from Bihar. His sole sample by his own admission was the food served during a night journey on a bus from Patna to Ranchi!!!
IBNlive, which has also chosen to publish the said article of Rajdeep Sardesai, scores somewhat better. They do have some 50 odd responses by the time I am writing this. However, true to style, prominence has been given to responses that are in line with the thiking of the People Like Them.
I have had several people telling their response has not found a place. There are others who found their responses moderated. Mind you these are not people who would write things that need moderation. That is the ugly face that press freedom has chosen to acquire in the republic that is India.
JP must be turning in his resting place of JP at Bansghat in Patna - alas this is the type of presswallahs for whom he won back press freedom during emergency!!!!.
By : TVS

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Rajdeep:Answer this ???

These mails were sent to Rajdeep Sardesai on his recent articles at the link given below:


What is it that makes journalists like you so insular to the feelings of Biharis that you keep using the name of Bihar for all that you see wrong anywhere in the world?Do you ever pause and think that the inefficiency in Maharashtra or anywhere else that you have chosen to highlight in your article has got noting to do with Bihar?

Seriously, what has your article got to do with Bihar except to use it as an example of all that you think is wrong?

Who has given you the right to use the name of a region, with a population of almost 10 crores and a culture and history that would make any region proud, in this abhorrent manner?

Or such logic have no place in the thinking of journalists like you who think it is alright to keep using a state and its people like a punching bag?

Do you feel you come out smelling of roses by writing such articles trying to perpetuate a stereotype that guys like you, the members of the despicable "Oye Bihari Brigade " have created in the first place? is there no other way to sell your newspapers or advertisement seconds?

No other method to pander to the base instincts of morons who need to denigrate something to feel better? Perhaps you know in your heart that the main audience of your articles are such dregs of the society that you have to do this to get richer? I would seriously like to understand the mental make up of journalists like you.

Is it that you people dont realise that articles like you wrote is serioulsy damaging for Bihar and Biharis? Maybe you are such innocent people that you dont realise this simple fact and need to be forgiven.

Is it something personal like you were you were beaten hollow by fellow bihari students during your student days?

Do you fear the jobs of your children would be taken away by the hardworking and diligent Bihari by the dint of his superior intellect and ability to work hard?

Is it pure contempt - of the type that the white South Africans felt towards the black?

Whatever it is, I do hope you people realise this would seriously dent your credibility in teh long run if you continue with such diatribe against Bihar and Biharis and loose your chance to be taken seriously by the public. Unfortunately, till that happens, we have to suffer you because of the sheer negative pubilicity you generate. But then, even Jews had to suffer Hitler and see how successful they are now.

Thanks but no thanks


Mayank's Reply

Dear Rajdeep

This refers to your article "Is Maharashtra the new Bihar?" published in HT on 15th Sep'06.

I am shocked by this frequent negative stereotyping of Bihar by the media. Secondly, I don't understand the need for bringing the name of Bihar while analyzing the plights of Maharashtra. It is completely out of the context, uncalled for, and undesirable.

Moreover, terms like "Biharisation" are very bad in taste and surpass all levels of journalistic impropriety. I have my doubts about your knowledge of Bihar. I don't know how many times you have traveled to Bihar, but one thing is certain – you have never tried to understand the real Bihar and its problems. Yes, Bihar has some negative things. But tell me which state of India doesn't have negative things? You talk of corruption synonymously with Bihar. I think you should know the levels of corruption in Maharashtra in general and Mumbai in particular, or UP, or Delhi, or West Bengal, or Tamil Nadu, or Punjab, or MP. Why then you see corruption and corrupt politicians only in Bihar and no where else in India? Has God given you media guys a very selective eye-sight or what?

Let's come point by point:

Your journalist friend from Bihar: Let me tell you that one of the biggest curses Bihar has is some of her very own journalists, who sell the aabru of their state to further their own journalistic career. The less said about these scoundrels the better it is.

When you talk of daily dose of murder, kidnapping, death, disease, unemployement, Agrarian distress, etc. then better talk with hard numbers and give some fact based comparison with other states. If you don't have numbers then just keep your mouth shut. When you talk about poverty in Bihar or the lack of development, then it would be better to do some analysis of the economic policies of the government from 1947 to this date. Even if you know a little bit of economics then you will understand that the root cause of underdevelopment of Bihar is biased allocation of resources post independence in favour of states like Punjab and Maharshtra. Here is some fact for you. "In 1955, the total national outlay for irrigation was Rs.29,106.30 lakhs. Of this Punjab got Rs.10,952.10 lakhs or 37.62%. By contrast Bihar got only Rs.1,323.30 lakhs, which is only 4.54% of the irrigation outlay. The Bhakra Nangal dam, one of Jawaharlal Nehru's grandest temples of modern India, planned at an outlay of Rs.7,750 lakhs, alone irrigates 14.41 lakh hectares. Even after excluding this from Punjab's irrigation plan; we see that its outlay is almost 2.5 times that of Bihar …Punjab has 50.36 lakh ha. of land and of this 42.88 lakh ha. is arable. Of this arable land 89.72% or 38.47 lakh ha. is irrigated. Looking at it in another way 76.38% of all land in Punjab is irrigated. Much of it owing to the munificence of the Government of India. Given the recent attitudes of the present Punjab government, the Bhakra Nangal dam may not be a place of worship for all of India, but it certainly is one for Punjab! In contrast only 40.86% or 71 lakh ha. of Bihar 's total area of 173.80 lakh ha. is under cultivation. Of this cultivated area only 36.42 lakh ha or 51.30% is irrigated. Thus Bihar which is almost 3.5 times larger than Punjab has less irrigated land than Punjab. Even after accommodating for the difference in terrains in both states, the sheer difference in the irrigated acreage and the percentage of irrigated acreage, the direct result of public spending on irrigation in Punjab is telling. It is not without some irony that having benefited at the cost of other states; Punjab today denies any water to the neighboring states." (Source: Centrally Planned Inequality: The Tale of two states – Punjab and Bihar by Mohan Guruswamy, Ramnis Baitha, Jeevan Prakash Mohanthy published by Centre for Policy Alternatives)

"Collapsing infrastructure? Maharashtra's roads are closer to resembling Hema Malini's cheeks than Bihar's ever will be ." Mr. Rajdeep, Bihar's future is not dependent on your opinion. By what authority you are saying that Bihar's roads can never be smooth and flawless. You keep such opinions to yourself and your inner coterie. No need to publicly put such baseless and moronic opinion on the editorial page of a reputed daily. By the way, I request you to go to Patna and see the present condition of roads. Having experienced the bumpy rides on the roads of Mumbai, you will get a change for the better.

Crime. Get your numbers right. Speak in terms of numbers and you will see what bull shit you are talking about. If you get your numbers right then you will see far worse cases of crimes in other states than Bihar. Purely senseless comparison between Maharashtra and Bihar for crimes in state. I think since long Maharshtra and Delhi have better crime rates than Bihar ever had.

How Delhi fairs in the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) compilation of crimes in 2005 in 35 cities with a population of 10 lakh and above? Rape, 562 cases, 33.2% Percentage of such crime in 35 cities. Kidnapping and Abduction, 900 cases, 37.4% Percentage of such crime in 35 cities. Dowry deaths, 94 cases, 19.1% Percentage of such crime in 35 cities. Molestation, 654 cases, 23.1% Percentage of such crime in 35 cities. Sexual Harassment, 197 Total cases, 8.4% Percentage of such crime in 35 cities. Source:

Naxalism. Why you never brought Andhra Pradesh in picture. Or for that matter even the West Bengal. Come on Rajdeep, it's too obvious a bias now.

Social Harmony. So you decided to compare apples with oranges i.e . casteism with communalism. No problem. Yes Bihar is plagued by casteism to some extent. But is it not the same for UP, Tamil Nadu, etc? Then why Bihar has to get national limelight all the time when casteism is discussed. And as far as communal harmony is concerned, Bihar is one of the best on this front. Ever heard of a riot in Bihar in last 16 years? Gujarat would have been a much better benchmark to compare Maharashtra.

Declining political culture. Bihar's politicians are corrupt and populist. Ever heard of the TV sets distributed in Tamil Nadu as election soap and that too at the tax payer's money? Or the copious distribution of free rice and free electricity in other southern states and your very own Maharashtra? These are non populist measures while any little act done by politicians from Bihar becomes populist and corrupt. If you do some fact based analysis you may be surprised to find that some of the most corrupt politicians are not in Bihar but in Maharshtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Delhi, UP, MP, Haryana. And which state is the most populist? I think you know the answer but shy away from mentioning it.

And as far as Bihar and its future is concerned, you need not worry about it. Fortunately, someone well equipped is at the helm of the affairs and doing a lot of good things. You media guys still may not like telling the positive sides of Bihar, but who cares? You might have heard about the cliché "Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come". To tell you very frankly, the time of Bihar has come now. And you will see it much better and prosperous than your very own Maharashtra in your life time only. Just wait a few years.

A lot of high caliber Biharis from around the world are working on making a better Bihar. These include people like managers, technocrats, doctors, entrepreneurs, social workers, engineers who are well educated and doing very well in life. These are not the kind of people who whine, " kuch nahi ho sakta". These are people who see opportunity in adversity and say, "Let's just do it".

And as for you media wallas who derive great pleasure from negative stereotyping of Bihar, let me assure you that we, Biharis, are going to take the battle to your own turf very soon. Just wait for a while. You cannot play around with people from land of Chanakya. All of us are well versed in Chanakya Neeti.

Mayank Krishna

Dear Rajdeep,

Your esteem profession has given you the privilege and responsibility to represent a factual and objective /unfair analysis of any given subject. You have the freedom and power of press which can make or break lives around. As a journalist you are free to represent your viewpoint and also do justice to the subject of your analysis.

It amazes and pains us to see the biased, jaundiced and preposterous analysis of yours which tries to assert that Bihar is the land of perpetual darkness and abyss. What exactly are you trying to tell people?

Have you verified the facts before making such obnoxious and inane comparison? It really makes me question and doubt your credibility and integrity as a journalist of repute.

People talk about politicians having hidden agenda but I guess Journalist like you have certainty some agenda of your own. At least politicians are subject to accountability and questioning, but folks like you flagrantly stab the journalist ethics every now and then. It actually makes me wonder if you have some personal grudge against Bihar and Biharis.

I am sure you must have heard of some ethics in journalism like Objectivity, fairness and truthfulness. But I guess you have come up with your own code of conduct which seeks to marginalize, demonize and label states, culture and people based on your drawing room assessment.

Let me ask you few simple questions?

Has any articles/news coverage of yours has highlighted something positive and unique about Bihar ?

Have you read the history, culture and contribution of Bihar and Biharis in various walks of life?

Do realize the debilitative impact it has on the coming generations of Biharis ?

Do you realize that few lines of yours keyed on your laptop may undo the toil and meticulous hard work of many people who are fighting odds and people like you to create a better Bihar.

Rajdeep give yourself a break man, this article of your stinks and I’m sure many people have lost respect for you.

I know that you are too thick skinned to reply to this mail of mine but man get a life and do something good.
May god bless you...


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Friday, September 15, 2006

IIM's:The New Battle field of Bihar Heavyweights

I guess no other has the dubious distinction of getting as much media coverage as Bihar despite some obvious bad press given to Bihar by most of the media houses.

But it seems times are changing and nothing can prevent the “Wow Bihar” brigade from making its mark now.So after Laloo G we finally have the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar are in news for their visits to India,s best B school, Indian Institute of Management of Ahmedabad. IIM-Ahmedabad, one of Asia’s best B-schools, has now sent an invitation to Kumar to address participants of a three-day programme — Participants of Confluence 2006 — to be held in November.

Not just IIM-A students, over 1,000 international students of 20 top business schools from Europe, the US and Far East will listen to the lectures. The IIM-A has formed a panel of industrialists to advise and design the confluence, an annual event organised by the institute. IIM-A director Bakul Dholakia said, ‘‘Yes, we have invited Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for the confluence. He will be delivering a lecture during the confluence.’’Laloo recently confirmed that he will be delivering a lecture on September 18. Now, it’s time for Kumar to lecture wannabe managers. Dholakia had written to the CM and requested him to deliver a lecture on November 26.

Just makes me wonder about the leadership ability and managerial talent of these Politicians. As much as we try and ignore and blame them for all our ills we can’t ignore the fact that they face a very dynamic and challenging task of managing the social, cultural socio-economic diversities. So after fighting the odds in the elections in Bihar Nitish has finally decided to challenge Lalu in IIM's too.

To begin with it was railways as Nitish was also the Railways minister in the Central Cabinet. Some also believe the Nitish is the man who actually laid the foundation of Railway's revival and Lalu seems to have marketed it well and walked away with the laurels.

Noting surprising since Lalu has been reported as one of the best Marketing wizard in India by a respectable Business Magazine in its latest edition. Now the battle field will be IIM’s and let’s see who walks away with the lauresl this time…

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Patna Rice in News

The Patna Rice Initiative by our team has resulted in some positive new coverage by media. Hindu has covered the story in brief detail and it tries to unravel the mysteries of Patna Rice as TVS had mentioned in his post earlier.

What connects Carolina in the U.S., Scotland and Bihar? The answer is not easy. The connection is Patna; more precisely it is the Patna rice. Many may be familiar with the long grain and aromatic Basmati rice. Equally long and mildly aromatic the rice grown in the fertile Gangetic plains of Bihar and specifically around Patna is known as the Patna rice.

Some claim that this strain is one of the oldest rice varieties grown on the earth. According to Buddhist legends, Fa Hein's travel writings and records of Abul Faizal there is mention about this special rice. It is believed that this rice was taken to the U.S. in the 17th century and grown in Carolina.

Till date the Carolina rice is one of the most popular varieties in that country. In Scotland, there is a small village named Patna. William Fullerton, who made large sums of money selling Patna rice, established this town in the 19th century. He thankfully remembered his productive stay in India by naming the newfound village Patna.

To read the complete article click here.

Patna Rice Portal

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bihar Team to Explore Tourism Potential

A high level team comprising two Secretary level officials on Sunday flew to Hong Kong on a “brand Bihar mission” to participate in a four-day conference on tourism commencing from September 12. The team comprising secretaries of tourism and public relations department R S Tiwari and Vivek Kumar Singh respectively left for Kolkata en-route to Hong Kong to participate in the conference to woo the tourists to Bihar particularly to Nalanda and Gaya districts, the seat of Buddhism.

Before leaving for Hong Kong, Singh said the meet had been organised by Union Tourism Ministry and we are part of the meet on “brand Bihar mission” coinciding with 2550th anniversary of Lord Budha's “parinirvana” at Bodh Gaya. “Since Bihar is the seat of Buddhism the state government decided to send a team to Hong Kong on brand Bihar mission to woo the tourists”, he said.

The NDA government after according the status of industry to tourism has decided to develop the places of historical and religious sites in a big way and hardsell its glorious traditions, cultural heritage, popular festivals, fairs and natural beauty to outside world, sources in Tourism Department said.

In order to woo the foreign tourists, the department has also introduced an online booking facility for outside tourists through credit cards. The department is also contemplating to introduce air taxis on the Buddhist circuits, the sources said.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Friday, September 08, 2006

Bihar Diary

The momentum to improve the infrastructure, investment and trade opportunities are gaining momentum in the last few weeks. The state is going will hold a major meet early in 2007 to woo investors.

Non-resident Indians (NRIs) from the state are expected to participate in the meet which intends to repackage Bihar as a favourable investment destination.

The meet, being jointly organised by, which is a Patna-based news portal, New Delhi-based Institute of Human Development and the government, is likely to be held in January 2007 in the state capital. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi are keen on hosting the meet. Modi organized a high-level meet on Wednesday to work out the details.

Modi, who visited Britain, Italy and Canada to market Bihar as a favorable investment destination two months ago, has proposed to form an NRI cell to facilitate investments.The government also plans to set up a corpus fund with contributions from NRIs for development. In August, dozens of NRIs from Bihar assembled at New Delhi to organise resources for the big event.

It’s also believed that the chairperson of the recently constituted Investment Commission and nation's eminent industrialist Ratan Tata will be visiting Patna on September 21 to study investment climate under the Nitish government while also trying to instill confidence among potential investors who may still be leery of putting their money in the state.Tata will be accompanied by the Commission member S. K. Ganguly, reports said.Soon after Ratan Tata's visit, Anand Mahindra, the chairperson of the Mahindra Group and also the chairperson of Max Hospital Group would be visiting Patna on September 25 where they will hold meetings with top government officials, including Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Patna Development plan worth Rs 3,500 crore has has been drawn up to revamp the drainage, sewerage, drinking water, power and roads sector in the state capital. Of this, the Patna Municipal Corporation and Bihar Rajya Jal Parshad have already prepared a detailed project report worth Rs 1,600 crore. PMC commissioner Atul Prasad said the project duration is for seven years. A year has already passed. By the time the required clearances are obtained, this year will end. "So effectively we will be left with five years to implement the project," he said.

Prasad said about 50 per cent of the funds will be provided by the Union government under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Modernisation Mission. The remaining 50 per cent will be given by the state government.The plan aims at improving the power, roads, beautification, drainage and other civic facilities for the City.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Together - Stronger - Sunnier

By: Gautam

It's great to get-together. And that's what we are doing here. It's good to connect and find like-minded people, more so over who are not only interested but are also willing to do something for the motherland.

In the last eleven years, I have been able to connect to many a people via personal meetings, social functions, telephone, internet groups, email, interactive websites, forums and networking events. We continue to well institute relationships and have been working avidly on diverse social projects being executed in various parts of India. I believe, similarly, with time, in a few weeks; our interactions would make us aware of each others' interests and focus areas, and we will be working smartly in logically formed teams.

Undoubtedly all the members on the group have spent considerable time in Bihar and have very strong sense of attachment with the state. Similarly, I have very rich and deep feelings for Bihar, and Bihar is one of the very few long-term (everlasting) priorities in my life.

I do not know whether it is fortunate or otherwise, that I/we/most of us are not in Bihar and will spend an important period of our lives outside the state for various reasons. I am in the US for a few years, working on a range of issues, but certainly I do not very much enjoy it. I will feel happier if I will be in Bihar working for the motherland. But can't help! Had to come out in order to attain something in life; don't know whether in personal terms, but certainly in professional terms!! And, plans suggest that have to stay away from home for a few more years as a participant in this rat race of "establishing" myself.

But somehow it's ok! We are being informed of a lot of things and experiencing the worldly effects is a good thing to do. A first hand experience would for sure help us to implement similar ideas in the state, whenever appropriate, and if needed.

Speaking about those who have to leave the home for various reasons, most of the times in search of greener pastures; I believe we can categorize people like us, vaguely in the following three groups:

Brave: These are the individuals who had the opportunity to leave everything back home and come out, and build themselves quicker. But they chose not to do so, and pledged to contribute their lives for the native soil.

Smart: People, who leave their homes, come out, see the world, experience the mechanics and learn in the process. And, after spending a considerable time and learning a lot, go back and contribute in the prosperity of the motherland.

Active: These are the people, who came out, established themselves, gained much experience, but for some reason cannot go back; so contribute in the progressive process by donating time, money, resources; and work remotely for the native land.

There is another set of people who can well be termed as Inactive, as they do not contribute at all towards the homeland. This may be because of absence of a chance, lack of resources, unavailability of time, communication gap; or simply they are not bothered!! This crowd has its members all over, within and outside Bihar, almost everywhere. I do not know if this is the strongest group, but certainly is the largest with the maximum number of members.

I am glad that I am communicating to you, for you are, either Brave, Smart, or Active; and together we will grow as a group. I do not know whether we will be larger than the Inactive Group, but certainly will be much-much stronger.

With my best wishes,

Mc Lean (Virginia), United States

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Monday, September 04, 2006

Chhote Saheb Passes Away...

Former Bihar Chief Minister Satyendra Narayan Sinha died here on Monday morning, his family said. He was 89.

Sinha, a seven-time Lok Sabha member, breathed his last at 7:40 am. He leaves behind wife and former MP Kishori Sinha, son Nikhil Kumar, sitting MP from Aurangabad and former Delhi police commissioner. Nikhil Kumar's wife is also a former MP.

Popularly known as Chhote Saheb, he was ailing for the last few years and his condition had deteriorated ever since he suffered two strokes in May this year.

Sinha, son of former Bihar strongman and minister, Anugrah Narain Sinha, was born at Koima village in Bihar's Aurangabad district on July 12, 1917. Securing a Bachelor’s degree from Allahabad University in 1939, he became a law graduate from Lucknow University in 1940.

He became a member of the first Lok Sabha from Aurangabad in 1952. He represented the seat seven times. Sinha was a cabinet minister in Bihar's Binodanand Jha government in 1961 and then in the KB Sahay ministry in 1963.

He was also a member of the Bihar assembly thrice where he represented Nabinagar twice and Gopalganj once. Sinha's crowning glory came when he became the chief minister of Bihar in 1989 in the aftermath of a revolt by state Congressmen against incumbent Chief Minister Bhagwat Jha Azad for his 'autocratic' style of functioning.

However, the same year he saw a new low in the state and his impressive career when communal riots broke out at Bhagalpur, in which over 1000 people were killed. The riots are believed to have caused the alienation of Muslims from Congress in the state where it lost power to Janata Dal the next year.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Friday, September 01, 2006

Centre for Higher Learning in Bihar - some hope and some caution

It is one of those 'coincidences' that not even one temple of modern learning envisaged by Nehru has found a home in Bihar. The land of Nalanda, Vikramshila and Odantpuri does not have a single IIT, IIM, central university or centrally funded medical institutes. There are no CSIR laboratories. There are no DRDO laboratories. Even the REC (now called NIT) in Bihar is a sleight of hand of the HRD mandarins by renaming a British built institutions – the Bihar College of Engineering. With such a gross historic neglect, one would have assumed Bihar to be the natural choice for the new generation institutions like IIIT and NISc. However, it appears Bihar was not even considered for these as well.

It has been usual to put the blame on the Govt of Bihar for a lot of ills, and much of it quite deservedly so. However, to put the blame on the state govt only is to see only one part of the picture. In the unitary scheme of things in the Union that is Bharat, the resources at the disposal of the central government have been far more. Its ability to dictate policy is also much more. Its ability to influence investment from outside has also been bigger. IITs got built with not a too niggardly a contribution from countries like US and Germany. IIMs received generous help from US and other universities. Unfortunately, Bihar was never on the radar of the decision makers at Delhi.Again, it is no coincidence that when US money was made available in the form of PL 480 grant to a private institution, the result was the hugely successful XLRI at Jamshedpur.

In this context, it is a welcome change to see the Union Minister of State, MA Fatmi, announcing the conversion of Patna Univ into a central Univ and the establishment of an IIT in Bihar. Both Patna Daily and Times of India have reported this news.

However, given the track record of the central govt to go back on its word and its tendency to treat Bihar and Biharis as a bunch of credulous nincompoops, we cannot but be sceptical.

We have the recent and raw wound inflicted by the finance minister P Chimdabaram who promised a special grant of Rs 5,000 crores to Bihar to combat its myriad problems. He made this announcement on the floor of the Parliament a few days within the formation of the UPA govt in 2004. In fact, his announcement so peeved the UP CM Mulayam Singh Yadav and he demanded a similar grant for UP too. However, nothing ever came out of it - not even one rupee. In fact, when an MP from Bihar confronted Chidambaram on this, he tried to wriggle out saying his statement was misunderstood!!!,

Unfortunately, the national press and its "Oye Bihari Brigade", always ready to see the imaginary paan stains at Patna airport or poke fun at Lalu's 'pikdaan' and other such prominent 'news' of 'national' importance, did not deem it fit to highlight this grossly improper conduct on the part of the Teflon hero of propriety.Now the important issue is, what can we, the middle classes from Bihar do to push the case and realise our dream of having institutions of higher learning in Bihar?

I am putting up a few possibilities here:

1. Send letters of fulsome praise to the PM, the HRD Minister and the finance minister congratulating them for their decision to correct a historic wrong. It will show to them the groundswell of public opinion on the topic. Hopefully, it would put some moral pressure on them too.

2. Contact the MPs from Bihar and convey our very strong desire to have these institutions in Bihar. Urge them to have a caucus cutting across party lines. Suave and Pedantic MPs like Ravishanker Prasad, Digvijay Singh, Nathuni Ram could be possible leaders who may be motivated to take up this cause.

3. Have a candle vigil kind of morcha at India Gate, Delhi where the vast numbers of Bihari middle class of Delhi could participate. We have been accused of not doing much for the state - this can be an occasion to show that we care.

4. Invoke RTI to find out if Bihar was considered in the past for setting up institutions of higher learning and then denied the chance or it has been a case of denial by default. If it was considered and then denied, then what were the reasons behind the denial? Highlight those reasons to the Govt of Bihar so that corrective action can be taken by it.

5. Involve the retired Profs and academicians from Bihar / well meaning non Bihar academicians.

6. Have a thank you meeting at SK Memorial Hall or another prominent place at Patna to praise the decision

7. Somehow keep the issue alive in the national press - even if they lampoon the claim in their coverage, it would still help the cause.

There is a lot we can do to achieve our great dream. The apprehension is that if we dont act, the Dilliwalas wont hesitate to make a Lallu of Laluji.

By...Thakur Vikas Sinha

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

About me

  • I'm Ajit Chouhan
  • From Houston, TX, United States
My profile
E-mail Ajit Chouhan

View Ajit Chouhan's profile on LinkedIn

My Orkut Profile

Join Cool Bihari Community on Orkut

Join Bihari Bloggers Community on Orkut

Join Patna Rice Community on Orkut

Join Cool Bihari Group on Yahoo

Jai Bihar

New Page 1

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Patna Rice: Join Now !! New Page 1



My Other Blogs