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Cool Bihari: May 2007

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Amartya Sen to head Panel on Nalanda University

Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen will head a panel that will make recommendations to set up an international university in Nalanda. The first meeting will be held in Singapore in July.

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi told on Saturday: "It is a big opportunity for us."Other members of the panel are Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's grand-nephew Sugata Bose, who teaches at the Harvard University in the United States, Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo, a Chinese minister and Japanese minister.

When it wa decided to establish the university, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had promised to involve Sen.After the first meeting, three more meetings will held in China, Japan and Bihar.Modi said the state government has begun the process to acquire land for the university. In March, the government had passed a bill in the state Assembly to set up the university.

The proposed university will be fully residential like the ancient Nalanda seat of learning. In the first phase, it will have seven different schools with 46 foreign faculty members and over 400 Indian academics, states the final DPR, which was submitted to the government in February.

The university will offer courses in science, philosophy and spiritualism apart from various other subjects. An international scholar will be the chancellor.

Japan and Singapore have shown keen interest to invest in the proposed university at Nalanda, the idea for which was first mooted in the late 1990s.

The excavated remains at Nalanda are protected as a site of national importance. The university, a fifth century architectural marvel, was home to over 10,000 students and nearly 2,000 teachers.

Nalanda is the Sanskrit name for 'giver of knowledge'. The university, which existed till 1197 AD, attracted students and scholars from Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Persia and Turkey, besides being a pedestal of higher education in India.

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Bihari Students Shine high

Bihar students continue to make the state proud by coming out with flying clouds in National level competitions and Board exams. Manish Kumar, a student of Gyan Niketan school in Patna, has topped the CBSE Class X 2007 examination securing an aggregate of 99.4 per cent marks.The Bihar boy missed the 100 per cent by just three marks securing 497 out of a maximum possible 500 marks.

"Our students Manish Kumar and Prashant Suman secured 99.4 per cent and 98.4 per cent marks respectively," vice-principal of Gyan Niketan Archana Sharan said. Manish, who broke the 99 per cent benchmark set by two girls from the southern region - Jahnvi Dhar and Aparna Murlidhar - wants to join one of the Indian Institute of Technology after completing his class XII.His father Sanjay Kumar is the Director of Accounts, Postal Services and mother Sunita Kumari is a housewife.

“Manish earned praises from all his teachers for the brilliant manner in which he absorbed bare essentials of each subject. We were confident Manish will secure excellent mark in CBSE examination,” principal of Gyan Niketan DK Mukherjee said.

If this was not enough our boys have also secured good rank in the IIT-JEE entrance exam. It’s expected that almost 200 students from Patna alone have secured ranks in the country most prestigious exam.Students from the Super 30 batch have also kept the flag flying high and 28 out of 30 students have made it once again.

Kudos to all of them for the excellent show…keep it up folks,we are all proud of you. You all represent the future of Bihar and I’m sure we are now witnessing new role models for the state.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Role Models for Bihar youth

We always talk about the raw talent and commitment which Biharis have and how they have been able to make a mark from themselves in different walks of life. The real life story of Sujit Kumar Singh son of Havildar Bhagwan Singh, an instructor in BMP-5 in Patna, who has cracked the civil services this year is one such inspiring story for the youth of the state.

Hailing from Nad, a township in Rohtas, where matriculates are worshipped, Sujit (25) has, in a way, broken the family tradition. Unlike his father, who is a matriculate, mother Suryakanti Devi and sister Binu, both non-matric, Sujit not only did graduation (from Hindu College, New Delhi), but also leapfrogged into the IPS (all-India rank 132). Talking to HT, an ebullient Singh, whose son is expected to arrive in Patna from the national capital on Wednesday, said: "My son has been very different right from his childhood. He was a bookworm, who used to study for 16-18 hours a day. Even during the festival of Holi, when all children would play with colours, Sujit sat with his best companion — books."

Singh added, "Sujit was never a second divisioner. Having done his matriculation from Maner High School and intermediate from Patna College, he went to Hindu College, New Delhi, for graduation in History and Geography. Such was the stigma of Bihar that the college authorities did not believe his marks sheet. Sent back thrice for re-confirmation, it was only after the intervention of B Bhamati, the then Director, Education Department, that the principal of Hindu College agreed to take him in. Even after admission there, his classmates used to look down upon Sujit because of his being a Bihari. "But my son silenced the doubting Thomases with his results. He topped the university in all the three years." Sujit, who talked to HT on the phone from Delhi, gushed: "It's a dream come true. I feel on top of the world. My father and I had nurtured the hope that one day I would become an IPS officer. I attribute my success to my parents and uncles."

Indra writes about many such inspiring cases from Bihar and it’s indeed a matter of great pleasure and pride for all of us.The sons of soil have toiled hard to carve a niche for themselves. This just goes to show the kind of odds which our students have to face when they migrate to universities in other states. Despite the merit they face discrimination in the name of Bihar. The success story of these students are living example of how merit and diligence gets rewarded despite the social,cultural and economic impediments.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ancient Civilization Discovered in Bihar

The discovery of an ancient ringwell and some decorated broken earthen pots while digging at a villager’s house at Mahishi last week has opened up the possibility of the existence of a 2000- year- old ancient civilization.

The incident came to light when Manoj Choudhury, a former panchayat pradhan, ordered digging up his residence’s backyard for building a cellphone tower.

After digging for nearly ten feet, the labourers hit something hard.

Everyone thought they had found buried treasure but after specialised digging, remains of a five-foot long and three-foot wide earthen ringwell was unearthed. Further digging in and around the area led to the discovery of several other pieces of decorated earthen pots.

Local officials were informed, who in turn contacted the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) in Patna to access the historial value of the findings. Though no proper step to preserve the discovered items had yet been taken by the ASI or government, the preliminary observations have revealed that the artefacts were nearly 2000 years old, and might indicate that a thriving civilisation existed in the area.

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Brand Bihar in action

There’s a steady but significance change in the investment pattern in Bihar. The state and its citizens have always been a subject of ridicule and apathy over the years for the tardy growth rate and dwindling investment over the years. The history of neglect and step motherly treatment by planning commission and financial institutions has seen the growth of the state plummeting over the years. Bihar’s annual growth rate was 5.2% compared to all-India’s 5.6 % in the 1980s, declined to 3.46% in contrast to the national growth rate of over 6% in the 1990s, and has recently increased. Central Statistical Organization (CSO) figures place its average growth rate from 1993-94 to 2003-04 at 5.8% per annum, just under India’s 5.9% per annum.Much has been said about the unfair treatment meted to Bihar but these figures do not present the real picture of the immense market potential and untapped resources of the state. However times are changing fast and more and more organizations are realizing the immense potential which Bihar has.

The recent meet of Industrialist in Bihar is one such significant step in the direction to change the investment climate in Bihar. In the recently held first-ever meeting of Bihar Development and Investment Promotion Council (BDIPC) meet at Patna it was decided that Chairman of Aditya Birla Group Kumarmangalam Birla will look after harnessing the private sector in Bihar, vice-chairman of Mahindra & Mahindra Anand Mahindra will be involved in harnessing agriculture. Similarly, Sunil Mittal of Bharti Airtel will extend his cooperation in mainstreaming the rural economy. A dozen sectoral groups to be known as 'Abiding Initiatives', each headed by a top CEO, have been formed to help formulate and fine-tune policies. The easing credit flow initiative will be headed by ICICI MD K V Kamath, while noted architect Hafeez Contractor will draw the blueprint for urban design.

Priya Paul, chairperson of Apeejay Surrendra Group, who showed keen interest in tourism development will head the group on tourism, travel and employment potential and RPG Enterprise V-C Sanjeev Goenka will oversee the energy concern. Chairman Max India Analjit Singh has been involved in new health paradigm. With a stress on popularising Brand Bihar, an initiative has been shaped for state's image building.

The think-tank unanimously resolved that there was a major improvement in the crime-control situation under the Nitish Kumar administration and this was a giant leap for putting the state on the threshold of development.

“The state requires a consistent 8.5 per cent growth rate and the key lies in developing basic infrastructure. Stress on education and leveraging the state’s travel and tourism advantage should form the key,” said ICICI Bank chief K.V. Kamath, whose organisation has been doing brisk business in the state.Mahindra and Mahindra Group head Anand Mahindra promised that actual announcement of projects would begin soon.

The govt. has been swift to react to the changing times and has amended the Bihar Sugarcane (Regulation of Supply and Purchase) Act, 1981, in March-end which mean now sugarcane juice can be directly used for producing ethanol or rectified spirit and for cogeneration.Prakash Jha recently laid foundation of his sugar factory at Gurwalia in West Champaran district.he also announced his intentions of setting up 10 more sugar mills in the state.

In another development a World Bank aided project for boosting rural economy through self-employment will be launched in 4,000 villages spread across six districts of Bihar in September this year. The Rs 306.5 crore project, christened 'Jivika' (employment), will be executed under Bihar Rural Livelihood Project. According to a five-year action plan prepared for 'Jivika', the project will be implemented in 4,000 villages under 42 development blocks across Nalanda, Gaya, Khagaria, Muzaffarpur, Madhubani and Purnia districts. Altogether 5.9 lakh poor families would benefit from the project, the burden of which will be shared by the World Bank, Bihar government and the beneficiaries.

The revival of Bihar has also seen the revival of the Bhojpuri film Industry which is witnessing a phenomenal resurgence after a lean patch. With 76 films produced in 2006, Bhojpuri films have recorded the fastest growth rate — a 100 per cent increase over 2005. They also account for 7 per cent of the total number of films produced, only marginally behind Malayalam and Kannada films, according to figures released by the Central Board of Film Certification.

This summern and even Spiderman is going to make its debut in Bhojpuri version. But a Bhojpuri Spiderman doesn't come cheap. A whopping Rs 3 crore is being spent to dub it; an amount that can fund two Bhojpuri films. And as many as 50 to 60 prints of this Bhojpuri Spiderman will be released.

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