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Cool Bihari: June 2008

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bihar's Transformation Journey

Bihar is witnessing a slow and steady transformation these days and the heroes of this journey are its often ignored human capital. We have so many success stories today which have been path breaking and also been augmenting incremental change in the social landscape of Bihar. These stories are definite signs of Bihar’s turnaround story. These happens to be few of the most unbelievable things which one would expect to hear from Bihar.

Take the example of Kaushalendra, a topper from IIM-Ahmedabad, who decided to forsake rewarding and cozy corporate life and go for setting up a vegetable distribution network which intends to promote brand Bihar by supplying fresh vegetable.

''My dream is to make Bihar the vegetable hub of the country. I want to see vegetables in the name of Brand Bihar in the every plate of Indians,'' he says.

What made Kaushalendra go off the beaten path was his close links with his native village in Nalanda where cultivating vegetables is a way of life. Born to modest vegetable farmers’ family in central Bihar’s Ahmad Nagar village (Nalanda), Kaushilendra received his education in a rural government school while assisting his family in farming. Nalanda, incidentally, is known as the “vegetable bowl” of Bihar.

If this was not enough, the amazing journey of Drishtee in transforming the rural landscape in Madhubani, Bihar deserves special mention. This is perhaps one of the most unique BPO’s in the country, set up in Bihar and run by people from socially underprivileged section of the social strata.

Located in Saurath Village this initiative has empowered locals to think beyond the regular means of earning livelihood. The employees of this call centre mostly communicate in Hindi but they are slowly gearing up to speak and communicate effectively in English.

"We need to engage them to stop this problem of brain drain and migration. I feel if we are able to do this, then these problems will stop to a great extent. I believe this is the first of its kind, the first rural BPO in India," said Kamlesh Kumar, the manager of Drishti Business Process Outsourcing. "We want to learn things in life so that it helps us ahead in life. We are from backward area. This training in computers and BPO will really help us," said Alok Kumar Thakur, a trainee. There are around 35 literate boys and girls from the village who are undergoing a three-month training course.

If India has to truly come up to face the talent challenges and bridge the rural-urban digital divide ,success stories like this will go a long way in creating more opportunities for the needy and under privileged.

The success of students from Patwatoli village from Gaya in Bihar is also a unique phenomena .More than 100 students have cracked the most competitive IIT-JEE entrance exam over the years.Most of these students belong to poor weaver’s community and together they have changed the milieu of this village by ensuring that they bring honour to their families and village by ensuring high success rate in the competition.

Every year students of this village are guided by their seniors who share their experience and learning with these aspirants .They study together, share the same textbooks(mostly passed on by seniors) and burn the midnight oil together to achieve their goals within limited means.

Despite the odds, the only guiding mantra for them is the inspiration they get from others who have already made it to the IIT’s and their approach of group study has helped them change the destiny of the entire village. Together these heroes have changed the way the world looks at them and also created inspiring success stories.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

CIMP inaugurated


CIMP (Chandragupt Institute of Management Patna) was formally inaugurated by Vice-president Mohd Hamid Ansari .The dawn of a new era in benighted Bihar with the opening of Chandragupt Institute of Management (CIM), being developed on the pattern of Indian Institute of Management (IIM)-Ahmedabad.

"Bihar has been a land of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship and wealth creation have been the ancient themes in this state," Ansari said while inaugurating the institute here on Wednesday. He hoped this institute would promote this ancient, yet thoroughly modern, virtue.

The institute, being developed with monetary support from the government, is due to start its session from July. However, chief minister Nitish Kumar said there would be no government interference.

The first batch would have 60 students for the PG management course. It is mandatory to have 50% of the students from Bihar. Institute director Mukunda Das, who has been selected on advice from IIM-Ahmedabad, has already completed the admission procedure. CIMP has started the journey towards its goal with the launch of its flagship programme — Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration — a two year fully residential programme for graduates of any discipline desirous of a career in management.

The need for this B-school was felt from a long time, even though Bihar accounts for more than 8% of India’s population, it houses just 0.8% of all the management schools across the country. There are just 1,050 seats for MBA or PGDBA studies in Bihar as against around 95,000 nationally. This makes Bihar the state with the lowest number of PG seats per lakh of population among all Indian states with management institutes.

Reflecting on these numbers, the working group of NKC opined, “There appears to be a correlation between the number of schools in a state and its economic and industrial development. The regional imbalances in development and the creation of capacity for management education in the state are probably related.”

One of the main objectives of the institute is to help in economic and industrial development of Bihar, while fulfilling its role of training management professionals nationally.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bihari Talents shine again

Past few weeks have been really encouraging to see the way Bihari students have charted new success stories and this will definitely inspire and set examples for many aspiring ones.

It was hearting to see once again a Bihari talent securing the top notch rank in the IIT-JEE merit list. This article aptly titled” Bihar scripts name in golden letters in IIT” goes a long way in re establishing the brand Bihar and its inherent uniqueness which few recognize otherwise. Shashikanth the lad from Patna marked the Bihari No 1 stamp by securing the 1st rank in the IIT-JEE merit list. His success and humility is very reassuring as Biharis over the year have been cracking one of the world’s most competitive exams with ease.

He said he was sure to be figured out in top 10, but never thought of achieving first position. “It was all of the blessings of his parents, elders, friends and most of all his teachers and his restless hard work,” he said.A brilliant student has always been fond of Physics and Mathematics as well and can spend all the time with studying physics. “I never get bore of studying physics,” he said. The same is with maths, he added.

While Shashikant made it all alone, his friends from Super 30 were not lagging behind. It was a perfect 100% for this super bunch of jubilant students when they cracked the entrance test with ease. Anand Kumar and his team have just made it a habit of ensuring success for these super heroes. Their resounding and repeated proven success exemplifies how merit and diligence always pays. This year students of Super 30 truly represent the social fabric of India, students from very backward and minority communities have also been part of the successful batch this year.

Till last year students from backward castes, extreme backward castes and Dalits cracked IIT-JEE through Super 30. "But this year some students of minority community succeeded in IIT-JEE," said Abhyanand. He said the success of Super 30 lies in hard work and proper guidance for achieving excellent result. He said that in 2007, 28 of the students made it through ITT-JEE and two others were selected for preparatory. In 2006 too, 28 students of the Super 30 had made it to the IITs. "We were sure of positive results as we teach them to eat, sleep, walk and talk only IIT," reiterated Anand.

Anand, who also runs the Ramanujam School of Mathematics, said Super 30 is supported by the income generated from the mathematics school, which has students who can afford to pay fees. Super 30 took shape five years ago. Eighteen of its students cracked the IIT-JEE that first year, 2003. The number rose to 22 in 2004 and 26 in 2005.

IIT is not the end of the story ,Bihari lads have also come out with flying colours in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) results announced recently. The story of the two clerks from Bihar who finally made it to the top ranks in IAS is truly amazing. Keshbendra Kumar sold tickets at West Bengal's Seuri railway station. He is ranked 45th in the IAS results. Ravi Kant sold tickets at Ukhra railway station in Burdwan district. He is ranked 77th in the list of successful candidates.

The two clerks-turned-bureaucrats have lots in common. Both are from Bihar. Kumar and Kant arrived in Bengal for their Higher Secondary education after passing out of schools in Bihar's Aara and Sitamarhi distrits respectively. Both enrolled at Barrackpore's Bholanand School.Both graduated from the Indira Gandhi Open University. While Kumar did History (Honours), Kant did Hindi (Honours). Both found jobs as railways booking clerks — without paying bribes! Subsequently, they also made it to the defence forces but preferred their railway jobs.

Neither of them could afford civil service coaching centres. Their homes do not have television sets. All they could afford was a newspaper and couple of magazines to keep track of India and the world. Kumar says that he couldn't even afford a wrist watch. “I wrote my IAS exams without a watch.“I would have fared better if had a watch for time management in the examination centre”, Kumar said.
Kudos to the achievements of these young talent from Bihar and we surely wish many more get inspired by the success of these students and chart out new stories of diligence, perseverance and merit.

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