Mar 22, 2011

Bihar Diwas: Pride & Prejudice

That Bihar is a state of national interest is well known and has been a subject of ridicule and constant scrutiny is pretty evident. But what makes this East Indian State stand out is the fact that it is not merely a state but rather a State of Mind. Uniquely placed somewhere near the heart of the Indian Map, Bihar is a classic case of a beautiful dream gone awry. But the state is waking up nevertheless (More on the awaken part later).
As a timid teenager when I set my foot in the national capital, it welcomed me with open arms. I had dreams and New Delhi was ready to buy them. As I got in conversation, up close and personal, with the so-called Delhiites (Nobody is a Delhiiite, everyone is a migrant in some form or the other), a profound grudge started to unveil itself. " Where are your from? " One of my co-Amitians  asked me.

"Bihar" I replied. I usually do not add more words whenever someone asks me this question. The word 'Bihar' itself gives me enough pride,  and others the 'prejudice' that they so beautifully harbor. " Oh you are a Bihari! You don' look like one!" Pat came the reply, which I so knew was coming. I wondered whether to take offense to the comment or feel happy about the supposed compliment. " You know I had this very bad impression of Biharis, till I met you." The Girl continued and gave me a shy smile, as if I would hug her and say, " Baby, I came on earth to quell this myth of yours."

"You-don't-look-like-a-Bihari" syndrome is mainly an outcome of the buffoonery propagated by the self proclaimed mascot of Bihar, the irritating, rowdy and arrogant Lalu Yadav. He projected Biharis as a bunch of fools who travel across the country with a gamchhi (a cotton towel) on their shoulder and are by default backward, unpolished in their mannerisms and outlook. To put it in short, Lalu did a cultural genocide of sort for Bihar.

I don't blame the naysayers for taking a dig at Bihar and its people. They are alarmed at the sheer force of migrant population that threatens to take away their breads. We are everywhere from IITs to roads (Pulling rickshaws), from NASA to that maid working in your home.

Our strength lies in being simple, honest, hard working and innocent. Biharis are rooted to ground, this makes them strong and resilient enough to tackle any calamity or storm, whether man made or natural. So we take floods every year in our stride, so we do the constant tirades of Raj Thackery and his bunch of ugly goons.

I take pride in values that my Bihari upbringing has bestowed upon me. We have a society that encourages tolerance (Land of Buddha), academic excellence (Super 30 )and cultural preservation (Nalanda), in contrast to that superficial, swanky and noisy show-off culture of North. We believe in bond of love & affection, we don’t just touch the feet of an elder, we touch their hearts. Folding hands in a namaste and putting on a fake smile does not excite us.

This is an old Facebook note by the blog owner, posted here on the occasion of 'Bihar Diwas'.

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