Sunday, April 19, 2009

I saw the "Big Fight" yesterday on NDTV. I was glad at what I saw the audience in show articulating. The thirst for development was refreshing. It has been ignited in the last three years since change of regime in Bihar. The preceding 10-15 years were indeed depressing and even avid lovers of Bihar had begun to despair. The state seemed to be going into a bottomless pit. The changes we have seen recently augur well.

DD Kosambi had stated that 2/3rd of the history of India was the history of Bihar. It had two of the finest educational institution in ancient India - at Nalanda and Vikramshila (in modern day Bhagalpur). India's greatest emperor who gave India's national emblem was the ruler from Pataliputra. It is the land where in 6th century there was such intellectual ferment that the it gave rise to philosophers like Buddha and Mahavira. Since then up to the 12th century it was an area that either sprang up empires that ruled the rest of the country or had kings that were invincible. Even after the advent of Sultans and Mughals later, Bihar remained a tough land to conquer for the keeps. It was perpetually in revolt and difficult to retin after conquest. The legend has it that Mughal emperors after the experience of Humayun (who lost to Bihar's Shre Shah Suri in 1539 at Chausa) had instituted an informal rule that that stipulated that they do not personally set their foot ever gain on the soil of Bihar. Ironically, the next Mughal Emperor to enter Bihar was Shah Alam only to lose the Battle of Buxar in 1764 to the East India Company and to lead rest of his life in confinement at Allahabad. Even Akbar, who carried out land revenue reforms in Northern India, left Bihar untouched.

In the 1950s, Sir Paul Appleby visited India. He was an expert in public administration and came to India on an invitation by Pandit Nehru. He went on record to say, "Bihar is the best administered state in India and in the time to come it will become an example for other states". (Extracted from

All this in the past. Now it is synonymous to a slur. I hope the change I saw articulated yesterday leads to the turnaround in Bihar fortunes.

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