It’s Buddha who had cursed Patna, then Patliputra that it would always be in trouble because of fire, flood and feuds between the people. And it goes on till date. I had thought that at least on the dais of ‘The Global Meet for a Resurgent Bihar’ and outside even, all the political heavyweights would be together, present an united face of Bihar leadership, and complement the efforts being made by some real enthusiastic younger generation of Bihar to bring back the past glory by involving the non-resident sons of Bihar who owe something to the land where they were born or belong by heritance. Unfortunately, it was not seen.
President Kalam presented the clear roadmap for the development strategies for Bihar, perhaps for the second time in a year, and also perhaps remorsefully remarked, “If Bihar develops, its political parties will also develop.” But Lalu Prasad described the meet as “Sab golmaal hai” (Not everything’s right with it). Lalu ji had his doubts, “if it will help Bihar in any way”, and considered ‘such a meet as platform only for big announcements as was the case in 1995. Nothing materialized.’ Such remarks are if not anything demoralizing. Ram Vilash Paswan, Sarad Yadav, and even George Fernandes would have been at least present even without any invitation. But perhaps the Buddha’s curse wishes to taste the strength of the Bihar’s youth.
I would have also loved if the directors of professional institutes and vice-chancellors of the state would have participated and mixed with NRBs to know what they must do to make their students employable. Bihar is getting IIT and may get Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, and other institutes too. But all these institutes of higher education must aim at producing the employment generators for the state instead of producing employment seekers.
NRBs can certainly help in creating an education hub at all the district head quarters. And all the well wishers may help Bihar in establishing professional training and skill building institutes for providing skills for all the children of the state, who fail to go for higher education. NRBs can also initiate many more English and other languages coaching institutes with latest audio and video facilities so that all the students that have graduated in different streams become employable. I presume they know where the students of Bihar lack this badly. Some NRBs can also encourage and facilitate in making younger lawyers, teachers, and doctors to start BPOs in the cities and towns of Bihar. If it can happen in Andhra Pradesh and Delhi, why can’t it be done from Bihar?
I have not found the name of any industrialists of importance addressing the meet but for Deveshwar of ITC. It may be that the organizers wouldn’t have invited them. But today with the amount of interest being shown by some big houses in rural and retail sector, the organizers would have invited some like Ambani Brothers, Kumarmangalam Birla, Sunil Mittal, and Goenkas. When I look in future, after the GQ and E-W Expressways are complete, a number of rural malls and food processing industrial complexes can come up along it. I wish the government could have been more proactive to contact the industrialists rather than expecting them coming to the state at least with present state of the perception about the brand image of Bihar. Besides, all the tax concessions, the government and particularly the CM must impress on the investors that Bihar provides a better work culture through flexible labour laws through an ensured discouragement to hooliganism in the name of trade union for which the neighbouring state West Bengal has earned a bad name.
My biggest complain is about the media. I didn’t find any national newspaper of the capital such as Times of India or Hindustan Times covering the news of the meet. When I compare its coverage of ‘Vibrant Gujarat’. I consider the media is extremely partisan and not carrying out its responsibility. As the fourth pillar of democracy, it has an extra responsibility for the underdeveloped region of the country.
I never had any big expectation about the NRIs investment. Perhaps, the government and the organisers would have prepared a document profiling at least 20-30 most successful NRBs. It would have been clear. I don’t think there are many from Bihar in US or in other developed countries that are in position to make big investments. Most of the NRBs are only working as employees, as Biharis were the last to follow ‘the brain drain’ route or to go abroad in large number. However, if NRBs can group together, and put their synergy, they can change the prosperity profile of Bihar. Let them start at the grassroot levels where they can help with constructions of toilets, biomass power generation, low-cost housing suiting to the local needs, knowledge center with computer and Internet, and healthcare unit with at least maternity facility in rural Bihar. But most importantly, they must keep on visiting their villages and not only the towns where they got educated.
I congratulate the organizers and expect that they will do better and serve more. Let me end this writeup with “Bhagna Mandir Ban Rahaa hai, swed ka Bal do.”