Bihar in News For Bad Reasons

I was already morose with what Raj Thackeray and Tejinder Khanna are trying to do in Maharashtra and Delhi. But news yesterday on small screen of a reputed channel and today in print shocked me. The old practice in Bihar that I know was to donate the land for the purpose of construction of temples and schools. My own family did the same in small way. But today the people of Nalanda created history by mud slinging on their Chief Minister. The Chief Minister, who is proud to come from the same area, is recreating the old Nalanda University with his endeavour as an International University that can bring back the lost glory of Bihar. A presentation on the project was underway in a tent in presence of the former president Abdul Kalam. The CM was attending it too. A crowd collected outside began shouting anti-Nitish slogans and demanding compensation at current market rates for their land, which was acquired for the university. With an over-confidence about the righteousness of the cause and faith in his people, Nitish rushed out to talk to them. And the crowd instead showered the CM with wet mud and slippers. As reported on NDTV, some stone also hit CM. As clear from the photograph, CM took a brave step. Fortunately for Bihar, it didn’t hurt him critically that could always happen. However, he must avoid that instinct to prove himself brave and daring, particularly with violent crowd.

Is it the way democracy works? And who decides how much should be the compensation? Can any one in the crowd claim himself aggrieved enough to start taking an extreme step such as on reported? Is it not a blatant case of taking law in hand? Did the crowd and its leader, if any, followed the conventional route of appeal against the state? Was the grievance communicated to the CM, when he is freely meeting every one in Patna that is so near? As reported, the compensation provided has been much more than what other states had given. Further, all the villages that comes in the region of the university will be specially assisted and developed.

However, I again blame Nitishji for soft approach. His police and home ministry would have provided information about the possibility of the trouble. Further, a nicely designed and planned strategy would have sold the importance of the project to the people of the area and particularly to the opinion builders.

Is it not a shame for all the people of the state? Should the people involved not apologize for their mistakes? Why can’t the people realize that after decades they have a CM who is doing many things to make Bihar brand respectable?

But still I feel the media and the government as well as some other social institutions would have taken up the task of marketing the project and its importance among the people of the region. Let the people understand Nalanda International University will not be business enterprise of Birlas, Tatas, or Ambanis for profit. It will make the whole area as famous as the most reputed temple of the world. Will they not contribute their land for that temple that will spread the ancient knowledge of India and the region all over the world again? Are they not proud that dignitaries such as Abdul Kalam and Amartya Sen beside many more learned people from many countries are leading the project of their area?

Let the people be told about the proposed university and its purpose. Let them know that it is neither going to be an SEZ nor car factory. It will be an education center of international importance with its schools of philosophy and Buddhist studies, informatic, basic and applied sciences, development studies, natural resources management, international studies and language studies that will incubate the best minds and souls of the world. “The proposed university will try to “recapture” the holistic traditions of knowledge creation, acquisition and dissemination as practiced in Nalanda University centuries ago – in a more modern context.”

It will also materially benefit the people living around, as it was the case when Nalanda was at its prime. After all, an infrastructure of services will be necessary for supporting a 21st Century University with 10,000 students and 1,000 or more teachers coming from all parts of the world. It will upgrade the educational and cultural level of the population of the regions all around and create sufficient number of employment too.

I appeal to the people of Bihar that let them not resort to such a step as they did yesterday with their honest CM and provide additional fuel about the poor perception about Biharis.

Let them give some of their perspirations in building of Bihar. “Bhagna Mandir Baan raha hai swed ka jal do.”

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