Bihar Visit: Some Whom I Met

My conversation with my maternal uncle Chandra Mani Tiwari at Sasaram during my short stay revealed some value issues. We are getting miser on love, affection, respect, and sacrifice. Usually Mamaji earlier never got tired of talking very high of his grandson Golu, who got a very good rank in IIT-JEE and is now in IIT, Delhi. I did also write about Golu’s excellent performance. However, Mamaji this time was very shore about Golu’s detached behavior with family members. With success in life, a person must remain humble and respect the family bond. ‘Vidya Dadati Vinatyam’. And I find him unhappy and dissatisfied even in a family of four grown sons to take care of him. Somehow, the children these days are getting less sensitive about the elders. Perhaps the main reason also may be unexpected sensitivity with increasing helplessness with age. With daughters-in-law in Sasaram as well as Ramnagar working as teachers, Mamaji finds himself alone with none to attend to him.

While at Pipra I distinctly noticed an unusual and disturbing change. Hardly anyone goes and spends time with others that was very common earlier. It’s not that people are busier these days. The disease of egomania is spreading fast. Why should we go to others if they don’t come? I used to see many visiting us at our home but hardly few did this time. Is Pipra becoming Pleasanton and Noida? Is it because of tremendous rise in the prices of land and also yields and MSP of rice paddy and wheat? I wish younger generation don’t copy wrong examples.

One day when I returned after visiting the school, I found Basdeo baba waiting for me. I was pained to see the wrestler of yester years as a helpless person. Years ago Basdeo baba suffered a paralysis attack. He couldn’t get the right treatment. His hand fingers can’t hold anything. It’s difficult for him to take food. He somehow holds a spoon and eats. I found him fighting to take the sweets that my aunty had sent for him. Veeru, our house assistant helped him. I really got a shock. Old age and decease makes life miserable. His eldest son is an M.Tech in metallurgy from Institute of Technology, BHU. He is in good position in SAIL. Unfortunately, he has hardly anything to do with his family here in village. Basdeo baba kept on talking about him; how he carried rice on his head in rainy seasons to sell in Sasaram and take the money to pay his son’s dues in Varanasi. Basdeo baba also expressed concern about the marriage of his son’s daughter and his eldest son’s inability to arrange that. I liked Basdeo baba since my childhood for different reasons. One was certainly his inquisitiveness. It was very difficult to convince him that the earth rotates. Even this time he enquired if I know why the vultures are getting extinct. I told him, “May be because of the gradual reduction of the number of cattle, as tractors have replaced bullocks totally in the village.” I don’t know if my answer satisfied him. But he didn;t expressed himself.

Chandi Chacha is younger to me in age and perhaps the nearest in the extended family at Pipra. He did his schooling from nearby Samahuta High School. I remember him as one with very bad handwriting in his childhood. One day I got the surprise of my life when I came to know that he has completed M.A in English and after training become a teacher of English. I still can’t imagine how he would have been doing a justice in teaching the language to his students. He has retired but like many in Bihar is still working with the school on contract, as the teacher for English are in short supply in Bihar. He is very sweet to talk with. Unfortunately unlike his cousin who studied with him and got a job with Indian Railways, Chandi chacha’s sons have not done well and fighting to establish themselves still. I tried to convince Chandi chacha to work for improving the condition of the village school, but somehow because of the village politics or personal reason he didn’t commit.

I could not find a single soul that is ready to take some interest in any project related to the improvement of village. It’s all due to the present Mukhia. Unfortunately, no one speaks against him openly. And I found myself helpless. The rural India still lacks good education, as Maithili Saran Gupta, the famous Hindi poet has written and so remains short of happiness and peace.

Today I did a search for Pipra on Google and surprisingly got a shock of life with the result.

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