Since 2005, I have been coming to US almost every second year and staying for almost four to six months. I try to meet the persons of Indian origin, and most of the elders are the parents of those who have come and work in US. This time I observed and experienced something that perhaps in my earlier visits I overlooked. Most of the Indian elders in our community ‘Harmony’ in Cary are South Indians with those from Andhra in majority. Anand confirms that the number of persons from Andhra are maximum in Cary and Morrisville. We don’t have a single family from Bihar. Andhra till 90s was not that educationally advanced.
And then I tried to do some more research. With maximum number of private engineering colleges in Andhra, as confirmed by a Times of India news report, Andhra sends the maximum number of students for higher studies to US. Many of them stay back.
Why has Bihar lagged behind so miserably? One can’t expect Lalu or Rabri Devi to understand that. But Nitish Kumar, himself an engineer by education, should have understood this and could have taken steps to correct the situation of education, higher education in Bihar. But Nitish Kumar after doing some development work spent all his time and resources for vote bank politics, and there too because of his egoistic approach failed miserably. Today Nitish Kumar is busy in retaining his relevance in Bihar politics, though he had all potentials and opportunity to become the prime minister of the country with shrewd political strategy. Bihar awaits a bleak future if the results of the recent by-polls are to be believed as the mood of the state.
But perhaps the sole responsibility for the degradation of education in Bihar must be owned more by its people than anything else. All these years of my active life I found all the parents and guardians in Bihar more interested in getting their children passed by even the foulest means, chit management at examination, leaking the question papers, finding out the assessor and bribing him, and then finally getting some job as clerk, policeman, or even in defence services too by paying any amount of money to the middlemen and corrupting any system.
Recently I found some students from Bihar in the protest movement for Hindi in UPSC examination as crusaders. I doubt if they had the required level of excellence even in Hindi. And I am sure they have not read even ten good books in that language. And it is not only me who is having this experience. A noted columnist has this to write:
“Among the panelists was a so-called ‘crusader’ of ‘the rights of Hindi and India’s 22 other regional languages’. This young man, hailing from Jamui in Bihar, was full of fire. His comments soon generated into a rant against English and the so-called ‘elite’ usurping ‘the rightful share of opportunities’ of India’s masses, most of whom cannot speak English and thus are at a disadvantage as far as education and employment opportunities are concerned.
One particular rant by the young man made me freeze. “…I want to warn you, O slaves of English,” he roared in a rhetorical ditty in heartland Hindi, “Prafulla Chaki, Khudiram Bose, Chandrasekhar Azad died to drive the British from this land and raise the tricolour. If you do not honour the tricolour , there will be consequences.”
What can we infer about the future of the state with the type of political leadership that Bihar had, have and are perhaps going to have? The people of Bihar can only be in menial work all over India and perhaps in Arab countries.
And what can be the way out?
Education, education, education, ….knowledge….skill…excellence in English, French, German, Mandarin, Spanish, Japanese, ……engineering, science, maths, architecture, … Business management….