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Jun 05, 2003
In praise of Bihar

This has to be clebrated as an event. In what is a pioneering departure from reflex journalism, the Week has broken away from main media ranks and produced a rare and positive article on Bihar.

GoodNewsIndia has no direct information on Bihar but if its experience viewing many other states without the media filter is any guide at all, Bihar too cannot be as comical, vile and hopeless as you have come to believe.

Set aside political antics and look at the resource rich state. People are braving great odds and making a fist of their lives. If one deeply, sincerely believes in democracy then one must believe democracy is perfected --if at all-- over several iterations. May be Bihar will require several more of those. Be that as it may, right now there are five reasons listed out by the Week to be cheerful about Bihar.

One, its knowledge power continues to be on parade with candidates from the state comprising 25% of the 700 who qualified for the IAS and IPS.

Two, the Patna City Corporation’s model of levying property tax has been such a huge success that it is being copied by many other states and countries. It also earned the state a UN award for contributing to the global ‘best practices’ collection.

Three, the state’s milk cooperative federation is a roaring success, its turnover more than doubling to Rs 305 crores in that last six years.

Four, blessed with enough water, Bihar’s farmers have made it a food surplus state, exporting to 13 states. And, for all of you who thought that Kerala was India’s spice capital, here’s news: it is Bihar, friend.

Finally, Bihar is among the top states in deposit mobilisation. Faced with hardship and limitations at home Biharis have not rolled over and died. They have ventured out to other states and countries and laboured with dignity. They send back huge sums of money to their kith and kin. That is a clear endorsement of their love and faith in the state.

Read the article in full and pause a little when you are invited to guffaw at a Bihar joke. Remember it is the ancient home to India’s divine heroes, kings, strategists, teachers, scholars, patriots, artists and administrators. That gene pool cannot have disappeared just because the state is going slow with its experiments in governance.

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