sixty he could not retire Westwards
for, he made us the Orient
He is sixty-something but not sexagenarian. Rising from UDC to Secretary
he is retired but very much active in service. Simple yet dashing; unarmed
yet sends shivers to Bihar bahubalis. He neither bites, nor barks. Mobile
is the only weapon he carries. He comes from nowhere, vanishes in mid-air.
Always alert, always agile he lands at the most difficult, hostile terrain
of the badland. Unannounced, unscheduled. Swings like Superman, moves
like Phantom. Talks smooth, acts tough. Accessible everytime, eachtime.
Sometimes rides a pillion on a bike, while at other looks heli-hopping
in the sky. He carries confidence, wields virtues and believes in action.
For him, duty only delivers his deed. He is not from Bihar but behaves
"Dekhe to nahin hain leking sune hain ki woh itne powerful hain
ki Laluwo unse darta hai [though I've not seen him but heard that
even Lalu fears him]", said the hordes of migrant labourers on way
to their villages in Sharasha, Katihar and Madhubani at Patna Junction.
They're on their annual religious vacation of Chhath Puja coinciding with
the chunav [poll] this time. They've helped making Delhi, Punjab, Chandigarh,
Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and now Gurgaon a new modern look on the country's
map. They' ve built roads in Ladakh, high-ways on Delhi-Jaipur section,
Golden Quadrilateral criss-crossing the country as well as impressive
flyovers, imposing buildings and state-of-the-art Shopping Malls everywhere.
But, visit their homeland in Bihar only once in a year.
For them, RJD boss Lalu Prasad is the most powerful man in the world---
Rashtrapati se bhi--- who can do everything, get everything and get away
with everything. He can eat fodder, go to jail and even then rule the
state as his fiefdom. If circumstances fail he can saddle his illiterate
wife to the power-seat while clutching the reins into his hands. Earlier,
they never ever had bothered to cast their vote as the powerful man took
care of it all in their name. Social justice, social equality as you know,
say they throwing wry smile on their dry date-like face.
However, things are different for them this time. They've heard it, read
it and listened through sleek silver colour Chinese radio set or the B/W
TV. Even people like them are exercising their right of franchise, no
one dares come to them with guns on their shoulders and expletives on
lips to intimidate them, no official, not even Daroga babu dare to prevent
them from reaching the polling booth. They can also make a queue to cast
their vote. No staring eyes, no fear of post-poll bloodbath.
"We know it all has become possible because of only one person, Rao
saheb who has come Dilli to make it happen", says Horlicks Yadav
of Saharsha. Horlicks works in a factory in a metal factory in Jalandhar
for the last seven years. For him, this time the homecoming has come with
a double bonanza--- celebration of Chhath Puja with casting of vote. But
whom he will vote? "Abhi kyon bata dein? Waise Bihar mein bhi
Vikas hona chahiye, Punjab aur Dilli [where his brother works] ki tarah",
Everyday thousands of migrant labourers and Non-resident Biharis are coming
to the state on the occasion of major festivals like Eid and Chhath coinciding
with poll. And, most of them have heard about Rao sahib. "Kamal
kar diye hain Rao saheb. Lalu ki bhi sitti-pitti gum ho gayee hai is baar.
Bahubalis to bil mein ghus gaye hain. Kya kisine aisa socha tha kabhi
ki Bihar mein election ho aur koi mare nahin [Rao sahib has worked
wonder. Even Lalu has become maimed. The criminals and heavy-weights have
gone underground. Had anyone though that there would be no killing in
Bihar poll]", asked R N Sinha, a retd. bureaucrat, now living with
his MNC working son in Delhi. Sinha heads straight to his village in Chhapra
excited about poll on November 19, at the last phase.
"I'll stay there till the poll date to cast my vote. This time there
would be a real poll and everyone should participate in it", says
Sinha, During the February poll Sinha was chased away by the goons of
a particular party which has been lording over the state for the last
15-years. "But, see the difference this time. I've heard that all
of them have gone underground as their masters have been arrested or forced
to surrender. Just one man has made the difference", exulted Mr Sinha
while renting a car for his next destination.
But hasn't Rao been crticised by some political masters for his acclaimed
actions? "So what, only those are throwing brickbats and making strident
criticism whose wings have been clipped and whose manipulation and machinations
of poll management has been exposed", says a Patna based doctor whose
kidnapping for ransom had created furore in the state a year back. The
doctor now has settled somewhere near Delhi. But will he come back if
there would a change of government this time? "Why not? Who doesn't
want to come to his roots? But make Mr Rao, Governor of this state",
Kudos or criticism, bouquets or brickbats Rao has come as a real messiah
for the millions and millions of people living inside or outside the state.
Only half of the task has been done, part-II still to go. But the man
of moment is ready to take the bull by the horns--- unfazed, undaunted,
unruffled. Projecting him as a cowboy with hands in pocket, smoking cigars,
revolvers dangling from the waist and criminals trampled underfoot would
be a mean exaggeration to a man who already has acquired larger an image
than his shadows.
He must be K J Rao--- making boundaries, creating history, behaving Bihar.
For the record
1990 assembly poll: 86 killed
1995 assembly poll: 54 killed
1999 Lok Sabha polls: 74 killed
2000 assembly polls: 61 killed
2001 civic polls: 158 killed
2004 Lok Sabha polls: 20 killed
2005 [Feb.] assembly poll: 22 killed
2005 [OCT-NOV] assembly poll, till part-II : only 2 killed [1, by accident]
article we expected from Mr. Tewari
am surprised to see the working style of Mr. Rao. He is really doing excellent
in his job. More of that I am happy to see that majority of our (Bihar)
people are appreciating his work. It gives me strong belief that India/Bihar
is in the path of improvement for our next generation.
based special correspondent of The Pioneer