Why I'm not from Bihar!


Amarnath Tewary*


Amarnath Tewary Jagdish Mahto has almost lost his mental balance; his feeble wife faints every now and then. They have lost their only son Pawan who had gone to appear in a Railway recruitment examination in Mumbai.

Pawan was their only hope in life, only support for old days. Both had laboured hard to educate Pawan and shared many dreams together. Pawan too had worked hard to get a low-paid government job to realize their dream---of getting two-square-meal daily and making their thatched house a pucca so that it does not leak in rainy days.

Mahto comes from Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar's home district, Nalanda. Of Bara Khurda village under Noorsarai police station. Along with him the whole village is in complete shock while seething with rage.

The body of young Pawan has just arrived. He died young---struggling to survive, running away from the menacing hands of MNS goons.

Still. His face says he struggled hard to run away like others, to run away for his ageing parents, to run away to get a government job, to run away for making his house pucca before next monsoon.

But luck ran out of him. Pawan died young; Pawan died raw; Pawan died for being a Bihari.

He was, reports said, caught and beaten-up brutally to death by the rampaging MNS goons. MNS is Maharashtra Navnirman Sena led by Raj Thackeray, an estranged nephew of Bal Thackeray.

Both the senior and junior Thackerays are locked in proving themselves up before Marathi Manus –that they are their real guardian. Mumbai Ka Baap.

Like several others from Bihar they too were thrashed, beaten-up with stretched fists, sticks and furious faces of MNS goons. But, they somehow managed to save themselves and fled from there.

Some with broken hands, fractured legs, deep blue-burgundy marks on their backs, red punch marks on faces and poultice eyes reached Patna junction on Tuesday and vented their ire.

Pawan's body reached by flight and the Bihar chief minister announced Rs 1.5 lakh compensation to his family.

1.5 lakh to realize the dreams which they had shared together; to make their leaking house pucca; to get two-square meal all through their life.

At the village rage is reeling. I'm enraged too.

And, decided not to call myself a Bihari. I donot wish to die young, I donot want to meet Pawan's fate, I donot want to get 1.5 lakh as compensation.

I simply donot afford to.

For, I've a little eight year old daughter, wife and old parents who all have shared so many dreams with me and made plans for the future.

My daughter wants to be a doctor and wife wants to see her successful in any field she likes. I want to see her as a good, strong human being.

We all work hard to realize our dream which we cannot have through 1.5 lakh compensation and a few words of sympathy.

Its not for the first time that the people from Bihar have been beaten-up, thrashed and shooed away from Mumbai. It has happened earlier too. On many occasions by these Thackerays.

And, why only Mumbai?

Just a day after the Bihari students were treated like stray dogs there was a report that a group of 12 migrant labourers from Bihar were herded up like buffaloes by some armed men at Sonepat railway station for the work in their farmland.

The hapless labourers somehow were rescued by police and later resumed their journey for Panipat to be used, exploited and engaged by some others in their farmland.

They say the wealthy farmers of Punjab and Haryana pounce on them at railway stations to take them away as labourers. There they treat them as their cattle, even worse than that.

Months earlier when a direct train from Patna to Goa was introduced a minister of Goa protested the move saying hordes of beggars from Bihar would come riding on the train and pollute their paradise state.

Earlier, they were beaten-up, killed and chased away from Assam and other northeastern states. The national capital Delhi too did not like them and time and again they raise the issue, make it an issue.

We, the people of Republic Bihar are not welcome at so many places. In fact, they detest us, abhor us and treat us like untouchables.

They mock at us, they laugh at us, they pity on us.

When, for the first time, I had gone to Delhi in 1987 to take my admission in Delhi University to do graduation they addressed us as Tetnus, for we from Bihar used to carry a tin box along with us.

The girl students were called Behenjis, for their oily mid-parted hair and untrendy salwars and slippers.

When I returned to my rented room after Holi my landlord while reading a newspaper asked me: how do you Bihari play Holi in which 24 die?

"Holi ke hurdang mein 24 marein" was the caption of the story in the Punjab Keshari.

My wife says I looked like Pawan those days. Young, fresh with a straight line of moustache under my bulbous nose and with a dream for family.

Even on my Honeymoon in 1995 the hotel manager in Ooty had thrown a puckish smile on us when I named the place Patna, Bihar in the check-in register column.

Now, when things have gone worse I fear to reveal my identity. I prefer to call myself Not from Bihar.

No, like you all, I donot have that enough courage to call myself a proud Bihari even after so much of humility, pain, trauma, beating, thrashing and killing.

No, I'm not a proud Bihari. Sorry. But, I donot want to have a waste death, like Pawan who, I'm sure, will be forgotten a day after tomorrow.

The mass of land larger than France and population five times more than Australia Bihar, for me, has nothing to be proud of. It has nothing to feel great about. Take any index, any survey, any report you would invariably find Bihar at the bottom.

The post office remittance of Rs 450 crore is the biggest economy of the state with per capita income as low as Rs 5,772 per annum, as compared to Rs 22, 946 of national average.

Adiga's India of Darkness. Balram Halwai of The White Tiger.

People have no option but to migrate looking for their livelihood. We're everywhere now, in every city, town, state—pulling rickshaw, selling bhel-puri, making malls, constructing houses, roads, highways, driving cars, running computers, papers, hospitals, administration and hotels.

What not, and where not ?

We're ready to work hard, do more labour than others for our survival and so people are targeting us.

But for the fear of Thackerays and others I donot want to venture out and if I have to I wish not to be with a Bihari identity.

Pawan did that mistake and paid the price.

Sorry to say Pawan but even your death does not get even one-tenth of media coverage than the arrest of Raj Thackeray whose goons allegedly were responsible for your unexpected demise.

But, has anyone ever thought of what if Biharis would…. ?

Perhaps, a deadly sequel to Adiga's White Tiger!


* Patna based special correspondent of The Pioneer




"Padhne par aisa laga jaise apni hi kahani ho, jo delhi mein hum sabion par bitati hai"...! the facts mentioned in the article once denounce the feeling of being Bihari but on the ohter hand with more aggression acceptance that this can be done by a Bihari only who has the guts to write such piece.

The fellow who wrote their comments from abroad and pronounce them as Bihari and always scold the state for the bad governence. My request to them pls leave the akiens land and land in ur place and do something at ground zero.Come and see the real pics and prob of the locals by identifying as Bihari.

In Delhi if u made a mistake in driving, eating, at ur workplace or anywhere 90 out of 100 easily scold u "Kya Bihari ki tarah kiya yaar?/Tu kya Bihar se hai? abe chal sa.....e Bihari" and many more........!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Pioneer
New Delhi



Don't call Bihari...

Dr. Sanjeev Sinha's experience in Bihar reminds me of my late father's experience in 1960s to 80s. He was an artist. He qualified from Lucknow College of Arts and Crafts in 1944 and joined as a teacher of Fine Arts in newly opened Patna School of Arts. After 1947, it was taken over by Bihar Govt. and named Govt. School of Arts. In 1955, he was given an scholarship by Bihar Govt. to study abroad. He went to the world famous Academia De Belle Arti, Florence, Italy. After 2 years of study, he returnedin 1957 and rejoined Fine Arts. He came with new ideas, techniques which he passed on to his students. He wanted to change the art scene in Bihar for the professional, artistic and financial benefit of the arts and artists in Bihar as it is in the West. He met resistance, road blocks and there were people who just pulled him down. Initially, when a post of Professor was created, instead of appointing him on account of his qualification and merit, the movers and shakers brought an artist called Vinod Bihari Mukharjee, in his late 70s, and blind, from Shantiniketan !! Much later, he was appointed Professor of Fine Arts in theGovt. College of Arts and Crafts, Patna. When the Principal Mr. Radha Mohan retired, my father was the obvious choice on merit, experience and qualifications. But again,one of his student was appointed Principal !! He retired as a frustrated man in 80s and died a few years later. A sad and dejected man, one of the best artist Bihar everproduced who wanted a new era of art to dawn in Bihar, but he was crushed by Biharis. He told me that he was called in by the then Education Minister, Satendra Narayan Sinhain his Secretariat office and told that he would see to it that he was never made the Principal of Govt. College of Arts and Crafts.! So much for nurturing Bihari talents !!!     His name was Prof. Bateshwar Nath Srivastava.   He, along with Mr. Radha Mohan, Nirpen Roy and Yadunath Bannerjee were the founders and trail blazers of Arts in Bihar. Today, Shilpi Sangh, Patna celebrate him and his works by organising Art functions, his wife is honoured in these functions attended by ministers .But what good is it to him who was crushed in his life time and denied the due owed to his merit, talent and experiece ? A jew helps a jew by money, shelter and legal aid, a Gujrati does the same. Bihari is different. He is inherently destructive. Was it any wonder that just after qualifying medicine, I packed my bag for England, vowing that my children will not be born in India, let alone Bihar ? And I never regretted my decision.    Before Biharis expect others to respect them, they have to rid themselves of their destructive nature. They have to learn to support and promote merit, take pride in other's rise, stop fightng each other, fleecing each other, create an enveronment of goodwill, brotherhood, and a society in which no one like me or Dr. Sinha ever think of emigrating abroad and people like Prof. Srivastava get their just due. Untill that happens, I am sorry, I can't call or identify myself with Bihar or Biharis.  

Dr. A. Kumar

Norfolk, England



My deepest condolences to Mahto family, God may give them strength and solace.

I wish Biharies to be STRONGER.

What ever be the consequences, fear for death,
humiliation etc. should not stop calling ourselves

Be proud to be Bihari.

Respect and pride for you should be from within not from what other says, do and think.

Imagine if Gandhi, Subhash C Bose would have taken self pity and had prided themselves as a British instead of as an Indian when many babus working for British used to think so.

I am at ground zero i.e. Mumbai facing worst of the situation. But never for a second have had I thought of not calling myself as Bihari.

Amarnath I have been a regular reader of your articles and have lot of respect for you and your work.

My only whish is the denouncing yourself as a Bihari is an emotion outburst only.  Request you and all Bihari fellow to be even more LOUDER in priding themselves as BIHARI.
Sanjiv Singh Basisth




My name is Dr Sanjeev Dhari Sinha but I am Dr Sandy I am known Bihari but unknown outside because people see outside what you are capable of not where I belong to or whats my caste, I am only Indian to get scholarship to study in Germnay  in 2008-9,but I was not selected for stadium manger post of Patna despite the fact the whole Bihar sports circle kowns that I am highly qualified and having  a lots national, international awards, I filed a case but its more than 3 years nothing has come up I have represnted in Bangkok Singapore, Doha, Bahrain , Malaysia, Srilanka, USA, Ausutralian sports com and worked in Middle East and South East Asian countries. I never tell any one that I am from Bihar not becuase I would be beaten up like Pawan who lost his life but  from inside I have disassociated myself with the place . Bihar was divided in 2000 but till date Bihar team is not participated in national basketball because Bihar means Tata and rest of us are labours.

But now all my former students are getting job in all 7 different countries and 8 in local private school but after doing ph.d in physical education people cant work for Bihar. Physical college is closed for many years.

Its not only in railway exam but in every field people have been migrating , Saba Kareem, film stars, many doctors,  writers  have been going out. There is brain drainage from bihar but people don’t do any thing to stop this .

If there is no problem that becomes big problem so they create  problem and solve it to be in lime light and create a situation where qualified people, intellectuals run away so that the bad coins drive away the good and run the show.

You go Saudi or Bahrain, Qatar you will find many from Siwan many people in Bangkok , Singapore they prefer to lead life of unknown Bihari than struggle with system.

I can be awarded by NBA in Berlin in center court but after giving 20 years in sports at all level I can’t get respected position of class two and in all different field you would find thousand of example like me. Now we are spending crores for IIT, NIT, NIFT and National Law College but do you think these people will get a healthy environment to work after they finish their course many people have still great feeling for their home state but after working ten & 20 years they give up.

Dr Sanjeev Dhari Sinha




A very nice piece. At least, someone has dared to write the truth.  This is the most common feeling of Biharis today but still many, some senior journalists included, continues to live in Fool's Paradise !

Manoj Chaurasia

The Statesman



"But as a Mob, no one can control anyone."

Very true. Thackerays, Shiv Sainiks and MNS workers, assuming them to be a mob, are uncontrolable. Only indian defence forces can control them.

Four killed in clash after Raj’s arrest (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Four_killed_in_clash_after_Rajs_arrest/articleshow/3626619.cms)
Four persons were killed and another seriously injured in the violence that broke out late on Tuesday in a village near Kalyan following the arrest of MNS chief Raj Thackeray earlier in the day. Deputy commissioner of police (rural) Sanjay Shintre said two north Indians, a member of the Agri community and an MNS worker were killed in a clash between the two communities in Pisavali, 10 km from Kalyan in the Manpada police jurisdiction.

Hate campaign spills over - House of Tata official attacked (http://www.telegraphindia.com/1081022/jsp/jharkhand/story_10002252.jsp)
Raj Thackeray’s anti-migrant politics in Maharashtra is having a ripple effect in Jamshedpur. Members of the Bharatiya Bhojpuri Sangh (BBS) today vandalised the official residence of Tata Motors Jamshedpur plant head S.B. Borwankar, a Maharashtrian. Armed with lathis and hockey sticks, more than 100 BBS members trooped to Borwankar’s Nildih Road bungalow around 3.30pm. Shouting anti-MNS slogans, they smashed windowpanes and broke flowerpots. Though Borwankar was in office, his mother and wife were at home at the time of the incident. The protesters, however, did not attack anyone except a security guard, H. Nath, who tried to resist them.

Maharashtra Building attacked in Kanpur (http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/maharashtra-building-attacked-in-kanpur/375940/)
The repercussion of the recent attack on North Indians in Mumbai, allegedly by the Maharastra Navnirman Sena (MNS), was felt in Kanpur on Monday, as a group of 25 people pelted stones on the Maharashtra Bhawan in Khalasi Line. Constructed in 1928, the building is owned by the lone trust run by Marathis in Kanpur. Over the years, it has served as an important venue for prominent festivals, including Ganesh Utsav and Krishna Janmastami.

Manoj Kumar



We are sorry for your child death  

Worst thing happened is the death of your child, which is uncountable in Rupees.

I am a MNS worker begs sorry for your child death.

But as a Mob, no one can control anyone.

Let me also tell you the story after Raj arrest, till now 3 has been killed, out of that 2 are Maharastrian.

Shape your life with new thoughts – greeting for your future.

Jaydeep Jadhav   

Email: jaydeep.jadhav@saama.com


Image change of bihar is necessary

I understand the sad thing that has happened to pawan and his family. And I hope that God would Give solace to the grieving parents. After reading , I feel that internal situation has been bad in Bihar , and I hope , all the talented people from Bihar , who have got selected in IITs from last so many years should join hand and do something for the state. I have no doubt that there is no dearth of talent inBihar , so all should join hands to change the image that has been created from last so many years.

But this takes time , and it would not happen overnight. Till that time , if people want to explore Opportunities anywhere in india , they have full right to do so.  I don't believe retaliation against any Community (Marathi) would produce results. It would not help the cause. Instead somebody has to accept the Mistake and correct it. At these times the only antidote to hate is "positive response".

Nitin Tahiliani



Probably to your surprise, I say to people outside Bihar that  I have not only full pride of being from Bihar, but I have arrogance for that.

I have never hesitated saying that I am from Bihar to any place outside Bihar. Despite being on the lowest side on all fronts, Biharis have excelled in literally all walks of life. This itself is a big honour for all we Biharis. Thing is not that we are from the backward state, thing is that we ourselves are not having love for our near and dear ones.

The case with Mr. Pawan is really horrible and difficult one, but that shows the apathy of the Maharashtra government as well. Politicians are like that only throughout the nation with very slight variation. We people of the republic of Bihar and republic of India need to go hard on these politicians.

I along with lot of other members are doing and have been doing our responsibility for our society. If you need more info, check in mithilamanthan@yahoogroups.com, karnagoshthi@yahoogroups.com, mithila_vasi@yahoogroups.com and lot of other yahoogroups.

I have been staying outside of Bihar for last 14 years and I always visit my home town and state whenever I get the chance.. I will soon move to my hometown and homestate to live in my society and pay back to the society. Show your love and responsibility where you originated and if you feel that the place is worth lot of service from you.

Amit Kumar




Who killed Pawan? Raj and his goons. No. He was killed by many years of misrule by Bihar governments. He was killed by people who voted for such governments. He was killed by all those who misbehaved with Biharis and non-Biharis in a train journey considering themselves as Baap of laws. Don’t blame others if you can not fix your own house. Lets prey for the diceased and take oath that we will fix our house for good of ourselves.