With will, there’s a website

Ajay Kumar is a soft-spoken and a suave gentleman, who I met for the first time in November 1999, after he had launched bihartimes.com — a website aimed at addressing Bihar’s issues, in totality. Then, signs of anxiety to keep the site afloat in a state mired in backwardness, culture of violence and abhorrence for anything creative, was writ large on his face. After all, it was an extremely hard task for him coming from a middle-class family with hardly any substantial capital.

It was through him that I came to know that eminent author and columnist Arvind Narayan Das had agreed to contribute in the bihartimes.com without any payment. Yours truly, too, assured Ajay of support. And over the years, the website shaped itself as the only portal on Bihar providing all sorts of news related to the state and just a click away. It also emerged as a major link between Biharis living in different parts of the world and their homeland. bihartimes.com successfully launched a “Friends of Bihar” network and in a few years got 2,500 “registered friends” spread across 60 countries.

Seven years down the line, it is heartening to learn that the bihartimes.com is the main party, along with Institute for Human Development, in organising a three-day global meet on resurgent Bihar commencing from January 19. I know it was bihartimes.com team that first thought of inviting President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to grace the meet. Subsequently, chief minister Nitish Kumar, whose government is actively supporting the global meet, followed it up with a formal invitation, which the President has accepted. In fact, both the chief minister and his net-savvy deputy Sushil Kumar Modi have realised the portal’s potential to link non-resident Biharis with the state’s development process.

Initially, the site began with only 5,640 hits. But unruffled by the initial struggle Ajay and his wife Sujata kept on enriching the portal by involving the Unicef to sponsor development alerts and a first-ever electronic seminar on “Poverty in Bihar”.The site recorded its highest ever 33,98,634 hits in November 2005 after Assembly polls. By then it was rich with large database on the state’s developments and poll-related statistics.

By dedication and creativity, Ajay and his able wife Sujata have proved the adage, “where there is will there is way”. Ajay is also an inspiration for the people of Jharkhand for the lad received his education locally, in Ranchi’s Vikas Vidyalaya. Later, he did his masters from Patna University.

He and his website attracted the attention of many international newspapers, too, which wrote sumptuous reports on it. Well done Ajay! Here’s wishing all the best to them on the eve of the global meet.



(Courtesy The Telegraph)




Nalin Verma

The Author is the Ranchi based special correspondent of the Telegraph