We live in a cauldron of caste and corruption. They are both an everyday dilemma and political struggle. How they have become synonym for Bihar, no one has the clue because we all were/are either the participants or the empathizers. November 22, 2005, the big bang of present NDA Government and its arrival in Patna was considered the last hope for many ‘demoralized’ Biharis in the world of growing information technology. Beaming with the fact that a caste-less society will soon be taking shape in association with affirmative slogan from a political party which has always ‘claimed’ to be different. It was Lalu School of politics which successfully cashed the sentiments of ‘politically’ oppressed class and lit up the impassioned, invisible hate against each other. It is known to all that Lalu Yadav provided pleasure of political power to his caste men in association with a few select cohorts from different castes. His political school simply followed the established “meritocracy” of Indian National Congress. What happened to Bihar is not hidden now. Theoretically, there is not much difference in Nitish-Modi School of Politics. Only the Director of the school has been replaced. This shows how careless we the people of Bihar, our Government and their political and executive masters, working on same line that has derailed Bihar since 1960s.
Is it not enough surgical harassment of Bihar in the name of quandary vs. castes?
How long the caste and the ‘affiliated pressure group’ will be guiding the activity and will be over-riding our lives?
30 years ago, surname was removed from my name and over the years the same was observed in the names of many Biharis. Unfortunately, these surnames never got erased, and are celebrating the glory of castes and thereby compelling each surname to other to remain competitive. Caste-based organization is not losing any business opportunity at any point of time. It is unfortunate to note that peasant leader and freedom fighter, like Sahajanand Saraswati and Babu Kuer Singh, are now merely the icons of “Bramharshi Samaj” and “Rajput Mahasabha”, respectively. It is further demoralizing to know that First President of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad is fast losing his national and bihari iconic statures to a symbol of Kayastha community in Bihar. I don’t think we ever celebrated the day of December 3rd at Gandhi Maidan, Patna, the way people of Bihar celebrated Railla’s for their ‘voluptuous’ pleasures. Even leader like Karpoori Thakur, Ram Lakhan Singh Yadav and Jagjivan Ram vanished into the den of their respective castes. Not only that over the years we have diluted our consciousness in the arithmetic of castes for any decision-making positions and processes that require ‘visionary’, astute and dynamic people. Large scale bureaucratic and ministerial reshuffle in a short span of time by the present NDA, previous RJD and Congress Governments have done severe damage to the state in this regard. Present Government went a step further indirectly pushing infamous ‘MacDonald Award’ of 1932 into his ministry. If Bhola Singh (Caste B2) has to come in, Chandra Mohan Rai (Caste B2) has to go; if Giriraj Singh (Caste R1) has to come in, another caste R1 (Janardan Singh Sigriwal) has to go. Quota for Muslims too in cabinet is now fixed. Monazir has to vacate for the second seat. Those who oppose the system of crafting caste combination have to beat their chests again. If merit and performance has any role to play in such ploy, where is the white paper on the replaced 10 ministers and their two and half-years of incompetence? Present Chief Minister Shri Nitish Kumar cannot only be blamed because our way of life designs all course of action in the form of caste followed by the ‘justification’, whether to choose minister or anything else. Are we not forced to compare the timing of booting DGP Ashish Ranjan Sinha (Caste K1) out by Mr. S C Jha (Caste B1), when the caste equation was writing Raghunath Jha’s (Caste B1) glorious fate in the opposition camp of polity?
First ministerial reshuffle, allotment of ministry based on castes affiliation where ‘merit’ had no meaning, allowing rich and affluent to sit in Rajya Sabha, , and “Congress’s alakamaan” style of functioning show that nothing has changed what Bihar needs now, a change in social perception and the associated personal relevance. Vaishya Mahasabha meet in the presence of Dy. Chief Minister Mr. S K Modi, Kayastha Mahasabha in the presence of national leader like Ravi Shankar Prasad tell a tale that Bihar is yet not ready for change whether the latter gets 10 ‘IITs’ and 10 ‘AIIMS’ like institutions. It is the time ‘demanding’ for social overhauling with zeal and political will power. Why is this still missing in our society?
When the substance of choice in our day to day life is greed, who can be blamed: the pushers or the addicts? For the past several decades majority amongst us have invested energy in erecting an umbrella of “greedy need” and the privileged ones always play the caste card. It is the fallout of the previous and present Governments who never hammered on either addicts or pushers. Imagine a chief Minister of any state, leaving all the work in his capacity behind, is inspecting a petty drain/road repair work. A total mismanagement in the form of greed but he is unable to take strict action on the spot despite discerning the siphoning off the amount allotted for the work. It is appalling.
Continuance of the heavyweight title fight for “one-upmanship” between the leaders of affluent castes, between the leaders of upward mobile castes, in between these two and their respective sympathizers from ‘Beetle-Nut’ shops to ‘Alakamaans’ in Lutyens' Delhi had or has no purpose other than establishing hegemonies in all spheres of their personal lives at the cost of their homeland, BIHAR. Leaders are now gladdened with technological advancement such as notebook computers, high-speed internet etc. but haven’t changed something is the style of political functioning over the generation across the caste spectrum. Cry for ‘social justice’ has lost its significance and is integrated itself into the old and opulent version of Kurta-Pyzama politics. According to CAG report in 2008, several crores of rupees were looted in the name of developing new schools in Bihar. There is no protest, as if everyone is waiting to eat in the same pie. At the same time, people are protesting everyday, jamming roads of Patna and as if they are threatening Government to fulfill their acquisitiveness too they dream for. Demands have increased without one’s involvement into action and have occupied over the years so much space that is continuously crumpling the soul and spirit of being called ourselves ‘Biharis’ and identifying ourselves with Bihari’s pride. Why there is no fear for the word “Government in action” and there is no stopping of replicating such things that corruption will no longer be allowed to breed corruption. Only a few select individuals have been arrested despite knowing the facts and files of looters serving the Government. Those who cannot loot government coffins or share insatiable power with Government directly have become the part of the violence and insurgency and are indulged in looting and kidnapping activity to share the cake. Eighteen years ago, It was late Prime Minister of India, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, who was squarely blaming to the people in power, be it in politics or elsewhere, only 13 paisa out of 1 rupee of various Government schemes is reaching to needy people who falls under less-privilege category. This is what current Prime Minister of India, Mr. Manmohan Singh was saying ‘politely’ while observing civil services day, after all he has to run his Primer Minister Office (PMO) affairs. Should we really need to spend more money to find out the details of corruption through workshop and/or symposia?
Unless we carve out a new process of political mentorship, where there will not be any ‘alakamaans’, bruised wounds of Bihar will be festering endlessly. I am afraid Bihar will ever stop serving gimmicks of political opportunism under the supervision of current leaderships to next generation.