(Bihar Times) Everybody interested in politics knows why people call politicians names. Is it because of their abhorrent behavior or absurd statements?
In the aftermath of the Koshi flooding, many politicians have used grandstanding to gain notoriety. Some have accused Mr. Nitish Kumar for the flooding while others have blamed his administration of being the purveyor of the agony of the people. However, can we honestly attribute the flooding to him or to his administration alone? Where does the truth lie depends on the judicial enquiry but reasonable people would only conclude that flooding was the natural calamity beyond human control and the main culprit was the torrential monsoon that caused the dam to break and flooding to occur. Let us face it; it is not the first time that the people of the Koshi region have experienced such a catastrophe. Every year mild to severe flooding occurs and the people suffer. What is significant is the flooding was severe this year due to the bursting of the dam that caused widespread devastation and brought it to the attention of the world. Yet the nemesis of Mr. Nistish Kumar would like us to believe that the flooding was man made caused by him for some political reasons. What a preposterous assertion!
Now the question is what caused the dam to burst. Does the responsibility lie exclusively with the present administration or should it also lie with the previous administrations? In fact, ever since the dam was built, there was no clear provision for its safeguard. The people in charge of the maintenance and repair evidently neglected the dam and allowed it to deteriorate. Who is responsible for such neglect is yet to be determined but common sense dictates that deterioration of the dam was in the making for many years; and those were the years when Mr. and Mrs. Yadaw ruled the State. It would not be the exaggeration of the facts that their administration had no plan of maintaining or repairing anything. They neglected the roads of Bihar and all other infrastructures for fifteen years without any fear that it would jeopardize human lives and livelihoods. They even neglected the Charwaha Vidyalayas that were the gifts of the Messiah of the Poor to the people of Bihar. Charwaha Vidyalayas symbolized the achievements of Mr. Yadaw but they lie in ruin as the mark of incompetence and neglect. It would be fair to say that the administration of Mr. and Mrs. Yadaw was oblivious of the importance of maintaining the dam and inadvertently allowed it to weaken.
Of the two factional leaders, Mr. Paswan is more of a self-aggrandizer. He tries to outdo Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadaw, the other antagonists of Mr. Nitish Kumar, to keep himself in the limelight. His thoughts and actions are so strange that he fails to impress the people. Conversely, Mr., Yadaw is an ingenious person but his penchant for partisanship corrupts him. Not that the truth is his virtue; sometimes he tells the things they are. He possesses better understanding of the issues as the superior leader than his factional counterpart and if Mr. Yadaw wishes to redeem himself, he has to distance himself from obdurate leaders. A smart man like him does not need the label of being a disingenuous person. Instead of blaming Nitish Kumar or his administration for the act of the nature or the act beyond his control or tenure, Mr. Yadaw should be touting the efforts of the government of Bihar to help the masses. It does mean that he has to stop criticizing the present administration but his criticism should be above board without the semblance of vengeance or hint of malice. Civility would go a long way to rehabilitating his old image and perhaps it could help him regain his lost good name.
We know that the general election is on the horizon and politicians would hurl accusations for political reasons. However, do they have to make statements that defy human intelligence?
Though the assertions of Mr. Paswan and Mr. Yadaw are preposterous and scandalous, they have injected the idea of responsibility. Therefore, they must cooperate with the Judicial Enquiry Commission to find facts to establish responsibilities.
As far as the people of the Kosi region are concerned, they live in the path of monsoon, surrounded by vicious river and its tributaries. The Koshi River is one of the most treacherous rivers. The people know it as the river of sorrow. In heavy rainy season, the river gets flooded and the people living in the area suffer the consequences. The River descends from the steep mountains and torrential rain inundates the river followed by devastation and unbearable misery. It happens every year. However, if you were to ask the people living in the area would they live anywhere else, they would say no. They live there because their ancestors have lived there and they have the tendency to tolerate the calamities. Let us give them some credit for tolerating the calamities and support them to bring normalcy to life. They are brave people, industrious people and the people of all seasons. Just as they put up with the heat of summer and cold of winter, they can survive the flood of monsoon. A few weeks of suffering cannot inhibit the masses; and they would get back to working in the field of their dreams producing enough to remain the breadbasket of Bihar.
However, flooding is a problem and there is a need for National effort to control it. In Monsoon season, the Rivers that emanate from North are famous for causing havoc in the lower regions of Bihar, UP, West Bengal and Orissa. To control the flooding of the magnitude the States face year after year requires central intervention. It would be a massive undertaking and only the central government has the wherewithal to manage it. Dredging of some rivers, establishing new dams and reinforcing the old ones, channeling the water to our Southern States and building permanent reservoirs could be the solutions of the problem. Nonetheless, it would be an undertaking of inordinate proportion.
Please Mr. Paswan! There is a time to engage in politics and there is a time to refrain from it; and the misery of the people is not the time to engage in politics. Good politics is to be considerate and truthful and the trait of responsible politician. Since you oppose Mr. Nitish Kumar does not mean that he is not a good leader. I am sure he is as distraught over the present tragedy as the people of the world are. Instead of blaming him, please join hands with him to help the people of Bihar. Flooding is not uncommon for the State of Bihar. What is uncommon is the enormity of assistance provided to the people; and I would only attribute it to the good governance of Mr. Nitish Kumar.
I appreciate the views raised by the author. There is limit to everything. Unfortunately, the politicians of Bihar don't understand this simple rule of nature. These "masters of the blame game", do nothing for the people except double talk and self seeking. In these times of the "Calamity of the Century", these leaders are crudely engaged in mud slinging and brick batting, brow beating each other without understanding that people living in glass houses should not through stones on others. Instead of dirty, greedy tactics of nasty, partsan politics; they should do some soul searching as to what they have done for the people of Bihar except filling their own pockets and that of their relatives ?
People of Bihar will never pardon these self proclaimed messiahs(?)of poor and downtrodden. When the present history of Bihar would be written, these netas and pseudo-messiahs would be treated with utter contempt for their dark deeds. Still time is there Sirs and Madams, please arise, awake and do something for those millions of hapless, helpless, devastated, deprived unfortunate masses of flood ravaged Bihar. Bihar is dieing, save it O Sons and Daughters of Bihar ! Instead of self-pitying, put your might at the stake, help the needy in whatever way you can. After floods, now robbers and theives are looting the already looted people. The Mukhias of the locality have become mafias. They are siphoning away whatever relief materials arrive for distribution to the masses. Mothers are selling their babies for Rs. 200 per child (ref. The Asian Age, dated 25 September, pp. 1). Dirty money lenders are having a field day. These social leeches are lending money to the deprived at sky-rocketing interest rates. I urge the nationalized banks of this country to come out of their cosy AC chambers and provide "micro-finance" alike Bangladesh and help these people rebuild their lives and homes. Sir, Politics can come later...first let's survive....
Dr. R.P. Raman
Your story can be summarized in one sentence that anything bad in past and even in future will be because of Lalu Prasad Yadav and thing good, is because of Nitish Kumar. But the fact is Kosi disaster is criminal negligence on part of present govt.
The comment by Mustaque Alam is well taken but may I state that the Double Talk casts aspersion on Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadaw only because he was the head of the government for Fifteen Years? If I have any compliant it has to do with how he and his wife handled the affairs of the State as Chief Minister. They had the opportunity to do many good things for the people of Bihar but they squandered it. Perhaps ignorance and inferior incandescence played a great role in what they did and what they did not do. Mr. Yadaw was elected to change the spurious system of the time but the system changed him. He became the prisoner of corruption that dashed the hope of the people. The people of Bihar gave him the opportunity of lifetime but he did not take it seriously. Not that he lacked intelligence and support to do things; he simply chose to follow the same old system that was beset with problems. In democracy we criticize the dynamic and energetic leader for his failure to do things. who has absolute majority and the gift of eloquence but fails to do things. We do not sympathize with him like we do with the weak and the spineless. The criticism of the administration of Mr. Yadaw is appropriate because he had absolute majority and the gift of eloquence; still he failed.
Many times, I have tried to reason what prompted Mr. Yadaw to defy his own intelligence; and I conclude that he possessed two contradictory personal traits. One was weird and wildly colorful like that of the kingpin of a clan and the other is that of a prudent politician. He used the first one when he was the Chief Minister. It maligned his character and made him arrogant. The second one has the propensity to win the world for him. Look at the way he manages his railway department and how he handled the UPA crisis. Had he used his prudent personality when he was the Chief Minister, he would have done a lot for the people of Bihar. The people of Bihar believed in him and expected him to be better than his predecessors. However, he let the people down, particularly the poor and the plebeians and presided over the demise of the State. If there is any reason to grind ax, people have many.
I am sure we the people of Bihar are glad that he has a powerful role in the Central government where he behaves like a leader. On the other hand, when it comes to the politics of his State he changes his color and reverts to his weird characteristic. We all know that politicians play blame game with facts for political advantage, but, at this stage of his life, does Mr. Yadaw need to play such games? Having the persona of a national leader, it does not behoove him to be in the fray of name-calling and petty politics. However, if winning the election and staying in power at all costs were his only objectives, then he would have to accept brickbats for good things he did not do, and for bad things, he did do. Whether he likes it or not, his past performances would be the subject of analysis.
I averred in the Double Talk that the neglect of the Koshi dam occurred over a period of many years. If the opponents of Mr. Nitish Kumar could allege that he was responsible for the breach of the dam in Three years, his supporters have the right to allege that Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadaw should be held responsible as well for the neglect of the dam because he and his wife ruled the state for Fifteen years. Overall, I do not think the neglect happened with the knowledge of any Chief Minister. It happened due to the lack of safeguard. It was a bureaucratic bungling and no administration could catch it. I may be hyperbolically wrong in my assertion but I would not hesitate to say that the bureaucratic relapse caused the dam to break beside the torrential rain. Yet we must wait until the Judicial Enquiry presents the finding of facts and its conclusion.
For your information, Mr Alam: I like Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadaw in spite of how I feel about his past performances? He is a leader Bihar should have except for his shortcomings.
Nawal K. Pandey