Progressive Bihar - Finally the sleeping giant is waking up

Progressive Bihar - Finally the sleeping giant is waking up
Progressive Bihar - Come support it's growth path.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bihar's journey into wilderness (and the way out of it)

I was reading some interesting articles on Bihar and some of them clearly caught my attention. While reading these articles it hits me that most state actors (i.e. people in the state government) and national actors (i.e. people in the central government) knew the extreme condition of Bihar even 5 years back. Many acknowledged that Bihar was the poorest state in India, had the highest poverty levels of 40%, there was no growth , most of the over 50 public sector units were either not working or sick and illiteracy stood at over 50%. However to create a central goverment, the UPA took the help of parties like RJD and thus had to turn a blind eye to the plundering of Bihar over many years.

One will argue that only when the central government is stable can it take up initiatives to improve a particular region of the country. However the bigger challenge the centre will cite is the response to central initiatives by state governments. Thus multiple successive central governments could not change Bihar, not even initiate any activities that could take Bihar on the way to progress and prosperity and this was evident during the central rules of both UPA and NDA. And no use talking about the state government which ruled Bihar for 15 years only to systematically drive the state into the ground.

But as with many revolutions, people will one day rebel against atrocities and overthrow the rulers and the same happened in Bihar too. Notwithstanding the severe effect of caste politics in Bihar and the caste cards played by political parties, the people of Bihar got together and voted for a change in the November 2005 state elections. People came above caste politics to support the formation of a new government, full of hope for a better Bihar. Even then most people were skeptic about the possibility of turning around Bihar by the new government. This skepticism is clearly visible in an article published on 30th November 2005 by " K. P. S. Gill" in the Pioneer called "Restoration of Bihar's fortunes". K P S Gill has not minced his words when he has described the situation in Bihar and his skepticism towards the possibility of a change in Bihar.

To quote verbatim from that article "For a decade and a half in Bihar, however, Lalu had been able to escape public ire by the shameless fraud of his slogan of 'social justice', and the cynical manipulation of caste and communal sentiments, to the exclusion of any measure of acceptable governance, political probity, and personal integrity. Indeed, Lalu has played the caste and communal puppeteer so brazenly that he has, on occasion, explicitly rejected development and governance as potential electoral issues, and has systematically driven his State into the ground. "

And Mr. Gill's skepticism has been shown from this statement of his "A frisson of hope is sweeping across Bihar today, but a measure of caution is necessary. The administration in the State has been so completely subverted, its restoration will be a Herculean task. Worse, it is not clear whether the State's new leadership really has the vision or capacity to engineer a strategy of revival - it is sobering to recall that both Nitish Kumar and his deputy, Sushil Kumar, trace their political roots to Jai Prakash Narain's disastrous 'total revolution', as did Lalu, and there remains the danger of a lapse into half-baked and populist ideologies of confused socialism."

Mr. K. P. S. Gill ends the article with " If we have a stake in India, we have an equal stake in Bihar's future." which is so very true for everyone in India.

The state government in the last 3 years has proven a lot of skeptics wrong, including Mr. K.P.S. Gill. It has shown that good governance can be brought in, even in the worst of conditions if we have a will to do so. I agree that there is a lot that is remaining to be done but the beginning has been made. It is for people like us to make sure that this beginning is not lost to the charms of the very people, who ruled the state mercilessly for 15 years, by getting eye washed by small contributions that they are making today. It is because of what the current state government has achieved that many leaders from RJD, LJP and Congress have started contributing a little to the development of Bihar to project that they care about the people of Bihar. However we should not get hoodwinked by these petty politicians and give them the mandate at the current stage in Bihar.

The growth mechanism in Bihar has not reached a self-sustaining stage and will get disrupted if we do not give the current ruling party / parties in Bihar the mandate to continuing the splash of change that they are bringing to Bihar. Once the change in Bihar (improvement of law and order, development of infrastructure, strengthening of education, inflow of investments, etc) becomes self sustaining, then we will not have to bother about which party is ruling Bihar. But till then we should not get moved by statements and actions of those very people who destroyed Bihar for over 15 years.

Most of us who will read this post understand the above statement of mine, but there would be many people living in Bihar who might not. It is in our interest to educate all the people we come in touch with to continue providing the mandate to the current ruling coalition in Bihar (even strenghtening Nitesh's party would be good idea) because this is the man who has shown a ray of hope to Bihar and it is upto us to see how we make the best use of it. As Mr Gill had said, we have an equal stake in Bihar's future.

I am posting the link to Mr. K. P. S. Gill's article on my side bar on the right side for those who want to read it as there is a lot of information of value in that article.

Thus this and some other articles that I have come across motivated me to write this up. I will post some other similar reviews in the coming days about the other interesting articles that caught my eye.

PS: For those of you who might think that I am making a political statement, I just want to add that I am not. I just want Bihar to progress and I just want people in Bihar to develop. And I strongly believe that the team led by Nitish Kumar that started the change, is the best team to take the change through to the desired success. I just want that all the Biharis in the world can proudly and shamelessly stand anywhere and in any groups of people and say that "I belong to Bihar"

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