Bihar has been a seat of learning since the ancient times. “Shashtrartha,” that is, churning the books of knowledge, has always been a tradition of Bihar. Wherever you have an ambiance of learning, there’s a climate of tolerance; a willingness to understand as well as appreciate others’ points of view. Biharis have debated a lot, they may appear to be bickering but they listen to others respectfully. That tradition is in the danger of deteriorating fast.

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The politics of Bihar has taken an unexpected turn with the Patna High Court staying the implementation of the letter issued by the Speaker of the House. The justices apparently wish to take a closer look at the modus operandi through which Nitish was claimed to have been declared the leader of the JD (U) legislature party.

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In November of 2008, I had my third visit to India in nearly 18 years and the second in less than a year. In my previous two visits, I could barely pass by Bihar; but this time around, I was able to tour the state for two weeks. In the cities of Darbhanga, my home town; Bhagalpur, my in-laws' place; and Patna, I had a chance to observe the changes over the years and talk to people randomly.

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Contradictory statements are coming from the leaders of the RJD and the JD(U) with regard to the merger of the two parties. A senior JD (U) minister Ramai Ram advised the two parties to merge in order to put up a united fight against the BJP. Otherwise, he warned, Modi Express would overrun Bihar like Maharashtra and Haryana.

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