After having been out of commission for nearly three months, PatnaDaily is poised to return with a major change in the direction it wishes to go in the coming days and months and we wanted to update you of these changes and the future approach of this website.
As you will recall, we were operating at a very limited scale since Coronavirus, or COVID-19, reared its ugly head worldwide in the early part of 2020 forcing nearly all of us to work from home or from office with strictly limited ability affecting our day-to-day life while changing our behavior permanently in a fashion not seen in many decades.
We had hoped to resume normal service at some point but the virus also affected our revenue drastically forcing us to take some strict measures to stay afloat.
In the meantime, as we all coped with the pandemic, something else happened in Bihar – the 2020 state Assembly elections. Chief Minister and Janata Dal – U president Nitish Kumar, while barely retaining his seat, emerged as a bird with his wings clipped by the senior partner of the NDA – the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The man who once canceled a state dinner with the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi on the Gujarat riot issue, was full of praise of the Prime Minister for basically allowing him to keep his chair of the Chief Minister of Bihar.
The new cabinet, with an unprecedented two Deputy Chief Ministers to appease two separate factions of the alliance, was anything but exciting or something to look forward to.
With much sadness and disappointment, I have to say that Bihar is only slightly, very slightly, better today than it was during the so-called Jungle Raj of the Lalu-Rabri days. Only the players have changed who bring in different political strategies of their own to make sure Bihar continues to remain at the bottom of all economic and social indices while enabling themselves to continue to enjoy the perks that comes with being in politics in India.
Caste factor, one of the banes of Bihar, once again was in full public display during the distribution of tickets and during the formation of the new cabinet.
Fifteen years in power – ten with full public support – and yet Nitish Kumar and Sushil Kumar Modi, his former Deputy, continues to blame the former RJD government to hide their own failures. Fifteen years is quite a long time no matter how you look at it and if Nitish Kumar is still blaming his predecessors for the lack of development in Bihar then either he takes Biharis for idiots or Biharis are, in fact, idiots.
Let’s take a walk back down the memory lanes – year 2000 to be exact. Internet was a new thing and India was languishing behind in terms of connectivity in comparison to other countries of the world. Cyber cafes began to pop-up all-over India and could be seen at every nook and corner. Bihar was still reeling under the ‘Gunda Raj’ and besides some sporadic bad news from the state, not much was known about Bihar outside of the state.
At that point, we (the founder members of PatnaDaily.Com) decided to launch a website of Patna that would attempt to portray our state in a positive manner. Besides local news, we added many features to make the site interesting and informative. We added serious discussion to it while also adding elements of humor in it. We invited articles from people who loved Patna as much as we did and added the most popular and prolific photo gallery of the city of the time. NRI Biharis all over the world were excited to go through PD multiple times a day. Our in-box was overflowing with complements and congratulations for a job well done!
Then came 2005! Much to the relief of the people of Bihar, Lalu-Rabri era, also known as the dark age of Bihar in the modern history of the state, came to an end and a new leader full of promises and potential emerged from the ashes. It was none other than the progressive-minded Nitish Kumar.
Suddenly, Bihar was being touted as the best state in the country because of its GDP growth and the prevailing sense of optimism that came with the election of Nitish Kumar. In the first five years, Nitish spent crores upon crores of rupees to build roads and highways while inviting industrialists to open up shops in Bihar. There was a sense of hope, light at the end of the tunnel, and a sense of security where ordinary people were not afraid of being kidnapped or murdered in broad daylight. The euphoria was infectious and for some very good reasons. Nitish Kumar had tamed the criminals with his tough law and order policies!
Not surprisingly, Kumar was re-elected with a massive mandate in 2010. Unfortunately, despite Nitish Kumar zeroing in on tourism sector, he failed to attract any big industry to Bihar. With all sorts of incentives, or gimmicks (tax relief, single window approval, among other buzzwords) as some people like to say, to draw the attention of the Tatas, Ambanis, Mahindras, etc., it failed to show anything worth bragging about. He kept on installing foundation stone after foundation stone like there was no tomorrow but by a rough estimate, out of over 200,000 projects launched in the first ten years of his tenure, only a handful - less than .05% was actually completed. Most were abandoned even before the cement had dried up on the foundation stones. Ditto between 2015-2020. All for nothing. Once again, a sense of gloom could be seen hovering over Bihar.
But Kumar, who prides himself as the modern-day Chanakya of Bihar, remained confident of his political genius forging ahead new alliances with previous enemies while breaking others as it suited his need in the political game of thrones. Same cast of characters who were in some other parties were now with Nitish and those who were with Nitish from the beginning had either already left or were waving the flag of rebellion for their own lust for power.
In other words, Bihar was doomed to remain doomed!
By the time 2020 Assembly elections came, PatnaDaily, frustrated by the way Bihar under Nitish Kumar was operating, was having some serious thoughts about it being the frontrunner in promoting the state in a positive manner. No matter how hard we tried, we could not pretend any longer that Bihar was still a shining light on the hill that had a bright future under the leadership of Nitish Kumar. This was only exacerbated by the arrival of COVID-19 that pretty much killed our desire to continue with this website.
As much as we love PatnaDaily.Com, our labor of love, we seriously considered shutting down the site permanently after being in existence for 20 years during which we dedicated our time and money for the benefit of our home town where we grew up, got education, made friends, and grew to love it.
At the end, however, after talking with many of our well-wishers, including some of our regular guest writers, we changed our mind and decided to continue with the site with one major change – there won’t be any daily news reporting. PatnaDaily will have opinions on current events on much of the things that take place in Bihar or India and will also continue to maintain its original sections like the Guest Column, Readers Write, Features, Lifestyle, and Blog. Only no daily news reporting.
To be brutally honest, one of the main reasons behind the decision to do away with the news section is the quality of news coming out of our state. We became tired of reporting the same news over and over again. The only thing different was the change in date, time, and the characters. Otherwise, they were all the same – Nitish said this, Tejaswi said that, Sushil Modi threatened RJD, Kushwaha holds press conference, Pappu Yadav leads rally, Paswan blames Manjhi, Manjhi blames Center, Congress celebrates Indira Gandhi’s birthday, BJP holds Shaheed Diwas, Nitish launches 500 new projects, waterlogging cripples Patna, truck kills pedestrian, armed robbery, murders committed, Chhath celebrated, ‘putla dahan’ at Kargil Chowk, lathi charge at Hartali Mor, Nitish conducting aerial survey of flood-hit areas etc. etc. In other words, same news day after day, week after week, year after year!
Considering not much is going on in Patna and Bihar besides the aforementioned events, we took this decision to eliminate daily news from the site permanently. If you need such news, many other sites will cater to your needs. When we had started PD back in 2000, there was only one such website where you could get some news from Bihar but now, they are a dime a dozen to curb your appetite for news from Bihar.
We are keenly aware that this explanation may not satisfy all the regular visitors of PatnaDaily but for now we are going to keep it this way. Maybe things will change again in future; who knows. But in the meantime, we ask for your continued support to PD. We have never asked you for money or some other favors but we do hope you will continue to come to PD for honest discussions on current topics not just of Bihar but of entire India and the world.
With that, let’s move ahead. Stay safe and don’t succumb to fake news, rumors and propaganda. Thanks for your support.
P.S. – The site is far from finished and we will continue to adjust it in the next several days and perhaps weeks until we are happy with the way it looks. There are many loose ends that we have to tie. Please feel free to send us your feedbacks if you see an error or some other glitches so we can take care of them immediately.