The year 2017 started in Bihar on a good note. The cities of Patna and Gaya were hosts to the Sikh and the Buddhist festivities. The Sikh pilgrims representing all over the world congregated at the Gandhi Maidan to celebrate the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Govind Singh; the Buddhists had their Kalachakra (Time-Cycle) celebration in the august presence of the world class religious leader, the Dalai Lama.
Towards the concluding weeks of the year 2016, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was seen lending his full spirited support to two events hosted by the state of Bihar: First, the 350th birth anniversary celebration of Guru Govind Singh, the 10th leader in succession of the Sikhs, and second, the 10-day long Kalchakra Buddhist puja graced by the holy Dalai Lama.
Death of a nonagenarian former Member of the Lok Sabha from Vaishali, Mrs. Kishori Sinha, occurred in Patna on 19 December 2016. As all Biharis are bound to be touched by the biography of this illustrious widow of a past Chief Minister of Bihar, Satyendra Narain Sinha, it should afford us an opportunity to be introspective about the status of women, and the prospect of leadership among them in Bihar.
On December 9, 2016, five new additional judges of the Patna High Court were administered the oath of office. With their induction the number of judges goes up from 27 to 32.
As Bihar was counting the victims in its usual widespread lawlessness or bracing for demonetization of certain currencies on November the 8th, the Americans were electing their new president, Donald John Trump.
Story of every person from Bihar who leaves home is different. Although their anguish, their sense of insecurity may be individual and personal, they all have one great thing in common: They share a common determination not only to survive, but to persevere and rebuild their new lives for the better. This applies equally to people who have migrated abroad or to another part of the country.
The Patna High Court on September 7, 2016 released Muhammad Shahabuddin, a former MP from Siwan (Bihar) and allegedly involved in multiple criminal cases, on bail because the State government didn't pursue the case despite reminders by the High Court. Sushil Modi, the BJP leader and former deputy of Nitish Kumar alleged it was a well-executed strategy of the CM to favor Shahabuddin, a Lalu protégé. Nitish was bowing to Lalu for his support, the BJP accused.
Below are the unedited excerpts from the Facebook pages of two abiding friends since our JNU years in the 80’s. Kumar Narendra Singh and Ranjan Sharma are originally from Bihar and now settled down in their professional lives in New Delhi. We may not agree on everything but we have a lot of respect for each other’s views. Anxieties and concerns of friends like them should mean a lot to us. We are away from Bihar but Bihar is always within us.
Nitish Kumar, the Bihar CM, once compared Narendra Modi, the Indian Premier to Donald Trump then fighting a primary contest to secure nomination of the Republican Party for the presidency of the United States. That spoke volume about the limits of Nitish’s understanding of either the persona of Donald Trump or the US politics.
Even a novice understands the politics behind throwing a sumptuous Iftaar feast by Nitish Kumar at his official residence as the Chief Minister of Bihar. He’s not the only politician to have done so. The Congress CMs, and his foe-turned-mentor Lalu before him, had routinely hosted Iftaar or Eid-ul-Fitra party at the conclusion of the holy month of Ramazan. The leaders of the BJP, a party reputed as unfriendly to Muslims also break bread with the Muslim invitees on this occasion.
Right after the Indian Independence (1947), the standard of education in Bihar was at par with what the Britishers had set out during their regime. Passing matriculation exam, with its emphasis on math and English, was tough. There used to be a category of dropouts called “Matric Fail” and just for making through the high school to the Matric Board exam, the candidates were regarded in the society as educated people. They would get lower level but respectable jobs.
In Bihar today, there's a dire need for every one -- who can recognize and speak up the truth - to stand together on one platform. You have to identify the problems before they can be addressed.
I had learnt a long time ago that nothing should surprise in politics. Yet, I was shocked and dismayed to see that an eminent lawyer and a national public figure of your stature would approach a politician like Lalu Yadav to stay in the Rajya Sabha.