On 26-27 August 2018, my wife Reeta, and I had the rare opportunity to host at our residence an eminent follower of Mohandas Gandhi, Dr. S.N.Subbarao. One of his best-known achievements was when in early 1970’s, under the guidance and leadership of Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan, he founded the Mahatma Gandhi Seva Ashram in the Chambal valley of Madhya Pradesh and brought hundreds of dacoits (professional bandits) into the mainstream.
Observers of Nitish Kumar’s tenure agree three terms as Chief Minister should be sufficient to show substantial improvement in the health of a province. Many critics, not necessarily hostile, say on many fundamental benchmarks against which his administration must be tested Nitish fell far short. For instance, health care system or law and order in general continued to be sick despite his claim of a clean and efficient administration, Sushasan, in Bihar.
In the 90’s scholars had identified a few states in India as ungovernable. Popular with the acronym, BIMARU, Bihar was first among them. It was the decade of Lalu Yadav, but the degeneration had continued in a big way during the Jagannath Mishra regime.
A recently published report based on the studies of Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI) and Development Management Institute (DMI) suggested growing improvement in the living standards of Biharis after complete prohibition was imposed in April of 2016.
As the holy month of Ramazan for Muslims concluded this year (2018), there was by and large a feeling of goodwill and festivity among the Muslims and others in Bihar (and India). The Ramazan message of peace, charity and brotherhood was meant to spread everywhere. The month, however, wasn’t free from violence in certain parts of the world where the Muslims were in majority.
Looking at the result of the Jokihat Vidhan Sabha (Legislative Assembly) seat by-election held on Monday, 28 May 2018, it can’t be denied that the victory of the RJD candidate over the joint candidate of the JD(U)-BJP by 41,000 votes was clear and unequivocal. The RJD candidate received a bloc of 81,240 votes whereas, the JD(U) contestant got less than its half.
Encouraged by the political developments in Karnataka where the governor invited the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form a government following the provincial elections on 12 May 2018, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader of the opposition in Bihar, Tejaswi Yadav, rushed to the governor to demand that he should also be invited to lead the government in Bihar.
It’s well known when Lalu Yadav was a student at Patna University in the early 70’s, he had a simmering resentment against the upper castes, particularly the Bhumihars of Bihar. He had experienced firsthand how the members of the elite castes manipulated results, appointments and promotions in practically every area of the public or academic life. That seething anger later on propelled him into forming a broader coalition of Backward castes, Muslims and Harijans against the upper caste domination.
Politicians in India like to dramatize their detention by the police or judicial imprisonment. Following her Emergency rule and defeat at the 1977 general election, Indira Gandhi, the former Prime Minister, also resisted arrest when the police officials arrived at her residence with the required warrant. The mobs gathered and turned her custody into a political rally.
There’s undoubtedly a sizable number of people in Bihar and elsewhere who believe that Lalu was held guilty by the CBI court in the fodder scams because he belonged to a Backward Yadav caste. They press the argument that this backward caste leader was trying with a missionary zeal to secure “social justice” to the millions coming from the lower strata of the humanity. “The feudal-Manuwadi upper castes couldn’t swallow his rise,” they assert.
When the curtain fell on 2016, many of us were still railing against Nitish Kumar for betraying the 2010 electoral verdict in Bihar and his inscrutable political moves.
Thanks to a ruling of the Supreme Court of India in May (2017) to the effect that the former Chief Minister of Bihar Lalu Yadav had to face separate trials in each of the fodder scam case involving him and, if found guilty, he could face punishments separately.
During my current trip (03 Oct. - 10 Nov. 2017), Bhagalpur was on our itinerary and I had a determination to meet with Professor Ramji Singh. A founder of Gandhian studies at Bhagalpur University and a former member of the Lok Sabha in the 70’s, Prof. Ramji Singh was at the forefront of the JP’s movement for Total Revolution, an inspiration to our generation of students.