A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps

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"All is not well", says Hon’ble Supreme Court of India with reference to failure of Bihar administration to issue arrest warrant of Manju Verma, former minister of Nitish Cabinet. (TOI dated Nov. 01, 2018.).

The Hon’ble SC realizes it is too late to assess the situation. Ask those who live in Bihar not for years but for months who get the feel of this anarchy only in months after landing in Bihar.

In another news item of the TOI of even date hints at the sordid saga of Bihar Police when an Inspector rank police officer managed a posting in one place for 28 years in complete infringement of transfer rules. Even the report of his unworthy conduct by his Commandant in BMP was pushed under the carpet reflecting the clout of this Inspector on the administration. This requires a thorough investigation and all those police high-ups should be taken to task to break the chain of sinister design of bureaucratic set up which harbors such police personnel.

However, it is just the tip of the iceberg or the first layer of fathomless ocean of corrupt machinery in Bihar. It is a unique state which is indifferent even to maintain its traffic.
Although the traffic management of a place for some, may be an insignificant exercise yet it is a mirror giving the insight of law and administration of that place or the standard of life of the people living there. As it is experienced by all and sundry; whether a tourist or a permanent inhabitant, it is an open secret.

Even in relative honesty one cannot hold back the due credit to Nitish Kumar for improvement of road communication, bridges etc. in Bihar after the dark days of RJD yet he cannot escape the discredit of unregulated traffic even in his courtyard i.e. Patna, the capital of this state. No doubt the roads and bridges are the sign of development but the more significant sign of development is reflected in the conduct of the people using these material facilities.

Villages in Bihar used to the sign of peace once upon a time in Bihar. But now the reckless construction along the roads by encroaching it, are creating havoc for pedestrians and motorists both owing to the connivance of local administration. Any complaint against encroachment is branded as individual animosity or castes strife wherein the administration finds an easy escape.

The genesis of law and order is better understood in the traffic regulation of a place where it is witnessed by the public at large. If it is better regulated, it sends jitter to the wanton commuters and side by side strengthens the faith in common gentry towards the administration. Roads are most important places to induce fear of law and that too in the full glare of masses. The present dispensation is yet to awake against this snarling danger and perhaps think that by shoving the selective drunks behind bar is the foremost and only duty of a state.

The other day, in his inaugural speech of Patel Bhawan, Nitish Kumar was heard appealing the police gathering to serve the people as the government is doing a lot for their convenience. Nitish seemed overwhelmingly exulted while giving away such a monumental mansion to police department and perhaps, expected to propagate vigor and valor in them.
However, months after his message the Bhawan remains a ghost mansion as there is no practical change in the common behavior of the officials there.

Nevertheless, it is quite reassuring to watch the women police in the snarling traffic of Patna trying to regulate it. But what is observed is the hanging shoulders, lack of alertness, uprightness or boldness that one finds elsewhere in women police force in the country. There is something that is amiss in them.

While travelling in a Hawa-hawai, the local acronym for e-rikshaw, from Gandhi Maidan to West Boring Canal Road, I came across three women traffic constables. In my brief chat with them related to their work, all three complained against their male senior counterparts that they are the one who actually work despite all odds of life and their male counterparts keep standing by the side of the road and making them do all the things. They were quite young so I tried to console them stating that it is a boon in disguise for them because it is their work that would shape their expertise and career. I doubt if it had worked, particularly in a situation where their seniors are in a lookout for an opportunity to exfoliate their skin.

Another composite picture of Bihar is that the people here, now, seem to have lost faith in judicial system and so have they turned fearless of law and administration. In general, it is considered a weakness of a kind to abide by the law here. The reason behind this is the general conduct and apathetic attitude of both the law makers and the executives of the state.

I don’t know how deep the hon’ble justices of SC have gotten the real feel of prevailing situation in Bihar but many amongst one example is certainly an eye opener that the husband of a Minister is found storing illegal arms and ammunition coupled with the Minister herself absconding to avoid arrest. Even if the present dispensation may not have provided the shield to the then Minister against arrest yet the resistance shown in dropping her from the ministry initially, would definitely give that impression.

For Nitish Kumar, Machiavelli can be a yardstick when he says, "The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him" particularly with reference to the Manju saga, it is time for him to clean the image of the government and not only his.

Bihar is a sordid example where you find stench of earlier colonial administration when you find the ‘Orderlies’ of district/sub-divisional administrative officers cladding like that of Britishers orderlies. They are attired in that way to create a fear psychosis in common law-abiding people. There is no democratic aura where a common citizen feels free to put forth his grievances before them ‘Gora Saheb’ has been replaced by ‘Kala Saheb’. This appears unacceptable to present generation and in adverse reaction they are challenging this system by not adhering to the law. It is cruelly different of what they are inculcated in the classrooms such as the concept of democracy, rights, public servants and so on and so forth.

It is high time for Nitish Kumar to prune the reeking leaves around him if he ever thinks of doing an exemplary service to the state. As it is on the horizon that he is going to grow more stronger politically in the forthcoming political battle, he could take the risk.

Change the administrative image of Bihar now, even if it results in slowing down the material progress. For, all achievements are insignificant if in contrast to human values.

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