As Bihar was recovering from the news cycle of mob lynching, triple talaq and JD(U)’s ambivalence on Article 370 and 35A, disturbing new reports on Lalu’s family feud surfaced.
Aishwarya Rai, Lalu’s daughter-in-law married to Tej Pratap has reportedly moved a family court seeking protection under the Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
Looks like Aishwarya, in the past months, tried her best to adjust in the family of Lalu-Rabri despite the known bad behavior of her husband. In a traditional way, she seems to have given due respect to her mother-in-law and her in-laws' family. She decided to stay with Rabri Devi in a house from where her husband was a regular absentee.
However, after her father, Chandrika Rai's defeat at the last Lok Sabha election from Saran as an RJD candidate, feelings might have changed.
Chandrika Rai, it's believed had his eyes on Saran Lok Sabha seat and he got the party nomination primarily because of his established family relation with Lalu. Now, his defeat by Rajiv Pratap Rudy of the BJP must have discouraged Aishwarya from trying to strengthen the bonds between the two families. The attitude of her in-laws towards her also changed.
It’s worth recalling while filing his petition for divorce barely five months after their marriage in the summer of 2018, Tej Pratap had alleged that the settlement of his marriage with Aishwarya was an outcome of conspiracy hatched by the two political families. Aishwarya’s grandfather, late Daroga Rai was a respectable former Chief Minister of Bihar. His son, Chandrika Rai, had inherited politics from his father and held legislative and ministerial positions.
Apparently, Tej Pratap wasn't in favor of this marriage. But he had his own reasons. An out of line high school drop-out, Tej Pratap must have found himself incompatible with a business school graduate, Aishwarya. In terms of family background and status, an important benchmark while deciding relationships in Bihar, Aishwarya’s side was definitely superior.
All the weird and unacceptable behavior of Tej Pratap, partially reported earlier, are now confirmed by Aishwarya. According to her, immediately after marriage, she learnt that Tej Pratap was a drug addict and consumed ganja (marijuana). In the state of resulting stupefaction, he would claim to be a reincarnation of Lord Shiva. He would wear all the costumes of Radha and Krishna, the mythological goddess and god, and act like them.
Aishwarya tried to bring this awkward behavior of her husband to the notice of Rabri and other members of the family, but they downplayed the seriousness of the matter. There were already reports of feud and tense relationship between the two brothers, Tej Pratap and Tejaswi.
There are so many lessons to learn here in Bihar. Delicate lives of sons and daughters must not be put on line or used by their parents to move up the social or political ladder. Out-of-ordinary behavior in a child must be detected earlier and experts’ help sought rather than being in denial. Adult boys and girls must be educated and given enough latitude to find or decide for themselves who their life partner would be. Family status, dowry or glamor must not decide relationships. Lavish and wasteful wedding expenses must be stopped, children must be taught against corruption and black money.
Both Aishwarya and Tej Pratap -- one seeking protection and the other pressing separation -- are sadly the victims of what is terribly wrong in our society in Bihar. Their parents (our generation) are reaping what they (we) sowed.
Dr. Binoy Shanker Prasad hails from Darbhanga and currently resides with his family in Dundas, Ontario (Canada). A former UGC teacher fellow (at JNU) in India and Fulbright scholar in the USA, he has taught politics and authored conference papers, articles and chapters on Bihar in previously published books in the United States, India, and Canada.
Dr. Prasad administers a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OverseasBihari and has sponsored “Aware Citizenship Campaign” at a micro-level in his home-town.