Bihar Vibhuti's Legacy Drifting into Oblivion?

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A Tribute to our founding fathers is actually a tribute to our nation and the biggest assurance of assuring that we will never forget what our nation stands for at its core.

Unfortunately it seems that we have lost the essence of this notion somewhere! The 125th birth anniversary of one of the architects of modern independent Bihar, Bihar Vibhuti Dr Anugrah Narayan Sinha, affectionately called as "Anugrah Babu" by none other than the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi falls this year and no expected commemorative measures have been announced by the current ruling elites.

The state is going to celebrate its centenary year this March to revive its glory and paying fitting tribute to our founding fathers is of paramount importance. The state government, social organizations, major media houses and political parties did not find it appropriate to even pay a courtesy tribute to the stalwart of independence movement who has been the deputy chief minister and finance minister of the state till his death. Officially a garland is placed at his statue every year and the program is swiftly culminated as if completing the requisite formality! But the real question is; Why should we treat our founding fathers this shabbily when under the current ruling alliance, Bihar is again moving on the development path they had once dreamt off?

Dr. Anugrah Narayan Sinha continues to evoke reverence in Bihar, but this eminent Gandhian legacy is in danger of fading with today's politicians not seeing him as one of the outstanding nationalists that Bihar produced during the freedom movement and the current generation of youth simply unaware of his role.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad once remarked "Like Nehru and Patel in the Centre, Sri Krishna Sinha and Dr. Anugrah Narayan Sinha were indispensable to one another and to the people of Bihar". In fact, both Sri Babu and Anugrah Babu were outstanding leaders by any standards and great visionaries.

In the famous Paul H. Appleby report about public administration in India, Bihar was rated as the best governed state in the country mostly due to the excellent efforts of S. K. Sinha and finance minister Dr. Anugrah Narayan Sinha.

Bihar is the place where the first republican form of governance was conceptualized and it is a vibrant example of cultural diversification with a nationalist character. Perhaps this is something which brought Mahatma Gandhi to Bihar in the summer of 1917 and the subsequent events were etched in the history of freedom struggle forever.

A team of premier lawyers comprising of legendary Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Dr Anugrah Narayan Sinha went to Champaran against the wishes of the dictatorial British Government and the first ever Satyagraha movement was launched in the country. Anugrah Babu's role in nation building cannot be over-emphasized. He was right there in the middle of the movement along with Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Dr Sachchidanand Sinha.

As the Chairman of Anugrah Smarak Nidhi (Anugrah Memorial Fund) Loknayak Jaya Prakash Narain remarked during one of his fund raising tours for establishing the premier AN Sinha Social Studies Institute in 60's "Though politically we were at different ends but as a young youth who was taught by Anugrah Babu during my student years at Bihar Vidyapeeth, he will always remain a role model, for everyone to follow in the decades to come".

In 1987, the centenary of both Bihar Kesari (Sri Babu) and Bihar Vibhuti (Dr. A. N. Sinha) was celebrated with grandeur. The then Bihar cabinet rose to the occasion and made commendable efforts to ensure successful celebrations. Today, there is no such announcement by the government for Anugrah Babu's 125th anniversary this June. Why this deliberate indifference to the eminent nationalist? These men are important for us not just because they held offices or were an integral part in the making of modern independent Bihar but because they are also an essential element of our glorious social history and every time we look at them, we take a vow that we will never stop till the process of making Bihar the best state in the land is accomplished.

I want to humbly request to the people sitting at the helm of affairs and everyone concerned to take concrete measures ensuring that Bihar Vibhuti's legacy of selfless service and sacrifice is revived. The present generation of youth should draw inspiration from the life and works of Anugrah Babu and pay fitting tribute to one of most illustrious sons of our Bihar.