The Name that is Bihar

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We have time and again read and heard the the concept of “ Prejudiced reporting ”. Those who have gone through this weeks Tehelka magazine ( December 29, 2007) would have surely read the article “ Two years On, no new deal ” on the state of governance in Bihar by Tehelka’s Bihar correspondent. And one would not find a better example of ‘prejudiced reporting’ than the above mentioned article.

Those who are not aware of the ground realities in Bihar are sure to rise in unison and call for the rolling of Nitish ‘s head after reading the current Tehelka’s write up. The writer has left no further scope for criticizing Nitish Kumar led JD (U) government and he has through manipulative use of facts turned every work of progress and development that has been taken up by Nitish into that of misdeed.

He in the end of his article says that the ‘people of Bihar are wondering whether they did the right thing in electing Nitish as a CM’? The writer has failed to answer on what is the parameter that he has has used while constituting ‘the people of Bihar’ in the present case.

The writer has embarked on a “feel bad” drive while criticizing the state government and made sure that by the end of the article people start feeling that “Nitish is the worst thing that has happened to Bihar”.

It would have been better if the writer had acknowledged the efforts that are being taken up by Nitish to improve the situation Bihar which has been result of 15 years of ‘‘susasan’’ by RJD (pun intended).

It has been only two years since the JD (U) assumed power in Bihar. The correspondent at one place says that Nitish has formed commissions after commissions to implement policies and to conduct enquiries into the various social and legal misdeeds of the previous state government. What else he expects? Does he expect that all mis-adventures of the previous government should be ignored?

For the records one of the commission was on the 1989-90 Bhagalpur riots. The Justice N N Singh Commission of Inquiry which was constituted in February 2006 recommended that victims of the 1989-90 Bhagalpur riots should be compensated on par with those of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Later after the JD (U) came into power a Bihar court sentenced Kameshwar Yadav, the prime accused to rigorous life imprisonment. The police had earlier closed the case against Yadav, citing lack of evidence. In fact, he was later given a citation for maintaining communal harmony by the state police in 2004 when the state was ruled by the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) government of Rabri Devi.
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Chief Minister Nitish Kumar last year ordered a fresh probe into the 27 riots cases that were closed by police citing lack of evidence. So much for bad governance.

Later the writer says that although the crime rate has gone down in the state after the new government yet crime committed has increased. He states that this is due to the fact that the police machinery has been told not to register cases. If this arguments has any substance then I am sure that the previous government also had enough ‘clout’ over the police to stop them from registering cases. But under the RJD rule both the crime rate as well as crimes committed increased.

The writer further quotes a PUCL worker to substantiate his claim. It is illogical to expect that a human rights activist with due respect will say that all’s well in the state. Better choice would have been a local trader or a local journalist.

The biasness continues to gain strength as we turn the pages. The magazine goes on to criticize Nitish Kumar on the ground that by setting up speedy trial courts he is targeting his political adversaries. They further say that the CM is targeting leaders from particular castes. One of the so called ‘target’ was Anand Mohan , a JD (U) leader and a former MP. He was ‘targeted’ by Nitish for inciting a mob to lynch the then district magistrate of Gopalganj Krishnaiah 13 years ago.

Then the magazine dwells on the issues of development. The appointment of 3.12 lakhs of teacher comes up ; but even in this case Nitish earns negative input. He uses this number to point out that only 1 lakh post of policeman and engineer have been filled up till now. Nobody not even a CM possesses a magic-wand these days and expecting him to bring the golden days of Pataliputra back in a short period of 2 years is a bit too much.

The most childish of the magazine claims is embedded in the first paragraph of the article. The writer says that Nitish and company are worried after around 2 lakh disenchanted people turned up for a “Chetavni rally’ of Lalu Yadav.

Those who were in Patna at that time will tell that these rallyists were not the ‘dis-enchanted lot’ and by no stretch of imagination they numbered 2 lakhs. As a matter of fact that rally was supposed to go on till 5 PM but when the RJD leaders saw the sparse crowd they decided that it was in their best interest to windup the rally by 2 PM but not before Laluji dedicated his two sons to the service of the nation.

Much of the rallyists composed of rural people who came in buses and tractors, not because they wanted a change in the state but because it was better to earn some bucks and have a good time in the city rather than idling away a Sunday afternoon.

Quoting opposition leaders and local activist for describing two years rule may give a picture but it will not be a true and complete picture.

I have time and again reiterated that a mess that took 15 years to be done cannot be undone in 2 years. At least Nitish is trying and putting efforts to put things back on track. Let us save our critiques for 3 more years and till then let Nitish do his job and let Bihar live in peace for the state has already earned more than its share of bad name.
 

Comments:

Mr. Mishra, I can understand your feeling. And your feelings are in general the reflection of 'common educated people of Bihar'. I just wanted to add, despite all these media attempts, it will be only the people of Bihar which will matter because their vote will determine which MLA is worth for what.

Then, how to tackle these false news about Bihar in media? I will leave it to the educated people of Bihar to use their logic in finding out the truth. I am unable to find a good analogy but just to serve the purpose, wanted to give the following examples:

1. Any genuine Indian knows the truth behind the 'news getting published in Pakistani media about Indian government role in Kashmir issue or terrorism'.

2. The same way, an immigrant from India in USA will face the same biased news about Indian current economical status. Believe it or not, you will still find news in media where they will compare India to some remote undeveloped African countries. But any educated Indian has an IQ to decipher the 'true meaning of Tehelka news'

3.Prior to Gujarat Election, lot of NDTV news were creeping against Modi but finally it was the Gujarat people who voted him in majority. Having said that, I am not a BJP follower but at the same time, cannot ignore the developmental works, Modi did in Gujarat during his tenure.

With this, before ending my letter, I want to praise Indra for posting a very good article titled "Bihar - Some Hopes and Despair" in Dec 2007 on PatnaDaily. If you get time, please have a look at it, its worth reading rather than getting agitated and wasting energy on some falsified biased news on a website who are not in anyway going to represent Bihar. - Niraj Ashutosh, MD, Detroit, Michigan, USA - Jan. 2, 2008
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I would like to redress, in my opinion, the following sentences.

1. "It would have been better if the writer had acknowledged the efforts that are being taken up by Nitish to improve the situation Bihar which has been result of 46 years (1961-2005; Kursi ki Ladai started; 12 Chief Ministers in 10 years from Feb. 1961-June 1971) of ''susasan'' by RJD, Janata Party, Congress (I), Congress (O), Jan Kranti Dal and Socialist Party.

2. "I have time and again reiterated that a mess that took 32 years (Apr 1975 - Feb. 2005 including "world famous" JP Movement) to be done cannot be undone in 2 years. At least Nitish is trying and putting efforts to put things back on track. Let us save our critiques for 3 more years and till then let Nitish do his job and let Bihar live in peace for the state has already earned more than its share of bad name. - Dr. Sudhir Ranjan, USA - Jan. 2, 2008

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