Bihar: Regional identity and Pride

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Ek Bihari 100 pe BHARI / BEEMARI?

“A place where extortion & kidnapping are main occupations” – Ruchir Sharma introducing Bihar in his book “Democracy on the Road”. Bihar, an unruly state is mainly famous for its two extreme – civil servants or migrant workers and Lalu. A state with a glorious past, dark present and it will be futile to talk about the future. Located in the eastern part of the country, stretching from West Champaran on Nepal side to Jamui on Jharkhand side, this land is full of contradictions like the rest of the country but what remains uniform throughout this land is Unemployment, sheer poverty, migration either for work or education. In 2017-18, the unemployment rate in Bihar was 7.2%, much above the national average of 6%. A large part of the workforce is employed outside the state working in small-scale enterprises sewing bags or as unskilled laborers at construction sites throughout the country. They work in abject conditions, eight to ten men work, and sleep in one room. One can’t afford to forget about lawlessness and corruption the dismal condition of public education in the state. Even in these conditions, there is a sense of pride among the Biharis famously conceptualized in the slogan “Ek Bihari 100 pe Bhari”. Find any Bihari Youth, talk to him about his state & you will end up hearing this slogan from him with a spark in their eyes.

The state population holds 58% of youth (below the age of 25), the majority of them boasting “Ek Bihari 100 pe Bhari” in front of non-Biharis (whom they encounter mostly after migrating to another state). It would not be wrong to say that Bihari youths are divided by so many things yet united by “Ek Bihari 100 pe Bhari”. This famous slogan is diabolical in its own right, as for the rest of the country its “Ek Bihari 100 Bemaari”. Bihari Youths are in a state of a hangover of their pride in being a Bihari in a “so-called “Dry State”. Being a Bihari myself and spending fundamental years of my life here before migrating, I can say one thing for sure that “Bihar lives on the edge of chaos, yet somehow, miraculously every time it arrives smiling in the end. Despite all the Bimaris Bihar’s land is in state of continuous habitation from time immemorial and Biharis can be found even in dire circumstances boasting about the pride they take in being a Bihari. This approach of my fellow people stuck anew love for my state where people live happily with so-called pride of theirs. This whole frame of mind is ironic in its sense – sometimes it gives me hope, courage to smile & live on my life no matter the hardships – other times it makes me sick over the foul pride that they take of being a Bihari.

Bihar has got numerous ‘Bimaris’ and they need to be solved. I don’t know how I don’t have any vaccines for all of the ‘Bimaris’ or barely for any but if 58% of youth want then maybe we will begin something extraordinary even by just being ordinary responsible citizens. I don’t know much but I sure do know one thing that “Beginning could happen more than once, or in different ways”. Till ‘Bimaris’ are like the way they are let’s try to keep it “Ek Bihari pe 100 Zimmedari”

 

– Farhan Siddique studies law at Aligarh Muslim University. He can be reached at [email protected]

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