As the title suggests, this post is about my home state, Bihar. I am a proud Bihari and never have had to hide my state of origin to anyone. Although what there is to be proud of is a question to which I do not have any ready answer.
As I write this, over 2 million people have been rendered homeless due to the sudden floods in the Kosi river. The current occurence has been due to the sudden shift in the river's course due to the breaching of the embankment upstream in Nepal. The flood waters spread across the vast plains have caused large scale devastation with the worst probably still to come.
A natural disaster of this scale may or may not have been avoided. But the thing which really annoyed me is the almost complete lack of awareness of the situation amongst people outside Bihar. Here I am in Mumbai and I have heard no mention of the devastation amongst the people or even in newspapers. Only through the internet did I become aware of the magnitude of the situation.
This situation raises a pertinent question. Does India really care about Bihar? or has Bihar totally slipped out of the national conciousness? Bihar has become a by-word for lawlessness, and Biharis are the first ones to be targetted by the xenophobic politicians of every part of the country to raise their vote banks, be it in Maharastra or Assam. The question is why this state of affairs regarding Bihar. Maybe it is because of the politicians, always the first and easiest target.
Or is it because of the Biharis themselves, who have got so used to situation that they have stopped caring. We Biharis work hard. There are no doubts about it. But the hard work is for getting out of the state. Nobody wants to go back.
The state's infrastructure is in a mess. The education levels are amongst the lowest in the country. There is no industrial investment of any note in the state. Outsiders would not even think of going to Bihar. Whats the cause of all this? Does anybody have an answer?