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Monday, November 29, 2010

Nitish Kumar - A Breath Of Fresh Air

Team Being Cynical

If something good that has happened in last week or so (apart from India barely managing to win the test series) has to be the emerging of a Bihari Babu. In the chaos of scams, shams and nepotism amounting to thousands or even lakhs of crores, Nitish Kumar’s flamboyance in the last Bihar legislative election is for sure a rare spark of light at the end of the tunnel. More than the win it is the hope that we are finally moving away from the dirty caste based and mafia dominated politics is refreshing. But before we should uncork the bottle, let’s think again – are we celebrating a little too early? Are our joys a little premature? Are we satisfied with the change in Bihar or want the same to get replicated in our national politics also? A small analysis of Nitish’s achievements of last half decade might just give us a clue, if not the answers.

I am not sure of the Biharis but for others, going to a world war to fight was always a better option than going to Bihar to peruse their jobs. Forget about settling there; even the thought of driving or a train journey through Bihar was good enough to bring a shiver to the last possible nerves. This was the Bihar we used to know and perceive when Lalu Yadav and company were at the helm of affairs. Governance was out of the window with gun wielding goons roaming the streets and calling the shots in the political circles of Patna. Women were protected more strategically inside their homes than gold ornaments once the clock hits the 7 P.M mark. A mere purchase of Maruti 800 brought about an extortion letter along with the RC book. No one was sure when he would get kidnapped – while going to office, during a morning walk or even while addressing the nature’s call in the nearby paddy field. Extortion and ransom was at all time high with instances of individuals getting kidnapped multiple times with ransoms being negotiated at the nearest police stations. Not to mention a handsome part of this unethical booty going to the bank accounts of the political powers that be – starting with Lalu Yadav and down.

This phenomenon of lawlessness was a matter of humiliation for thousands of Biharis outside the state. I still remember a friend (during my engineering days) of mine was ashamed to the core to divulge his state in public. Did you just say you belong to Bihar? There goes the squeezing of the nostrils and eyebrows rose. I am not blaming the strange facial expressions of the recipient party. The whole lawlessness has made all to believe – A Bihari is always a Bihari. Full with nonsense and uncultured to the bottom and as rogue as one can get. More than anything Nitish to some extent has successfully managed to change such outrageous perception. If not proud, the Biharis are not ashamed anymore, at least while divulging their mother state.

Now we see a revamped Bihar. Law has taken its due position. Goons promptly tucked away behind bars. Women roaming around freely on Patna or elsewhere streets well into the mid of the night. Girls riding the bicycles to their schools. A growth rate of 11%, a good 3% more than the country’s growth rate. No more hijacking of brand new cars from showrooms to felicitate some minister’s political campaign or son’s barat. No extortion calls if your passport gets stamped for a USA Visa. Rapes on hourly basis made a strict nose dive. Food on the plates of the poorest of the poor. No caste or religion bakery left for buffoons like Lalu Yadav or Pashwan to bake their breads. Crooks and thugs cutting party lines are promptly shown the door and advised to pursue a different career. On the face value, even if these changes seem very rudimentary and fundamental one, for a Bihari it is nothing less than a hell lot achieved within 5 years.

More than dashing cast based election out of the way, Nitish Kumar proved another vital point – Let’s not always blame our system for corruption. When the guy at the top is clean, the system responds. Perhaps in the history of Indian democracy, for the first time people have voted for development, good governance and clean society. If this is not good enough a reason to cheer our throat out then I am not sure what could be. Hope this gets re-produced in all elections to follow where people en-mass come forward and vote for development and governance.

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