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Vol. 1 Issue 3 08-17 March, 2011

Harvest to harvest in West Champaran Leaking Bihari Bladder 16 19

The Patna Post M ag a z i n e o n N e t

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one day at the age of two he (my father) accidentally burned me with his cigarette and that I glared at him and said Chootiya.

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08-17 march 2011

F ro m th e E d ito r’ s D esk he Patna Post has come out with its third issue and its three cheers for all of us who have been making it not only happening but going stronger and sturdier every ten days. Bonnyson-Tyson. Reader’s response with their religious hits counted upon; compelling us to think different and bold especially with the cover and the content.

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For the third issue we wanted to do cover story on politics as Bihar holds the distinction of a sensitive as well as politically a volatile state. Followed by some agreements and disagreements we finally decided to give it a pass in place of a breaking interview with the maverick writer-activist Arundhati Roy. Though it is a long a format interview but Roy has made many startling revelations in it and we thought it’s always better to amuse our intelligent readers with something new in literature than in politics. They say pen pricks more than politics when a writer like Arundhati wields it. We hope you will not be disappointed. As usual Sanjay Kumar again has come out with his brilliantly humorous piece on something which significantly has become a big sociological problem in Bihar. The hiss of the piss has become the most deafening sound on the roads of Bihar today and Sanjay has outlined its history and geography; sociology, psychology and biology in a way that makes it an excellent piece of wit. Similarly, Abhay Mohan Jha has tried his best to capture the socio-politico and economic structure of his Champaran to map the state as a whole. Bihar comes alive in his writing. Our other writers too have toiled to make the issue special for its readers. And, what to say about our photosynthesizer, Prashant…he is simply born to delight the world with his visual craft & draft. With this issue on your computer screen thepatnapost will also be completing its one month life in the webworld journalism and from the next it will quietly walk down in your cerebral space for debate, dialogue and discussion. From next issue this page-space too will make its own comment on the issues related with you, me and all others who struggle daily with the burden of life and longing. It will not be an ideological exercise but a comment on all that’s happening around us, behind us, upon us and of course, before us.

editor@thepatnapost.com

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Contents Cover Talk Arundhati Roy Analysis

08-17 march 2011

5

16 Leaking Bihari Bladder

Humour

19

Poetry

Harvest to harvest in West Champaran

tendaysyoutrundledpast

Photo Story

28 Quizicall

36

40

Longing & Belonging Chalchitra

45

Foodie

42

39

43

37

Memory lane

Open Space

34

Books

Psychoquest health/Lifestyle

27

44

46

Opinion Poll result on

Is Nitish Kumars crackdown on corruption a reality or a sham?

ed ito r@th ep atn ap o st.c o m

ad s@th ep atn ap o st.c o m

yo u rvo ic e@th ep atn ap o st.c o m

** views expressed by the writers in www.thepatnapost.com are their own. Cover Sketchhttp://www.srilankaart.co.cc/2010/05/arundhati-roy_29.html Concept, design & layout by Creative Brains,/Sui Generis Media Pvt. ltd. Vol. 1, Issue 3, 08-17 March ,2011 .

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S p eed P o st

08-17 march 2011

Letter of the issue February 15th in History:

I have become a die heart fan of the writer sexually a bihari! an advice to him peole would love to see and appreciate his small snap,if posted with the write up.will wait 4 THE NEXT DOSE fm sanjay. good going. Shweta

1804: New Jersey becomes last northern state to abolish slavery 1936: Hitler announces building of Volkswagen 1942: Singapore surrenders to Japanese forces 1971: Britain changes its currency to the decimal system 1974: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn arrives in Switzerland after being expelled from the USSR 1989: Soviet military occupation of Afghanistan ends. ???????????????????????. 2011: THE PATNA POST (A MAGAZINE ON NET) STARTED. Sandeep

This refers to superb postmodernist the patnapost.com article `sexually a bihari`by Sanjay kumar. By defamiliarizing bihari libido to the metropolitan `class` he has once again proved the Bihari mettle for turning an opportunity to showcase what could not be done through the mainstream twitters.thankyou. Ramshankar

This is good to get on line news specially for bihar. baidya jha You people have started an appreciable work!kudos.. are you guys independent or under some group.. i am a fan and for the first time i am seeing actually a freedom of expression in writing and being located in bihar,starting a magazine completely in english,on internet and doing this kind of stuff is amazing. well done people.i am a first year student of english from patna college Anchit

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fACEBOOK Post all my bihari friends are requested to visit www.thepatnapost.com, read it and feel proud to b a ' BIHARI' Shweta Sharma Follow us on

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C o ver S to ry

08-17 march 2011

The Un-Victim

Amitava Kumar interviews Arundhati Roy

n the wake of sedition threats by the Indian government, Arundhati Roy describes the stupidest question she gets asked, the cuss-word that made her respect the power of language, and the limits of reaching nonviolence.

I

We

Have to be

Because...

Very

Careful

These Days

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hat is what I read on the little green, blue, and yellow stickers on the front door of Arundhati Roy’s home in south Delhi.Media outlets are not only complicit with the state, they are also indistinguishable from each other. The main anchor of a TV channel writes a column for a newspaper, the news editor has a talk show, etc. Roy told me that the monopoly of the media is like watching “an endless cocktail party where people are carrying their drinks from one room to the next.” Guernica:

Before we begin, can you give me an example of a stupid question you are asked at interviews? Roy: It is difficult to answer extremely stupid questions. Very, very, difficult. Stupidity defeats you in some way. Especially when time is at a premium. And sometimes these questions are themselves mischievous.

“My father turned out to be an absolutely charming, unemployed, broke, irreverent alcoholic.”

Guernica: Give me an example. Roy: “The Maoists are blowing up

schools and killing children. Do you approve? Is it right to kill children?” Where do you start?

Guernica: Yes. Roy: There was

a Hardtalk once, I believe, between some BBC guy obviously, and a Palestinian activist. He was asking questions like this—“Do you believe in killing children?”—and any question he asked, the Palestinian just said, “Ariel Sharon is a war criminal.” Once, I was on The Charlie Rose Show. Well, I was invited to be on The Charlie Rose Show. He said, “Tell me, Arundhati Roy, do you believe that India should have nuclear weapons?” So I said, “I don’t think India should have nuclear weapons. I don’t think Israel should have nuclear weapons. I don’t think the United States should have nuclear weapons.” “No, I asked you do you believe that India should have nuclear weapons.” I answered ex-

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actly the same thing. About four times… They never aired it! Guernica:

How old were you when you first became aware of the power

of words? Roy: Pretty old I think. Maybe two. I heard about it from my disappeared father whom I met for the first time when I was about twentyfour or twenty-five years old. He turned out to be an absolutely charming, unemployed, broke, irreverent alcoholic. (After being unnerved initially, I grew very fond of him and gave thanks that he wasn’t some senior bureaucrat or golf-playing CEO.) Anyway, the first thing he asked me was, “Do you still use bad language?” I had no idea what he meant, given that the last time he saw me I was about two years old. Then he told me that on the tea estates in Assam where he worked, one day he accidentally burned me with his cigarette and that I glared at him and said “chootiya” (cunt, or imbecile)—language I’d obviously picked up in the tea-pickers’ labor quarters where I must have been shunted off to while my parents fought. My first piece of writing was when I was five… I still have those notebooks. Miss Mitten, a terrifying Australian missionary, was my teacher. She would tell me on a daily basis that she could see Satan in my eyes. In my two-sentence essay (which made it into The God of Small Things) I said, “I hate Miss Mitten, whenever I see her I see rags. I think her knickers are torn.” She’s dead now, God rest her soul. I don’t know whether these stories I’m telling you are about becoming aware of the power of words, or about developing an affection for words… the awareness of a child’s pleasure which extended beyond food and drink.

“What’s interesting is trying to walk the path between honing language to make it

as private as possible, then looking around, seeing what’s happening to millions, and deploying that private language to speak from the heart of a crowd.”

How has that early view changed or become refined in specific ways in the years since? Roy: I’m not sure that what I had then was a “view” about language— I’m not sure that I have one even now. As I said, it was just the beginnings of the recognition of pleasure. To be able to express yourself, to be able to close the gap—in as much as it is possible—between thought and expression is just such a relief. It’s like having the ability to draw or paint what you see, the way you see it. Behind the speed and confidence of a beautiful line in a line drawing there’s years of—usually—disGuernica:

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cipline, obsession, practice that builds on a foundation of natural talent or inclination of course. It’s like sport. A sentence can be like that. Language is like that. It takes a while to become yours, to listen to you, to obey you, and for you to obey it. I have a clear memory of language swimming towards me. Of my willing it out of the water. Of it being blurred, inaccessible, inchoate… and then of it emerging. Sharply outlined, custom-made. As far as writing is concerned, do you have models, especially those that have remained so for a long time? Roy: Do I have models? Maybe I wouldn’t use that word because it sounds like there are people who I admire so much that I would like to become them, or to be like them… I don’t feel that about anybody. But if you mean are there writers I love and admire—yes of course there are. So many. But that would be a whole new interview wouldn’t it? Apart from Shakespeare, James Joyce, and Nabokov, Neruda, Eduardo Galeano, John Berger, right now I’m becoming fascinated by Urdu poets who I am ashamed to say I know so little about… But I’m learning. I’m reading Hafiz. There are so many wonderful writers, my ancestors that have lived in the world. I cannot begin to list them. However, it isn’t only writers who inspire my idea of storytelling. Look at the Kathakali dancer, the ease with which he can shift gears within a story—from humor to epiphany, from bestiality to tenderness, from the epic to the intimate—that ability, that range, is what I really admire. To me it’s that ease—it’s a kind of athleticism—like watching a beautiful, easy runner—a cheetah on the move—that is proof of the fitness of the storyteller. Guernica:

American readers got their introduction to you when, a bit before The God of Small Things was published, an excerpt appeared in the New Yorker issue on India. There was a photograph there of you with other Indian writers, including Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh, Vikram Seth, Vikram Chandra, Anita Desai, Kiran Desai, and a few others. In the time since then, your trajectory as a writer has defined very sharply your difference from everyone in that group. Did you even ever want to belong in it? Roy: I chuckle when I remember that day. I think everybody was being a bit spiky with everybody else. There were muted arguments, sulks, and mutterings. There was brittle politeness. Everybody was a little uncomfortable, wondering what exactly it was that we had in common, Guernica:

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what qualified us to be herded into the same photograph? And yet it was for The New Yorker, and who didn’t want to be in The New Yorker? It was the fiftieth anniversary of India’s Independence and this particular issue was meant to be about the renaissance of Indian-English writing. But when we went for lunch afterward the bus that had been booked to take us was almost empty—it turned out that there weren’t many of us, after all. And who were we anyway? Indian writers? But the great majority of the people in our own country neither knew nor cared very much about who we were or what we wrote.

Anyway, I don’t think anybody in that photograph felt they really belonged in the same “group” as the next person. Isn’t that what writers are? Great individualists? I don’t lose sleep about my differences or similarities with other writers. For me, what’s more interesting is trying to walk the path between the act of honing language to make it as private and as individual as possible, and then looking around, seeing what’s happening to millions of people and deploying that private language to speak from the heart of a crowd. Holding those two very contradictory things down is a fascinating enterprise. I am a part of a great deal of frenetic political activity here. I’ve spent the last six months traveling across the country, speaking at huge meetings in smaller towns—Ranchi, Jullundur, Bhubaneshwar, Jaipur, Srinagar—at public meetings with massive audiences, three and four thousand people—students, farmers, laborers, activists. I speak mostly in Hindi, which isn’t my language (even that has to be translated depending on where the meeting is being held). Though I write in English, my writing is immediately translated into Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam, Odia. I don’t think I’m considered an “Indo-Anglian” writer any more. I seem to be drifting away from the English speaking world at high speed. My English must be changing. The way I think about language certainly is. We are going to entertain the fantasy that you have the time to read and write these days. What have you been reading this past year, for instance? Roy: I have for some reason been reading about Russia, post-revolution Russia. A stunning collection of short stories by Varlam Shalamov called Kolyma Tales. The Trial of Trotsky in Mexico. Emma Goldman’s autobiography, Living My Life. Journey Into the Whirlwind by Eugenia Ginzburg… troubling stuff. The Chinese writer Yu Hua… Guernica:

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“Finding out about things, figuring out the real story—what you call research—is part of life for some of us. Mostly just to get over the indignity of living in a pool of propaganda, of being lied to all the time.”

And writing? You have been effective, at crucial moments, as a writer-activist who introduces a strong opinion or protest when faced with an urgent issue. Often, these pieces, which are pretty lengthy, must require a lot of research—so much information sometimes sneaked into a stunning one-liner! How do you go about doing your research? Roy: Each of these pieces I have written over the last ten years are pieces I never wanted to write. And each time I wrote one, I thought it would be my last… Each time I write something I promise myself I’ll never do it again, because the fallout goes on for months; it takes so much of my time. Sometimes, increasingly, like of late, it turns dangerous. I actually don’t do research to write the pieces. My research isn’t project-driven. It’s the other way around—I write because the things I come to learn of from the reading and traveling I do and the stories I hear make me furious. I find out more, I cross-check, I read up, and by then I’m so shocked that I have to write. The essays I wrote on the December 13 Parliament attack are a good example—of course I had been following the case closely. I was on the Committee for the Free and Fair trial for S.A.R Geelani. Eventually he was acquitted and Mohammed Afzal was sentenced to death. I went off to Goa one monsoon, by myself with all the court papers for company. For no reason other than curiosity. I sat alone in a restaurant day after day, the only person there, while it poured and poured. I could hardly believe what I was reading. The Supreme Court judgment that said that though it didn’t have proof that Afzal was a member of a terrorist group, and the evidence against him was only circumstantial, it was sentencing him to death to “satisfy the collective conscience of society.” Just like that—in black and white. Even still, I didn’t write anything. I had promised myself “no more essays.” But a few months later the date for the hanging was fixed. The newspapers were full of glee, talking about where the rope would come from, who the hangman would be. I knew the whole thing was a farce. I realized that if I said nothing and they went ahead and hanged him, I’d never forgive myself. So I wrote, “And his life should become extinct.” I was one of a handful of people who protested. Afzal’s still alive. It may not be because of us, it may be because his clemency peGuernica:

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tition is still pending, but I think between us we cracked the hideous consensus that had built up in the country around that case. Now at least in some quarters there is a healthy suspicion about unsubstantiated allegations in newspapers whenever they pick up people—mostly Muslims, of course—and call them “terrorists.” We can take a bit of credit for that. Now of course with the sensational confession of Swami Aseemanand in which he says the RSS[Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] was behind the bomb blasts in Ajmer Sharif and Malegaon, and was responsible for the bombing of the Samjhauta Express—the idea of radical Hindutva groups being involved in false-flag attacks—is common knowledge. To answer your question, I don’t really do research in order to write. Finding out about things, figuring out the real story—what you call research—is part of life now for some of us. Mostly just to get over the indignity of living in a pool of propaganda, of being lied to all the time, if nothing else.

“The Indian elite has seceded into outer space. It seems to have lost the ability to understand those who have been left behind on earth.”

Guernica: What would Roy: Â It would mean

it mean for you to write fiction now? finding time, carving out a little solitude, getting off the tiger. I hope it will be possible. The God of Small Things was published only a few months before the nuclear tests which ushered in a new, very frightening, and overt language of virulent nationalism. In response I wrote “The End of Imagination” which set me on a political journey which I never expected to embark on. All these years later, after writing about big dams, privatization, the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, the Parliament attack, the occupation of Kashmir, the Maoists, and the corporatization of everything—writing which involved facing down an incredibly hostile, abusive, and dangerous middle class—the Radia tapes exposé has come like an MRI confirming a diagnosis some of us made years ago. Now it’s street talk, so I feel it’s alright for me to do something else now. It happens all the time. You say something and it sounds extreme and outrageous, and a few years down the line it’s pretty much accepted as the norm. I feel we are headed for very bad times. This is going to become a more violent place, this country. But now that it’s upon us, as a writer I’ll have to find a way to live, to witness, to communicate what’s going on. The Indian elite has seceded into outer space. It seems to have lost the ability to understand those who have been left behind on earth.

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Guernica: Yes, but what do you have to do to write new fiction? Arundhati Roy: I don’t know. I’ll have to find a language to tell the story I want to tell. By language I don’t mean English, Hindi, Urdu, Malayalam, of course. I mean something else. A way of binding together worlds that have been ripped apart. Let’s see. Your novel was a huge best-seller, of course. But your nonfiction books have been very popular too. In places like New York, whenever you have spoken there is always a huge turnout of adoring fans. Your books sell well here but what I’ve been amazed by is how some of your pieces, including the one published in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, become a sensation on the Internet. Could you comment on this phenomenon. Also, is it true that the New York Times refused to publish that piece? Roy: As far as I know the New York Times has a policy of not publishing anything that has appeared elsewhere. And I rarely write commissioned pieces. But of course “The Algebra of Infinite Justice,” the essay I wrote after 9/11, was not published in any mainstreamU.S. publication—it was unthinkable at the time. But that essay was published all over the world; in the U.S. some small radio stations read it out, all of it. And yes, it flew on the net. There’s so much to say about the internet… Wikileaks, the Facebook revolution in places like Kashmir which has completely subverted the Indian media’s propaganda of noise as well as strategic silence. The Twitter uprising in Iran. I expect the internet to become a site of conflict very soon, with attempts being made by governments and big business to own and control it, to price it out of the reach of the poor… I don’t see those attempts being successful though. India’s newest and biggest war, Operation Green Hunt, is being waged against tribal people, many of whom have never seen a bus or a train, leave alone a computer. But even there, mobile phones and YouTube are playing a part. Guernica:

Talking of the New York Times, I read your recent report from Kashmir, just after you were threatened with arrest on the slightly archaic-sounding charge of sedition. Roy: Yes, there was that. But I think it has blown over. It would have been a bad thing for me. But I think, on balance, it would have been worse for them. It’s ludicrous because I was only saying what millions of Kashmiris have been saying for years. Interestingly, the whole thing about charging me for sedition was not started by the Government, but Guernica:

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by a few right-wing crazies and a few irresponsible media channels like Times Now which is a bit like Fox News on acid. Even when the Mumbai attacks happened, if you remember it was the media that began baying for war with Pakistan. This cocktail of religious fundamentalism and a crazed, irresponsible, unaccountable media is becoming a very serious problem, in India as well as Pakistan. I don’t know what the solution is. Certainly not censorship… Can you give a sense of what is a regular day for you, or perhaps how irregular and different one day may be from another? Roy: My days and nights. Actually I don’t have a regular day (or night!). It has been so for years, and has nothing to do with the sedition tamasha [spectacle]. I’m not sure how I feel about this—but that’s how it is. I move around a lot. I don’t always sleep in the same place. I live a very unsettled but not un-calm life. But sometimes I feel as though I lack a skin—something that separates me from the world I live in. That absence of skin is dangerous. It invites trouble into every part of your life. It makes what is public private and what is private public. It can sometimes become very traumatic, not just for me but for those who are close to me. Guernica:

Your stance on Kashmir and also on the struggles of the tribals has drawn the ire of the Indian middle class. Who belongs to that class and what do you think gets their goat? Roy: The middle class goat is very sensitive about itself and very callous about other peoples’ goats. Guernica:

Your critics say that you often see the world only in black and white. Roy: The thing is you have to understand, Amitava, that the people who say such things are a certain section of society who think they are the universe. It is the jitterbugging elite which considers itself the whole country. Just go outside and nobody will say that to you. Go to Orissa, go to the people who are under attack, and nobody will think that there is anything remotely controversial about what I write. You know, I keep saying this, the most successful secession movement in India is the secession of the middle and upper classes to outer space. They have their own universe, their own andolan, their own Jessica Lal, their own media, their own controversies, and they’re disconnected from everything else. For them, what I write comes like an outrage. Ki yaar yeh Guernica:

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kyaa bol rahi hai? [What the hell is she saying?] They don’t realize that they are the ones who have painted themselves into a corner.

“It would be immoral of me to preach violence unless I’m prepared to pick up arms myself. It is equally immoral for me to preach nonviolence when I’m not bearing the brunt of the aack.”

You have written that “people believe that faced with extermination they have the right to fight back. By any means necessary.” The knee-jerk response to this has been: Look, she’s preaching violence. Roy: My question is, if you are an Adivasi living in a village in a dense forest in Chhattisgarh, and that village is surrounded by eight hundred Central Reserve Police Force who have started to burn down the houses and rape the women, what are people supposed to do? Are they supposed to go on a hunger strike? They can’t. They are already hungry, they are already starving. Are they supposed to boycott goods? They can’t because they don’t have the money to buy goods. And if they go on a fast or a dharna, who is looking, who is watching? So, my position is just that it would be immoral of me to preach violence to anybody unless I’m prepared to pick up arms myself. But I think it is equally immoral for me to preach nonviolence when I’m not bearing the brunt of the attack. Guernica:

According to Macaulay, the rationale for the introduction of English in India, as we all know, was to produce a body of clerks. We have departed from that purpose, of course, but still, in our use of the language we remain remarkably conservative. I wonder sometimes whether your style itself, exuberant and excessive, isn’t for these readers a transgression. Roy: I wouldn’t say that it’s all Macaulay’s fault. There is something clerky and calculating about our privileged classes. They see themselves as the State or as advisors to the State, rarely as subjects. If you read columnists and editorials, most have a very clerky, “applythrough-proper-channels” approach. As though they are a shadow cabinet. Even when they are critical of the State they are what a friend once described as “reckless at slow speed.” So I don’t think my transgressions as far as they are concerned has only to do with my style. It’s about everything—style, substance, politics, speed. I think it worries them that I’m not a victim and that I don’t pretend to be one. They love victims and victimology. My writing is not a plea for aid or for compasGuernica:

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sion towards the poor. We’re not asking for more NGOs or charities or foundations in which the rich can massage their egos and salve their consciences with their surplus money. The critique is structural. Your polemical essays often draw criticism also for their length. (We are frankly envious of the space that the print media in India is able to grant you.) You have written “We need context. Always.” Is the length at which you aspire to write and explain things a result of your search for context? Roy: I don’t aspire to write at any particular length. What I write could be looked at as a very long essay or a very short book. Most of the time, what I write has everything to do with timing. It’s not just what I say, but when I say it. I usually write when I know the climate is turning ugly, when no one is in a mood to listen to this version of things. I know it’s going to enrage people and yet, I know that nothing is more important at that moment than to put your foot in the door. Guernica:

But even as we raise the issue of criticism, it is also important to say that some of these critics who accuse you of hyperbole and other sins are hardly our moral exemplars. I’m thinking of someone like Vir Sanghvi. His editorial about your Kashmir speech was dismissive and filled with high contempt. We’ve discovered from the recent release of the Radia tapes that people like Sanghvi were not impartial journalists: they were errand boys for corporate politicians. Roy: We didn’t need the Radia tapes to discover that. And I wouldn’t waste my energy railing against those who criticize or dismiss me. It’s part of their brief. I don’t expect them to stand up and applaud. Guernica:

Having read all your published writing over the past twelve years or more, I wonder: Is there anything you have written in the past that you don’t agree with anymore, that you think you were wrong about, or perhaps something about which you have dramatically changed your mind? Roy: You know, ironically, I wouldn’t be unhappy to be wrong about the things I’ve said. Imagine if I suddenly realized that big dams were wonderful. I could celebrate the hundreds of dams that are being planned in the Himalayas. I could celebrate the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal. But there are things about which my views have changed—because the times have changed. Most of this has to do with strategies of resistance. The Indian State has become hard and unforgiving. What it once did in Guernica:

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places like Kashmir, Manipur, and Nagaland, it does in mainland India. So some of the strategies we inherited from the freedom movement are a bit obsolete now. You have pointed out that the logic of the global war on terror is the same as the logic of terrorism, making victims of civilians. Are there specific works, particularly of fiction, that have arrived close to explaining the post 9/11 world we are living in? Roy: Actually I haven’t really kept up with the world of fiction, sad to say. I don’t even know who won the Booker Prize from one year to the next. But when you read Neruda’s “Standard Oil Co.” you really have to believe that while things change they remain the same. Guernica:

Your old friend Baby Bush is gone. But has Obama been any better? While we are worried about the TSA at airports, in less fortunate places U.S. drone attacks are killing more civilians than militants. Shouldn’t we be raising our voices against the role played by the U.S.terrorist-industrial complex instead of backing, as you suggest, the Iraqi resistance movement? Roy: I hope I didn’t say we should back the Iraqi resistance movement. I’m not sure what backing a resistance movement means—saying nice things about it? I think I meant that we should become the resistance. If people outside Iraq had actually done more than just weekend demonstrations, then the pressure on the U.S. government could have been huge. Without that, the Iraqis were left on their own in a war zone in which every kind of peaceful dissent was snuffed out. Only the monstrous could survive. And then the world was called upon to condemn them. Even here in India, there are these somewhat artificial debates about  “violent” and “non-violent” resistance—basically a critique of the Maoists’ armed struggle in the mineral-rich forests of Central India. The fact is that if everybody leaves adivasis to fight their own battles against displacement and destitution, it’s impossible to expect them to be Gandhian. However, it is open to people outside the forest, well-off and middle-class people who the media pays mind to, to become a part of the resistance. If they stood up, then perhaps those in the forest would not need to resort to arms. If they won’t stand up, then there’s not much point in their preaching morality to the victims of the war. About Bush and Obama: frankly, I’m tired of debating U.S. politics. There are new kings on the block now. courtsey:guernicamag.com Guernica:

editor@thepatnapost.com

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H u mo u r

08-17 march 2011

Bladder

Leaking Bihari

by

Sanjay Kumar

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he Republic of Bihar is leaking. And, its leaking since ages: with and without sacred thread, in Dhoti, Pants, Lungi whatever, in postures – standing, squatting, on haunches, half-bent, on occasions – momentous and trivial, along, together, in chorus, through napping and farting, in the presence and absence of others, between one meeting and the other, during a meeting when one’s performance review is in order, out of fear and fearlessness, because of entrenched habits and incorrigible fancy, not because of but certainly in spite of the government, the Sulabh International and leaking NGOs, during movie and class, through sex and bouts of passion, beside the stadium, alongside the temple, across the railway station, near the secretariat, in the swimming pool, on the roof, from the rooftop, in company with menacing bulls, urchin dogs, stray donkeys, in assertion, to prove manliness, to show to the world that Bihar can do without rain in times of erratic rainfall due to global warming, in

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fraternity with fellow citizens and Bangladeshi intruders, in solidarity with one another, in memory of our Neanderthal ancestors, in defiance of Gandhi and in deference to Tau Devilal. The reigning ideology in Bihar is ‘have dick, will piss’ whenever and wherever. One need not be a research scholar to find out puddles of toxic, acidic liquid everywhere and anywhere one goes – the bus stand, the Gandhi setu, the station, your big boundary wall corner house, alongside the public toilet. We are in the habit of emptying out our bladder before it is full. In fact our bladder is never full. Some sort of Bihari Jinx. Infact there is quite a bit of history to this Jinx. Our very iconic Golghar – because of structural defect of its gate opening inside – can never be full just like our bladder. Going further back, anecdote goes that encouraging people to piss in open was a Kautilyan ploy so that they could be penalised in order to raise revenues for the State. Votaries of this contention argue that if Kautilya could think of placing idols of gods and deities at squares and crossroads to induce superstitious and unsuspect-

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ing believers into charity, he could not have missed the revenue – raising potential of penalty on public pissing. The legacy continues. Sometimes policemen are placed strategically to catch us pissing and napping (with one eye half shut other half open) with our incessant streams drawing maps of Burkina Faso on much pissed and often masturbated walls. The reasons for public pissing range from existential to philosophical, cultural to political, historical to anthropological but most of all it is definitional. It defines us in unique ways. It is our very raison d’etra.

There must be something unique about anatomy and the mechanism of Bihari bladder. We hardly feel the piss thrust at home but the moment we step out our bladders start feeling the pressure which soon builds up to unmanageable extent and we run helterskelter to search a place to release the bladder- bursting pressure and the moment we chance upon faded polythene sheets drifting around and wall showing vaguest trace of being wet we let ourselves go – in company of cows, rodents, dogs, occasional bulls and relieving fellows. While we release ourselves, we watch dogs pissing – hind left leg raised, acrobatically

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balanced on other three legs, one eye closed, other half open, tail

not wagging for a change, a study in balance and concentration. Other creatures are less poetic while pissing. The standard existential argument for pissing in open is innocuously simple “Nahin Utarta Hai” (It doesn’t come out in hygienic toilets). Given this the Nirmal Gram Yojana is bound to be a failure. Beneficiaries avail subsidy and they also get the toilets constructed but after that they lock them as their motions do not come unless the fresh air touches their anterior and posterior. Toilets so constructed remain locked and are shown to the bride side to jack up dowry demand. Our public officers and public servants successfully resist every at-

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tempt of the government to provide world class urinal. The first thing they do upon its installation is to disrupt its flush mechanism. The more it stinks the better it is. It gives them a sense of belonging, a feeling of complacent changelessness, an identity that is comforting, a shield against a rapidly changing world that threatens their certitudes. Déjà vu. one hand on the zip, the other in the till – any change in the way they piss will make them feel pissed off. More generally place a Bihari in a harpic cleaned, deodorant sprayed hygienic environment and he will miss the toxic aroma, the putrefying flovour, the sinister

– to piss at where existed the old Bankipore Prison and where has now come up the Buddha Park and second, to spit paan in the corridors of power. It is why their investment proposals remain mere proposals – just an excuse to lull us into complacent stupor while they get the red carpet to make that even more red. And this is not going to go away anytime soon. If you do not believe, try to pit cultural argument against hygiene argument, cultural relativism against western conspiracy, anthropological specificity against homogenizing globalization, collective will against the specious will of the state and the former will always win. Votaries of the former school will always refer to poetic stock phrases like “the state of the nature”, “Pristine purity of existence”, “the supreme will of the individual”, to defeat mundane arguments like hygiene and public good. What is public good if all public of the republic want to give public demonstration of their theoretically private but public physical device?

scent he has got so used to. What non-resident Biharis miss most about Bihar are not love, nostalgia, mother, motherland, chhath etc. but public pissing and public spitting. When they arrive here it is primarily for these two reasons

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sanjaykumarpuraini@rediffmail.com

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An alysis

08-17 march 2011

Harvest to harvest in

by Abhay Mohan Jha

A

West Champaran

As times change in rural Bihar, so does the social texture of the village.

t first glance, you would feel you are still north of the border, in Nepal’s Madhes, with the sight of mutton, fish, chicken and pork being fried by the village roadside, with the green expanse of paddy fields in the background. But this is the village where I was born and have spent most of my life, in Bihar’s West Champaran district. The flow of liquor washing down fried meat might be a common sight along the Indo-Nepal border, but in Champaran and similar villages it signifies a major socioeconomic change. The clientele at such meat-and-drinks joints in villages in this part of the country is neither bourgeois nor kulak – the working-class proletariat has the expendable income to drown their earnings now. This was unimaginable even a decade or two ago, with low wages and little work. Coming back home after finishing college in Delhi in 1985, I took up farming. A strapping young landless labourer on my farm left for Punjab after the rabi(spring) harvest to keep the hearth burning at home during the

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lean months of monsoon joblessness. I inquired about this chap when I returned for the kharif (autumn) harvest to my farm, 40 km from Bettiah, the headquarters of West Champaran district. He was still away in Punjab, and his wife had piled up a huge debt. As I came back from the fields one afternoon, I found a stranger wearing a shirt with trousers, goggles firmly in place above the bridge of his nose, a transistor radio slung across his shoulder, all accentuated by a grin across his face. I looked hard, but my eventual recognition was only prompted by a woman’s jibe on my threshingfloor: ‘Siyara oohey baa, rang badeley baa!’ (It is the same fox, just changed his colours). Beneath the newly acquired swagger of this Punjab-returned farm-

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hand was concealed an emaciated body. Within a day his acquisitions were pawned off, since his savings could not clear his family’s debts. The next day he was back on my fields, harvesting paddy with his wife. A few days later, the breadearner was bedridden. As I came to learn from other migrant workers, the opium-laced diet typical of Punjab’s farms was taking its toll. My mind went back to Britain’s colonisation of China, where opium from Patna and Malwa (in modernday Madhya Pradesh) served the imperial design. Here I was seeing a hardy farmhand withering after a work stint in the hub of India’s ‘green revolution’. I remember engaging the workmen returning from Punjab in a debate. By then, wages had shot up in Champaran, too – at times higher than the fixed minimum wages. But I could not reason with the psyche of the opiate.

Recalling the case of the dying migrant worker, I now realise that such workers were probably unsuspecting victims, whose employers were able to extract long hours of work with the help of opium. The higher wages were all that these migrants fell for. Back in Bihar, even though wages had risen, it fell short of Punjab both in terms of man-hours per day and the money earned at the end of such toiling days. The case of such

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migrant labourers from Bihar, if analogy permits, now seems uncannily similar to the naive Indian athletes failing dope tests ahead of the New Delhi Commonwealth Games. Benevolent feudalism The traffic out of the Bihar villages only multiplied. And it spread, too: to Gujarat, Mumbai, Delhi and even Jammu & Kashmir. The burgeoning of the kidnap-for-ransom industry in Champaran, where payment could be as little as a few lungis, some fowl or goats, acted as an impetus to this flight of labour. But things were changing: now, work was not limited to the farmlands outside Bihar. With industrialisation, the farmhands of Champaran and indeed much of the state were becoming factory workers. The newer migrants learned to work harder, earn and save more. They also added value to their basic skills: some graduated to working factory tools from farm tools, others sharpened their skills as carpenters, masons or ele3ctricians. They even learned their workingclass rights, as I discovered on a visit to a factory in the industrial hub of Delhi’s Mayapuri one afternoon in 1983. I needed to get the cultivator I had just purchased, for my tractor back home, loaded and sent to a transport agency.

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‘Lunchtime hai, sardarji,’ the migrant Bihari labourers from Chhapra declined in unison to the factory owner’s request to load the implement, only to relent on my request in Bhojpuri: ‘Chala, chala, jaiware ke maal baa!’ (Come, come, it’s a neighbour’s stuff). I remember the days when there were only two tractors in my village and over a hundred pairs of oxen to till the land. Today, there are only two pairs of oxen, while the number of tractors has gone up manifold – though not for agrarian purposes. The transportation of sand, cement and steel has opened a new income avenue in this liberalisation-fuelled construction boom in the hinterland. This is true of most villages in Champaran. At a village in Inarwa, right on the border with Nepal, I recently discovered that people with half an acre of land, or even less, owned tractors. The economic boom in these parts, however, tells another story. It is not difficult to see how crossborder transportation – smuggling – of paddy and pulses has metamorphosed the economic condition of the peasantry in bordering villages. In my younger days, when I would invariably spend holidays from boarding school in my village, I found an abundance of labour available. The men and

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women were happy to be family retainers. Wages were low, but the entire families were ensured a full meal. When I got back from college, the older generation of workmen and women had grown old, yet would still drop in and help around. They cared and were cared for. To re-jig historiography, it was benevolent feudalism. And then there was a generational shift, with the children growing up and forsaking farm and domestic work, either emigrating or taking up other skilled vocations – supervising, say, at a brick kiln. For me, becoming a journalist after almost a decade of farming opened a new window to understand the changes that were taking place in our villages. Since childhood, I was conditioned to understand that only the patriarch of a village’s landed elite would don the headman’s mantle. Slowly, though, I came to realise that political power in the villages was not restricted to the upper-caste elite. The moneyed businesspeople – grain merchants and moneylenders – in the villages too commanded clout. Power equations were defined by the strength of one’s economic standing. At the end of the 1980s, the upheavals surrounding the recommendations for reservations for the OBCs by the Mandal Commis-

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sion also brought to fore the caste divides in rural societies. But whereas the social fabric was put under strain, there was no real transformation or development on the political and economic front. True, the ‘backward’ classes emerged as formidable political forces that changed the power matrix in Patna, and job reservations brought benefits to some. But the majority of hitherto-deprived people were destined to be vote-banks in the churning of politics.

based benefits.

A miniscule minority of the sections empowered by the implementation of the Mandal Committee recommendations – by virtue of the better socio-economic status that gave them better education – were able to gain from job reservations. But a vast majority still stood deprived due to an economic condition that denied them access to better education, if at all, and its concomitant benefits of jobs reserved. This ‘creamy’ and ‘non-creamy’ dichotomy within the Mandal-enabled castes was, thus, unable to benefit the entire targeted sections of society; and the identification of castes termed as ‘extremely backward’ from the panorama of castes earlier clubbed together as ‘other backward castes’ (OBCs) can only be seen as an acknowledgement of inequitable distribution of caste-

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But the issue of caste-based reservations did act as a political adhesive, where even those who could not benefit from job reservations became easy vote-bank recruits. Over time, with the shifting of state power to OBC leadership, young ‘caste’ men showing leadership qualities during polls and endearing themselves to caste leaders in power benefited in another way: various income-generating government avenues such as, say, a ration-shop dealership in the village coming their way. Political patron-client relationships thus only became increasingly cemented by caste alliances. Hubby politics To my mind, the real shift happened in the early 1990s, when a constitutional amendment strengthened the Panchayati Raj institutions. This decentralisation of power brought about real changes at the base of the political pyramid, a process pushed further by the current chief minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, who brought in political reservations for the socalled extremely backward castes (EBCs) and women across the caste divide through grassroots democracy. This, together with the flow of development funds to the village panchayats, promised to transform village India completely.

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Transformation did happen. Women and EBCs have come to wield power at the grassroots. Yet true to Indian democracy’s inherent failings, a whole new breed of power brokers emerged to hijack development. Grassroots democracy, as seen and felt by villagers today, has become a tool by which to grab spoils of office through spouses. Thus, the Panchayati Raj lexicon has become richer with words such as mukhiyapati (aka MP) and sarpanchpati (aka SP), referring to the husband of the mukhiya. In fact, the hubbies have formed their own cabals. ‘Cabinet ka meeting kab rakha jaye?’ (When should we hold a cabinet meeting?), I recently overheard my village head’s husband ask the spouse of a woman ward member. Rajiv Gandhi famously quipped at the Congress party’s centenary convention at Bombay, in 1985, that 85 paise of every rupee sent from the Centre do not reach the villages. Ask the villagers today and they will tell you that the money does reach the panchayats, but it still eludes the beneficiaries until they please the elected Panchayati Raj functionaries – and their spouses. Talk to the elected representatives who have a mandate to bring in change and development, and they will talk about a rankly corrupt bureaucracy holding them to ransom. Either way, real

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politics is at play in the villages. In this way, the decentralisation of power has arrived at the grassroots along with its handmaiden of corruption, both spurning the clamour for politics in the villages. The silver lining is the empowerment of women that is happening steadily, despite the male ‘remote control’. With women stepping out of purdah, the exposure to various opportunities – as, for instance, nurses and teachers – has given rise to a new awareness, resulting in a conscious effort to educate young girls. Girls in Bihar villages are now enrolled in schools in increasing numbers, their dreams widening with prospective role models from across the vocational vista, from the crisp sari-clad, handbag-carrying teacher-ji in the village school to the lady doctor treating them at the village’s primary health centre. In turn, the employment of women in government institutions and elsewhere has changed the village male’s mindset too. Thus, women taking up jobs are finding ready support from family patriarchs – unimaginable just a generation ago. Yet, there are ironies. Each time that I step towards town from my village, I am unable to cease marvelling at a ladies’ beauty parlour that operates from a wooden kiosk

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at the edge of my village. Is it television that brings such things about? Or Bollywood? Both and also, perhaps, the exposure to metros? The trickle of clients beyond the curtained door only brings to mind the cliché of beauty being skin deep when you realise that, just adjacent to where these women drop in for grooming, scores of village women disappear along the railway tracks, pre-dawn or post-dusk, to defecate. The mismatch between the lack of toilets and the clamour for toiletries is painfully striking.

ing to be journalists. Another thought struck me even more forcefully: While some of the top women anchors and reporters in national television have ‘mofussil’ Patna backgrounds, an even larger number of girls from rural upcountry Bihar are joining the media today. A random background check of women print and TV journalists in regional publications and channels will only confirm this.

Leaving and returning Similarly, exposure to the outside world has sparked off dreams among young villagers. The penetration of the media to the back of the beyond has certainly been a catalyst. Corporate bigwig Indira Nooyi might still not catch a young village girl’s imagination, but Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal and the women journalists that she sees at home sparks ambition. The sight of girls playing football in Bettiah, or even more remote Narkatiaganj, is no longer surprising.

Child marriages are not as common as they were earlier. Increasing exposure has also changed the contours of sexuality in villages, with courtship, romance and elopement becoming recurrent ‘aberrations’. Covering the Panchayati Raj polls in 2006, I was stopped in my tracks, transfixed, at a sight straight out of New Delhi’s Lodhi Garden: Here, in Champaran’s rural wilderness, young couples were on dates, cosying up under the sheesham trees next to a wheat field. ‘Punjab-return baran san’ (They’re Punjab-returned), a local scribe winked.

Taking a few classes at a media course in a Bettiah college some years ago, and more recently conducting a workshop at a media college in Patna, I was struck by the number of girls from semiurban or rural backgrounds aspir-

From where there was once negligible generation of wealth, villages in my part of the country are now flush with income, both hardearned and otherwise. And, the affluence has seen a shift from the consumption of toddy to alcohol,

The Patna Post

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08-17 march 2011

as the meat-and-liquor stalls lining the rural landscape in Champaran testify. The packaging of ‘country liquor’ in easy-to-carry, disposable plastic sachets affords the brew easy shelf space in village kiosks, where the distinction between the legal and illicit evaporates. Consumption, too, is taking its toll.

wasting himself with liquor recently, women in my village took to the streets, brooms in hand. They raided the hooch-sellers in the village. The patron husbands took to their heels.

A perusal of local Hindi dailies, having multiple editions that cover a part of (or all of) a district, would from time to time show small, single-column reports about deaths due to consumption of illicit liquor. The ready availability of liquor sachets, many villagers suspect, is not only though government-controlled depots. The news reports of liquor deaths point a finger to the illicit hooch feared to have penetrated the vast rural market. Even otherwise, with drinking becoming a lifestyle among rural youths, it is assuming life-threatening proportions, with many a village youth becoming addicted to the stuff. But in the rancid stench of cheap liquor and resultant death, a new awakening is taking birth. As one young villager was sinking after

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In the churning of democracy, I sense an energy in the sight of these demonstrating women. Equations are changing in the villages of Bihar not only due to the arrival of government funds and decentralisation of power. Better earnings and prudent savings by the new generation of both the skilled and unskilled who dare to venture out have also given them the wherewithal to invest in land, just as the traditional elite see their children settling in the cities, where the funds for their entrepreneurial enterprises or the buying of apartments come from the alienation of ancestral estates. Land for education The 1980s and 1990s saw the shifting of many rural families in West Champaran to either Bettiah, the district headquarters, or to the towns of Tamkuhi or Padrauna in Uttar Pradesh, in the wake of the terror unleashed by the ‘kidnap mafiosis’. A whole new generation’s umbilical cord with the village was thus severed, with the children who grew up in towns refusing to take up agriculture or other traditional vocations of the

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village economy. Tales abound of families selling portions of their village land to secure a job for their progeny, preferably in the government. Many of the younger generation have also chosen to become, for instance, small traders in mofussil towns. The shifting of base has inevitably entailed the setting up of urban homes, the venture finding investment – more often than not – from the sale of ancestral village land.

year during Chhath, a deeply traditional and religious festival, I was amused at the unusually loud, continuous bursting of crackers. ‘Ladka-sab England-Italy se aaya hai’ (The boys have returned from England, Italy), a nephew quipped, even as I spotted another expatriate youth filming the puja with his new handy-cam. The boy was home from the UK; another, back from Germany, was handing out crackers to children.

More recently, there has been an awakening among rural families to the need to provide better higher education, preferably technical education, to their children. Go to any village and ask: Dozens of boys and girls, you will learn, are enrolled in engineering colleges in places as far away as Chennai, Bangalore or Jaipur. Many are enrolled in courses of computer applications. While the availability of educational loans has facilitated such education to some, many have paid capitation fees by selling agricultural land. Factors such as these are resulting in a stark change in patterns of land ownership in the villages. In this silent transformation, enterprise rules the market, not caste. The opening-up of the market since India took to liberalisation in the early 1990s has fuelled young dreams, and better education has helped to realise ambitions. Last

There could not be a louder statement of change.

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Abhay Mohan Jha is a Champaran-based freelance journalist. He is also a farmer and lawyer.

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P o etry

08-17 march 2011

Scintilla of hope / Sanguine ideas I volunteered Every time the clarion call came. I had lumpy throat Every time the flag quivered uncertainly in the gentle breeze. Goose pimples came out Whenever our “saviours” invoked motherland. I believed every word uttered from the ramparts, Uttered through those glib lips, Fallen off voluble tongues. Never did I dissent printed words, Nor did I question gospel truths, Never I doubted the promised utopia. I had nothing much of my own – Just a small piece of land May be a scintilla of hope May be some sanguine ideas Probably some disjointed dots of a roadmap A whiff of air A ray of sunshine A lash of rain. I had nothing much going for me Even that was appropriatedFor the larger cause For the bigger goal For the abstruse milestone Beyond my grasp and comprehension. I was naïve. A pinch of salt I always carry, No longer exhortations sway me. When the sky is promised,

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by

Sanjay Kumar

I look down for the shifting sand beneath. When the El Dorado is held out as imminent I find a corner of my house smouldering. Never have I been more wary of phrasesDevil’s advocate The flip side Counterpoint The alterative voice These are compromised, co-opted voices Masquerading to be otherwise. I have become – Prickly Cynical Skeptic Stoic Impermeable Silent Inscrutable Poker Giving nothing away. They call me namesSelfish Mean Egocentric Anti-national I take them as compliments. Hope lies in being stoic I take a hard, long look Now I am aware of my own motives and those of others I have learnt it hard way.

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P h o to S to ry

Ta di La


08-17 march 2011

Text & Photo :biharphoto.com

aking on Maoists in iďŹƒcult terrain of akhisarai,Bihar.


08-17 march 2011

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tendaysyoutrundledpast

08-17 march 2011

Brute Reality of Bihar

L

ast week an executive engineer with the rural works department in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar went into hiding and his family fleeing from their residence fearing their life from the hands of real time Dabaangs. When the school teacher wife of the engineer Sikha Devi narrated then whole story before a regional news channel which gleefully ran it as a cause celebre people came to know about it. The incident, however, brought two facts to the face of the good governance running high speed in Bihar these days. First, it exposed real face of the improved law and order situation in the state and secondly, it also tore apart all the tall claims of the government that how development is taking place in the state and Centre is not cooperating. The Bihar chief minister and his yesman ministerial colleagues never ever loose an opportunity taking on the Central government for not giving enough funds for the state’s development but what engineer Surendra Kumar Singh disclosed was enough to expose their double face. Before his disappearance Singh had written complaint letters to the district police chief and district magistrate for the threat perception he and his family was passing through. But, as things move in Nitish Raj none bothered to take notice of it. Besides, Singh also has charged he was being pressurized by department officials and contractors to withdraw Rs.52 crore illegally without completion of roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna [PMGSY]. “They are putting pressure on him to show zero balance to get more money from the Centre�, charged wife Shikha Devi. And, Ironically, this has happened when our Vikas Purush and winner of several awards chief minister Nitish Kumar never tires of boasting to have launched a crackdown on corruption in governance. Now, last heard the state government has taken the issue on serious note and has provided a lone bodyguard top the whistleblower engineer who reportedly has gone on leave on health grounds. Shall we say, this is how Bihar is making progress and Nitish Kumar is winning trophies? Sab aankhon ka dhokha ha dost, says a citizen from behind.

Even mountains vanish in Bihar !

O

ne might have heard of that Englishman who went up a hill but came down a mountain but here in Bihar even that mountain vanishes completely. The state's stone mining mafia in collusion with a section of officials in the state have made it possible at village Dhaurad in Rohtas district. The mystery of the missing mountain came to light when the state water resources department recently began an assets stock-taking exercise. It was found that though the land on which the mountain stood belonged to it was leased out to two local stone-mining companies in 2007 without the permission of the water resources department, causing the exchequer a loss of approximately Rs 30 crore. Lease in hand, the stone-mining mafia took over and what was once a majestic hillock dominating the countryside was reduced to little more than a mound of rubble. High quality stone chips mined from the hillocks flooded the market. Now, the state water resources minister Mr Vijay Kumar Chaudhary said the issue was being probed by his department. It is a very serious matter. The mining department leased out the mountain to the stone mafia without seeking any permission from us. This is an

The Patna Post

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08-17 march 2011

entirely illegal act and we are going to initiate action, he said while the mafias are moving the mountains away in jungles and making it a mound overnight. It happens only in Bihar, bhaiyaa, sings Dukhi Ram of the village.

Nitish gives bi-cycle but Ranbir Kapoor light in our life

B

ihar chief minister Nitish Kumar may have given Sunita Kumari bi-cycle to pedal her school everyday in Puraini village of Lakhisarai district but she is more thankful to the current Bollywood heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor for lighting up her life. Appearing for the board exam next year Sunita now could read till late at night under light and her vegetable vendor father could sit for a longer time under the solar lamp and earn a little extra buck to ward off their haunting penury. Believe it or not but like Sunita there are many in the Puraini village of Lakhisarai district whose life has changed ever since Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor sponsored solar lamps there last year as part of Ranbir was part of the Greenathon 2010 that helped raise money to provide solar power to 160 villages across the nation.

Bihar is a terribly power starved state with lowest per capita power consummation unit---93 units against the national average of 715 units-- in the country. Though, the NDA government led by Nitish Kumar has taken it as a challenge to bring power in its second term as topmost priority but till date power is the biggest scarcity in the state. For the villagers of Bihar kerosene lamps are the only source of light to light their life after dusk or at some place it’s the grueling generator economy which is booming in the name of providing power to the residents. Reports said that it was noted filmmaker from Bihar Prakash Jha who settled for the Puraini village in Lakhisarai district in view of its insurmountable problems in absence of electricity. Ranbir Kapoor, said the report, too did some research of his own to zero in the country’s poorest villages with its difficult terrains and environs for donating about 2000 solar lamps. Its Katrina Kaif and Bihar both where Ranbir Kapoor has made special places these days making them illuminated with his love and [solar]spark ! editor@thepatnapost.com

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T est yo u r Q u est

08-17 march 2011

Quizzically on

Bihar

Dr Manish Kumar 1. Who was the Bihar politician who wrote the book “A Plan to Reconstruct Bihar”? by

Q-03

2. By what name Prince of Wales Medical College [now PMCH] was earlier known as? 3. In which year Prince of Wales Medical College was established? 4. Which river of Bihar is also known as Kaushiki? 5. Who wrote the pamphlet “Bhumihar-Brahmin: Ek Parichay”? 6. Name the caste organization set up by three backward castes of Bihar: Kurmis, Yadavs and Koeris in 1933? 7. Who was the founder of Karnat dynasty Of Mithila? 8. Who was Bishubharan Prasad who had led a peasant agitation against Darbhanga Raj in 1919? 9. Name the sportsman from Bihar who was captain of Indian Football team in 1971? 10.What is common in the names of Jagdamba Devi, Sita Devi and Ganga Devi? 6. Baba Nagarjun Answer Q-02 1. 1991 7 Phanindranath Ghosh 2. Shailendra 8. Alexander Cunnigham 3. Imtiyaz Ali 9. Nurul Anwar 4. Shobhna Narayan 10.Gandak 5 1918 manish_kumar110@yahoo.com

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B o o ks

thepatnapost lists

08-17 march 2011

10

Most Read Books In The World

1. The Bible The Bible still remains at the top as the most read book in the world. The Bible is the account of God's action in the world and his purpose with all creation. The writing of the Bible was accomplished over sixteen centuries and is a quite amazing collection of sixty six books containing the messages of God. 2. Quotations from the Works of Mao Tse-tung by Mao Tse-tung The Quotations from the Works of Mao Tse-tung, or as it was commonly called, the 'little red book' of Mao Tse-tung, was a personal explanation to the people of China of the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party. 3. Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling The Harry Potter books are a fantasy series of seven novels by British writer J. K. Rowling. The majority of which have been made into action packed movies. Children and adults alike have been fascinated by this fiction character and cannot get enough of the young hero's adventures. 4. Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings is an epic fantasy story written by the philologist J. R. R. Tolkien. The novel started out as a sequel to his earlier, far less complex children's fantasy story The Hobbit, but evolved into a much larger work. The Lord of the Rings has been made into a film trilogy that consists of three live action fantasy epic films; The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. 5. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho The Alchemist was published in 1987 and became a Brazilian bestseller, it has go on to sell 65 million copies world-wide, becoming one of the best selling books in history. The Alchemist has been translated into more than 67 languages, winning the Guinness World Record for most translated book by a living author. Paulo Coelho is not only one of the

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08-17 march 2011

most widely read, but also one of the most influential authors writing today. 6. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown The Da Vinci Code is a fiction novel written by American author Dan Brown. The story follows the investigations of Robert Langdon after a murder in the Louvre Museum in Paris. He discovers an intriguing possibility that Jesus Christ may have been married to Mary Magdalene and fathered a child with her. The Da Vinci Code has been made into a movie starring Tom Hanks. 7. Twilight - The Saga by Stephenie Meyer Twilight is the first book in an extremely popular young adult series written by Stephenie Meyer. The story is about a young girl who falls in love with a vampire. This is a saga that is full of romance and action. She says 'First, he was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him'. 8. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell Gone With the Wind, a romantic drama by Margaret Mitchell. It is set in Georgia during the American Civil War and follows the life of Scarlett O'Hara, the daughter of an Irish immigrant plantation owner. The novel won the coveted Pulitzer Prize and was adapted into a film of the same name that won an Academy Award. 9. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill Think and Grow Rich is a motivational book written by Napoleon Hill. It is a personal development and self improvement novel that was inspired by a suggestion that he received from the Scottish-American billionaire Andrew Carnegie. 10. Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl is the English version book that is based on the writings from a diary, which was written by Anne Frank while she was in hiding for two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. The book is now considered one of the key texts of the twentieth century.

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Y o ur ow n A g o ny A unt

08-17 march 2011

Dr.Binda Singh, Clinical Psychologist

Q: I am a 24 year old boy. I keep thinking about ‘one thing’ and I ‘m unable to control my thoughts. I have lost interest in everything .My family says I have become quite reclusive. Is this a disease?

delusion and hallucination for which he will need psychiatric medicine.Remember he needs your love and time.

A: You ‘re suffering from thought obsession. It is a type of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. You should immediately consult a clinical psychologist for psychotherapy and behavior modification. At present you should try to engage yourself in some work or the other. Go out for a walk or meet your friends and never let negative feelings surround you. You will have to practice stop therapy where, the moment, thoughts surround you you will have to say stop to yourself . It requires a lot of patience during the treatment as it is a time taking process. Family support is vital.

Q: My daughter has a habit of constantly itching ,pulling or twitcing her eyebrows .Sometimes it becomes very embarrassing in front of others .I have to constantly remind her for not doing so.

A: Your daughter is suffering from Trichotillomania due to to which she does not have control over her impulses .Emotionlly she is weak and needs family support and understanding .Consult a Psychologist for behaviour modification .She might need medicines if the problem is severe. The treatment takes time so you’ll have to keep patience.Avoid nagging and advising her.

Q: My father is 75 year old widower. Recently there has been a drastic change in his behaviour;he has become reclusive and easily looses his temper.please help.

ask.drbinda@gmail.com

One answer for all your psycho quest

A: Your father is suffering from old age psychosis. He has feelings of insecurity and helplessness .This is an old age senile disorder . At present he needs family care and understanding .You should help him involve in activities which will keep him busy and cheerful. Sometimes he might suffer from

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A dva nc e sy chot he ra py

c

&

ounse lli ng

entre,

PATNA.

Call- 9835018951

39


L if estyle/ H ealth

Grouchy

08-17 march 2011

= more medical bills

Lifestyle has changed

but success has come at a price.

Stress , anger, depression and burnout are the colleagues you wish you hadn’t met .Read us to know how you can keep them to minimum

“Who the #&!%@ stole my Stapler?” If you feel like that You are…..

ANGRY Anger is the body’s natural response to stress or frustration . Experts say that anger is a normal emotion. In small dozes it can even be good as it motivates. But nobody likes a person who is perpetually angry. What anger can do to you Angry people have more emotional outbursts. They suffer low morale and commit more errors at work. On the health front ,consequences are graver- Cardiac diseases, hypertention ,irritable bowl syndrome, depression and even substance abuse.

Try this

Use the tried and tested timing strategy.When angry, excuse yourself and have a sip of water or take a walk outside or take 10 deep breaths. Buying time and space is critical if you want to avoid saying something you will later regret.

“Get out of the loo now” If you feel like that you are…

IMPATIENT Psychologists call it a manifestation of ‘low frustration tolerance’.Faulty lifestyle has made impatience an upswing trend. Impatience may help achieve goals, but the quality of work could suffer due to lack of attention to details.

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08-17 march 2011

What impatience can do to you Impatient people are often unpopular co-workers. They are also prone to constipation, headaches, acidity panic attacks and backaches .Emotional disturbance and low self esteem are also common.

Try this

Solve crosswords,Sudoku and puzzles; or games such as our Test Your Quest section and pictionary.Over time you ‘ll find yourself calmer and more in control.

“I didn’t celebrate my birthday , but ate all the cake” If you feel like that you are…

DEPRESSED If you have been feeling ‘low’, ‘sad’ and ‘down’ for a prolonged period, it could be depression. People who suffer from depression are not just emotionally hostile,but are also negative,withdrawn and irritable all the time. And a constantly negative person will repel people , which in turn leads to a vicious circle.

What depression can do to you Depression can have serious consequences - suicide being the worst of them.It also severely distrups your sleep patterns,appetite,bowl movement and digestion.On a cognitive level, judgements and decision making processes can also be severely hampered.At work, productivity, performance and concentration take a beating.On the personal front, there is an inability to make relationships work.

Try this

Indulge in things that gives you happiness like gardening, reading, watching movies.Pamper yourself : go for a spa,get a pedicure, hair treatment,go for a holiday.Meditation and religious activities prove therapeutic for some. Get a pet,they can be great stress busters. health Desk

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L o n g in g

&

B elo n g in g

08-17 march 2011

Bitter experience at my native state capital

I

by Lal an Kr. Si ngh My one to one with the susashan hype in patna when I returned to my base after 37 years

’m a retired BSF Asst. Commandant and got an opportunity to visit every part of country and tried to feel the presence of Biharipan as ‘n when needed. But, now all my Biharipan and affection to my land suddenly tempts me to commit suicide when I faced babudom and to compromise with my principles, which I never dreamt of. The story unfolds as after my retirement I decided to settle down at my native house at Patna but all my dream crashed when I got to face to face with official work culture and I started cursing myself why I came here? Being a soldier, we learnt not to give up but to fight. So started my skills and all experiences which I earned all through my career and expedite the ideas to fight for my rights. Although, the disease called corruption became a part of our life and without this we can’t imagine any institution. Doesn’t revolution comes when a man is dishonoured?, pride is disrobed? Expriences was nightmare and here I want to share them with TPP. Water Problem-- My water pipe line connection was almost defunct and I can’t get a drop of supply water. So, my neighbor’s suggested me to put a written complain for the rectification of this problem and made this in proper format. After about one and half month daily salute to Water Board and PWD officials I got the permission to cut the road and get my work done. The humiliating experiences I had to pass through is useless to draft here. I think that our govt is unable to pay their salaries ‘coz they always keep their mouth wide open for Bribe and without putting our respected Bapuji’s weight not a single drop of ink they will add on your application. Anyway , after all this each ‘n every one suggested me to go falana babu and dimakha contractor and lastly I dumped my principles in garbage and asked them straight “Bhai Kitna Lagega , khul ke bata do”. Then all of a sudden the same man who was suggesting me jumped in front of me and said “Rupaiya de dijiye kaam hoi jayega” and finally after the payment of service fee they issued the letter for all the proceedings. Arms License renewal –-Similarly, Once I visited the collectors office for the renewal of my gun and after giving my status reference they convinced and referred my file to head clerk. Then the bada babu started his poetry of bribing and chewed the work with words. He did my work but after offering lot of hints for the deity called bribe. He also passed veiled threat that in future their deity might not be so benevolent without the Prasad he was eyeing for. I heard everything, realized everything but chose to ignore everything. But, the pain and agony I passed through is explicable and canot be described in simple words and sentences. Bhagwan bacahaye aise ghooskhoron se, Nitish Babu… corruption ka dhol door se hi maja de raha hai Author is a retd. BSF Asst. Commandant, also served as Chief Security Officer at BHEL (Govt. of India undertaking)

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Foodie

08-17 march 2011

Cook with your child This month exams are going to be over.It is the best time to connect with your children in an unlikely place called ‘kitchen’. This special month ,introduce them to the art of cooking and bond better with them, whatever their age……

Fancy Puris (serves 2-4)

3 cups whole wheat flour;1 cup leftover subzi (cooked vegetable, well mashed) :Chaat masala; salt to taste;1 tsp oil;water to knead ; oil for frying . 1.Place flour in a mixing bowl, add subzi, salt, chaat masala and 1tsp oil. Knead to make stiff dough. (Make the dough before you call your child in the kitchen,so that he doesn’t see the subzi he made a face at earlier going in to the mix.) 2.Give him a ball of dough and let him roll it out on a flat surface. With a cookie cutter, let him cut out interesting shapes 3.Deep fry his masterpiece in hot oil, and watch him beam!

Bhel(serves 2-3) 2 cups puffed rice (murmura); half cup snack mixture (bhujia);1 ripe tomato; 1 medium sized onion,chopped;1 potato boiled;freshly chopped coriander ;salt; 1 tsp lemon syrup;chaat masala; imli chutney . 1. Let your child peel and chop up the tomato and boiled potato. 2. In a large bowl ,mix all the ingredients together and mix well with spatula. Serve with imli chutney.

Sponge cake 200gm butter;3 eggs; 1 cup flour (maida) ;1tsp baking powder;1 cup powdered sugar;1tbsp vanilla essence. 1. Melt the butter in the microwave for 2 minutes. Ask your child to beat the eggs and mix in butter. Let him beat the mixture for 5 minutes. 2. Add sugar to the mixture and ask him to beat for another 5 minutes. Mix flour, cocoa powder (optional) and baking powder. Add this to the mixture prepared above and get your child to fold it in. Check for lumps. 3. Add vanilla essence and mix well. 4. Pour this mixture into a greased glass bowl. 5. Pre -heat the microwave on high for 8 minutes. 6. Let the cake sit in the microwave for another 3-4 minutes.Cool and serve . food Stall

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Archive

08-17 march 2011

MASTERstroke

A

rtist Sanjay Singh has stretched his creative pen ‘n pencil to draw the

past of the present.

Steamer Ferry

G

anga flowing in the north of the city,is a vast expanse of water, especiallly during monsoon season,it assumes the look of an endless Tithi Sea, which was believed,encircled the vedic time Jambudwip of mighty Aryans. Much recent continental drift theory of Kober-Wagonr goes to prove it. Sonepur and Hajipur banks are not at all visible from Patna except for the inundated banana plantations, river bed horizontally running for miles before it vanishes into the blue horizon clouds.Gentle gradient slope goes meandering all the way. Only in the western extremity of the city, Diara stands in her way, thus forcing the river to take a mild southern turn. Ancient name of village on the river bank was Bankipore. Actually the name has come down to us from Bankibai mother of Emperor Ashok.

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chalchitra/Theatre

08-17 march 2011

Yeh Saali Zindagi Some bullets kill you, some save your life; some women kill you, some save your life. Arun (Irrfan Khan) has to save Priti (Chitrangda Singh) the woman he loves, but for that he first has to save the man Priti loves- Shyam, the future son in law of a powerful Minister. Meanwhile, time is running out for Kuldeep (Arunoday Singh), the young gangster who is on his last job as his wife is threatening to walk out on him completely, and he begins to suspect she is leaving him to go into the arms of another man. The job has gone haywire for it is still unknown to Kuldeep that the Ministers daughters engagement with Shyam is off and now she doesn’t care whether Shyam lives or dies and more importantly neither does the Minister who Kuldeep hoped would pay the ransom! Priti finds herself inextractably caught in this mess and Arun has to save her life. But for that he has to risk everything, and put his own life at stake, he wonders why he should do it at all, if she still loves another. He’s torn, but love knows no reason. Meanwhile Shyam is trying to make deals in captivity, and his goodness only seems superficial and as Kuldeep tries desperately to save his situation, there are dons coming from Bangkok, who have their own plans. The film rides a roller-coaster towards a shattering climax, where all the players have to fend for their lives and loves. Who gets the girl, and who gets the money, and who escapes by the skin of his teeth, is now anybody’s guess. But hold on, there are still jokers in the pack, and aces up some sleeves. Expect the unexpected! Yeh Saali Zindagi, Its a quirky love story in the guise of a thriller. Its an obtuse take on how far they both the heroes go to get the women they love and how sometimes one screw-up can set everything right!

desk

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Vol.1 Issue 3

Open Space

08-17 march 2011

Headless instruction at Kakolat Waterfall,Bihar

Photo:Prashant Ravi /bihar pho to.co m Dear readers, if you have any photographs for this space pls send it to thepatnapost@gmail.com/ editor@thepatnapost.com mention the title openspace in subject. Photo Desk

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