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Bihar: Glorious Past, Uncertain Future

By Najm Gilani**, London

Past Perfect 

Index of Articles

Learn about Bihar

History has always been the witness to the rise and fall of empires. It has always accommodated them in its pages in order to inspire the coming generations from its glorious past. But, it also sends a strong message that “Anything which goes up, Comes Down”. That’s the law of the nature. Same is the case with Bihar.

In modern day India, The state of Bihar is associated with all sorts of corruption and under development although in literal sense the word Bihari means citizens of the state of Bihar, but among the urban inhabitants of the country it means "least sophisticated and most backward". In other words it has become a slang in itself and if a person wants to offend someone they simply say"Bihari ho kaya".

Modern day Indian has conveniently forgotten that Bihar has a historical significance in world history since ancient period. World community in general and Indian in particular owe a lot to this present day land of Caste-Ridden Society, Illiteracy, Kidnapping and Corruption.

In the past, Bihar was the land of empire builders, thinkers, intellectuals, philosophers, strategists and revolutionaries like Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka, and Kautilya, khodiram Bose, Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Jay Prakash Narayan.

It is this place where the words like Republic (Ganrajya) Democracy (Loktantra) was put into practice in 3rd Century B.C.It is present day Bihar where the first Indian empire ((Magadh) was established in 322 bc: by Chandragupta Maurya .

Bihar is the place, which has given birth to religion and revolution. Buddha and Mahavira the two great humanists found their enlightenment here and laid the foundation of two great religions Buddhism and Jainism. It is here that the tenth and last Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh was born and attained the sainthood of sikhism.


Nalanda University,The first Residential International University of the world Was founded in 5th.century A.D: Nalanda is known as the ancient seat of learning. 2,000 Teachers and 10,000 Students from all over the Buddhist world lived and studied here.

Sher Shah Suri-The lion king of India, a grate administrater, visionary and a social reformer in his fiver years of rule transformed the geographical and political landscape of the country. Some of his incredible achievements are:

Grand trunk road, stretching from Bengal-Delhi to Peshawar.

Introduction of land reform based of measurement of land.

Introduction of coins-rupees (dam) and custom duties.

Divided the country into 47 units and further into sub units for better governance.

The name Patna was also coined by him.

Khuda Baksh Khan founded the famous library in 1890.It is a magnificent one man collection consisting of more than 1,70,000 printed books, rare Arabic and Persian manuscript, rajputs and mogul paintings, old and new books from the famous university of Cordoba, Spain.

It was from Bihar (Champaran) that Mahatma Gandhi launched his civil-disobedience movement, which ultimately led to India's independence. It is also from here that Independent India got its first President

Movement against autocratic rule of Indira Gandhi was launched from this land by social reformer Jay Prakash Narayan,due to this emergency was imposed. This led to the fall of her government.

Present Tense

So, why is it that the state which once used to show the light is gripped in darkness? Why is it that the erstwhile land of Intellectuals, thinkers, strategist and reformers is now inhabited by Ignorant, Criminals and self-centred politician? Let’s peep into the past to understand the present.

In the last crumbling days of Mughal empire,Bihar(Including formerly Awadh now Uttar Pradesh)used to be the part of Bengal under the rule of Nawab-Seraj-Ud-Daula.later on it became part of Presidency of Bengal under the control of East India company.Bihar got its statehood in the year 1911 with Patna as its capital.

East India company in connivance with Mir Jafar(trusted lieutenants of Nawab)defeated him in the battle of plassey (1757)and installed their stooge Mir Jafar on the thrown of Bengal.


Initially it was he with support from East India Company and later on his descendents-they continuously exploited the land of abundance labor and natural resources. Since then onwards Bihar (including Uttar Pradesh) has been the land of Nawab, Zamindaar, Chaowdhary, Maharaj, Thakur and Sahukaar.The land of landlords, for the landlords, by the landlords. 

It was their lack of vision, self-centered attitude and greed (my ancestors included) which motivated them for the economic exploitation and inhuman treatment of peasants, farmers and laborers.

Be that too much of freedom or too much of suppression both leads to revolt.

Although revolt has many civilized forms, but poor, petrified, demotivated and frustrated peasants, farmers and labourers can’t use any of them because, according to them it does not signifies strength. They found their strength in gun. 
So,they took the arms in their hand to defend their rights and dignity. 

This new development gave rise to naxal movements from both the sides (On 25th May 1967 Communist leader Charu Majumdar launch a peasants' uprising at Naxalbari in Darjeeling district of West Bengal. This is how Naxalism was born)

After the rise of the movement, Industrialist and Businesses were targeted. One incident led to another and people started fearing for their life. Businessmen fled from the state for better pastures. This came as a blow to the state economy because rapid closer of business units and factories led to mass scale unemployment and the economic fall of the state.

It is this type of exploitative system which gives opportunity to people like Laloo Yadav and Mayawati to exploit the situation for their own individual benefit
by becoming the messiah of suppressed and down trodden.

In Present Day Bihar Loot, Kidnapping and Robbery is not a law and order problem but a flourishing and organized industry worth several millions.


Future can be bright!

Nothing is constant in this world, be that high or low, Sun always rises after sunset and a every night is the indication of a coming day. Does that mean that dark, cloudy and gloomy days of Bihar will also be over? The answer is yes-yes because it has all the means available at its end to become a developed and industrialised state, be that of natural resources, labour resources or intellectual manpower. It is just a matter of time.

In order to transform Bihar there has to be an over all participation. Centre has to take the responsibility of granting the required fund for the development and they have to set up a monitoring committee to see that the policy, programmes, projects reaches its destination.

State government have to take a out of box thinking approach, they need to understand that development can also be used as a political capital to generate votes and win election.

People in turn have to realise that all around the world things are changing and changing fast,if they wont respond to change and dont discard the age old dogma of casteism(responsibility lies with the youths) they will be left far behind in isolation,because castiest feelings will always act as major block in development of the state.

**Najm Gilani is a descendant of Maulana Monazir Hasan Gilani (RA), and an active member of Bihar Anjuman