Posted by: Prem Piyush | December 21, 2004

Bihar – the write thing ! – (2) – Common Life

Bihar is the birth place of Lord Buddha and 24 Jain Tirthankars (Monks/Saints) and many more important people. Because of the large number of Buddhist Vihar (temple), it got it’s name “Bihar”. May it be the inherited nature of the common man they are still peace loving and religious in nature. If one visits the the remote basic village of Bihar, he can find out the common man working in the fields wearing a Dhoti upto his knees and a towel on the shoulder. The married women if working in the fields will sure have their head covered with a Ghunghat. The men and women are cool and religious in nature. The atheists rarely exist in Bihar.There are several nice blogs on the festivals of Bihar in my friends blogs. I need not write more in this context.
One thing is quiet prevalent in the villages of Bihar, the sense of pride and prestige.
If any way the prestige is hurt, the gentleman will explore his manhood to save it and the exploration tools may be powerful bombastic words and muscular power and if needed Licensed guns (Unlicensed ones may be manufactured if needed!). The prestige issues are often related to the strong caste system and often catalyzed by the political interference.
The fact of caste system exists almost all over India. Here the situation is more deep in the basic thinking of the people. The caste system is the staple food of the political leaders. We have two main categories: “Agra”( forward caste ) and Pichra ( backward caste). I don’t want to go in detail of classes and subclasses. When two unknown Biharis meet, naturally like any other people they will ask their names too. And soon they will try to sort out from which caste the particular person belong by the surname. The following conversation will depend on the nearness of the caste between both.
Interestingly, people when ask my name they confuse seeing no clue from my surname. Hence unable to find out my caste in my surname they will ask my father’s name. Even after when they try to subcategorize my caste, my answer is that I have red coloured blood like your’s. Then they will not ask anymore. I must admit that many of families have adopted the new pattern of removing the surname from the name.There is a new trend here too to delete the surname from the name which signifies one’s caste. As Pankaj Kumar Singh will write Pankaj Kumar and Puja Kumari Sinha will write Puja Kumari.

In my office there are two categories of caste here too and interestingly I belong to both categories of people. Actually I don’t like to belong any category, everyone thinks that I belong to their category because I am close to everyone in official work as well as for their personal ventilation of thought. Here in villages, trade unions, politics and in every department this chronic disease exists. Except the basic human affection tablets in regular dose, I don’t see any remedy of it. The elite well literate class is not an exception too.

Looking the ages back, I can see that the birth of Lord Buddha and Mahavira on this land went in vain. Even after centuries when the other countries are following their preaching about the basic human respect and values, It does not buzz in the ears of we Biharis. We are unable to co-operate each other in progress after removing the caste disparities.


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