Thursday, September 18, 2008

Being a Bihari

I am an Indian. First and Foremost. That is one the of cornerstones of my existence. That is how I perceive myself. I do not know whether it is right or wrong to have a sense of sub-nationalism, but I have a little of it. All my energies reserved for nationalism, patriotism and the occasional jingoism is focused on the motherland, as a whole (including Kashmir). Religion and language are secondary and tertiary. And my caste be damned, I flip the bird and moon at it. In spite of all this, my being born in Bihar, somehow seems more significant, and it casts a shadow. It astounds the hell out of me, that a region which was once the centre of wealth and knowledge is now one of the poorest. Bad Karma?

I am the kind of guy who counts his blessings. So what if I was born a Bihari. I was raised in Patna (it has its shortcomings but is a city), I come from a middle-class background, and I never had to face any caste or religion related issues. But what if I had been on the last rung of the caste ladder? I could have been shot dead by Ranvir Sena. What if I had been a poor Muslim, who migrated to Gujarat? Butchered again. Or just a poor guy with a non-technical degree trying my damndest to get a government job? I could have been killed in Assam, or thrashed within inches of my life in Maharashtra . Quite possibly, I could have committed suicide out of sheer frustration, when nobody in Tamil Nadu would have responded to my queries in my accented Hindi or English. Am I exaggerating? Nope. I don’t think so. There was a time when I, being younger and ignorant, used to equate the status of a Bihari in India with that of a cowboy of Texas, both being the butt of a lot of jokes. What a colossal idiot was I! The only bloody thing that is common is the Cow part. Cowboys indeed, it’s more like cow herds. Cowboys are cool, what’s cool about a cow herd?

The reason why quite a few Bihari students land up in IIT’s: “They drop and drop until they end up at an IIT, plus the fact that Bihari students are good at rote learning. “ The explanation given by a fellow class mate when I started college. I had no idea rote learning could get one a seat in an IIT. If only I had made the acquaintance of his greatness earlier! And this very person was antagonistic for some time as I was a B-boy (a felicitous name coined by him). He also called me and the others like me, NRI’s, because Bihar was not a part of India (his idea of a joke).

A common misconception about Bihari students: He is good for only two things. He can be a good student, religiously toiling away, burning midnight oil and whatnot, score high and ultimately steal white collar jobs from the local population of the city he decides to settle in OR He can be a bloody gunda, eve-teasing, politicizing, intimidating and bullying, rambunctious as hell, the root of all evil.

Sometimes the same person can play both the roles.

But there are people like me as well. Neither here nor there. Decent law-abiding birds, who do not spit, eve-tease or create a ruckus.I am also willing to learn the language of the state I am residing in, even if I can get along easily with the help of Hindi and English. I would do so because there are times when I feel inadequate and guilty . Learning the local language would make me feel good and allow me to belong truly and completely .

An incident which involves my friend while he was studying in Pune: My friend had a friend who had a sister. She was being molested on a regular basis by a Marathi Manoos, who was also a student in the same college. After repeated warnings, when the eve-teasing did not stop a gang of unruly Biharis decided to take the matter in their own hands, and thrashed the Manoos. The Manoos complained to the Police. The Police arrested my pal who was not even there. When asked why the Manoos named my friend, he said that he knew my friends name; he did not know most of the others who actually were involved. Along came the Manoos’s father. Very angry, incensed as hell. When the B-boys complained that his son asked for it, Manoos Sr. said, “What is the big deal? My son teased a (Bihari) girl? So what? Happens every day!” And that is that. Owing to the fine fettle that the great state of Bihar is in, there are no good colleges there. So my brethren and I, mostly depend on other states for our higher studies. Some of us were lucky enough to land in Manipal, which is next to paradise. Long live Manipal and the Kannadigas. Thank You! Till this day, I personally cannot complain. I thank God that I did not have to go to any other state. .

An excerpt from a conversation between two fellow students at MIT, Manipal.

Guy A: This dude B really likes you and all.
Gal C: Yeah, I think he is nice. Where is he from?
Guy A: He is from Patna, but he is not like the others. He is different, you have seen for yourself.
Gal C: (Makes a face) Hmmm. Nah.
I am NOT dude B, I wish I was. At least Gal C was interested in Dude B for a fleeting moment.

Had my friend, dude B, been a Punjabi from Delhi, or just from Delhi, that lady would have had no problems in going out with him. I vividly remember how a few of the students from my state would pretend to be from Delhi to hide the "stigma" of being a Bihari in their valiant attempt to appear cooler. There were a few whose families had migrated to greener pastures; they would vehemently deny the charge of being a Bihari, and would completely disassociate themselves from the state. How pathetic is that ?

An old joke, which reflects what Bihar stands for today.

The ideal solution to Kashmir:
Indian PM to Nawaz Sharif/Bhutto/Zardari/Musharraf/Current Despotic Dumbass of Pakistan: We will give you Kashmir but you get Bihar along with it.
Nawaz Sharif/Bhutto/Zardari/Musharraf/Current Despotic Dumbass of Pakistan: Kashmir be damned. We don’t want it. Truce!

Another joke, of its kind.

Japanese premier to Famous politician of Bihar: Give us Bihar and we will make a Japan out of it in 10 years.
Famous politician of Bihar to Japanese premier: Humko Japan dijiye, usko ek saal mein Bihar bana denge. (Give me Japan, and I will make a Bihar out of it in 1)

Louisiana, USA: Bihar of the US, definitely sure that I read it in the TOI. How? Why?

The name of the virulent disease that is plaguing Mumbai: Bihari. Why? Because Mr. T said so “ Ek bihari sau bimari “ ( A Bihari is synonymous to a hundred diseases , or maybe, a bihari is a carrier of hundred diseases literally , take your pick , or go and ask Mr. Thackeray what exactly did he mean )

The munificent compliments that I receive on account of my being fairly fluent in the English language , or due to the absence of the accent which every Bihari is supposedly born with, or (and this is the best of all) my uncanny un-bihari looks ( what the hell is a bihari supposed to look like ? Dark, emaciated, hair dripping with mustard oil, or what? I mean WTF! ) :-

1. You don’t look like to you are from Bihar – Me: I underwent plastic surgery OR Why is that? Do Biharis have horns on their heads? OR I am a Punjabi who was born in Mumbai; my parents were averse to the rich cosmopolitan culture of that great city, so they relocated.
2. Your English is too good for a Bihari – Me: I am sorry; my parents forced me to go an English medium school, which unfortunately had decent teachers.
3. You don’t sound like a Bihari, you don’t speak with an accent - Me: Speech therapy? Larynx transplant? Accent training? My answer depends on the dumbness of the questioner .
4. The way you cuss and swear, it is not very Bihari - Me: I curse, in my best Bihari.
5. Sir, aap Bihar se hain, lagta nahi hai (Sir, It doesn’t seem that you are from Bihar). This one came from a cook who was hired to cook for my friends and I : Me- An expression of incredulity and bewilderedness on my contorted face, mentally hurling abuses at him , and a really big WTF , when I was alone .
6. Man, you should be the Brand Ambassador of Bihar, given that you are so different from the average bumpkin: Hell Yeah. Why not? Moron!
7. An offshoot of # 2 -A Lady, in a train journey, to me – I am an English professor, have heard a lot of Biharis making a mince out of the Queen’s language, but not you - Me: When I was young my mother burned a Webster, a Wren n Martin and a few of the Classics, dissolved the ashes in the holy water from Thames and made me drink it. This is a tried and tested technique; it has worked for my sister as well. (Do not attempt this at home!)
8. Another offshoot of # 2 - Do they have English schools in Bihar? ( An interviewer to my friend, apparently surprised at his command of the English language ) - Me(Had I been there) : No, I went to Eton for my schooling, and then I came back to India to complete my education , you JACKASS !

Maybe I should blush coyly and express my gratitude the next time somebody says something like the aforementioned.

Yesterday, I read in a blog about some sick and twisted bastard who felt that Bihar got what it deserved. That the havoc wrecked by Kosi was befitting. And I have yet to know how earnestly people from the Rest of the India are helping their poor countrymen. I would like to know whether it is being treated at par with the Gujarat earthquake and the Tsunami or not. I hope my fears are allayed. I hope people discard the contempt they usually reserve for Biharis.

There was a time when I wished I was born elsewhere. I do not anymore. I am a Bihari. I am not ashamed of it. And I will not try to hide it. Even if prospective landlords refuse to accept me as a tenant. Even if I am discriminated against. But I do wonder whether it is a curse or not.

69 comments:

Pro said...

on a blog-a-roll these days I presume? Nice ones at the end with the reactions of people when they come across a fluent-in-english not-your-stereotypical bihari! very jug suraiya-ish! really witty. and was that cook the one at som's place?

Kislay said...

@Pro
Thank you . And yes, the cook was at Som's place . The bugger gave me a shock !

Masood said...

Interesting post.

Indian Home Maker said...

This was so required! Very well written. Such posts give me hope that if people who should read it, read it, maybe they will think before they pass the next dumb prejudiced comment.
...and despite one odd fool saying Bihar deserves it, I know everybody is concerned about Bihar floods. With Gujrat Earthquake we were literally 'shaken' into activity, tremors were felt till Kerala. With Bihar floods, people are just concerned because a part
our country (as much ours as yours) needs us all.
You MUST give a voice to such concerns, if you don't mind my saying so...
This country needs such voices.

Daniel Andrew O'Connel said...

Pretty Interesting Post brother.... the Dude A,b,c and Gal p,q.r etc were very confusing though... It felt like I transmigrated from Shakespeare to KC SINHA algebra and then back again to Shakespeare, all in one post. :)
Anyone who even said that Bihar deserved what it got, seriously needs some ass kicking. If that is the case, then shouldn't the Biharis declare that delhi got what it deserved?? Mumbai train blasts were justified??? Its praiseworthy that people in Bihar do not have such a depleted thoughts and those non-Biharis who judge them, should be thankful for that!!!

Pinku said...

hey!

very nice post...sadly very true also. Wish I could say that you are exaggerating. Have been recently to blogs of some people who feel ostracised cause they are Muslims and then i come to yours.

Its so sad and shocking. Dont really know what to say.

It starts with jokes about someone being bihari i.e low IQ, uncouth etc and it ends with Biharis being thrown out of diverse places like Mumbai and Assam.

what are we coming to? Is this what we call progress?

am ashamed.

Kislay said...

@IHM and Pinku
Thank you . What more can I say ? I am grateful that there are a few who understand .
@Danny Buoy
Thanks pal . But from Shakespeare to K C Sinha ? Were you comparing me to the great Bard ? ;) And I don't think any Bihari would justify Delhi or Mumbai's blast. At least I hope so.

MJ said...

awwwwwwwwwesume man...ery good.
i myself used to think all these things about biharis ( sorry but im from delhi as well)...but i need to rethink about biharis now..
good . keep up the good work !! :)

Kislay said...

@MJ
Thank you . And I just want people to have an open mind , and not preformed notions .

Child Of Adam said...

I must admit that this article is an eye opener, not only for the non Biharis, but also for Biharis. There are so many who feel ashamed to acknowledge that they hail from Bihar. Sadly, whenever people think of Bihar, the images of Lalu, poverty, loot, illiteracy and backwardness immediately flashes in their minds. It would lovely to see the day Bihar is equated to prosperity, happiness, growth.
Good work!!

Kislay said...

@CoA
Thank you .

Indian Home Maker said...

There's something for you on my blog :)

chandni said...

loved this post!

HOBO said...

I say:
We need strong center policies for Road/Water/Electricity development and Law implementation.
And we will develop ourselves.
Am I right ?

Yaamyn said...

Well said, and well written!

my space said...

v good post...you know in mumbai they call any and everyone from UP or Bihar a `bhaiyya`..most of them have no clue about these states and say that `ye junglee states hain`...it bugs me to no end..as for english? I am from UP and a constant source of wonder to all...how come u can speak english? so i totally empathise with you...and who was the dumb ass who commented that bihar deserves this? A kick on their butt---that`s what they deserve...
Great post..

Ajit said...

Stereotyping is unfortunately a major problem with us Indians.
I am still waiting for the day when it does not happen.
Good post!!!

Kislay said...

@Hobo
What about better leaders ?
@Yaamyn and Ajit
Thanks
@My Space
Thank you . You do feel what I feel .

1conoclast said...

Hi,

Still have only read very little, but I like what I've read.

Krishna Aradhi said...

Such stereotyping is the unfortunate reality. However, that can be changed. We can make a start by not voting for morons like Lalu Prasad Yadav.

And the bugger who said Bihar deserves the floods deserves to be lynched. No one can possibly deserve such a calamity.

Vinod_Sharma said...

Kislay, what a great read. You have said almost everything that needs to be said with rare wit.

Bihar has fallen to bad times despite Biharis being among the more intelligent lot - you are a prime example - mainly due a very feudalistic society and possible the worst politicians you can find anywhere in India. That joke about turning Japan into Bihar says it all about them. Only they could have turned possibly the richest state of the country into the poorest. And then seen the rich part become another state! Is not Jhakhand blessed with an exceptional wealth of natural resources?

There was a progam on CNN-IBN sometime back in which it emerged that even Biharis have given up on Bihar. Let us see young people like you change all that.

Pinku said...

hey,

u inspired me to write a post...hope u get a chance to come around and check it out

Kislay said...

@Krishna Aradhi,1conoclast
Thanks
@Vinod Sharma
Thank you , what I have written is what I have experienced , so far . And frankly , even I have kind of lost hope . Maybe if Bihar gets a good leader who can actually change things, I may be more optimistic .

Vinod_Sharma said...

Kislay. This is not your time to lose hope. It also does not befit your intelligence.

You can and should be the change you want to see, to borrow the words of Gandhi via Obama.

Bihar may be in the trough now. But it will rise again to attain the heights it had, if Biharis like you impart enough energy to free it from the clutches of politicians who want the rise to be limited to themselves.

Remember how not very long ago, people ridiculed India as a land of snake charmers and China as a land of opium addicts? Change is just waiting. It will happen at great speed when Biharis like you get down to making it happen.

Kislay said...

@Vinod Sharma
Thank you Sir, that was inspiring .

The Quirky Indian said...

Very nicely written. As someone who has also always been looked at as an outsider (even where I thought was home) I can empathise and understand.

Being the cynic that I am, however, I really don't see things changing. In fact, things will only get worse.

And as things get worse, it may be worth one's while to ask this question : 'I wonder where I can go once I have been driven away from Mumbai?' (Or wherever it is you call home!) Life in India, it seems, is a game of musical chairs, and guess who'll be the people left standing when the music's over?

On that sombre note,

Quirky Indian
http://quirkyindian.wordpress.com

AngryIndian said...

Great Read buddy. Being a half-Bihari but raised in Delhi, I couldn't help give a cold stare to folks who used the word "Bihari" in a degratory manner. I guess the pro Raj T are staying away from posts like this that make them search their souls.

The Angry Indian
www.AngryIndian.com

Kislay said...

@Thank you . Stereotyping is so stupid .

Anrosh said...

i have a very good punjoo friend (sardar to be exact).and he will say he is a bihari, having born and raised in hazaribaug. he wears his pride" meh bihari hoon". go figure.

and as for marathi manoos, it needs to be redefined. and as for the shiv sainik goons, they need to be shown their place. stand your ground and they will sit. this comes from a non-native marathi manoos to you

Kislay said...

@Anrosh
Kudos to your pal .

Anonymous said...

who said you don't look like a bihari?
you look like a bihari you dumbass

Kislay said...

@Anonymous
Define "Bihari looks" . And If I fit the bill , good for me , because as I said , I am ONE .

Ace said...

I'm 1/4th Bihari.... from atleast 300 years ago. I still say it proudly- even if you can contest if there's any bihari left after 300 odd years! I think these divisions are more pronounced in India than outside.

Or maybe it is just me =)

p.s. I will try not to dwell on how sad it is for fellow indians to views other indians as such. Akin to some of my peers saying India should 'rid' itself of Kashmir because 'jhanjat se chhuti toh milegi'. seriously?!

vikramvgarg said...

One day Nitish Kumar will become PM after turning Bihar around .... he is one of the best politicians we seem to have.

Some might say that Biharis deep nationalism (identifying with India first) is part of the reason for the status today. When it comes to state allocations in the Union Budget being as 'statist' as one can be seems to be way to go.

Utopianthots said...

Nice post dude, you hit the nail on the head. But I think its upto people like us to educate the people. Not too many can boast of the heritage we have.

blogger said...

I think u r antagonising Marathi manoos. esp this '“What is the big deal? My son teased a (Bihari) girl? So what? Happens every day!” Looks like he was an corporator, mla or petty politician. No sane normal person can speak so arrogantly let alone Maharashtrians.
Marathi manoos in Pune has had enough from rich delhiite students to uncouth biharis who are involved in every crime existing. It will be very unfair to label us as hating biharis. Plz note that whatever biharis we come across are extremely bad mannered, not speaking in local language and very dominating. They come in large numbers and antagonise localites. I dont blame the whole bihari community may be the socio-eco-political circumstances have imbibed these things in Biharis.

It is not that we or any other indians hate or have extreme prejudice towards Bihar. Maharashtra has sent help to Bihar during kosi floods. Also stereotypes exist for other communities also. it is very unfair to blame Marathis for the political turmoils. Also try to understand the view of otherside, esp from maharashtra and assam. Maharashtra have a genuine problem. generally with outsiders and particularly with north indians.

"Decent law-abiding birds, who do not spit, eve-tease or create a ruckus.I am also willing to learn the language of the state I am residing in, even if I can get along easily with the help of Hindi and English. I would do so because there are times when I feel inadequate and guilty . Learning the local language would make me feel good and allow me to belong truly and completely ."
I swear if everyone behaved and learnt local language, situation of Maharashtra woudnt have so worse.

Kislay said...

@Blogger
I am NOT antagonizing anyone man . That is just my story . I told it the way I feel , and the way it has happened . And yes , I do agree to the fact that Mumbai has bit too much on its plate than it can handle . And I believe that the politicians of UP/Bihar are much more guilty than Mr. T .

chocaholic said...

WOW!! I'm from Manipal and my boyfriend is Bihari (!) and every situation you've blogged about is one he's been in!! SO relatable.

my parents 'strongly object' to me being even good friends with him, but the litti I now get to eat makes up for that:)

sunday said...

The problem with bihar & UP is you are too many look at the Wiki two states have more than 25% of india's population 80+ % Illiteracy rates swamping all other states india let alone mumbai.

The problem needs to be addressed right away, mass migration from these states should be stopped immediately by confining populac of Bihar & UP in their own respective states, with Draconian type law of population control sould be applied to every single individual including the writer of this blog.

Funny blogs like this will not help any one as the problem is getting worser every day! it was mumbai earlier now dehli & bangalore & all over india people are agitated with uncontrolled uncivilised migration of barbarians from bihar.

When south indians moved to mumbai the same thackerys shooed them away then south indians came back and built cities like chennai, bangalore & hyderabad
My advice to biharis and Up wallas stay back and build your own home before storming some one else.

Kislay said...

@Sunday
First of all , I am not too many , I am just one man . Second of all , I am not a barbarian , never was , never can be one . And last but not the least , why don't you nuke Up & Bihar . That will be the end of all your troubles .

Ajit said...

@Kislay,
reading sunday's comments, I only hope that Mumbai gets declared a union territory soon...
then we will exactly get to know as to how "developed" Maharasthra actually is..... and how refined the Marathi Manoos are....
LOL...

saurabh said...

having studied engg. in maharastra,
there were profs. in our class who on knowing that there were students from bihar in that class would take lectures in marathi

Kislay said...

@Saurabh
That sucks . I studied in Manipal , where luckily no such thing happened .

Indyeah said...

Just read your post today ..don't know how I missed this one when I read the one you wrote on mothers...
but anyway this touched kind of a raw nerve..I say kind of because being from an army background I never went through this..but still....'Ballia' for everyone stands for the same..I have been to Bihar..I like that state and mine too...getting down at the railway stations in both these states and hearing the languages being spoken gives me a sense of homecoming...(though I only understand Bhojpuri)
AND having lived in Delhi for most of my life...I feel the SAFEST in these two states...people are polite,they help you,and most of all I feel a sense of belonging...I have felt safer sitting in a Gorakhpur-Ballia bus than I have felt in a blueline in Delhi...no eveteasing,no groping.....and if someone dared ever ,then I have seen people getting so outraged and bashing him up because there was a sense of 'yeh hamaari betiyaan hain'...
anyway the subtle(?)discrimination went like this...
Mom and Dad in hospital on the birth of their third child ,a son(already had a daughter,me and and elder brother)
Doctor:-''ARE you from Bihar?''
Dad:-(puzzled)''No,why?''
Doc:-''(mumbling)''Nothing,just like that..''
After dad went out of the room...
this doc calls another doc and a lady doctor comes and tells mom:-''you should get an operation done you know...I mean Bihar already has a huge population...Is he forcing you to have more children?''
Mom:-(horrified)''No!''
dad comes into the room,hears the conversation and just to irritate this Doc says..''We would love to have atleast 4 more kids...wouldn't you?''(to my mom)
At this point both docs gave a truly horrified look and fled...
This happened in an army hospital with an officer..
Our maid who is from Maharashtra tells us one day(thinking that we were from U.P)and that therefore it was safe to say this..
''yeh bihari log sab dilli aa ke kam bigaadte hain''(we went into a long discussion but it was useless)
Why has she come then?She's also migrated for better job prospects/employment etc....But its not her fault also..the politicians of today ,the ones who should be shot in my book, make the brainless people think like this..they give rise to this mindset..
AND I absolutely hate/detest the people who say /think BIHARI=Rickshawwalla/mazdoor/watchmen/or some such.student/IAS?Bihari accent(what is that anyway?)..I want to hit them so hard that they'll never say such a thing again...yes, we could be all of the above...but are we nothing else?is that to be our only identity?(and btw UP is equated too in the same breath..)..UP/Bihar it's all the same..to these idiots....who dont even know the map of India...(maybe Maharashtra doesnt have good geography teachers..)Should we send a few??
anyway too many incidents of the first kind...would be too long a comment..ending now...too much angst....AMAZING humour btw..gets the point across....I laughed too...:).and on this I never do...

Kislay said...

@Indyeah
I can empathize my friend . I have felt what you did and I feel what you feel . And thank you for sharing . Please feel free to comment as much as you want on my blog .

Indyeah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Indyeah said...

will definitely do that Kislay...and yes,do consider this UPiite an honorary Bihari from now on...:)PROUD to be both..:)

Kislay said...

@Indyeah
You are most welcome . The honour is mine .

Indyeah said...

Err...You don't have the words?Try telling that to someone who's not read your posts ,friend...taking me for a ride are you?..:D...the Humour and the angst all in one package and so beautifully written...( a little copy-paste here,had to make you see the power of what you write..:) )
keep writing and getting the relevant issues in the limelight...

Kislay said...

@Indyeah
Thank you . But you still rock more :)

Smitha said...

Kislay, I just came across this post. And have to say - Good on you! Very well written and so true.. I grew up in Jamshedpur, when it was still part of Bihar - and I know that Biharis used to be discriminated against in colleges in Pune.. I believe there was also a phase where Pune colleges were not even accepting students from Bihar.. It is so sad that we have such instances of discrimination within our country.. As for Biharis not being good enough to enter IITs - I know a lot of Biharis who have got into IITs- thanks to their sheer brilliance!! Its amazing how small minded people some people are! Hopefully, things will change for Bihar with good political leaders who want to make a difference..

Kislay said...

@Smitha
Thank you . I do not think that any group/community is good enough or bad enough to get into the IIT's . It is all about dedication and a certain level of intelligence . And yes , I do look forward to the day when people who belong to this country will not be discriminated against .

freespirit said...

Proud to be a Bihari! I've ranted on my blog in reply to the comment you left there. This is just to say keep up the good work!

Winnie the poohi said...

Beautifully written and very apt!

Kislay said...

@Freespirit and Winnie
Thank you .

Anubhav said...

Its almost the same experience for everyone hailing from Bihar.....ignorance is the policy i follow....i dont justify ppl about me being not like other biharis...coz i never understand whom am i being compared to....there is no point explaining such self proclaimed "educated" fools...i m sure we all blush coyly and pity the questioner's worthlessness.....hehe
I m never ashamed to call myself a bihari...i take pride in telling them n i also put it the way ppl wants to listen...haha
"m a Bihari....think twice before u mingle...i m supposedly a ferocious creature....i drink human blood before i go to bed..chewing human bones is my hobby and my fav cusines are "bheja fry","FINGER fries","khooni kaleja" aur etc.....i speak foul language..i like inventing new slangs..infact m writing a slang dictionary...first of its kind.
Never ever mess with me....i carry the local "katta" in my chor pocket with a pick up time within 1 second!!".........lol

sangeeta said...

nice write up......makes the right point.
i have lived in many parts of India n everywhere have seen uncivilized, badtameez people....Bihar may have a few more of them may be, but being prejudiced and judgmental is not right....i was in Dhanbad for 7 years n when i came back to Delhi , some of my friends said ...you don't look like you have been in Bihar ( for outsiders jharkhand is still nonexistent) ......i asked them if a person changes just by living in Bihar or Punjab or any other state.....i belong to Banaras n feel proud of it though i have spent my life in many places.
but one thing i feel very strongly Kislay ...that a person should never feel a complex of caste or the place he/she belongs to, have seen many people in Bihar who are bent upon justifying that they are not backward...it's not needed, cuz in the process they loose track of their focus.....people like you can motivate many others to take pride in what they are ....not pretending to be somebody else....
will come back to read other posts of your's...

indyeahforever said...

read this again:))
and loved it as much as I did the last time:)
some words stay with one for a long , long time because they touch a chord. This is one of those writes.

Planning a post on all that divides India...

as someone who loves all cultures and states these kind of issues almost force one to become aware of one's identity...


its hard to not get swayed..
I am trying..

your first lines ? I woudl echo them too
.
I am an Indian. First and Foremost. That is one the of cornerstones of my existence. That is how I perceive myself.
me too... absolutely and completely!


I do not know whether it is right or wrong to have a sense of sub-nationalism, but I have a little of it. All my energies reserved for nationalism, patriotism and the occasional jingoism is focused on the motherland, as a whole (including Kashmir).
I sense that state identity rising ONLY when I am forced (and so brutally ) to state my identity.. the state one..

and that is why it HURTS when I used to and STILL hear shouts of 'outsider'!!


tell me ..if this is not my home...this country...each and every state of this country.. each city, each village..then which other home do I have????


..

BlueMist said...

What a post!! loved it totally. Shame that people stereotype instead of creating one on one opinions. I have seen people who have never been to Patna talk so strongly about how it is bad city for women and all. But I have been there ; stayed and still wonder how.

mesoliloquy said...

Kislay, that was a good read just like all your post.

What's with people and stereotypes? It is so annoying.We have that aplenty in India.

But then there are people like you who give us hope.

indianhomemaker said...

This is my favorite post on your blog :)

Unfortunately nothing has changed :(

A Girl from Timbuktu said...

Kislay,
A very well written post. (reached here from IHM)I can relate to it completely.
I am often subjected to similar thing. read it here

http://storiesfrommylifeandelsewhere.blogspot.com/2008/11/identity-crisis.html

chandrakant said...

This is sunday eve, i'm writing this post while being totally pissed off by a lewd comment passed to me by none other than my own friend. People respect my intelligence, my expertise but one thing they still remember that i belong to the state of Bihar.
Like being from Bihar is a curse, people around keep reminding of this fact. so where does this leave an ordinary Bihari like me who has stepped out of the "god foresaken place" in pursuit of better education and a good living? should i go to our nation's capital? but wouldn't then sheila dixit attribute all the problems of "her" state to me? Mumbai's door has already been closed for me by Raj Thackeray, the northeast is out of question. where do i go now? Are these subtle indications that the rest of the country wants me to stay confined to my state? isn't it like saying "....Yeah, you are an integral part of our family.but why don't you stay away from us?

All this definitely leaves me with a sense of extreme sorrow and anguish.
I have spent the initial 17 years of my life in Bihar and never did I hear anyone saying "jai Bihar" before "Jai Hind". Never did i come across an agitation where activists boycotted Hindi over regional languages like Bhojpuri and Maithali.

Then why couldn't the country reciprocate our loyalty? why have we been reduced to a bunch of wretched citizens who always have to be at the receiving end of uncouth humor and animosity?

I am asking you hypocrites, who cry when a bunch of aussie kids attack indians and don't look in your own backyard.

I am feeling so shameful right now that i'm an Indian.

sundeep gupta said...

I am speechless....Kishlay.my name is sundeep..m a software engg wrking for a mnc...There were lot of things in ma mind before i was reading your article...but i read each n every comments, people views what they think about bihar and being a Bihari. True even i have gone through all these things which i usually ignore. But being a Bihari i have never felt ashamed on it.Even if i try to be a friend with a girl i used to be honest with my roots. I never hide. And people used to say like you don't look like Bihari. Then i intentionally speak in my Bihari language and they make funny faces...who cares. If i am good at something ..if my communication is better than many marathi people in my company or in ma team...then nobody can deny it. It doesn't matter weather i am a Bihari or what. I don't give a fuck you jackass...u call me Bihari or whatever. I am what i am...This is an irony people make a mockery..you from Bihar ..you from U.P...Our honourable chief minister Nitish kumar once said during best chief minister award ceremony...how could u see India rising untill Bihar won't rise. Its unfortunate that our leaders like lallu have made a mockery of Bihar all over the world and have brought Bihar to pathetic condition. But Bihar is a part of India...we all have responsibility to help this poor state who once was richest state and had first university set up ever in Nalanda. Bihar still have lot of scope and have got best talents in the country..
@Kishlay.: Agreed Bihari people are rote learner...but what would you expect from a boy who hails from a government school hindi medium..and still able to crack IIT...it happens only in Bihar dear...IAS ,IITians despite better school..better coaching. But you have to agree many people go to delhi ,bangalore from bihar and crack IIT,NIT exams...but they hide all these that they hail from Bihar or whatever. But anyway...its really gr8 to know that there are people who realy take a pride for being a Bihari and hoping for its better future.

Thank You
Sundeep Gupta

Kislay said...

@Sundeep

I feel what you feel .

"@Kishlay.: Agreed Bihari people are rote learner" . I disagree , you cant land in the IIT's or the NIT's through rote learning .

Thanks for sharing your story .

Dhananjay said...

@Kishlay...I don't agree with you. You are suffering from low self respect. Not everyone will comment that "You don't look like bihari. Stereotype people are everywhere dude.People are intelligent in India...not every one will comment you like that.I proudly say that i am bihari and people still talk to me. Tum apne aap ko bahut chota samjh rahe ho....Bihari logo ke saath problem hi yahi hai ki woh apne aap ko bihari kahlane me proud feel nahi karte hai. If you say proudly that i am bihari then everone will respect you.

Dhananjay said...

@Kishlay...we are the fasted growing state for last two year.Our Economy is bigger than Punjab.Tell me the reason that why i will hide my identity.Those hiding their identity are loser.If someone criticize you than why don't you counter criticize them.As for my knowledge every Indian states suffers from poverty, Unemployment, crime and corruption. At least we have great history...we lag behind only for 20 year due to Bad governmental now we are catching up. Dude you are good writer....write about devepment in Bihar.Tumahare topic ab purana ho gaya hai....we are progressing state now...so write some about developmnt.

Jai Bihar

Tanay said...

I am a Bihari living in Delhi since 2004, when I was 13. So I have transformed from a child into an adult here, and have grown with it. Though I haven't faced anything which I'd call "discrimination" or "insult" for being a Bihari, but it is evident what people think of our lot. And I think we have to accept it. There are stereotypes about every community and every place in the world. It's just that stereotypes associated with us happen to be negative. In such situations, I've felt that it's best to be graceful. If we are talented and opposite to what stereotypes are, and still people use the word "Bihari" as a derogatory word, it's they who are blind and stupid.
I loved reading your post though. Could relate to it totally. It's unfortunate, obviously. But yes, though I considered it some kind of a curse to be a Bihari when I first came to Delhi as a child, TODAY, I don't really care. I was born somewhere like everyone else was. And I respect that place. What I can do, is to work towards changing people's perception, to make my work speak for myself.

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