Rahul Gandhi spoke on a public forum again to a staged audience and yet somehow, he managed to insult the people of North India, particularly UP and Bihar at this staged event too. Naturally, fur was going to fly and perhaps he intended that it should. However, this won’t stop people like me from questioning him.
To some of us who traveled the whole gamut of life experiences in Bihar: from belonging to a freedom fighters’ family, to the days of studying in the light of oil lamps without electricity, to surviving the dark days of Jungle Raaj, to living in Maharashtra and South India for over a decade, to now living outside India, this callous remark of a PM aspirant is insulting on many different levels. Therefore, I cannot help but pose a series of questions to a man who intends to become the prime minister of India by insulting a large section of its population. My 13 questions to the congress president:
- In one of the pre-election sound bites, your colleague Mr. Surjewala had said that you are a “Janeudhaari Brahmin” no doubt to appeal to the Brahmin votes in the state you wanted to win. And even though you have kept Ayodhya on a slow-burn dispute to reap multiple political benefits, I am sure as a Janeudhaari Brahmin you still know it as the place where Lord Ram was born. But as a champion of women’s emancipation do you know that Sita ji, the wife of Lord Ram was born in Bihar? Internet knows it, but do you?
- Dear Mr. Gandhi did you know that Bihar was the land from where Buddhism originated? It was the place where Gautam Buddha achieved his enlightenment. Tourists from all Buddhists nations come to Sarnath to pay their respects. They know about Bihar and Buddhism, but do you?
- Have you heard about the great economist and political science expert Chankaya or Kautilya? He was the prime minister in the court of Chandragupta Maurya, the King who is credited with defeating Alexander the Great’s army in Afghanistan. He united large swathes of North India from the footsteps of Pakistan to Bihar. Did you know that both Kautilya and Chandragupta Maurya were from Magadha or modern-day Bihar?
- Do you know Rahul Gandhi that Bihar was the seat of the foremost global university in ancient times, the Nalanda University? While Jesus might or might not have studied from Nalanda, the university was still home to 10000 resident students and 2000 teachers for 800 years. It is said that when the Nalanda university library was destroyed by invaders, it burnt for 3 months. It was a university that drew students from across the world, built by the great Gupta dynasty, a dynasty that ruled over Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Certainly, more than the number of states under congress rule, currently!
- Under the British rule, opium was widely grown in the fields of North India for exporting to China. Mr. Richard Blair came to Motihari, Bihar to work at the opium office there. Did you know Mr. Gandhi that his son, popularly known as George Orwell– the author of Animal Farm was born in Bihar? Under Nitish Kumar, plans are afoot to turn the dilapidated building where Orwell was born into a museum. Why for 70 years his birth place remained unacknowledged?
- Under British rule the Tinkathia system was also started, in UP, Bihar and Bengal. This system forced tenant farmers to grow Indigo on their land. The indigo cultivation would turn the land fallow and the farmers destitute. This indigo farming was so destructive that it led to famines across these states. The same states that you so shamelessly ridicule. Did you know how Indigo farming ruined the agrarian economy and the farmers of Bihar?
- In fact, Indigo farming was such a stain on the agrarian economy, that the man whose surname you and your family have for decades, so shamelessly bandied for political gains, started his Satyagrah from Champaran in North Bihar. Champaran in Bihar, is widely credited for making a Mahatma out of Mohandas Karamchan Gandhi. Did you know about Champaran? Gandhi ji surely did.
- Did you know Mr. Gandhi that Ramdhari Singh Dinkar our national poet, whose poetry are even today quoted by Indian Armed forces when they speak of valour, hailed from Bihar? Did you know that the congress government of 1959, awarded the Padma Bhushan to him?
- During successive congress government terms, many PSU headquarters were distributed. South India got the heavy engineering PSUs like HAL, ISRO, and BHEL thereby ensuring the technology-proficient manpower growth in the southern states. Not even one such PSU was allowed to be head quartered in Bihar. Why was this step-motherly treatment given to the state under congress governments? Why did successive congress governments deny development to the people of Bihar deliberately?
- In the 1970s an earthquake happened in the Indian political landscape. He was called Jai Prakash Narayan and he hailed from Bihar. What started as a student movement against state government quickly gained fire and became a national movement against the central government led by Indira Gandhi. This movement eventually led to the infamous emergency that your grandmother unleashed on the country. I hope Mr. Gandhi that even in the company of your sycophants the dark days of emergency reluctantly echo sometimes?
- Your list of loyal allies include, even today, a man who single-handedly ruined the future of many a young Biharis, during 1990s. Mr. Lalu Yadav unleashed a reign of extortion and loot during his infamous Jungle Raaj days. He pushed Bihar back into the dark days of armed robberies, daylight murders and abductions. Those who lived during those days have a list of horror stories that they recount even to this day. Yet you and your party still persist in propping up the scam tainted career of this criminal cum politician. Why Mr.Gandhi?
- In 1970s the ambitious Rural Electrification program was launched and within 5 years all the villages of Bihar were supposed to be lit, but generations have passed on without electricity reaching the villages of Bihar. It seems the task of total rural electrification has finally been completed under the able leadership of Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi. Why was rural electrification of Bihar ignored for so many decades Mr.Gandhi?
- Amethi in UP has stayed with your family for decades, yet the development of this congress bastions is happening under Narendra Modi, Smriti Irani and Yogi Adityanath from BJP. Why has congress failed to develop Amethi, even after being handed over successive wins by the people of Amethi? Is it the use-and-throw model of congress at work?
Many lives, futures of Biharis, UPites have been changed due to the apathy of successive congress governments, exploitation by ruffians, street goons like Lalu Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav. Yet the congress president, Rahul Gandhi stands in public, denigrating Biharis, people from UP, like it is their fault that they have been exploited over centuries! What is even more surprising is that this sort of mockery of poverty is coming from a man who hopes to become PM someday!