Saturday, May 24, 2008

Tour de Roots

Getting on to writing something after a long time...

Well, there was a reason.. and the reason was that I was on a tour to my native place for two weeks! A two weeks' leave for the first time since last four years!

So I went on a sojourn to my native place and this time, it was a surprise for me. Believe me!

I spent my childhood and teenage days in Bihar and initial youth as well. Had been to Bihar around 2 years back on a short vacation. What I saw this time was a surprise.. a pleasant surprise!!

Laloo Prasad Yadav has long ago talked about making the Roads of Bihar akin to Hema Malini's cheeks, but did nothing in his 15 yrs of rule except for looting lots of public money. The roads were more of a potholes and this was the condition everywhere. The roads were of course repaired... but every rain would act like Duryodhan of Mahabharata and would raise all the sarees from Draupadi's (road's) body, thus exposing the bloody game that politicians and contractors played openly in Bihar.

However, this time I was taken aback by surprise.. The roads were all smooth except for far flung places and that too were limited and work was already planned.. almost everywhere! Sudden shift in government's policy? Then I realize that Laloo no more rules Bihar either directly or through a proxy (Rabri?) and now Nitish Kumar is the Chief Minister for last 22 months.

I talked to people and came to know that the improvement was almost everywhere. Any society needs basic infrastructure to develop -- Electricity, Water, Roads, Education, Health Care, etc. What I observed was that improvement was drastic and positive in almost all arenas... at least in the ones that matter the most.

Electricity.. which I never remembered to be there for more than 6-8 hours a day (except when you are not living in government/railway quarters, which have their own supply).. this time I found it to be available for around 18-20 hours. Specially it was available generally during the day hours.

Bihar has no dearth of highly skilled Doctors, although they all preferred to sit in the comfort of their own clinics/private hospitals.. ran a virtual mint to print money.. and never bothered to visit the hospital that they were attached to. Government hospitals were turned into shelter for stray dogs and cattles (even photographs were published in papers and magazines, I remember!).. forget about any aminities! But this time, I saw the same hospitals sparkling clean, buzzing with activity and the doctors actually sitting there, treating people. Even free medicines are now being dispensed!

I know personally some teachers (some relatives as well!) who would never go to their school/colleges and run private classes/coaching institutes. Even if they would go, it would be just to mark their attendance or take their salaries. I remember myself had taken admission for graduation in science.. but there were no classes held for the entire year and the exam dates came! I left the college/university and went to Hyderabad for further education. Student unions fought election on the promise of getting 180 days of classes! Now this time I know that the same teachers/lecturers/professors are attending the college.. even carrying a lunch box to the college!

Great achievement I'd say and Kudos to whoever is responsible for this drastic change! Seems we will again have a time when people like me would not look further to any place else to get good education and a livelihood.


1 comment:

Rajesh Kamal said...

so.....this time it was a facelift...........ha ha.... mind changes alongwith the mindset... may be vice-versa... not sure abt it! but any change for good is always welcome... what do you say?