Vol. XLI No. 18 April 30, 2017

BIHAR: Rising Miseries of the People

Arun Kumar Mishra

BJP has acquired the most aggressive posture and after Uttar Pradesh, Bihar is the next target, where it wants to expand its activities by fomenting communal trouble in different parts of the state. Nawadsh, Bhagalpur, Madhubani, Rohtas, Darbhanga have experienced such nefarious activities by the RSS and its affiliates but they have failed to ignite a fire.

Ramnavmi was celebrated in such an aggressive way which was not seen before. Swords, spears and other such weapons were openly displayed during Ramnavmi processions all across Bihar. There is fear among the minorities. RSS and BJP were seen behind all such preparations.

In the coming days, RSS and its affiliates would indulge in such activities to polarise the masses on communal lines in order to pave the way for BJP’s expansion, which is licking its wound after a severe drubbing in the last assembly elections.

So far as the Nitish Kumar government is concerned, it is more interested in organising one mega event after another.

After achieving accolades from the Sikh community for organising Prakashotsav on a grand scale, now it is time for Champaran Utsav. The centenary year of visit of Champaran by Mahatma Gandhi, to fight against the British indigo landlords, has provided a platform for Nitish Kumar to swear by Gandhism. The three day seminar in newly built Gyan Bhawan in Patna is nothing but a hollow assertion of implementing Gandhian concept of “Gram Swaraj” as Nitish Kumar along with other bourgeois landlord formations has already embraced neoliberal economic agenda.

Through such mega events, Nitish Kumar wants to create an illusion of development with equity, but the situation on the ground level tells a different tale.

Peasants’ woes – whether it is bumper crop or drought and flood, all such things bring misery to the peasants.

Due to bumper crop, peasants don’t get remunerative prices and are forced to sell their products at lower rates to repay the debts and use the money to fulfill their other obligations. Distress sale of recently harvested wheat and other summer crops are being reported from every district of Bihar.

The nature’s fury has further added woes to the lives of peasants. Storms and hails have damaged the harvested wheat and other crops, in vast areas of north Bihar.

The government agencies are ill-prepared to face such situations and have left the peasants to fend for themselves.

Though it is harvesting season in Bihar but the agricultural workers are migrating to different parts of the country, particularly from the poorer area of Kosi belt. It shows the lack of work in rural areas as the government of the day has singularly failed to generate employment outside agricultural sector. Talk of the agro based industries has not taken concrete shape on the ground.

The Nitish Kumar government is completely silent on the crucial issues affecting the economy in general and the agrarian economy in particular. It is not only that he has stopped talking about land reform but his much publicised agricultural road map has also been dumped.

The much hyped announcement about giving three decimal homestead land to the homeless people has not been fulfilled rather the homeless people who erected their huts on government and gair-majarua lands have been threatened with evictions. The landlord and the musclemen of the area are eyeing these lands and have taken legal routes through public litigation petition against encroachment to evict the landless and homeless people; such evictions are rampant in urban areas. The worst victims are the dalits, and the poorest of the poor who live in slum areas, doing odd jobs. Nitish Kumar government is silent on all such developments.

The attacks on dalits have grown many fold. Not a single day passes when such reports are not published. Recently a dalit helmet in Madhepura district was raided in the dead of night by hooligans and they raped a young dalit woman before the eyes of her mother. Even after the intervention of the district Party, the police moved very slowly against the culprit. Dalit women are particularly vulnerable as their husbands migrate to far off places to earn their living, leaving them behind.

The ruling alliance has much to answer about the state of welfare measures and scholarships meant for dalit students and the community as a whole. 

A dalit girl student of Badh village under Bahadurpur block of Darbhanga was raped by the teacher who used to teach her. The issue was taken up by the Party and after big movements, the in-charge of woman police station Seema Kumari tried to arrest the accused but in the meantime the RJD MLA of the area intervened and got Seema Kumari transferred.

It is common experience all over Bihar that in several such incidents the ruling parties and leaders of BJP always side with the rapists and the oppressors.

In the recent past the newly organised DSMM has taken up many such issues and has received support from different sections of society particularly of the several independent and even party affiliated dalit organisations.

The attacks on dalits are on the one hand a social issue, on the other it is related with land issue.

In the Darbhanga, Madhepura, Bhagalpur, Gaya, Madhubani and other districts also, DSMM and the Party have intervened and got the culprits arrested.

General welfare measures relating to food security, pensions for the old and infirm, housing projects for the poor, MNREGA, have got a raw deal under the present dispensation.

The linking of Aadhar card for getting ration from public distribution system, has driven large number of BPL people outside this scheme.

In the above mentioned socio-economic situation, the verbal duel between the BJP and the Mahagathbandhan has become a daily routine.

BJP leaders have levelled serious allegations against Lalu family for amassing vast fortunes and branded him as the biggest modern landlord of Bihar, counter charges against BJP leaders have also been hurled by the RJD and JD(U) leaders.

CPI(M) has demanded that taking note of the serious matter of corruption charges against both the parties, there should be a thorough enquiry of all the elected representatives and the people of Bihar should know that how these worthies have amassed such vast fortune in just within five or ten years of their tenure.

BJP and its leaders are neck-deep in corruption and only impartial enquiries against them will bring their real faces before the people.

CPI(M) will take up this issue of corruption in right earnest and mobilise the people against the corrupt and black money holders.