Wednesday, 19th February, 2020


An open letter to Nitish Kumar from a non resident Bihari

21, Jun 2010 By Pagal Patrakar

Dear Nitish,

A Non Resident Bihari here.

I hope it doesn’t sound downright funny anymore to call yourself a Bihari, which surely was the case till you didn’t become the Chief Minister of Bihar. You know, one of my fellow Bihari friends used to answer “IIT Kharagpur” whenever someone in our business school asked him where he came from.

I haven’t talked to him for some time now, we live in different cities; you know Biharis are everywhere. But I hope now he says “Patna” unapologetically if asked the same question. You can take pride in this change of attitude in him as you symbolized a ‘change’ in Bihar when you won the elections five years ago.

But I have heard that these days you are taking pride in returning money given to your government for rehabilitation of flood victims. Guess your Bihari pride was hurt when some people considered close to that Modi chap issued an advertisement that allegedly boasted of some money given to the poor perennially drowning Biharis living in the Kosi area.

It was an insult to the poor people of Bihar you thought, maybe it was.

Times of India
It was in papers today

This morning when I thought of writing this letter to you, I picked up my morning newspaper. For some funny reason, I buy The Times of India, New Delhi edition. And guess what, on the front page, just below the masthead on the left side, there was a quote attributed to The Bible:

“A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.”

I am not saying anything. This is what The Bible says, and this is what the editors of apparently the largest selling English daily chose to publish today morning. I hope you get the message. And I don’t think you will disagree with a biblical quote; else your secular credentials could go for a toss.

That’s why I believe that all this talk of Bihari pride being hurt is bullshit. Because you are a prudent man and not a fool, as The Bible says. But I’m not sure if you are being prudent as well in your plans.

In fact I’m not sure what your plans are.

Are you thinking of impressing the Bihari Muslims? Or are you thinking of impressing Congress?

Yes, most of the Muslims, whether Biharis or otherwise, don’t like Narendra Modi, just as most of the witty people don’t like Rakhi Sawant. This, in turn, has given rise to a phenomenon, where some people criticize Modi to impress the Muslims, just as many people make jokes on Rakhi Sawant to impress the wit-loving audiences.

But as you would well appreciate, real wit goes beyond Rakhi Sawant, just as real secularism goes beyond Narendra Modi. The witty people realize this difference, do you think the Muslims don’t? I leave it upon you to say what you think about the Muslims.

And Bihari Muslims? They have been so unfortunate. At the time of partition, many of them couldn’t travel to Pakistan because it was too far off and hence they went to Bangladesh, then East Pakistan. They were never treated as one of them for obvious reasons. In fact they were seen as Urdu speaking agents of the West Pakistan.

During the Bangladeshi war of Independence, they sided with the Pakistanis and many of them are still languishing in refugee camps for almost 40 years now, repenting that mistake and waiting for Pakistan to take them ‘home’. Pakistan has shown no interest in doing so. Bangladesh has submitted no dossiers to this effect. They are neither Pakistani nor Bangladeshi now. They are still called Bihari Muslims.

Why I’m saying this? Because I believe that most Muslims in Bihar realize that their identity is built more around being a Bihari than being a Muslim, right since independence. I don’t know how much has it changed now, but when Biharis are beaten up in Mumbai, nobody asks their caste or religion.

Maybe being a Non Resident Bihari, I’m missing something. All the best if you think you can impress Bihari Muslims through this act.

But don’t tell me you are trying to impress Congress. There is no point dude! Even Congress is not trying to impress itself there, else why has Rahul Gandhi not eaten litti-chokha at a Bihari dalit’s home till now? And Rahul is smart. He doesn’t want to bite more than he can chew. Maybe you could learn one or two things from him.

I can understand if you want to break up from BJP and for that you are accusing that Modi chap for having behaved in an uncultured way. My friend also accused his girl friend of hitting on his younger brother before breaking up. Basically he was seeing a new girl, who he thought was sexier. But Congress is your new girl in Bihar? Serious? What’s so sexy about it?

Dude, Congress has even lost its size-zero figure that it maintained in Bihar during Lalu Yadav days. Now it wins a few seats, but yet not so much that you could be smitten by its curviness or buxomness. Furthermore, it doesn’t yet have a face, forget beautiful or ugly, or even a voice there. I wonder what you fell for.

But again, being a Non Resident Bihari, maybe I’m missing something.

Also, I have learnt that the five crore rupees that you returned was an ‘unspent’ amount from the relief and rehabilitation budget, even as news reports claim that people are still living without a roof in the Kosi river belt area. Why was those five crores not spent on building roofs? That doesn’t impress anybody you see. And now that such news reports are out, it seems like your decision of returning the money was a self goal. FIFA world cup fever, eh?

Well, it doesn’t matter if you snub Modi or dump BJP, after all Naveen Patnaik not far away in Orissa demonstrated that one could do it successfully and to a good effect, but don’t lose your USP. You symbolized ‘change’ – in attitude, in politics, in news reports coming out of Bihar – don’t let that change for worse.

Yours truly, A Non Resident Bihari.