Currently Browsing: Bihar Series

In cradle of harmony, Insaniyat only religion

(Top) Liban Ram in his village Mir Sahab

Mir Sahab lives in the Irani area of Forbesganj. A small town in Bihar on the border of Nepal and Bangladesh, Forbesganj has both an Irani and Iraqi area. Mir Sahab’s ancestors had a zamindari. A victim of the Land Ceiling Act, the property of his family was seized and now belongs to the aviation […]


Dreams soar over poverty

The writer (centre) with girls from Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas. Picture by Ruchira Gupta

As I travel through Bihar, to small bustees, little villages, remote hamlets, I see pink schools everywhere, behind clusters of bamboo groves, down a mud road, near a pond. There are more than 1,000 schools in Araria district alone, and the number of children enrolled is 4,16,511. In 2006, the Indian government had named Araria […]


What India can learn from Bihar

Nitish Rishidev (in blue T-shirt), reunited with his family. Telegraph pictures

This is what poverty looks like in Bihar: a 10-year-old child boarding a train for big, unknown Punjab so that the food at home is enough for his Ma and Babuji. A sister postponing her wedding so that she can be the additional daily wage earner in the family. An anxious mother and father borrowing […]


The victims of superstition across centuries & oceans

Hujrat Khatoon

Yesterday I met a woman labelled as a dayan – a witch – in the village of Balbat in Araria. The village was so remote that people bought petrol in little rum bottles for the scooties and motorcycles that farmers now use. The pump was far away. One of the most sensitive journalists of this […]


English-vinglish: Language & legacy

Shivanand Tiwari (in spectacles) on a cycle rally from Delhi to Guwahati in 1983 against the official use of English

Shivanand ji called this morning. Shivanandji has been to jail five times, twice for protesting the use of English in government work. The slogan was: ” Angrezi mein kaam na hoga/Phir se desh goolam na hoga” (Work will not be in English/The country’s enslavement must finish). A recently retired Rajya Sabha MP, Shivanand Tiwari was […]


The jail that sparked many a story


I stop at Purnea to meet Girindranath Jha, a journalist, who has returned to his ailing father and begun farming. I read his blogs and Facebook posts on harvesting potatoes, the impact of the westerly wind – pachiya – on fruits, the joy of seeing rice saplings sprout, the significance of green fields and running […]


Legacy of social justice, hope for change


Bihar Safarnama is a road trip from Bagdogra to Patna to see the changing face of the state through the eyes of an OBC scientist, a reform-minded jailor, the smiling Asha worker, the cycling girl, the well-paid teacher, the female panch, the safe Muslim businessman, the sensitive police officer, the SC university student, the unworried farmer, the free […]