Bihar : The Prosperous Poor

rajya.JPGBihar cannot escape from being mentioned in two topics of discussion-politics and poverty. Poor people make a common sight in Bihar. Half-clad, malnourished children and uneducated, unemployed youth seem to be the trademarks of this state. But hold your horses right there, Bihar is not all that poor after all.

Five of the six candidates for the Rajya Sabha this time are crorepatis. The biennial polls of the Rajya Sabha, held recently, has many candidates who own farmland, houses and flats in various parts of India. JDU(N) spokesperson Shivanand Tiwari is the exception. He has merely Rs. 6.94 lakhs in bank. All the rest, like Sabir Ali who has 14 flats in Mumbai alone, are crorepatis. Prem Chandra Chopra has 2010 grams of gold which is worth over 1.17 crores. Leaders from RJD, JDU, LJP, all possess crores of rupees.

What does this show? Basically, Bihar is not as poor as it is shown to be. The only problem is that all the money is accumulated in hands of a few. While some people have more than enough food to waste, there are others who daily go to bed with hungry stomachs. While some people have farm houses in posh areas of Delhi and Mumbai, there are many who sleep on the roads.Wealth is hence, concentrated in a few hands, as the rich get richer and poor, poorer.

This issue also throws light on another big and yet much-avoided problem. One needs to question the basis on which tickets to various houses like Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha are given. Is money the only criteria to get into politics? For instance, Shabir Ali, whose only qualification is Matriculation, is contesting this time in the biennial polls! Is it because he owns over 22 crore rupees? So, is it all about power and “paisa” in Bihar?

Bihar is the land where power rules. If you have power, money will itself walk up to you and vice versa. Remember Laloo Prasad Yadav? I am sure you do; he is a man people cannot forget. Power took him to heights one can not dare to think of. Let us not get into the number of farms or cattle he possesses, or the standard of his family as of today. Yet, he sure has earned a lot of importance and money, of course. Power leads to more power. Money leads to more money, and every poll in Bihar proves this. Darwin proposed, “survival of the fittest”. As far as Bihar is concerned, it is “survival of the most powerful”. As I write this article, there will be many hungry kids trying to sleep in order to forget their hunger for some time. There will also be a part, consisting of “rich” people – most probably politicians-who might be planning to invest another crore of rupees. Whether Bihar is poor or rich is a puzzle in itself. Perhaps, it is the poor land of some rich people…

Prerna Jha


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