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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Readers Write Index


Understanding the Bihari Mind and Bihar

by Madani Mohiuddin Ahmad
KSU, Riyadh, KSA

March 20, 2007

Readers Write


The name Bihar is derived from the Sanskrit ‘vihar’ meaning abode. Over the time it got magnified and turned into a cosmic form by multiplying itself and culminated into viharas which were the abodes of Buddhist monks in the ancient and medieval periods. The same Bihar was called ‘Magadha’ and the capital Pataliputra was the center of the Mauryan empire which ruled the Indian subcontinent from 325 BC to 185 BC. The cosmic teachings during those periods were on its height with the spiritual enlightenment of Lord Buddha who was born and brought up on the soil of Kapilwastu, Kingdom of Nepal. But he achieved his life-fulfillment in today’s Bihar. His disciples scattered like anything that revolutionized the minds of the millions and it prevails today in various forms: some of them are transcendentalism greatly practiced in Germany and North America. The power of non-violence and peace is the slogan of today’s world civilization and has been put up as the top agenda of the United Nation Organization. This originated from the teachings of Buddhism after the great Kalinga War during the reign of the Magadh Samraat Ashoka. On the verge of the medieval period, Bihar remained an international place in terms of power, culture, and education. The Vikramshila (Bhagalpur) and Nalanda Universities were the hub of intellectual activities for the international students.

Vardhaman Mahavir, the founder of Jainism was born in Vaishali and the Lichchawi Nagar of Vaishali, gave birth to ‘democracy’ the first of its kind in the world. The followers of Jainism practice how to get control over the senses ( which lead to sensuality and violence). The influence of Jainism can be traced into the world renowned Swiss psychologist Fred. Harshvardhan, Emperor Ashoka, Kautilya (Channakyya), Aamrpali and gems of ancient Bharat were mostly from today’s Bihar of India. Their service to mankind was not confined to one region or race or community. They selflessly served the cause of humanity and today nobody can deny this fact on this living planet.

Six years rule of Sher Shah Suri of Sasaram (Shehsharam) who built the longest road of the Indian subcontinent, the Grand Trunk Road which starts from Sonargaon in Bangladesh and ends at Peshawar in Pakistan, was from Bihar. He fought against the Mughal Empire and established his own governance and served selflessly and peacefully the entire territory of Bharat. His contributions are many and today’s people of India are equally reaping the fruits.

Babu Kunwar Singh of Jagdishpur (Bhojpur,Bihar) and his army contributed to the India’s First War of Independence 1857.

Raj Kumar Shukla of Champaran invited Mohandas Karamchand just after his (MK’S) return from South Africa, to protest against the atrocities on the forced farmers/peasants under an oppressive system established by European indigo planters to cultivate indigo which later became a nationwide movement called the Champaran Satyagraha. This marked Gandhiji’s entry into the India’s Struggle for Freedom.

Bihar was at the forefront of India’s struggle of independence. Right from the 1857 of independence to the 1942 Quit India movement, the whole country looked to Bihar for providing direction to its freedom struggle. Gandhiji became a mass leader only after the Champaran Satyagraha and the way to freedom was paved by Raj Kumar Shukla of Bihar.

The list of legendary freedom fighters of Bihar is a long one who championed the cause of India’s struggle for freedom: Swami Sahajanad Saraswati, Basawan Singh (Sinha), Dr Anugrah Narayan Sinha, Maulana Majharul Haque, Yogendra Shukla, Sheel Bhadra Yajee, Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki.

The Non-cooperation Movement, a call given by Gandhiji attracted a great number of people from Bihar. Shiekh Mohiuddin (1898-2004) of Mairwa (Siwan), an activist of Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) under the guidance of his seniors spread the powerful message of the movement in and around the region.

And who will forget the simplest and the most scholarly the first President of India Republic, Dr Rajendra Prasad and his services to the drafting of the Constitution of the Republic in which the Preamble says… ‘We the people of India…’? Till date no answer sheet in the country bears a remark “the examinee (Rajendra Prasad) is better than examiner”.

Over the last four decades, the Indian polity has been getting shapes and reshapes due to farsightedness of the Indian politicians of Bihari origin most significantly the JP Movement which was the prime cause for the downfall of the autocratic rule during the regime of Indira Gandhi: started by Loknayak Babu Jai Prakash Narayan. This movement reshaped the Indian democracy to its full meaning. Great leaders of socialist school of thoughts of Bihar origin including the chief minister of Bihar Shri Nitish Kumar still occupy a bigger size of place in the politics of the country and working hard for the betterment of the people with dedication strengthening the every fragments of the unity and integrity of the country.

The railway budget 2007 presented by the Union Railway Minister Shri Lalu Prasad Yadav, one the disciples of the Loknayak Jai Prakash, has been accepted and welcomed with a lot of praise across the country. He was born and brought up at a remote village of Phulwariya, Gopalganj. He has made a history in the ministry of railway by not raising fare hike with a huge profit of rupees 20 thousand crores. The top bureaucrats of the past and the present of Bihar origin have shown bright career graph of their remarkable services in their various nature of works over the times. India’s most respectable examining authority UPSC which is the kidney of producing personnel to the various departments of the government of India of which remarkably, 20% of them are from Bihar. Super 30 in Patna, unlike Kota of Rajasthan, a non-funded educational institution have trained the poorest of the poor and many of them got through the prestigious IIT entrance. This achievement gained popularity not only within the country, but internationally. An actress and one time Miss Japan has decided to make a film with a purpose that it might inspire the youth of Japan.

BHARAT is our home. It belongs to the people of Bharat. Disintegrating and narrow mindedness will be fought back especially by the people of Bihar and by the PEOPLE of India in the right sense of Indian.

शक्ति जो चेतन थी, अब जड़ हो गयी है। बचपन में जो कुंजी मेरे पास थी, उम्र बढ़ते बढ़ते वह कहीं खो गयी है। - दिनकर


Though precisely, but perfectly explained the contributions of Biharis in national development. We have shown light in the past and we shall keep doing so in future as well. You have also very rightly concluded your article; Bharat is our home and any attempt of causing disintegration and narrow mindedness should be fought back in the right way in true spirit of nationalism. - Najam Gilani - Mar. 20, 2007

Very nice article, thank you very much. - Rajiv Chandra - Mar. 20, 2007

Thanks to PatnaDaily and Madani Mohiuddin Ahmad, a very nice article! - Ranjan Rituraj Sinh - Mar. 21, 2007

'Understanding the Bihari Mind' is a nice article. But the author has mentioned Vardhman Mahavir as the founder of Jainism. It is proven by Indoligical scholars that Jainism existed even before Vardhman Mahavir in Bihar region. Both Mahavir and Gautam Buddha were followers of the Shraman tradition of Parshwnatha. Parshwanatha was 23rd Teerthankar of Jainism. There are followers of Parshwanatha's Jain tradition even today in Bihar which are known as 'Saraks'. - Mahavir Chavan, Pune - Mar. 21, 2007

Excellent article! The writer deserves applause for his contribution. - Shwetabh Kumar, Hyderabad - Mar. 21, 2007

This is really a very nice and full of facts article. - Dhiraj Jha, ITM Business School, Chennai - Mar. 21, 2007

Very nice sketching by M M Ahmed to recall our history and due transitions. It compels us to think on the line of Rashtra Kavi Maithili Sharan Gupt:

Rajkishore Prasad - Mar. 22, 2007

Kudos to Madani Mohiuddin Ahmad for writing such an inspiring article.

I am reminded by what Pt. Nehru said while addressing the Aligarh Muslim University students. "India 's history is 5000 years old. How do you feel about this? This belongs to you as much as this belongs to me.

Reading this article by Madani, I can say with conviction that we do not have any dearth of people feeling proud of India's glorious past. India needs such men with broad outlook. - Abhay Kumar - Mar, 23, 2007

On my mother's advice, I opted Indian Religion & Culture (IRC) in place of Islamiyaat which was a compulsory and qualifying subject only (not to be counted for grading or division) in the first year of BA level examination,1982 in Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. This subject contains a chapter where I studied on Jainism.

I confess my ignorance for not giving the required amount of information/accuracy of the subject matter on Jainism. However, the feature article 'Vardhaman Mahaveer and His Life' is immensely worth reading. It gives information that are rare in academic text books. I’m highly thankful to Shri Mahavir ShrimandharChavanji.

I wish a very happy MAHAVEER JAYANTI to PD and the learned readers!!! - Madani Mohiuddin Ahmad. KSU, RIYADH, KSA - Mar. 26, 2007

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