Dear Dr Arup,
My forefathers migrated to Bengal from Bihar's Darbhanga (= dwar banga) and I am a Bengali. I was born in Bihar and although I started my education in Bihar I had my schooling mostly in Bengal in a Bengali medium school. I spent my working life mostly (two decades) in Bihar (now Jharkhand) and I do not have any difficulty in identifying myself as a Bihari by soul. How did it happen? My colleagues and friends and their families accepted me as one of them. I do not think such an experience you would experience in any other part of our country.
Being a Bengali myself let me ascertain that Bengali culture is too inward looking to admit or naturalise others. So are the Tamilians. Please do not misunderstand me. I am a proud Bengali. I am proud of Rabindranath, Rammohan Roy, Vivekananda, Subhashchandra. But that do not prevent me from declaring myself as a proud Bihari and I declare that rather loudly.
You may be aware that when Bibhutibhushan Mukhopadhyay was described as a 'prabasi bangalee' he objected and said that he belonged to Bihar and it was Bengal where he was in prabas. Dr B C Roy was the first Chief minister of West Bengal; record shows his permanent address at Patna.
I have a feeling. My Bengalee and Bihari friends may kindly pardon me for that. While too much self-pride is destroying the Bengalees an absolute lack of self-pride is the principal mental blocks for Bihar's development.
I shall disown my Bihari heritage if you can show me a single politician who was/ is more honest than Babu Rajendra Prasad. I can go on and on, but being an ardent admirer of Jayprakash Narayan I would rather allow others to do the talking.
Yes, Bihari's have draw-backs but then which community is free from flaws?
I N Sinha
Dr Indra N Sinha
Department of Mining Engineering
Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur
Howrah - 711 103
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