5 wiped clean, 95 more sins to go

Alright now, I have decided to buy into everything the media has been saying about Lalu Yadav‘s antics at Rail Bhawan. I will wait patiently for those yet-to-emerge stories that will suggest the railway ‘turnaround’ is mainly a result of our auto-pilot mode economy (industrial output up ~14% last quarter), or that Lalu simply reaped the harvest and seeds were sown by his predecessor Nitish Kumar. But till I hear media folks say those things, I am staying put with the theory that Lalu is doing a good job.

However, even after considering all this recent bonhomie, this man has long ways to go to wipe his slate of sins clean. To me, it is a case of 5 cleaned, 95 more to go.

I was born in Bihar. Parts where I grew up now fall in Jharkhand. As a keen follower of state affairs, back in 1990, I did notice, how carefully V P Singh preserved Ram Sundar Das for chief minister’s chair by not making him a Union minister. But I wasn’t watching carefully enough when Lalu Yadav emerged almost from nowhere to beat his senior JD colleagues to the throne. Who knew then that Mr. Yadav would latch on to his mentor V P Singh’s caste arithmetic so tight that he’d turn even a bigger ‘traitor‘ than the Raja.

Let me save you all those statistics developmental economists would present to capture state’s 15 years of decline. Find them elsewhere, google is your friend, and I don’t need those, because I literally saw the stink grow in front of my own nostrils.

The 300-kilometer long journey from my residence to my native village offered an easy test, for every next summer vacation, it took half an hour longer to reach my relatives. It weren’t just the roads, state transport buses degenerated each year, so much so that I don’t recall sitting in one after 1992.

Towns and villages I’d visit for summer holidays gradually turned dark. Battery operated table fans became standard fixtures in my uncle’s house. And his neighborhood ended up pooling together a diesel generator in (not sure) 1993. An ’emergency light’ was, and still makes a popular gift in those regions. And why not? A state-run power plant an uncle works in, still produces only 10-15% of installed capacity – down from 50-60% in the 80s.

A well to do college of the area lost its sheen with caste-based appointments and out of turn promotions. And it became increasingly common to hear folks brag about ‘buying seats’ in state run professional colleges. Yes, those entrance tests were farce to a large extent so I hear. Every student serious about his/her career simply had to head out of state.

The caste angles – foundation stones of Lalu-raj – turned so sharp in some districts that buses would be stopped at random places. Thugs would barge in, and pick out passengers wearing that sacred thread that identifies the so-called ‘upper’ caste folks. What would happen next – there are various versions – is something I don’t want to touch here.

I can go on and on but well. Granted, the state wasn’t exactly shining in 1990, however, pace of degeneration during the first 5-6 years of Lalu-raj was so dramatically drastic that it caught us all by surprise. That is why Bihar jokes just don’t amuse me. You are being insensitive when you laugh at one, for you are laughing at the misery of more than 4 crore people who have been living with only a wee bit more than a hope. And you are being equally insensitive if you are willing to give Lalu a clean chit after his ‘punya‘ at Rail Bhawan.

Please don’t, hold your horses, for his pot of sins has only stopped overflowing, he has a long long way to go.


7 Responses

  1. Why SB, coming from anybody else this would seem like the usual whining that we the compromised middle class make all the time. In the words of Father Brown (remember G K Chesterton)- traipsing primrose paths, forgiving where there is nothing to forgive and grudging our favorite vices.look at where you are ready to give credit to Nitish Kumar’s matrix of sowing as head of Indian railways plc, the 14% industrial growth and even go so far as to attribute the caste evil to LPY- let’s face it people like Lalu like his ilk elsewhere- Sharad Pawar, Deve Gowda, Advani, Vajpayee, Arjun Singh, Karunanidhi, Surjit Singh, Amar Singh, Barnala, Chandra babu Naidu et al are merely Shakunis taking advantage of the rapacious greed of the middle class and dumbed down intelligence of the academics- certainly not Shishupalas- so I guess the hundreth sin will never be counted- and pray who is to be Krishna- ? Sharukh Khan or Rahul Dravid ( Just joking my friend)- this is in no way dismissive of the travails of all the poor people of Maharashtrra, Karnataka, UP, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. It’s just cynical thoughts. But I do agree with Voltaire- Écrasez l’infâme!

  2. “taking advantage of the rapacious greed of the middle class and dumbed down intelligence of the academics” – your writing style makes things sound drastic, but I have always agreed with that thought. It isn’t just “their” fault. “We”, the middle-class, are in the best position to put a stop to all this non-sense but our greed keeps us occupied. Imahotgal – you are making me sound like a pseudo-naxalist now, whereas I am only an ‘almost’.

    Anyway. I wrote this in reaction to recent bouts of praise media has been heaping on Mr L P Yadav. Yes, there are poor in most other states, but I bet they haven’t seen rapid decline and hellish days of the kind Bihar saw from 1990 to 2000 or so.

  3. Interesting writeup. According to the law of Karma, there is no thing such as net deduction. So laloo will pay for his 100 percent paap and then will reap the benefits of the five percent you are talking about. It is gross and not net calculation.

    Lalu made a mockery of Indian democracy by installing his wife as CM- It was a kind of negative service. It revealed that democracy has meaning only in an educated and literate society. Otherwise anybody with a mass following can come to power.

  4. Everytime I read a report about Lalu Shining I can’t help wonder about the state of people in Bihar. It is shocking how an individual pretty much single handedly can bring a state to its knees. Even more shocking is how short media’s memory can be!

  5. Wait for some more time before the scams he’s doing now comes to light! I wouldnt be surprised if he sells the whole Railway System to someone and digests the moolah.

    Its a pity that people from Bihar still take pride in the fact that Laloo is a Railway Minister. During his rule Bihar has been set back by a few decades. Whatever he has done till now has caused damage, to his own people and India. And he’ll keep doing it, its his nature.

    It will be a dark day in hell when he goes there.

  6. This is the same guy who said on safety of railway passengers:
    “Indian Railways are the responsibility of Lord Vishwakarma. So is the safety of passengers . . it is His duty, not mine. I have been forced to don His mantle”
    More: Laloo on Safety

    And his ruin of Bihar is near total.
    What a Shame

    Unfortunately i’ve been a witness to this too. There is no such things as Buses in that state. It’s a ramshackle tin box on top of four wheels.

  7. hi SB,

    i couldnt agree with you more; I have travelled in bihar extensively during laloo’s times; it was always scary and everybody had a sordid tale to tell; kidnappings, extortion, land grabbing, et al. I remember the train ride from Kolkata to Patna and considering the so called reserved Coach was full of people who barged in and positioned themselves where ever they wanted and none of the passengers protested. Crossing over to West Bengal used to make one feel safer ! I am quite sure that IR got better because of favourable conditions, exploiting the network and some smart management. The OSD and the top management can be congratulated for the feat. I hope the PM congratulates Laloo and moves him to the Coal Ministry to repeat his feat.

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