Only in Bihar
We, as a nation, tend to get annoyed when the world barely notices our presence. We cry against the double standards of the West when death tolls in India get tucked away in some corner of an inside page of a foreign daily, while David Beckham’s peccadilloes are splashed all over. But the truth of the matter is that we, as a nation, don’t think too much of a rail accident that kills 200-plus people or a gas outbreak that continues to claim lives. Tales of deaths, violence, etc. don’t work us up simply because we’ve come to see all this as a part of ‘normal life’ in India.
If one reduces the scale by a notch, compared to the rest of India, it is the complete apathy regarding the goings- on in the Republic of Bihar that is as astonishing as it’s disturbing. What could highlight this constant state of being blasé more than the reaction — or its lack — to the ‘action’ witnessed during the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls this week in 11 constituencies of Bihar. All these areas fall in Naxalite-infested areas. As if that is reason enough for all of us to believe that the death toll of six in poll violence is, ho-hum, ‘normal’.
It isn’t a coincidence that the same Bihar witnessed two boo-boos at the ballot this week. While there was news of BJP candidate and Union minister C.P. Thakur’s vote being declared invalid because he had pressed the EVM button in front of his family, this was later denied. It seems that the BJP leaders accused the CM of the same violation — Rabri Devi held her daughter’s hand and ‘made her press’ for the RJD. So, both indiscrepancies were forgiven by the election authorities. So the next time Laloo Yadav talks about Bihar suffering because of the Centre’s machinations, we would do well to find out how seriously Bihar measures its own woes.