Cold Mithila:Cold Maithils(23-26.1.2010)-II; Bhagalpur, Purnea, Araria, Forbesganj
At Bhagalpur bus stand I entered into nearby Sabji Market where in November also I had purchased some vegetables while going to bachelor and young journalist Vinay’s house-I remembered that that day I had taken old and rotten cabbage as I do not do marketing usually and was still happy that it would have been given some money to the village girl who was waiting for the last cabbages to be sold. This time I was cautious and purchased cauliflower, beans and tomatoes instead and before reaching the place while in auto, I ate an orange and 2-3 small apples given by my sister at Ranchi. Whole day I was busy and had not taken food and hence, was apprehensive of vitamin deficiency to which I am susceptible and so at Vinay’s room I ate two tomatoes from which I had purchased. He came after sometimes purchasing cabbage again but cooked cauliflowers and rice which we had purchased.
It was a 23rd January night and I was in the memory lane of my marriage way back in 1989 this night which I do not when it was broken after three months like the death day of Netaji Subas Chandra Bose who was born on this very date; from English timings my marriage finally had cropped into 24th .
I went to the top of the room and saw in reeling cold amid fog some vehicles still plied on the road below.
On 24th morning I got up around 7 to take bus to reach Araria by 1 PM. It was fog all over the bus stand and though I got a Purnea bus quickly, it could reach there in 3 hours, not bad from the point of foggy road. I could not ascertain when Koshi bridge passed.
There was call from Araria’s Sudhirnath Mishra when I had passed Gedabadi(a junction for Katihar) and expressed hope that I would be in time but I missed the connecting bus and next bus started around 12 noon which had many college students at zero mile to go to Kasba College.
I saw many labourers who climbed to roof top of bus with their cycles to go to Balua bazaar area, must be for some road construction, devastated by Kushha breach in 2008. It will take any decades to mitigate the miseries of Koshi victims and in fact Koshi culture is denude and is facing serious threats of poverty. Many poor might have been collapsed this winter when nobody remembers them- even blankets sent by NGOs from Delhi for them would be distributed to other localities’ poor! After all one needs serious organizational infrastructure to reach the last men of any tragedy and that never happens as per my experience in such calamities since 1977’s Andhra cyclone I worked.
I could work in 1988 Nauhatta breach ( towards Kopariaghat) and again in 1987 in and around Katihar and Manihari in other devastating flood, many areas I crossed again in the foggy winter.
By the time I reached Araria around 130 PM, there was broad sunshine, after many days first time as if for my ensuing meeting for Mithila state. I went to Lalitmohan Thakur’s house and had my daily snan-puja and lunch(though it was arranged at other place, if I would have reached in time and would have introduction/initiation of other worker to movement).
When with Lalitji I reached the Mahila College campus, there were some important personalities of area already present. It was my home subdivision, in the sands of which I had my childhood in Forbesganj, even a bigger town than this present district headquarters. I had my middle and secondary examination centre there at Araria in 1965 and 1970 I recalled.
We discussed many organisationl things apart from benefits of Mithila state. I lambasted Md. Taslimuddin’s hoardings as SEEMANCHAL GANDHI. “We had listened to SEEMANT GANDHI of Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan but taking the name of that great person by an ordinary politician is a joke and insult to the great warrior,” I said. I was also critical of birthday and other greetings by hoardings and mentioned January greetings by great Hindu leader Dr.Murli manohar Joshi at Varansi who even if liked so should have waited till Chaitra shukladi to come. Such ideological compromises mislead the followers.
There was a question by ex-BJP president of the area,” newer states did not give better results,” to which I named all such states(southern, Gujarat, Haryana, etc) and shown them Hindi India Today Dec. 30,2009 issue-“It has been accepted by the National Developmental Council for 11th Plan document that the three newly carved states- Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand had achieved higher growth rate than their parent states.
Jharkhand achieved 6.9 per cent growth rate when target was 11.1 per cent
Chhattisgarh achieved 9.2 per cent growth rate when target was 6.1 per cent
Uttarakhand achieved 8.8 per cent growth rate when target was 6.8 per cent.
There were some youth leaders who promised to work for Mithila movement. After the meeting Sudhirnathji and I took a rickshaw for the Ambedkar Chowk where could get a bus to Forbesganj,my hometown, where I was born and brought up.
It has changed a lot since my childhood days but all changes were not good. I said Shanbhu Mishra whose father was Minister that around Sultani Pond, the ‘jungle’(where even ‘peepul’ I had seen to grow as shrub) with ‘indigo vats’ would have been a tourist attraction with many cemeteries of British,one of them was probably of a dog also. Shambhu Mishra’s father Saryu Mishra was lone opposition for its sell out.
My home has no provisions and I had put my bag to the house of the daughter of my mentor Pt. Ramchandra Jha. I also could meet Teju master, my house care taker and Jamuna Yadavji, bosom friend of my elder brother. I went to Sudhirji’s son house who was residing in my teacher Khagendrababu’s house on rent. I could take my teacher’s blessings too toughing his feet. Once upon a time,my most favourite teacher Agamlal Mandal was also residing in that complex.
Sudhirnathji’s son had talked with me while in December I was at Delhi to come and discuss for an organization for the welfare of Koshi victims. I suggested him to take up those issues under the banner of Antarrashtriya Maithili Parishad(AMP) itself not only because it will be problematic to have one more organization but also being Koshi an international river,AMP workers can mutually cooperate.
Sudhirnathji’s grandson on bike left me to the telecom complex,my bag was. In the way again I saw my school LEE ACADEMY and the roads of the small but nice town which have still many dogs. It was cold and few movements around at 930 PM.
I discussed many familial things with son-in law of my mentor and initial teacher,Pt. Ramchandra Jha (whose son Bibhakar has turned to be an astrologer and surprisingly at Ranchi itself and saw a big photograph with his disciple Dr.C.P. Thakur, an ex- Cabinet Minister..I cannot understand why a man of his caliber is in the realms of astrology and I recall modern Newton, writer of ,’A Brief History of Time,”, Sir Stephen Hawk while he was in India to deliver his talk at the Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi(which was a live telecast and I had gone to my residence to listen to that leaving my chamber in the hospital); his reply to a question on validity of Astrology, ”I cannot say.”
The only two times more I had left my chamber while duty time for listening to TV- once more when Vajapayee was taking oath for the first time as PM and incidentally at Forbesganj itself in 1969 when I was 14 years old I had met him closely while he was on tours and after breakfast denying Chdars as Brahminical bidai I had quipped,” aapne kal moti dakshina le lee hai,”(I made my fingers as a purse which he had taken previous day in meeting for party fund).” He laughed and took bidai from Rekhchand samdaria, a close friend of my father and local Jan Sangh worker.
The bath room was cool of water in cold wave but the morning of 25th January was with broad sunshine for the first time in the season. I went to my home in front and did snana-puja there. Though Teju master Sudhirji came,his son and other workers for Koshi did not turn up. I went to meet my friend Saboo’s mother in front- took her blessings and went Sunita’s house to take my bag. I had some feeling of incomplete evacuation of stool and had to go toilet several times. I took some food and came back to my house which has an open field with some school rooms where chidren had come. In the morning I had listened to Prabhat Feri of children for the Republic Day next day. In smaller towns such days have more enthusiasm than of metros. The nationalism has inverse relation with the distance from capitals and likewise the poverty has a direct relationship with the distance from capitals and so I use to say ,”In India, we are capitalistic in one sense surely that here every developmental thing emanate from Capitals.’,” and probably so I want a capital for my Mithila too(Bihar’s capital Patna has higher per capita income than national average though Bihar as a whole is on the near bottom on this scale).
Sudhirnathji and I reached railway station where while enquiring for train to Purnea, one young ASM recognized me. He was from village Jonki Mahinathpur of Madhubani district. I did not recall where I met him and on my query he told me that some times back when I had come to take a train.
I also enquired for other young ASM whose quarters I had gone but he was transferred to somewhere.
I asked Lalit Rang of Sukhsena to arrange a small gathering but he was busy in the Republic day preparations. I had stayed in his village many years back during a Maithili Workers’ Training Camp and in November 2009, I could get his number incidentally and was a guest for night after my meeting in the Law College. I wanted this time meeting at a newer place .
Since the Essay contest on Mithila state’s need in the Purnea College could not be arranged on 25th for the concerned teacher was busy with college audit, I had requested him to call some persons for an informal meeting there but I could not get him on mobile and was thinking my one day CL was wasted. I told this to Vinay and he suggested me to contact his father. His father was happy that I was coming to his house again. I requested him to assemble some persons.
In the train to Purnea(Katihar) there was rush but since the introduction of broad gauge rush is accommodated. I recalled the horrific travel in meter gauge some years back.The passenger train is cheap and takes less time.
Seeing the ways ,familiar to me, Dholbazza of Yogendra Jha,my other mentor in the matter of discipline,Arariya RS(Railway Station), and Arariya Court etc. intermingled with many new halts in between(which has a large Bangladeshi population settled as well), Kushiargaon(where hardly any sugarcane is now),Garhbaniali(of hisatorical Maithil rulers)’ Jalalgarh(on the name of Jalaluddin-whether Akbar ,I do not know but want to call it as Jai Lal Garh), Kasba(meaning a small township) where was a crossing and then Purnea-our old district headquarters, named on Purain(lotus) or Purandevi temple(where Pandavads during Ajnyatvas had prayed) or Purna Aranya(full of forest), I do not know but was mesmerized by the fast talk of two ladies-of short height and was eager to know which languages they were taliking. Both had equally fast speed. I thought initially they were taliking in Assemese or Boro or CoochBehari dialect but when I asked them,one of them replied,” Bengali.”
I said ,” Bengali aami jani kintu..eto fast..”
I feel that is the case Maithili also with many dialects. Angika or Vajjika some claim as languages are faster versions of Maithili with lesser grammatical bindings.
She replied that everybody had different speed of talks. When I asked where they lived,one of them named some mohalla of Purnea. She said that where ever is a Bihari there is a Bengali.
When I came out to take a seat in auto,all were set to go to some Satsang(maybe of Mehibaba or so). After some time, I could get one to go to bus stand who left me at Line Bazar,no wonder the same days newspaper had a news that for three wheelers,Purnea was second in selling only to Gaya and Patna was poor fourth after Muzaffarpur.
There are no comparative data available to me but surely Patna will rank one in for wheelers. Poor need shared commutation and so Mithila’s Purnea and Muzaffarpur lag behind even in the matters of three wheelers from Magadh’s Gaya!
Line Bazar had many medical clinics where many of my friends do practice and get good number of patients but I chose another way despite a medical consultant where I do serve.
I took a rickshaw to go ill-known Teachers’ Colony near Chhathi Pokhari. Many English schools are opening in every corner of Mithila and Purnea is no exception. There were many Muslim Mohallas in between which too probably signify the amount of infiltration from Bangladesh.
After some time on bad road,I reached Teachers’ colony where some retired persons assembled quickly. I addressed them about Mithila’s culture and demand for statehood. Though number was small they represented interior villages(Amaur, Vishnupur,etc.) and I entrusted them task of awareness there. With one of them I could make contact with Shri Dhirendra Mishra, ex-IAS and vice-president of the AMP,Jharkhand. It was enchanting to see the faces of his classmate and other an uncle who was presiding my meeting.
Initially two youth were there and I was happy to see them but soon they left. One was apprehensive of money collection as was done by some persons sometimes back in the name of Maithil Brahmin Sammelan. I told them that to me every person of Mithila was a Maihtil not merely this or that caste and I do not preach or practice casteism. Yet they left and there was none even to send release to press-all were old and retird persons there. It give me an opportunity to visit press bureau to of Hindustan, Aaj and Dainik Jagarn while in way to bus stand.
It was difficult to get a Xerox shop and when I could get one the quality was poor. Though everywhere release was received by correspondents themselves none interrogated me much and were under pressure for 26th January advertisements that release of Arariya and Purnea could not get space despite might have been their willingness as I could ascertain from body language. Whether newspapers are for news or otherwise are a matter of concern.
Despite some food at Forbesganj had no desire for not full utilization of the day but when Vinay’s sister told me that she had cooked for me which will be wasted, I ate that food and then went out hurriedly moving to Purmea press beaureaus could get last seat in a Bhagalpur bound state Govt. semi-delux but preferred a Cabin seat where too soon overcrowding was because of many persons taken without tickets and most of them were to be dropped where bus had no scheduled stoppage. That is the cause of Bihar’s backwardness- corruption at every level. When I reached Bhagaplur Tilaka Manjhi Chowk,I preferred to take note of the first martyr who lead a struggle against British in 1785 when Baba Tilka was a mere 35 year Youngman; I had confusion from a mazar near a banyan tree where he was hanged that was it his but Vinay clarified in the night that Santhals’ dead bodies are buried not burnt. However, I was happy to note that some floral garlands were decorated on the Republic Day eve.