Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Patna diary

The past one month has been very busy for me (pun intended). To begin with people round the world celebrated my 25th birthday (again the same intention). As I was in Patna I was forced by my dad to pay obeisance at the age old temple of Goddess Kali situated at the historic Darbhanga house.

The Patna University which houses the Darbhanga house is a very serene place near the banks of the ever shrinking river Ganga. One visit is all that is required and if one has the patience to loiter there for around 20 minutes he/she will overhear the veterans of that establishment remembering those good old days when Ganga in full fury at the time of the 'Bihari' monsoon would wash the feet of goddess Kali. During that one month the idol at the temple would be spared the inevitable trouble of the priest waking her up in the wee hours of morning as the raging Ganga would stop anyone from coming near the temple.

Now that same old Ganga has been forced to follow the path of her distant cousin Yamuna who too is fighting for her survival and many don’t give her much chance of making it. Ganga like many other rivers of India has also been given the responsibility of taking the departed souls to the heaven as many of the corpse that can be seen floating in the river suggest.

The age old river though is no match due to the sheer number of corpses that are dumped in the river. Some time back ‘Snapping turtles' that scavenge on corpse were released into the river in thousands so as to provide a solace and support to the river but like Ganga the turtles too conceded defeat in wake of the ever increasing number of the dead and the corpse enjoy a free ride up to the heaven.

One year back while being a part of cremation procession I got the chance to watch the banks of Ganga up-close. The mourners were understandably sad for the demise of their close one but their gloominess increased when they had to walk 6 kms from the main road to reach the bank where the cremation takes place.

Suppressed murmur on the shrinking of Ganga, some accompanied by pity some by anger were heard. The one still that is fresh in my memory goes like this "Kah ho Ganga maiya itna gussa gail..itna mehnat karwaib.. itna chalwaib ' ( Mother Ganga you have become so angry that you have made us walk so much).

A river is dying and shrinking and trying to survive and still people think that she is showing her anger.

The historic Patna University (7th oldest University in India established in 1917) saw a change of VC as the incumbent Mr. Y.C. Simhadri was removed by the Governor and the new VC Mr. Shyam lal took charge.

Mazharul Haque, Rajendra Prasad, Sri Krisna Sinha, Dr. Sachidanand Sinha, Anugral Narain Sinha, Jay Prakash Narayan, B. P. Mandal, Karpoori Thakur, L. N. Mishra, Baliram Bhagat, Ram Dulari Sinha, Sidheshwar Prasad and many others, all alumni of this University.

The Quit India Movement of 1947 saw almost all of the entire PUs students jumping into the agitation. The Total Revolution called by Jai Prakash Narayan in 1974 had its support base in this University. That revolution gave birth to many leaders that are active in the state and national politics like George Fernandes, Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi. Sadly none of these alumni including the present honorable Railway Minister have been able to emulate their distinguished seniors.

Mr. Lal who is from Rajasthan happens to be a close friend of my dad and when he visited at our home I was taken back by his softness and his simple-ness. He talked about many a things and he also disclosed that he also had his apprehension about coming to Bihar as the other Indians living outside Bihar do. But he was pleasantly surprised when he discovered that what all is said about Bihar and Patna is more of words that lacks any credibility than anything else. Every state and every city has its problems. The situation worsens if those issues are not looked into. Previously in Yadav’s regime there was no government, no administration and to even think about development was a sign of insanity but the present Nitish kumar led government is working and changes are visible

Mr.Lal was so happy with the state of affair and the all-round improvement that the state is witnessing to that he asked his son to take admission in the soon to be started Chandragupta institute of management in Patna which has been established on the lines of IIMs.

Coming back, yesterday I rescued 5 soft-shell-turtles from a fish market in downtown Patna. All of them are weak, and have got injuries of various natures. The whole of yesterday went into preparing a 'desi aquarium' one with more of mud than water.

Today morning I got a feel of how expert diggers the turtles are as one of them managed to 'escape' from the high security enclosure by tunneling a 15 cm tunnel beneath the fencing that I had erected but with my pet German shepherd, Bela taking up the responsibility of bringing the culprit to books I know that I can breath easy.

A couple of days back one of the students of my university committed suicide. She was very junior to me and took admission in NLIU when we had already graduated. Though she was only an acquaintance as I met her only recently in the convocation yet she came out to be as a young, energetic, ambitious girl having high hopes and unfulfilled dreams enjoying the colleges days and it was truly sad to see an ending that was never expected. It’s never a pleasure experience to hear such kind of news about someone you know.

Have busy days ahead, with the GD/Pi calls waiting to be tackled, calls that would decide where I will be one year down the line. Then there is a wedding of a school friend in Bhopal who is a member of the close circles of friend that we boasted of in our school days.

A visit to Bhopal is always welcomed with open arms and the present one, I am sure will be more memorable as we plan to have a ‘get-together' of all of the school mates. There was a time when we use to meet twice in a day and now it has been almost more than 2 years since I met some of them. Such is life.

One of my friend Patel@lalit finally managed to find a company and a job that suits his stature and I can just speculate that how happy all his other friends are over this.

Many states including Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh that I follow closely will soon be going to polls and it would be interesting to see the drama unfold, perhaps more interesting than the drama itself.


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