In the southern states, the social movements got converted into identity movements with regional aspirations such as Tamil, Telugu identities emerging in concurrence with national identity. Even Tagore represented two identities — the national identity which was adapted as the National Anthem of our country and the regional identity (Bengali), which was adapted as the National Anthem of Bangladesh.
In Bihar, there were only two identities — caste and national identity. There was no regional identity. This was a disadvantage for the ownership of funds.
AMARJEET SINHA (AGAINST)
Bihar has provided the guiding principle not only in creating a national identity, but even an international identity for India. For those who want the fruits of development, the national identity should be greater than the sub-natio- nal identity.
The state should do more on political democracy. Few democracies in the world are as strong as India’s. Very few people from the lower rung of society have attained top positions in the UK and Japan. If we want to make our case stronger, we have to walk with other regional groups or states left behind in development. Moving alone will not pave the way. Moreover, it will be a difficult task to attain.
GOPA SABHARWAL (FOR)
Bihar has a strong regional identity, which is good for the nation as well. Each region should have a different identity. India has prospered despite a pluralistic society, having different languages.
Few cities have dominated the social, political, national and economic identities of India so far. But all regions should be on a par. Strong sub-regionalism gives strong national identity as well as a sense of pride and sovereignty to the nation. The erstwhile Nalanda University prospered only because of the amalgamation of knowledge from all regions.
One can take a person out of the region but not vice versa.
JAGADANAND SINGH (AGAINST)
When talking about true nationality, we cannot leave apart any region from the country. Bihar has been standing on its own since ages as a strong pillar with India. Any weak region would lead to a weak nation.
Talking about sub-nationalism would neither do any good to the state nor the country. For instance, when the Centre talks about nation building, majority of the resources are given to Bihar because it has remained backward for long. After crossing the boundary of this country, everyone is known as Indian.
TRIPURARI SHARAN (FOR)
There is a debate on the issue of sub-national and national identities but the question is what constitutes the identity. Identity is an entity that comprises several factors such as political, economic, social and cultural background.
Bihar needs to show a sense of solidarity. It is hard to explain why the state has not progressed despite having vast fertile land. A third of it could not be exploited. What prevented the state from building institutions? Even a single district of Maharashtra or Tamil Nadu has more engineering colleges than entire Bihar. The state has a rich cultural heritage.
Borobudur in Indonesia has the highest stupa in the world, which is a big tourist destination. But very few people know that the world’s highest stupa is actually in Kesaria in East Chamaparan and can be promoted as a tourist destination.
SANJAY NIRUPAM (AGAINST)
Bihar never adopted the path of regionalism. Such issues have often been heard of in Maharashtra, where regional songs are played on radio every morning. It will now be played in Bihar too.
Bihar is the place of three religious gurus — Guru Gobind Singh, Gautam Buddha and Mahavira — who always stood for national identity. It is evident from the fight of Chandragupta, Veer Kuer Singh, Jaiprakash Narayan and others for the nation.
Biharis believe in hum (we) instead of main (me). Bihar is not hankering for its sub-national identity on the national scene. People should not talk about the issue of sub-national identity just to get more funds.
NK SINGH (FOR)
Sanjay Nirupam contradicts himself because he did not oppose when Biharis were insulted in Maharashtra. Bihar needs an identity precisely because of this. There is no contradiction between Bihar’s identity and cross-culture identity. When (US) President Obama recited lines of Kautilya, nobody said the latter was from Bihar.
Bihar’s identity is cosmic and it transcends boundaries. The word is on “the centenary year”. Bihar has been divided three times. First, it lost its link to the sea. The second bifurcation left it landlocked. In the third, it lost its mineral resources. The question is about regaining glory for a better Bihar. Today, we are no longer considered a laggard state. We are regarded as a trendsetter. That is Bihari pride.
RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD (AGAINST)
Only those who are identity-starved talk about regional identity. There is no need to say that President Obama read out lines of Kautilya who is from Bihar. Or if Biharis stop work, agriculture in Punjab and taxis in Mumbai will come to a grinding halt. Patliputra cannot be removed from India.
By talking about Bihari identity, we will be belittling our own legacy. Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha and JP Movement were not only for Bihar.
Good governance, and not regional identity, is the DNA of progress. In the past, we have seen mass leaders with an absence of progress. It is true that Bihar has remained neglected and has lagged behind. But trust the political dynamics to find solutions for it. Bihar will have a central role in the nation’s pride.
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