I just finished watching the DVD of the Hindi movie "Apaharan". It is a very unusual movie by Bollywood standards. There are almost no songs in the movie. The movie had Ajay Devgan, Nana Patekar, Bipasha Basu, and Mohan Agashe as the cast. It has been directed and produced by Prakash Jha. It seems lot of the contents of the movie has been inspired by the events that occurred when Prakash Jha decided to run for the Parliament in the Lok Sabha elections from a constituency in Bihar. "Apaharan" reminded me of another good movie that I saw recently - "Sehar", featuring Arshad Warsi and Mahima Chowdhury. Both the movies have the same topic - rise of the mafia in the Hindi heartland in India and the political patronage of these anti-social elements. I liked both the movies.
However, I must say that if these movies depict even 50% of the reality of Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh, it is a shame for all of us as Indians. The law and order situation in these states has been allowed to deteriorate to such an extent that it seems impossible to fix. The rot started before the "son of the soil" and "the great secular hope", Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadav came to power 15 years ago. The main contribution of the incorrigible Mr. Yadav has been to turn the rot into systematic exploitation of the people. On hindsight I must congratulate Mr. Yadav that he managed to showcase all the flaws in the Indian Penal Code as well as the Indian Constitution in his fifteen years of misrule. If some Indian does a thorough research of the loopholes in law that Mr. Yadav and his ilk exploited to dominate the Bihar political scene, it would be a great service to the nation. Another area of research topic should be how to plug these holes in the legal system. These recommendations should eventually be incorporated in the system in order make sure that the "Laloo" era is never repeated either in Bihar or any other Indian state.
I hope that people in U.P. and Bihar realize how the caste politics has played havoc with the developmental activities of their states. In U.P. the lower castes vote for Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Yadavs and the Muslims vote for Samajwadi Janata Party (SJP), and the Brahmins and the Thakurs vote for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Whatever is remaining is taken by Congress in alliance with either BSP or SJP. In Bihar, the caste divisions remain the same but the parties change. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) led by Laloo Prasad Yadav takes the mantle of SJP in Bihar. Lok Jana Shakti Party (LJSP) led by Ram Vilas Paswan takes the role of BSP.
Fortunately, most people in Bihar realized how Laloo Prasad Yadav conned them for fifteen years in the hope of providing power and respectability to the lower caste people. Laloo was also the darling of the so-called "secularists" of India. Laloo's strategy to lure the vote bank of the backward castes and the Muslims during his fifteen years of rule was unabashed appeasement, promotion of cronyism, and looting of the state treasury in the name of social justice. Bihar's economy has reached such a nadir that the state exchequer can not even pay the school teachers in the government run schools for months. The "secularists" of India cheered him on with the faint hope that the man will do something in the area of economic development in the future. But, unfortunately, that day never materialized!
After getting sick of all the false promises, people in Bihar voted for a change in the recent elections and brought Mr. Nitish Kumar (Janata Dal - United) to power. It is a Herculean task for Mr. Kumar to clean up the mess called Bihar. I think he will probably take five years (his current term) to just clean up the sewer before starting some development work around it. Tackling endemic corruption should be one of his top priorities. Lot is expected out of Mr. Kumar by the ordinary Biharis who voted for him. The author hopes that he delivers at least on some of the promises that he made during the elections. Politicians of India are a hypocritical and a cynical lot. They also tend to utter nonsense while promising the sky to their constituents. For the sake of the poor people in Bihar, I hope Nitish Kumar does not completely belong to the cynical and hypocritical lot.