Aliza Siddiqui for BeyondHeadlines
The recent election in Bihar was fought with the aspiration that secular forces must root out the fringe elements from Bihar assembly and the people of the state succeed in their ambitious endeavor. This election got wide coverage because a new debate was unfurled in Simanchal with the announcement of AIMIM’s decision to fight assembly election. The issue of Muslim leadership in Bihar comes up because of the entry of AIMIM in the election fray; argument was made in support and against of Muslim Political party. Social media was full of debates regarding the political empowerment of the suppressed class which was countered by many Muslim intellectuals in Delhi and Patna. Whether this was an argument based on evidence or merely an accusation; Muslim intelligentsia has not brought any substantial evidence so far. However, after an unexpected announcement of their strategically important policy that AIMIM would fight only six seats, many Secular activists in social media who were calling AIMIM agent of BJP appreciated the move and felt that it would undoubtedly going to help the Mahagatbandhan. The results are out with a hurrah for supporters of Mahagatbandhan and shed of tears for AIMIM and its supporters. Many argue that at least Muslim intelligentsia owes an apology to AIMIM for accusing them as agent of BJP.
In this debate many intellectuals of Simanchal sided with the Mahagatbandhan with the single objective of defeating BJP. And those who sided with the AIMIM were optimistic because AIMIM was discussing their plight assuring them with a good future by demanding Simanchal Development Council. There is a provision in our Constitutions that a special council can be formed to eradicate poverty from a particular area. Many educationists, social workers supported AIMIM and still they are doing so with a hope that private entrepreneurs will come forward in the field of education and health if AIMIM gets the ground here.
AIMIM lost but nonetheless people of Simanchal have achieved one objective very significantly with AIMIM’s entry in this election. The nation heard their unheard voice, their story of melancholy and deprivation is debated in all major national newspapers. Illiteracy, unemployment and other stories of injustice became a matter of debate in many leading news channels.
A comparatively better portion of social media is now covered with the happenings’ of Simanchal. Students share the news items, making groups and taking pledge to develop their spot of abode. Furthermore political leaders of all shades accepted that the Simanchal area did not develop as compared to the other parts of Bihar. It indicates that the indifferent attitude of the people at power sharing has been taken aback with Owaisis’s MIM. It is pertinent that Owaisi and his candidates tried to woo the voters by saying that if voted, they would work and demand from the central government to form Simanchal Development Council, so that this area can get special economic package to invest in education, health and in other infrastructure. It is obvious that such demand is less mature in industrially better states and areas in India, but many areas in India are enjoying this constitutional right, the people of Simanchal are not aware and no social and political organization has advocated for it before and therefore the constitutional rights have not been achieved. Furthermore it is evident after looking at the developmental work of the border areas of the country that it is possibly an unwritten rule for the policy maker that they do not pay any heed for the development of the people living in those areas and Simanchal is no exception. Isn’t it a biting wit for the people who have been voted several times on the name of development have ignored this area? The dropout rate is alarmingly high, mortality rate is on the top in the nation, and migration is increasing day by day. Distrustful performance of schools and colleges indicates that a planned way of keeping the people of these areas uneducated and producing unskilled labor is at work by the conservative policy makers. Reservation in the election also requires urgent attention, it has been noticed that from Panchayati election to Vidhansabha and parliamentary election, the seats are being reserved on an unethical ground. There are seats where population of Muslims is sizeable and there is a good chance of winning but has been reserved for STs and SCs while their population is very less in these areas. No think thank is bothered to raised voice against such injustices. The think tank opens their eyes only when the local politicians, whom Delhi based activists blame, raises it. Our activist academician are probably investing more time in political networking for the brownie points than to their real work of researching and feeding the politicians on burning issues. Nehru College is probably the classical example of Mr Nitish Kumar’s hollow claim “SAB KO NIYAE SAB KA VIKAS”. This college has more than 2000 students enrolled and only one teacher for them to give lecture. At the population of 1.69 million till 2010 Kishanganj had only 17 high schools and on the contrary in other districts of same population size they have more than 30 high schools. There are issues which have been raised in assembly by the politicians of Simanchal and only after that Delhi based think tank could know it. I wonder why this think tank never bothered to do a bit of research. There is no any engineering, medical or any college which may possibly provide vocational training for the 10 million population of the state residing in this locality. Nearly 10 percent population of the state resides in Simanchal but it never gets even five percent share in the budget expenditure.
It’s good and encouraging that many young social activists, academicians and other stake holders have started speaking about these injustices. Few days back budding journalist, young academicians have also organized a program to discuss about Simanchal in Delhi. One of the young academician said that so much hue and cry has been raised, he is true but what solution they have given is also debatable.
Not only that few opportunists have been using students for their mala fide intentions. Students who should be given more time to scale up their academic endeavor are being used by Delhi based think tank never bothering to guide them to set their priorities. All the awareness work should be done by the think tank with the help of local organizations, they should not force students to organize and collect money so that they can use it for their mala fide interest.
Wouldn’t have been a nice idea for them to act like a real think tank for the community, in which they could have done some research work for the social and political leaders which may help them to formulate policy and program for this area. Why Owaisi was given a chance to raise first the demand for the constitutional rights; where were our Delhi based intellectuals to demand that a special development council should be formed for Simanchal. I believe if such proposals would have come from our think thank than it would have been much effective and could have attracted more political parties to pursue this matter. We must differentiate between think thank and politicians in a democracy. In all the mature democracies, academicians provide research documents so that policy can be framed in a lucid manner. On the contrary, Simanchal’s activist academicians looked politically motivated without any coherent policy and program. Though their concerns are indisputable and must be appreciated. It has been witnessed that activism without farsightedness in Delhi by such politically motivated social engineers has become part of their gossip and nobody is really concern to put their hand in the gutter to clean it. They should know that only criticism cannot bring change. The politician cries and shed their tears for vote, as many claims, but one fails to comprehend what stops them to work for the betterment of Simanchal. Are these budding activists not crying in reply of the cries of the political leaders to whom they criticize? The burgeoning new economic well off group of Simanchal resides in Metropolis and has learnt all the clever techniques to remain in lime light. All the time they organize such programs, they only decide to do awareness program. We must acknowledge that the community has been doing the awareness program since independence, what they need is some urgent investment of time, money and intellectual output so that the community can go to a ladder above. We make people aware but unable to give them any means to fulfill the dream we show them, it is like showing the baby a toy but you are not ready to give it to play.
In recent past people of Simanchal fought for AMU centre in Kishanganj, they gathered more than one hundred thousands people at Kishanganj to demand for the land for AMU. The people of Kishanganj education movement should be given all the credit who intelligently managed to bring all the political parties in a single platform, and today most of us not even know them, on its contrary few activists from Delhi joined them and put their banner at Dharna held in Oct, 2010 at Kishanganj, with an illusion that they joined them to help the cause but they sold it on Facebook and in other places by saying that they have collected those people and they are the sole organization working for AMU and hence collected money in the name of AMU Kishanganj centre and siphoned off the contribution of hundreds of AMU lovers in Ludhiaana, Mumbai, Delhi and Dubai. They used the social media to claim that AMU centre came to Kishanganj only because of their efforts which is a bunch of lies and nothing more. It is cheating, and when people cheat in the name of community welfare what result we can expect. Many such academicians and Muslim organizations are already doing such awareness program for the community since ages and collecting money from all over the world, what changes they have brought in the community needs an urgent appraisal. It is estimated that more than 10 thousand students of Kishanganj and its vicinity are residing in Delhi. And couples of hundred people are in good positions in different universities and different industries, they need to introspect what changes they can bring with their positions? Who should be doing what? If we ask students to do our job and we remain busy in hollow discussions in our drawing rooms than it is unfortunate, and unfortunately this is exactly happening since a long time with the Muslim Intelligentsia.
And how much time they have lost in accusing others without self realization? One of the pioneers of this so called activist gathering cum academician leader married in Delhi with a bizarre romantic conviction that he would bring about social, educational revolution with his educated wife in Simanchal. Many people have married in Delhi and in other places but this is something like a castle in the sky. After building such a castle this gentleman never bothered to organize any such program which may help villagers (village women) for their intellectual growth. It is a well known fact that fictitious claims and hollow drawing room discussions never bring change in any society. It is easy to organize a kitty party in Delhi and shed some tears in the name of Simanchal. But doing nothing at ground, coming home and treating it a holiday destination, saying absurd to the people of Simanchal, ridiculing the people working on ground is nothing but a Judas Kiss.
We must stand for our rights, in doing so new budding journalists, social workers, doctors, engineers, academicians and other professionals should act judiciously and at last but not the least an honest effort is needed. As it is said, charity begins at home, therefore they should not use home as only a holiday destination but they should contribute as well for the betterment of their locality. They are the financial backbone of Simanchal, their money has made a difference in quality of life of their respective families, and their association with the social organizations which are working on ground can bring a positive change for others too.