Just when the failed policy ensemble called ‘good governance’ had run through its course nationally both under the NDA and the UPA, Mr Nitish Kumar’s NDA government in Bihar breathed new life into it. Seven years into sushasan, there are gaping holes in this faith based lore.
Barmeshwar Mukhiya, the self-proclaimed chief of Ranvir Sena, is a free man now. How does it reconcile with the rhetoric of Nitish Kumar? This post analyses the class-caste basis of Nitish-led coalition and attempts to reach an answer.
The Bihar assembly election results have to be seen in Nitish Kumar’s careful moblilization of several caste groups and formation of a coalition of ‘extremes’. Added to the above mobilization, have been his attempts in initiating some welfare schemes in the state. The result needs to be seen in terms of these two broad factors and any attempt to ‘disproportionally’ ascertain the importance of the second factor over the first is to miss the history of politics in the state of Bihar over the years.
A blog post on the perception of good governance and "anti-crime" NDA government led by Nitish Kumar in Bihar
A district and sessions court in Patna has finally pronounced a verdict in the infamous Laxmanpur- Bathe carnage almost thirteen years after 58 Dalits (including 27 women and 10 children) were brutally killed by the Ranvir Sena (the now-almost-defunct caste army belonging to Bhumihar landlords) on December 1, 1997. While giving death sentence for 16 convicts and life imprisonment and Rs. 50,000 fine for 10 others, the court also noted that the massacre was a ‘stigma on civil society and rarest of rare cases of brutality’.
''Bihar is often viewed as a lost battle in policy as well as academia. In a quite real manner, Bihar tends to become the Indian Sudan which sells attractively in the media-market, where the feudal-bourgeois classes can overcome their guilt-conscience and get back to their business. However, none of these methods are a remedy for the state of Bihar which actually needs more politics: democratic and progressive politics. Only a political movement aimed at transcendence from the current form of social and economic organisation can save Bihar. Anything less is likely to be a failure.''-argues Awanish Kumar in EPW
Poor material conditions, the shifts in national politics and a common agenda against neoliberalism result in the formation of a new United Left Bloc featuring the three largest communist parties in Bihar. The dichotomy between the “social justice” agenda and the economic struggle has blurred in a conjuncture in which the electoral battle and the political struggles of the three left parties have finally found a meeting point to cement the material basis of the ULB in Bihar – a scenario that had been impossible less than four years ago.-Argues Chirashree Dasgupta in an article in EPW,March 7, 2009
Floods are a perennial problem in Bihar. The very same water source that acts as the life-blood for the agriculture-dependent population in the state, turns into an avalanche of death and misery every year. And every year, as this natural disaster strikes, it evokes temporary attention to the plight of the victims and soon to be forgotten government commissions and helicopter visits by the bourgeois polity. But once the shock value of the images fades away, all is forgotten even if misery is compounded and the people are made to brace up for the next year's natural fury. Such is the case of floods in Bihar. The Kosi river- a dynamic, sediment carrying water body is particularly driven to course-changes and therefore to put paid any plans to tame the river (through the embankment strategy that has been adopted for years). That the fact that this river originates across national borders in Nepal makes the problem even more complicated. Four experts - whose intros are provided in the post- with substantial understanding of the problem through different forms of expertise weigh on the Kosi tragedy and the perennial woes of river management and floods. They even venture to offer solutions. Pragoti hosts the links to these articles published in the Economic and Political Weekly.
An emancipatory politics cannot liberate unless it confronts the patriarchy within.