It is a common perception that after Bihar was amputated in 2000 and the new state of Jharkhand was formed, the former was impoverished because of the loss of its mineral wealth and industries, which were located in the territory of its separated twin. I have a different take on this and I hope to prove my point if you have the patience to read on.
Today, Friday, the 21st of May 2010 has been declared a university holiday on account of Buddha Jayanti. With the advancement of knowledge and information, a school –going child shared this information with me:
Legend has it that Gautam Buddha was born on a full moon night in Baisakh according to the Hindu almanac that corresponds to the months of April or May in the Gregorian calendar. It was on this day that after attaining enlightenment and after preaching the five principles of life and the eight-fold path to truth, he transcended the mortal state. Thus Buddha Jayanti celebrates three important events in Buddha’s life: birth, nirvana or enlightenment and parinirvana or passing from the mortal state.
There is just one small glitch here. Today, Friday, the 21st of May 2010 is not poornima. According to the lunar calendar, Buddha's birth anniversary can't be today and neither can be the anniversary of the two other two events. QED. Hence the birthday cake for Lord Buddha ordered by the university will probably be cut without anything to celebrate. No blowing out the candles, no Happy Birthday to You, no applause, no return gifts, no nothing.
It brings me back to the story of loss. The greatest loss for Bihar after the bifurcation has been that the Mental Hospital has remained in Kanke, which is in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand. No institution for mental dysfunction is located in Bihar and while the development index of insanity has shown rare inflationary trends the opportunities for therapy are non- existent. As for quality higher education, so too for sanity, one has to be a part of the contemporary Bihari diaspora.
Incidentally, Buddha Jayanti is on the 27th of May. But we can take home a positive: if Patna University sneezes today, India catches a cold tomorrow. Like the French in Europe and Dunlop tyres in India, we are simply ahead. Or should we say SIMBLY AHEAD, as would my friend Ancelloti Nair Purandeswari from Kumarakom?