We want to celebrate Bihari pride says HRD Minister

Human resource development (HRD) department, Bihar is the nodal department organising the Bihar Diwas celebrations across the state. Pooja Kashyap caught up with Anjani Kumar Singh , principal secretary, HRD, who incidentally is the nodal officer behind the breath-taking celebrations. Excerpts from the interview:

Q: What is the main idea behind celebrating the Bihar Diwas?
A: Bihar, unlike states such as Punjab and Bengal, lacks cohesion because of the absence of a sense of ‘Biharism’. They are confident, we are not! We want to generate that sense of commonality, belongingness and a Bihari pride among people. Bihar Diwas is purely a people’s event. Our slogan says it all – ‘Hamara Bihar Sabka Bihar’, symbolizing the participation of common people.

We have come up with another catchy slogan “Young at 99”. Nowhere in our hoardings will you find pictures of politicians. We have highlighted the rich heritage, culture and products our state is known for, like Buddhist stupa, Sher Shah’s tomb, Gangetic dolphins and Bihari delicacies like ‘litti-chokha’, ‘litchi’ etc.
Even the logo “Hamara Bihar” projects that the show is being held on behalf of the people.

Q: What is the high point of artistes invited for the festivities?
A: Even while inviting artistes, the focus has been on Bihari artistes who have achieved success at the national and international level, like sufi singer Rani Khanam, qawwali team of Baccha Nasim and Nasim Ruhi and dhrupad performer Abhay Narayan Mallik. Sharda Sinha, who has received acclaim at the international level, has also been invited.
Besides, renowned artistes like Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma, Pt. Birju Maharaj, Anup Jalota and Chhangulal Mishra and others have also been invited.
In keeping with the interest of commoners, Gandhi Maidan has been kept exclusively for local artistes who will present Maithili, Bhojpuri, Angika and other local folk dance and song programmes.

Q: How were 400 children chosen to showcase their talent at the state level? What was the objective?
A: For choosing these kids with exceptional and distinguished talent from all 38 districts, four disciplines – song, dance, poem and painting – were specified. The children who have come up with unique inventions were also called in. The aim is to bring out their talent in the open by giving them a platform, so that they become an inspiration for others.

Q: Are there any entry passes for attending various programmes?
A: We have kept the entry free at all the venues so that all can enjoy the events. Instead of organising various events at the same place, several venues have been selected to cater to different tastes and choices. While S K Memorial Hall will have santoor, flute and ghazal performances, Rabindra Bhawan will witness sufi and folk dance shows.

Q: What happened to selection of ‘Bihar Gaan’? Has it been postponed for now?
A: For state anthem, the deadline is 2012, the centenary year of Bihar’s foundation. Fifty songs have been selected so far from the 1800 entries received. While ‘rajya geet’ to be sung at government functions will be a choreographed one with music and of two minutes duration, ‘prarthana’ to be sung at all the government schools will be of three minutes.

Q: How are non-resident Biharis staying in India and abroad being involved in the celebrations?
A: Cultural programmes and food festivals have been scheduled at all those places where Bihar Foundation has a functional chapter. Delegations from Qatar and Mauritius are coming. Famous NRBs from the tinsel town – Shatrughan Sinha, Prakash Jha, Shekhar Suman and Manoj Bajpai – have been invited. Next year, a Non-Resident Bihari meet has been scheduled.

Q: What is the total budget for the celebrations?
A: The total budget is over Rs 2 crore. Through this we have been able to involve more than 4 crore people. As many as 2.5 crore children alone are involved in various ways in the celebration. All our participants will be given away free T-shirts and caps with Bihar’s logo, and school bags will be distributed among children. Awards like watches and cameras will be given to women and kids winning in various categories.

Q: Has a car rally also been organized?
A: A road show has also been scheduled on March 24 in which 15 cars are participating, each one highlighting an aspect of Bihar’s glory. These cars will start from Rajbhawan roundabout and move to Delhi, stopping at various cities like Lucknow and Agra on the way.