As some of you might know by now, currently I live in the north Indian state of Bihar where I am working as a high school teacher. A month as a teacher has perished in no time and this short experience has given me a fair idea about the lives of people of this so-called impoverished state. Little did I know that what I used to hear about this state from media and all has almost nothing to do with the reality! Literally, the state of Bihar which is continuously being projected as the synonym of poverty is in no way lesser to many other Indian states which brag of having a high standard of living.
Although many people you meet in public places may seem to struggle with poverty from their peripheral appearance, a subtle excavation will show that the majority of them are financially well sound. The place I work at is a small village with a probable population of about 50,000. Agriculture is the main source of income. You will seldom find any kind of big buildings adorning this village. With the added advantage of the weather of this ongoing season, this place now looks like nothing less than a green heaven! Lush green paddy fields spread across thousands of acres never gonna let you take your eyes off them. The peculiarity of my profession has paved the way to interact with a lot of teenagers and toddlers who are my first ever students. In those innumerable enthusiastic conversations, I got to know a lot about Bihar which I was unaware of before this.
One such fact is that of their financial condition. As I pointed out earlier, many lead a happy life despite their apparent ‘poverty dominant’ outlook. No wonder they still live in small thatched huts; perhaps because of the deeply rooted superstitious culture that keeps on thriving here! They are reluctant to switch to bigger buildings, and they show apathy in constructing toilets alongside their houses. The reason is not that they are financially poor, but the belief that defecating in a toilet constructed in or near the house will draw evil spirits into their lives. This weird belief made most of their villages smell poop! Open defecation is a big social evil that our nation confronts even today. Despite government spending the lions share of GDP into eradicating open defecation, a group of people are stubborn believing in exaggerated myths which looks down upon at constructing toilets! No wonder the media project these people as financially backward when the reality is quite opposite!
I met a number of millionaires here, whose children are my students, who in their outlook appear to be coming from the poorest part of the world. The financial growth never tends them to switch to a better lifestyle. Those who get a good education are well settled and are in key positions of the country whereas those who couldn’t make it lead this kind of ancient life in spite of having a good financial condition.
I came here with a misconception which seems to have cleared by now. Still a lot to learn about this wonderful land. will be talkilng about my experiences soon.
Image Source- Pixabay