Bihar is by far one of the most backward and slowly growing states in India. A state where more than 52.47% people are illiterate, and there are virtually no road, electricity, health or jobs. There is an acute shortage of schools, colleges, teachers, classrooms, libraries, laboratories, drinking water and toilets. Bihar’s colleges and universities are largely under-funded, ungovernable institutions. There are less that 20 medical and engineering college in Bihar– much lesser than the smaller cities like Pune, Bangalore, Chennai or Nagpur. Only 15% people reach high school level. 80% of the population is uneducated. There are hardly any studies almost throughout the year due to politics, frequent strikes and absenteeism. Many parents have to sell off their property to send their sons or daughters to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore or any other such metro cities for the elusive education.
Nearly 40% of Bihar’s population– one-seventh of India’s population– lies below the poverty line, highest in India. The annual per capita income of Bihar is just Rs. 3650 whereas the national average is Rs.11,625. An estimated 23.97 Lakh youth are unemployed. Some 26 out of 69 most backward districts of India are in Bihar. Every year 20 out of 29 districts are flooded by rains and river overflow.
Bihar – the twelfth largest state in India produces at least 40 MPs and a large number of central and state ministers. It determines the mood and temperature of national politics.
Biharis are the backbone of Indian administrative machinery. Almost every district in India has a DM or SP, who belongs to Bihar.
Bihar accounts for nearly 450 out of total 5,500 IAS officers in the country. One in 10 bureaucrats shaping the destiny of India in North or South Block is from Bihar.
The highest numbers of IAS, IPS & IFS aspirants are from Bihar. Almost 25 per cent of the 700 candidates, who qualified for IAS and IPS in the last ten years, belong to Bihar.
IPS officers from Bihar are a particularly powerful group not just in Bihar police but in other state and Central police forces. At least 38 IPS officers from Bihar are holding DG, ADG, IG, and DIG level posts. Dineshwar Sharma, a native of Pali village in Gaya, joined the IPS as a Kerala cadre officer in 1979 and is today heading the Intelligence Bureau (IB).
Anil Kumar Sinha is Director, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). His father N. S. Sinha retired as Commissioner Sales Tax in Bihar. Vivek Srivastav 1989 batch IPS officer (Gujarat cadre) is head of Special Protection Group (SPG). He belongs to Bihar and had served as joint director of IB in Patna. His father is a former IAS officer. Krishna Chaudhary, a 1979 batch IPS officer, is DG ITBP. Another Bihari Rajiv Ranjan Verma IPS 1978 batch is Director General of the Director General of RailwayProtection Force (RPF). Imagine the impact of all this when officers from Bihar are DGP not just in Bihar but in other state cadres as well. Even today a majority of IAS/IPS/IRS officers in Gujarat are from Bihar or Jharkhand. Gujarat incidentally produces the lowest number of IAS/IPS officers.
This year eighteen students from Bunkaron – a nondescript backward village near Gaya in South Bihar cracked the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology entrance exam IIT. IIT is like a second home for the children in this village. Every year, at least ten students are among the successful candidates.
Not just IIT, Biharis are doing well in different areas of scientific research, medical and engineering. Students from Bihar have done exceptionally well in other national level competitive exams like IIM, XLRI-Jamshedpur, BITS Mesra and AIIMS.
Why and how do so many candidates from Bihar do so well in various all India competitive exams? — is the million dollar question puzzling everyone’s mind. To get to the cause, one has to understand the socio-economic condition, political systems, education culture and the psychology of people of Bihar.
EDUCATION IN BIHAR: HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
The name Bihar is derived from Sanskrit word Vihar meaning “abode” that also means college. Lord Buddha attained enlightenment here under a tree 2,500 years ago. It is the birthplace of Sita, the wife of Lord Rama, Lord Mahavira, the last Jain Tirthankara and Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th guru of the Sikhs. Bihar was the seat of the famous Mauryan Empire which ruled over almost the whole Indian subcontinent as well as Iran and Afghanistan. Ashoka-the great was one of the most famous rulers of the Mauryan dynasty.
Since times immemorial Bihar a long history of organized education and world famous universities like Nalanda and Vikramshila. Nalanda– one of the earliest universities of India had over 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers in its roles. Vikramshila- was known for education in Tantra. Students from China, Korea, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and different parts of the world used to go to Nalanda and Vikramshila universities to study. Vikramshila and Nalanda universities were equivalent of today’s Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge, Berkeley and Stanford.
The British established Patna College in 1839. Patna University, the 7th oldest university in the Indian subcontinent, came up in 1917. Bihar School of Engineering in 1900; Prince of Wales Medical College in 1925 now known as Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) and Science College, Patna in 1928.
But ironically after independence Bihar lost the place as a center of education.
Today there are approximately 71,832 schools run by the government and private organizations in Bihar.
Bihar has some of the oldest universities and institutions of higher learning like Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Bihar Yoga Bharati, Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhupendra Narayan Mandal University, BRA Bihar University, Jai Prakash Vishwavidyalaya Chapra, Lalit Narayan Mithila University of Darbhanga, Nalanda Open University Reshmi Complex, Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University Kameshwar Nagar Darbhnaga, Magadh University Bodh Gaya, Patna University, Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University Bhagalpur, Veer Kunwar Singh University Arrah, Maulana Mazharul Haque Arabic and Persian University and Rajendra Agricultural University.
BIHAR COULD HAVE BEEN THE EDUCATION HUB OF INDIA
Bihar had everything right to become the Education Hub of India. But never did.
Politics, caste system and non-performance of successive Governments transformed the state into a BIMARU state.
Till a few years ago more than 25 lakh, 6-14 year old children were “out of school”. Even today seven Lakh children are “out of school”.
Bihar has one of the worst teacher absence rates in India and the world– 37.8%.
As a result of absence of well-equipped, quality institutions for higher technical, medical, and management education and training—many students from Bihar ‘shift’ to Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and other parts of the country.
Poor quality of infrastructure, chronic session delays, and teacher absenteeism are some of the reasons why many students have to migrate outside the state for higher education. Every year just after the intermediate, CBSE and ICSE results are out a sizeable number of students move out because of mismatch between demand and supply of good quality education in the educational institutions.
Considering that just 40,000 students move out of the state because of lack of opportunities in the state and on an average spend Rs 1 Lakh each towards tuition fee, boarding, lodging, books and coaching classes etc—can you imagine the economic loss to the state?
According to an estimate, nearly 5 million people from Bihar migrate each year in search of livelihoods to all parts of India. Around 2.5 million Bihari migrants are working in Mumbai and nearly half that number in other cities of Maharashtra. According to Bihar Industries Association around 55 lakh Biharis — almost a quarter of Bihar’s population– have shifted outside the state. This has created an acute paucity of the workforce and made the life topsy-turvy in a State where over 70 percent people still depend on farming.
The problem is further compounded by the fact that every year lakhs of Bihari student migrate outside the state in search of quality Education.
Bihar presents a paradoxical image of a money order economy, thriving on money orders sent by people to their families in the state. Every migrant on an average sends Rs 15,000 annually to the state that works up to Rs 7,500 crore or 5% of the GDP of Bihar. A recent study by ODI, UK estimated the total remittance inflow in Bihar economy to be close to 90 Billion INR. Remittances account for more than the annual budget of Bihar.
Professional job and Government job, the first choice of career of all student
Till a few years ago agriculture was the main source of income of a majority of people. Not anymore. Of the late income from agriculture has become so uncertain and dependent on the weather that even the big landlords and agriculturist do not want their children to be dependent on agriculture.
Bihar never had private companies. There were a few sugar mills and some PSU’s which were transferred to Jharkhand. Bihar does not have a well-developed industrial base neither is it on the radar screen of IT companies by far the biggest employment provider in the country, as a result youth in Bihar is left with no option but to settle for government job. When it comes to that IAS is the best option that offers both position and power.
The attraction of UPSC is the power associated with the job. An IAS officer oozes power and Bihari’s love power. People who fail to get into UPSC land up as a bank PO or LDC job some other exam.
In the early 80s government jobs were perceived as the only way to make money – legitimately as well as illegitimately through corruption. Biharis born and brought up in an atmosphere of lawlessness, corruption, bad roads and no electricity, started believing that only a government job could solve all their problems.
It important to understand the mindset of the people and job preferences in different parts of the country. Instead of a 9-5 job, Gujaratis prefer their own business. Punjabi’s and Keralites love to go abroad whatever the job. People from Bihar have a clear preference for all government — IAS, IPS or public sector jobs.
As compared to farmers in Punjab who may sell off their ancestral land to buy a new car or get a foreign return tag, Bihari’s are known to sell off their land to educate or marry their children. Even a rickshaw puller’s son may spend the meager resources of his family to attend coaching for JEE or UPSC. Those who can afford migrate to other states in search of higher education. It is an inherent part of Bihari culture to devote time and money on education. The students in Bihar simply have no other choice and realize that education alone is the passport for a good times in future, so they put all they have into serious studies. It is the reason why Biharis end up competing on a Pan-India level.
Patna today has become a hub for private coaching centers which prepare students for medical, engineering and all kinds of Government Jobs both at the state and all India level. There are shops all over the city selling application forms for competitive exams for UPSC, Railways, IITs, and IIMs.
All this has become such a part of the social psyche that even those Biharis who already have cleared IIT’s and IIM’s keep trying for high profile government jobs — just for kicks, power and authority that goes with the sarkari babu’s job.
Moral of the story: Bihar has a shortage of everything except brains.