-Kshitiz Roy

When I was a kid, I found myself in Bihar. And all I was told since class six was aise padho, waise padho. Words like career, inter ka exam, IIT, medical filled the air. You go to Patna and you will feel as if education is always on the top of its mind. So many falana sir, dhimkana sir coaching institutes dot the place; almost on the lines of age old dawa khana which promise masculinity and all, the tall hoardings of coaching institutes promising to turn Patna into Kota tower around the city.

You mount any passenger train in the morning and you are bound to bump into students chanting square roots and the genealogy of Samrat Ashok. And I am not even bringing the Banking SSC scene into the picture. Now in a state, which has always been so much into the awe of sarkari naukri and hence education, in a state, which has produced some of the finest technocrats and bureaucrats coming through the same examination procedure of Bihar education council or as we fondly say Bihar board- what went wrong. I took a stroll down the news feed and found various shades of people, mostly from Bihar indulged in self admonishing, some of them expectedly brought a political angle to it and were eager to guillotine Nitish Kumar and co.

All of that is farce. All of that is bullshit. Biharis don’t need to prove the nation about their educational prowess; because in a state which has historically been devoid of industrial and enterprising ecosystem, education has been our only way out into the mainstream, and this goes beyond those caste borderlines which we are quick to associate with Bihar. Scores of friends and seniors have found themselves in the corridors of the old Patna science college or a nondescript begusarai college to pass out in flying colors in engineering entrance examinations. You see, senior secondary has never been an issue in Bihar. They are taught to think beyond their age- socially and mentally. And therein lies the problem.

About the senior secondary examinations,we fondly call it inter ka exam and don’t give a rat’s ass about it. There were kids who would hate to prepare for 12th physics paper because yaar, IIT-JEE ka paper ki taiyari mein likhne ki aadat choot gayi thi and english toh boss likhe jamana ho gaya. The entire public consensus is heavily skewed in favor of attending those coaching institutes and solving high power books like Resnik Haliday and Irodov. In Bihar, for a large number of inter ke students, read 11th and 12th class wale, there is just no idea of schooling. They find themselves in dingy classrooms situated near a passing sewer, and are thrown into an abyss of formulas. Why? Because cracking a competition ensures a job, and a job ensures the upward mobility- in a state reeling between the twin malaise of class and caste discrimination, a job is the only thing which ensures you freedom. And therefore the coaching, therefore the complete denial of a senior secondary structure which has brought the rot. The teachers in the state sponsored colleges make merry, the kids in the coaching strut around on their bicycle on the streets of Patna without questioning and the parents keep dreaming about that job and the mukti. And for that, the whole senior secondary structure has been re shaped in an industry where questions are sneaked out-churning prodigal science toppers. This is because it simply doesn’t matter.

You see in Bihar, we are taught to think mechanically and practically. And while we think we are always so rational in all our deeds, biharis often forget that times around them changes. And this happens softly. But soft is a word which they don’t understand in Bihar. And till that happens, results like that are only a tip of the iceberg, which should never amaze a true bihari for our state is like that classic brewery where the educational system has been left rotting in order to create fine single malt human resource. To all those comparing the failed students with lalloo k laal, I urge you all to try a ninth class BTC maths test once. Boss fat k 74 ho jaega, kassam se.