Residents of Musahar Tola Katar in Rohtas district soaked in celebrations on Tuesday, the day Musahar community member Jitan Ram Manjhi (68) became the chief minister of the state.
The residents of the sleepy hamlet organised a community feast followed by a cultural show.
“It’s a historic moment for the members of the community. A Musahar, the most backward among the Scheduled Castes, becoming the chief minister of a feudal state like Bihar is something unbelievable,” said Ram Chandra Musahar.
Ram Chandra (45) is an agriculture labourer. Overwhelmed with Manjhi becoming the chief minister, he said: “The residents celebrated the occasion in traditional style.”
The members of the community were asked to assemble at Ram Chandra’s mud house after 7.30pm, a couple of hours after Manjhi was officially administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor D.Y. Patil at Raj Bhavan in Patna. “This is another Diwali for us and we shall celebrate it similarly,” he added.
Nobody in the village having a population of around 300 could watch the oath-taking ceremony of Manjhi live in the absence of a TV set.
“But we have radio sets to listen to the news, thanks to outgoing chief minister Nitish Kumar, who provided us the gadget. But majority of them developed snag and stopped functioning within a couple of months,” Ram Chandra said.
Ganga Musahar (42), another resident of Musahar Tola Katar who actually hails from the neighbouring Gaya district, was confident that Manjhi would take initiatives to improve the living conditions of the community still deprived of basic amenities. The residents of Baghachal village under Gaighat block in Muzaffarpur in north Bihar have also decided to celebrate the occasion.
“We shall invite Manjhi to our village once he settles down in his new bungalow,” said Raman Lal Manjhi.
The village situated on the border of Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga districts has a population of around 4,000.