(From left) Education minister PK Shahi and Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi at the concluding day function of the Bihar Divas in Patna on Tuesday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey
The three-day Bihar Divas ceremony celebrating the 103rd year of the state's foundation ended on Tuesday with Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi urging the people to work hard to place Bihar in the list of developed states.
Participating at the concluding day of Bihar Divas function at Gandhi Maidan, Tripathi said: "We, the people of Bihar, would contribute generously in its neo-construction and establishing our state as a developed state. Bihar has a rich history of its culture and was known as knowledge centre in the world once, having universities like Nalanda and Vikramasila. The people should strike to regain its lost glory."
Tripathi's statement assumes importance as in spite of pioneer in all fields before Independence, Bihar has lagged behind in different sectors. The per capita income of Bihar as per Bihar Economic Survey 2014-15 is Rs 15,650 against the national average of Rs 39,904. Similarly, as per 2011 literacy census, the literacy rate of Bihar is 63.82 per cent against the national average of 73.
Praising the state government, especially chief minister Nitish Kumar's initiative to celebrate Bihar Divas function, Tripathi, who reached from Calcutta on Tuesday, said: "The Bihar Divas is the occasion which reminds the people about the state's rich history." For infusing a sense of pride among people, a laser show depicting the historical figures of Bihar from Gautam Buddha and Ashok to the country's first President Rajendra Prasad was also displayed.
On the concluding day of Bihar Divas, education minister P.K. Shahi and Bihar Legislative Council Awadhesh Narain Singh were also present. Awadhesh said: "A few years back, the government decided to celebrate a day which is honour and pride for the entire state and after having much discussion, the government decided to celebrate Bihar Divas on March 22, as on this day Bihar was carved out of Bengal Province."
Even Nitish, inaugurating the Bihar Divas celebrations on Sunday, described the purpose of organising the state foundation day on such a large scale.
He said it inculcates a sense of belongingness among Biharis all over the world. "Calling ourselves Biharis is a matter of pride, not of shame. People from the state living outside express their identity with a sense of pride on the occasion," Nitish had said.
During the three-day celebrations, a series of cultural functions were held in which Bollywood, classical, and sufi singers participated.
Around 50 stalls and dozen pavilions were set up showcasing the work and policy of departments concerned. The maximum stalls and pavilions were put up by the education department, the nodal department for Bihar Divas function. However, the biggest attraction of this year's Bihar Divas was live performance by singers Hariharan, Shashi Suman, who has composed Mary Kom's "Ziddi Dil" and Salim-Sulaiman brothers.
The British Council stall at Gandhi Maidan has been an exciting stop for children this Bihar Divas for the array of activities available, and Tuesday was no different.
On Tuesday, students at the stall were given two minutes to present an extempore speech on any four topics.
Sudipta Gupta, the east India head, English Partnerships, British Council, said: "The students were given two minutes to speak on any of the four topics - 'What Bihar needs', 'I am river Ganga', 'Why English is important' and 'Boys and girls are equal'. There were not too many participants but those who spoke at the competition did so with full confidence."
Apart from the extempore-speaking competition, the students were also taught how to use dictionaries, and test their grey matter in quiz competitions.
An official at the British Council stall said: "The students were happy to know how to use a dictionary. Learning meanings of a new word made them even happier. The students were also shown how art could make studies fun. It has been observed that teaching through pictorial representations is not just easy for the faculty members but students are also able to retain their lessons better."
The government signed a memorandum of understanding with the British Council in 2012 to improve English proficiency among the students. Under this initiative, resource persons trained teachers of classes IX-XII students. The project was christened Bihar Language Initiative for Secondary Schools.
On the other events organised for the Bihar Divas celebrations, Sudipta said: "British Council officials prepared a film on the state to mark the Bihar Divas celebrations. Two students from Patna, Kumar Sanu and Deepak Kumar, assisted the team."