Paradox called Siwan - State of national heroes & anti-heroes

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Patna
  • Published 21.05.07
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Patna, May 21: From India’s first president Rajendra Prasad, to the notorious con man, Natwar Lal, to the present state personnel secretary and topper of civil services exams, Amir Subhani, to the convicted “don”, Mohammad Shahabuddin, Siwan is an archetype of what paradox stands for.

Both Amir Subhani and Md Shahabuddin emerged as “icons” particularly for the Muslim youths in the district in 1980s and 1990s for diametrically opposite reasons.

Let’s begin with Subhani. Hailing from a humble, Muslim family in Barharia, Subhani first topped the Indian Economic Services exams and then the Indian Civil Services exams in succession in 1980s. Subhani became much talked of personality in the backward district, devoid of infrastructure education.

“Subhani was given a hero’s welcome in Siwan after topping the civil services exams. Parents advised their children to become more like Subhani,” said Muntazir Imam, a resident of Siwan, who was junior to Subhani in school. Subhani is currently a high-profile personnel secretary in the Nitish Kumar government.

It was almost in the same period when another young man Mohammad Shahabuddin emerged from Siwan. While Subhani was known for using his pen well, Shahabuddin got the sobriquet of Shaabu-AK 47 for using his assault rifles with precision and mastery. “Police have not yet fathomed how many AK-47s and other sophisticated assault rifles Shahabuddin possesses,” said a former director-general of police (DGP), Bihar, D.P. Ojha, who was engaged in a protracted war of attrition against the Siwan don in 2000-2001.

Shahabuddin-Amir Subhani saga in a way has typical resemblance to Natwarlal and Rajendra Prasad one. Rajendra Prasad belonging to Ziradei, where Shahabuddin won as an MLA in 1990 and 1995, was an exceptional student of his era. A great freedom fighter he went on to be the Indian President.

However, his emergence coincided with that of Natwar Lal, from the same Kayesth community and hailing from Ruia Bangra in the same Ziradei constituency.

A polyglot cheat, Natwar Lal became famous for his “sleight of hands”.