What comes to your mind, when you think of Bihar? Many see it as a place "where every second person is illiterate and living in destitution, every third one is a criminal, and every politician and government official is corrupt'' writes Swati Kumar, author at PatnaBeats, a website attempting to demystify any illusions about the state.
The online journal through its campaign, #IAmBrandBihar has created a stir in the social media circuit as it attempts to create an all-inclusive identity of the state. The campaign has representatives from all walks of life, be it a chaiwala or an IT engineer. It aims to create a sense of pride in being Bihari and gives out a social message against racism and stereotyping.
Much has been said about the state, from being dismissed as the cesspool of Jungle Raj to its people being stereotyped and their accent being mocked. Swati Kumar writes that some even consider it a grave stigma to identify themselves as Biharis or have a lingering connection with the state.
"I have seen many people from Bihar residing in other states with a reputed white-collar job, they feel ashamed of being recognised or introducing themselves as a Bihari. They forget that living in a different state for their whole lives also couldn’t change the land of their origin," she writes.
She states that it is disappointing to be looked at through the prism of backwardness for a state that has harbored evolved minds from Gautama Buddha to Chanakya to the first President of independent India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad.
She voices her displeasure at one section of people being seen as representative of the state and at limiting the cultural fabric of the state to that of a skewed, underdeveloped, impoverished identity.
The campaign urges fellow brethren and sisters to identify themselves as Biharis with pride without any inhibition and to work against any ill-conceived notions.
The campaign has resonated with a lot of people on social media.
I am a Software Engineer and #IamBrandBihar— Ambuj Kumar (@ambuj26jan) May 28, 2016
All images source: PatnaBeats/Facebook