To keep up with what's happening in Bihar, I, like many others, subscribe to Google News allowing them to litter my inbox with the same news published on different websites with slightly different headlines.
Monday, Sept. 25th was no different than any other day when I bumped into this news on NDTV.com written by one Manish Kumar.
On first glance, I was saddened by the fact that once again, my home state was in the news for all the wrong reasons. Math experts applying for professor's job at the Magadh University allegedly could not solve a math problem of 9th-grade level. Another applicant spelt 'triangle' as 'trangle'.
Embarrassing? Without a doubt.
The article did not stop there; it went on to dredge up past stories of how Bihar education allows mass cheating in school exams and how fake toppers like Ruby Rai 'learnt cooking in political science class'.
Another hit job on Bihar!
In my life spanning over five decades, I have met with people from nearly all states in India (ok, I exaggerated; not all but most states) and I can assure you, barring a few exceptions, almost entire India cannot write one correct sentence in English (or for that matter, Hindi) be it Delhi, UP, MP, Maharashtra, Punjab, AP, TN or any other state.
Apparently, Manish Kumar has never met a Gujarati in his life. And before you slam me for criticizing the messenger and not the message, let me be very clear that Manish Kumar, or reporters like him, are quite within their rights to report failure of education in Bihar. My only complaint is, how come we never see such articles about other states like Gujarat?
Besides failing to pronounce English words properly (everyone knows how 'hall' becomes 'hole' and 'cash' becomes 'case' in Gujarat), it is a mystery to me how these people can even spell their name in English. Is this because their education is 'superior' to the education being imparted in Bihar?
Here is a recent example of an email I received from a colleague of mine who is from Gujarat. See if it makes any sense to you:
"Beacuse communication with user is break and again circulate new id to all users so this while take time to stable communication from user to IT person. And after all set well then is left from over organisation and we do all activity again".
As I scratched my head, my reaction was as you might have expected – huh? The matter was cleared only after I picked up the phone and talked to him in Hindi.
And this is just one quick example!
I am, by no means, trying to disparage this person from Gujarat or trying to condone poor English or math of the Bihari students (our 'netas' have screwed our students for many generations to come but that's the topic of some other article) but what irks me most is these so-called reporters/journalists who are very quick on their feet to show Bihar in a negative light. These same reporters never talk about the poor state of education in other states but as long as Bihar and Biharis looks bad, they are satisfied and happy with their job.
I am of strong belief that if there was an apple-to-apple comparison between the state of education in Bihar and other states, perhaps with a few exceptions, I doubt any state would come out any better than Bihar when it comes to English or math.
But hey, bhaat the hale I know? I am just a product of a stupid skool called BN Collegiate bhair ebhrything was tought Hindi. Yuo think I cannot spell trangle? Try asking me to spell rektangolar!