Bugs of intolerance

In the early 1940s, many of our schoolteachers were from Bihar, West Bengal and UP. Nepal was their bread pan, and they stayed at Biratnagar although they would return to their family during school vacation. Blood of communal tolerance and harmony flowed in them yet with focus on textbooks and exams. One funny incident of their association I remember is about our school inspector who happened to inspect our grade five class. The inspector had asked, “Which is your home district, young man?” I had answered him naively, “Purnea.” In practice, postal mails reached Biratnagar under the address – post Jogbani, district Purnea. We had fantastic moments with them yet about the general knowledge of India. Most of them are now deceased when a few of them have left first generation voters here. In fact, they were the outsourcing of a flexible workforce to our representative mascot.

Afterwards the nation had a gradual bend for communal politics and sectarian conflict. It began with the Koshi basin especially when the outer workforce arrived in the Terai forests, known as Char-Kose-Jhadi, which were a natural resource of public revenue aside from the lurking tracts of croplands. As the jhadi in part suffered clear felling, this workforce swarmed like human locusts towards a massive demographic transformation. It came, stayed, cut, and sawed trees, made log and timber, and loaded the lorries heading back to Bihar. This had founded new zamindars (landowners) to bud in very fast. The outer populations worked on muster roll for crops like paddy and jute and assisted in  ploughing, sowing, and weeding until the harvests were ready to market and store. Some worked full time for domestic chores. Carpenters, masons, mechanics, etc. were also among them. Influx in the Terai was thus the choice for its relatively agreeable life and landscape, food crops and kids’ education. For the outer populations, it shielded them against epidemics like plague and starvation.

The principles of management and utility had ingrained the viruses. Then an ultra revolution erupted under the dictates of late King Mahendra. His ceiling on landholding seized land from the zamindars, when the zamindars under a stupid compromise hid the excess land in the name of Bihari patwaris and kamatiyas. A significant number of bugs had swelled in with accountant ‘patwaris’ and croplands manager ‘kamatiyas.’