Patna diary

Here are quirky, interesting stories from Patna this week.

Published: 07th November 2017 01:41 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th November 2017 01:41 PM   |  A+A-

BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha (File | PTI)

Express News Service

Worshipping the Kangaroo god
By now of course you’ve seen the viral video of women worshipping a fiberglass kangaroo dustbin placed near a temple women sprinkling sacred water on the plastic marsupial’s head and tossing coins as an offering into its pouch. It’s supposed to occured at some place in Bihar, but then the provenance of videos posted on Twitter are difficult to prove. Sure, it’s good for a chuckle, but Patnaites aren’t amused one bit that such sort of things occur only in their environs, or that it is testimony of rural folk’s gullibility with religious idols. Children mistaking those guffawing Walt Disney rubbish bins for play things is not unknown.

Are you old enough for this?
We are in the midst of a campaign by the Nitish Kumar government to end child marriages, for which Bihar is rather notorious. The campaign, happy to say, is receiving some popular support. The district magistrate of Patna, Sanjay Agrawal, called a meeting of all the stakeholders, so to say, of the child marriage phenomenon and enthusiastic vows were made, so to speak. Wedding card printers pledged that they wouldn’t print cards for underage betrothals and music bands piped up and vowed never to play ‘Meri pyari beheniya banegi dulhaniya’ ever at a weddings of minors. Agrawal, hard-boiled officer that he is, urged all wedding service providers to insist their customers provide proof in writing that betrothed are not children.

Sound of the Shotgun
Is it a coincidence or what that the biggest dissenters against Narendra Modi are both Patnaites? After Yashwant Sinha made nationwide news with his reservations on the Prime Minister’s style of functioning, it was the turn of Shatrughan Sinha to take up the overture. The actor is the MP for Patna Saheb and owns the Luv Kush Tower on Exhibition Road. He was here last Sunday and met up with journalists to air his criticism of the ‘one-man show and two-man army’ running the show up in Delhi. Wearing a navy blue waistcoat – as is the sartorial norm for politicians these days -- over a paisley print shirt, the Bihari Babu minced no words. GST, he said, has been good for the chartered accountants. But of course his concern was not for himself; he was pained at the sidelining of M/s Yashwant Sinha, L K Advani and M M Joshi.

Brace up for Guru Gobind valedictory
The next big thing in Patna is the upcoming closing ceremony of the year-long Prakashotsav to celebrate the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh. Thousands of Sikh devotees from around the country and abroad are expected to flock to the Takhat Shri Harmandir Sahib Gurdwara in Patna Sahib for the December 22-25 festivities. For those who came in late, Patna is where the 10th Guru of the Sikhs and preceptor of the Khalsa was born. A tent city spread over 110 acres is being built with facilities to accommodate 35,000 devotees.

Anand ST Das
The author is the correspondent of the New Indian Express in Bihar.

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