13/02/2017 6:05 AM IST | Updated 15/02/2017 1:00 PM IST

Bihar Is Bearing The High Cost Of Divisive Politics

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One of the saddest and most overlooked tales in history is the near demise of the Native American population during the late 1400s in North America. It could be argued that if the Native Americans were not already divided amongst themselves, they could have successfully resisted the colonial efforts of the Europeans. Christopher Columbus may have mistakenly called the Native Americans "Indians", but the true Indians were facing similar issues due to lack of unity.

It is a known fact that unity within communities produces better outcomes for citizens. Being divided on important issues and supporting agendas that benefit only a fraction of the population do more harm than good. On a national level, India is a diverse country, with principles founded in democracy and diversity. However, there are local politics that cause a rift in the overarching theme of unity, prosperity, and opportunity for everyone. Here, I would like to focus on the state of Bihar, where the people of face immense challenges on multiple levels. The region fails to thrive due to very limited employment and educational opportunities, entangled local politics and poor infrastructure.

Supporting agendas that promise change based on religious exclusivity is detrimental to the overall growth of the state.

Bihar continues to be one of the most impoverished states in the country. The wage gap and income disparity are immense. Additionally, the state suffers from low education rates, weakened and outdated infrastructure, and high outward migration. When the political situation is analysed, it unsurprisingly reflects the ill-effects of utilising the caste system for political mileage, engaging in religious politics, and supporting candidates that do not propose clear and effective solutions to the issues plaguing the region.

Muslims in Bihar are divided and coerced into supporting agendas that only damage relationships and community ties with non-Muslims residents. These agendas are formulated to create emotional responses and rhetoric, not yield results that promote inclusiveness and progressive outcomes for the region. For the betterment of everyone, Muslims should seek to support agendas and reforms that are beneficial to people of all faiths living in the region. Supporting agendas that promise change based on religious exclusivity is detrimental to the overall growth of the state. As we can see now, the region does not benefit from this type of politics.

The Hindus living in Bihar are facing similar, self-inflicted obstacles. They are divided amongst themselves, supporting counterproductive concepts such as the caste-based political system. This eliminates opportunities for driven and intelligent individuals. Those born in the "wrong family" lack access to education, training, and better employment. Those in the lower castes are forced to move elsewhere to have access to opportunities they are not afforded in Bihar. Oftentimes, many of the people that flock to other places are very intelligent and could have been a catalyst for change locally. When they leave to pursue better opportunities, they take their ideas, skills, and abilities with them, leaving Bihar left with stagnant growth. The continued outward migration continues to leave Bihar in a destitute position, especially when compared to the rapid economic growth in other parts of India. If the brightest minds can emerge from the shadows that were created by the caste political system, all the people of Bihar can be equally represented in the political spectrum and contribute to the success of the state.

India, as a nation, is emerging as a superpower and is continually gaining international influence. It is undergoing economic, educational, and infrastructural growth, which is excellent for investors and citizens. The situation in Bihar does not reflect the growth that is occurring around the nation and lags behind. It is warranted for Hindus and Muslims in Bihar to work together to create a united front in tackling the issues in the region. If they continue to succumb to divisive agendas and using outdated practices, the people of Bihar will not have the share of same growth as others in the nation.