Patna, once Patliputra has been marred by acuity as an improperly administered and perhaps the most under-privileged capital of North India. This article attempts to provide an insight and verify if the stereotypes pertaining to this city hold their ground.
Patna has a history of being one of the most prosperous cities ever to exist; Delhi has been the capital of our country during the British raj. Both Delhi and Patna are established on the banks of major rivers, yet there are glaring differences in the socio-economic-political conditions of the two cities.
There may be multiple reasons for variations between Patna and major Indian cities, what strikes most is the dependence on agrarian goods as a means of livelihood for a majority of the populace of Patna. This dependence has resulted in much lower cash at hand value for all who are involved in this means.
A second glaring variance is the absence of major commercial houses. Due to low income groups which constitute the dominant bulk of consumers, major commercial houses have abstained from spreading their wings into the city.
A third striking feature is the rat race for the civil services, aspirations of the youth are not as ranged as those hailing from the capital of the country. While students in Delhi are looking to alternate career options, a fetish for science courses is evident in almost all hailing from this state.
Close second preferences are arts courses which are considered as more favourable options for cracking the civil services. Commerce is not a preferred subject for the majority. The urge for quick money is evident but establishing a business is seldom on the cards. The service class rules the mindset of the youth.
Major development in Patna has transpired around Gandhi Maidan, single screen movie theatres such as Mona and Regent have evolved into multiplexes. Roads are spacious and police presence is aplenty. Wearing helmets in Patna, like in most developing cities seems to be a voluntary exercise. Some multi-national companies have marked their presence here, at Khaitan Market and at Maurya Lok.
Still, de-boarding at Patna Junction at the stipulated time seems to be a far fetched thought for any passenger travelling to Patna due to the incessant chain-pulling in all trains plying on this route. The psyche of the masses is to attain the maximum convenience in the least resources possible, be so by hook or by crook.
Though a large number of individuals are being affected adversely by the forced luxury of a few, seldom do any of the oppressed wish to raise their voices. A general laxity persists and the attitude does not differ when on the streets.
Patna has not been blessed with many architectural attractions, but it has progressed tremendously where infrastructure is the yardstick, the Chiraiyatand flyover and the Gandhi Setu Bridge are marvels in their own categories. The Patna Junction railway station presented a picture of utmost sanitation much better than the
New Delhi Railway station, women volunteers who assisted passengers are also a sign of progress.
Politics in Patna and its’ vicinity is still on grounds of caste and religion. The past 20 years have witnessed minor changes in the mindset of the electorate. A major shift has been observed in the voting patterns, the Rashtriya Janta Dal had been shunned by the very dalits that raised the party for a 15 year reign. The coining of the term Maha-dalit has resulted in an upsurge in the weight age bailed out to caste based divisions. Caste bias seems to have mellowed down over the years, but is far from culmination from this state.
Public transport is a plenty but the streets become sparsely crowded by 8 P.M. Patna falls in the Magadha region of Bihar, languages spoken are Hindi, Bhojpuri, Magahi and Maithili. English is still the luxury of the elites.
Due to the absence of a proper tourism industry, Patna is devoid of opulence where the hospitality industry is concerned. Hotel Chanakya on Beer Chand Patel Path and eastern India’s first revolving restaurant Pind Baluchi atop the Biscomaun Bhawan are noteworthy.
On the whole Patna would not fail to impress an intrigued traveller who is on the lookout for a glimpse of a city poised to be a metro city by 2021.
When studied over the past 20 years, Patna has shown tremendous development in the previous 5 years; the growth is of the magnitude that the World Bank has ranked this city as the second best place in India, after
Delhi, in terms of the ease of starting a business.
Patna is in the transition phase, it is slowly and surely relieving itself from the clutches of under development, poverty, illiteracy and backwardness. If the administration of Patna continues at the current pace then it won’t be long before Patna overtakes many Indian cities by many folds.