Bihar Rajbhasa Puraskar: Games dwijs play

Just spare a look for the awards jury. The convener, Madhav Kaushik, is a Brahmin, who is also the convener of the Sahitya Akademi. The others in the jury included Anamika, Nasira Sharma, Kamal Kishore Goenka, Shanti Jain and Vinod Bandhu. They all come from dwij castes or communities. No OBC or Dalit were on the panel, says Aditya Anand

Bihar’s politics has been “Mandalized” but the fields of literature, art and culture are still untouched. The state boasts a large number of Bahujan writers, but over the last 30 years of Mandal Raj in the state, Savarna writers and journalists have been dominating the Bihar government’s Rajbhasha Puraskar (Awards) – both as members of the jury and as recipients. Mind you, Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar – two chief ministers with a formidable popular base – have ruled the state during this period. The OBC (Other Backward Classes) and Dalit intellectuals, who gloat over the representation of their communities in politics, should realize that the dominance may have enriched their leaders, but it has had no significant impact on their communities. Of the 14 people picked for the 2021 awards by the Rajbhasha Vibhag (Department) recently, 12 are from upper castes or communities and one each is a Dalit, OBC and EBC (Extremely Backward Classes). Savarnas form around 12 per cent of the state’s population but they constitute around 100 per cent of the awardees. The Bahujan, who make up the majority, have a disappointing presence on the list of awardees.

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