Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Venice, the good Saharsa

Every year the Northern plains of Bihar are flooded by the river kosi, which, if one had memorized school geography correctly, is called the Sorrow of Bihar. There was a big flood in the year 2008 when the embankments which have been built to prevent the local population from getting affected by the rising water levels and stop the change of course of the river collapsed. The raging river took the mud of the embankments and like a humiliated prisoner who has just been given his freedom and is ready for revenge deposited it on the nearby agricultural lands. This destroyed the land fertility. 

Why is this blog titled this way, you might ask? Some of you may have an inkling of an idea, a vague guess. Recently I came across a report by PARI network about the booming business of boat making in a place in Northern Bihar called Saharsa.[1] The name of the district struck me. It was one of the worst affected districts due to the floods. The report also had a short video about villagers navigating the flooded area on a boat. Earlier I had also seen an excellent video which was shot during the kosi floods on a boat.[2] Venice, on the other hand, is a city in Italy, famous for its waterways transportation.  I will give a dopy explanation of the title, but to be honest, it is primarily made to attract readership.

Venice is beautiful from pictures, Saharsa is not. It is dirty and poor, Venice is not. Hence Venice is good Saharsa or Saharsa is bad Venice whichever way you would like to put it. In Venice, I am sure the food habits of people are refined unlike Saharsa, where they have to fight for rats.[3] And it seems rats have a higher ground during the floods. Whereas catching rats can bring business in Saharsa, the food habits of Venetians are discussed in reputed magazines like Vogue.

When movies are shot in Venice, they are like ‘The Italian Job’. The opening scene, a heist and a chase shot on the waterways of Venice can take your breath away[4]. Here people are vying for gold, that one precious substance. When movies are shot in Saharsa, they speak of the pain of locals, the apathy of the government and the wrath of goddess kosi. Here people are vying for food and clean water. Whereas people in Saharsa wait for the government to drop food packets during the flood, Venice waits for tourists to throng it and bring in economic prosperity.

And then there are the residents. My guess is residents of Venice would never want to leave their home city. I read there is a lively culture around the city. The opposite is true for the residents of Saharsa. They want to move out. Being from close by, I can assure that the place is as cultured as can be possible. But culture serves it in the way inner beauty serve humans in the modern world. A compromise on culture to attain more comfortable ways of living just like a compromise on inner beauty to attain more comfortable ways of looking is the rule.

Finally, for any doubts make out the difference in the color of the water in Venice and Saharsa.


Jayanti Bhasker said...

Mast likha hai! Saharsa and Venice :D

Siddhartha said...

thanks neha