Guest post by MAHTAB ALAM
The state of Jharkhand was created after several decades of struggle. On 15 November, the state completed 12 years of its formation. The day is considered to be the birth anniversary of the legendary leader Birsa Munda. The state, famous for its rich mineral resources, occupies an area of 28,833 square miles (74,677 square km) and has a population of nearly 330 lakh people according to 2011 estimates. Like every year, the formation day was celebrated with the great pomp and show by the government and the political elite in the state capital Ranchi and elsewhere.
However, this year, greater effort was made to bolster its ever declining public image due to mass displacement, brutality by police and security forces and rampant corruption in the state over the years, by giving advertisements not only in local and Hindi newspapers but also in major national dailies. On 15th of November, in the Times of India (Delhi edition), a full page advertisement was published with smiling faces of Shibu Sonren, once a popular leader and referred as Dishom Guru or the Great Leader of Tribal, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief and also head of the ruling alliance, along with chief minister Arjun Munda and his team, in Hindi with the heading, ‘Vikas ke path par agrasar Jharkhand: Zameen par utri Haqeeqat’ (Jharkhand on the path of Development: Reality on the ground), enumerating ‘landmark works of development’ of the government. I was also told by friends that similar advertisements appeared in other newspapers as well. Continue reading Jharkhand, twelve years later: Mahtab Alam