The Bihar topper video that went viral on news channels earlier this month has sparked a social media battle, with Bihari students campaigning against the defamation of their home state. Even though the video was released several weeks ago, the campaign came to light only recently. This is because, the campaign intensified after Bihari jokes and images started circulating on Whatsapp and other texting platforms, humiliating Bihari students. Moreover, the arrest of Baccha Rai, the main accused in the #TopperScam and the BSEB (Bihar School Education Board) Chairman, Lalkeshwar Prasad Singh and his wife Usha Singh for allegedly taking bribe to mete out extra marks to students, has given no respite to Bihari students. Disgusted with the mockery, students from Bihar are using social media to express stories of pride and inspiration in Bihar, trying to negate the impact of these jokes.
One of the many vocal websites campaigning against the defamation, Aapna Bihar, has filled its social media pages with inspirational stories like that of the 12-year-old who cracked IIT-JEE and the brothers Krishna and Basant who beat the odds to pass JEE, etc. Apart from receiving support from notable personalities like Anand Kumar – pioneer of Super30 programme in Bihar, Tejashwi Yadav – Deputy CM of Bihar, etc, the website claims to have received over 1 lakh supporters for the campaign #MatBadnamKaroBiharKo. Suman Shekhar, a Bihari student and one of the founders of the campaign, said, that they even tried contacting the Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar to bring these defamation jokes to an end. “We asked Tejashwi Yadav to bring this issue to the forefront of the Bihar government and appeal to CM Nitish Kumar to take some action.”
While this stir on social media started only a couple of days ago, students in Bihar say that they have been facing mockery since a long time. Anmol Raj, a student of IIT Kanpur, used the campaign #MatBadnamKaroBiharKo to voice his ordeal in coaching classes in Kota. After completing school from Bihar, he moved to Kota for IIT-JEE coaching. There, he was subjected to, what he calls, ‘an unfair discrimination’ based on the state he belonged to. See image below
On one hand, there are students in Bihar campaigning against such discrimination, and on the other hand, there are students who are oblivious to the entire situation. Mayank Tiwari, an IIT Patna student, said, “Students in IIT Patna are not concerned with any such campaign and neither do we have the time to associate ourselves with it. We are not in JNU to campaign about such things.” Funnily, even students at JNU aren’t campaigning against this issue.
An issue that caught so much attention on social media hasn’t yet reached all the corners of Bihar. However, the state’s students are still campaigning against their defamation hoping to nip it before it spreads beyond bounds.