much-awaited Bihar Divas celebrations were inaugurated Tuesday with
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar floating 99 lamps in the presence of
hundreds of people at the historic Gandhi Maidan to mark the 99th
anniversary of the state.
Speaking after inaugurating the three-day celebrations, Nitish Kumar
said Bihar has changed and it is changing fast with development
taking place with a high growth rate.
"Bihar is changing, now being a Bihari is a matter of pride. It has
now an identity to assert by people," Nitish Kumar said.
He said that Bihar will be a developed state in the next few years.
Thousands of people across Bihar cleaned up their villages, marking
a unique start to the much awaited Bihar Divas celebrations.
Principal Secretary HRD Anjani Kumar Singh said that villagers
voluntarily carried out cleaning work in 45,000 villages to make it
a special day. Bihar Divas marks the day when the British carved out
the state from the Bengal Presidency March 22, 1912.
"In all villages also, people will light 99 lamps to mark their
participation in Bihar Divas," Singh said.
The state will mark its centenary in 2012 with programmes throughout
the year. The chief minister has said the celebration was planned to
help advertise Bihar.
The historic Gandhi Maidan here was readied for grand celebrations
to mark Bihar Divas. In Patna, thousands of people are expected to
gather at the historic grounds from Tuesday to Thursday, said an
official from the department of art, culture and youth affairs.
"It has been completely changed. Dozens of artists, including
foreigners, have decorated it like never before to depict the rich
culture, tradition and heritage of Bihar," he added.
The main entrance gate - 30-ft-high and 80-ft-wide - is being
constructed with images depicting the essence of rural Bihar.
"Artists have chosen to decorate the gateway with Tikuli and
Manjusha art along with Madhubani paintings, all popular art forms
from Bihar," said Shouvik Narayan of Kosha Fantasies, one of the
three artist groups engaged in the decoration work.
Two showcase gates on Bihar's popular festival of Chhath and rural
game jhijhia have also been made.
A brainchild of Nitish Kumar, Bihar Divas was first celebrated in
Tuesday had been declared a public holiday in the state.