Guns and Roses

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It hurts. It hurts me deeply when I read about the Maoist activities in Chhattisgarh. I can’t accept the fact that our jawans are killed by fellow Indians. The very name ‘Dantewada’ brings back the memory of 6th April 2010 when 75 CRPF policemen were massacred. The place has always been in news for negative reasons and brings goosebumps to many.

I belong to the state of Bihar and having spent several years in Jharkhand, I can closely relate to the trouble Chhattisgarh is clutched into. All these states have naxalism as the single biggest threat to their administration, development and ultimately to the security.

Before coming to Raipur, I had a preconceived notion that Chhattisgarh would be a land of forests, landmines and gunshots. Dantewada, like Jehanabad of Bihar was synonymous to naxalism. Chhattisgarh has been in news mostly because of armed clashes between police and Maoists and a few other issues revolving around naxalism like that of Binayak Sen.  Many others living in metros and bigger cities still think the same about the state. But is it really the complete picture?

I first landed in Raipur during Durga Puja and my first reaction was “It does not seem to be a different world”. The very next day Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh was to inaugurate the Post Graduate Programme of IIM Raipur. While addressing, he talked about the opportunities in the state, about the unprecedented growth the state has achieved and is trying to sustain, about how the state has become a rice bowl and a power hub (in the literal sense) to the country.

The state has been blessed to have a huge forest reserve and one of the lowest population densities in the country. He further asked us, the student community to work for the state and be a part of the success saga of Chhattisgarh. That was an inspiring moment. It is one of the reason, about twenty students have been doing their summer internship in different departments of Chhattisgarh State Government.

Chhattisgarh is now my second home. I love the culture, tradition and the food of the region. The people here are very simple and helpful. Simpler are the people from tribal region and I wish so could be the people in metros. People celebrate Durga Puja, Christmas and Lohri with the same passion.

 I have seen the jagaran of Goddess Durga on the streets, heard Christmas Carol in St. Peter’s Church and attended Qawwali for Khwaja Garib Nawaj at Ghadi Chowk Mosque. However, still the biggest religion is Cricket. The night India won the world cup, it turned out be a bigger Diwali and Christmas. People were out on road greeting each other, shouting slogans “Indiaaa….India” and dancing as if it was a wedding baraat.

The economic development of the state is visible all around. The state government is taking all the efforts to attract industries. The roads are being widened and smoothened, water projects have been undertaken, more power projects are coming up and the policies are being made industry friendly. Many world class educational institutes have been opened and some are in pipeline. The railway station and airport terminal are being renovated.

 International cricket stadium and also a state of the art indoor stadium are encouraging the sporting activities in the state. Chhattisgarh is to host the National Games of 2015. Several multiplexes and shopping malls have come up and many are under construction. “Naya Raipur” is going to be a planned city and shall be made the new capital of state. The mantralaya is to shift there in a few months. Six lane roads can be seen crisscrossing the area and colonies are being made. The city will not have any overhead wires and shall be a green city. However, the old Raipur shall have its own charm because of its past glory.

The state celebrated its 10th birth anniversary a few months back. The extravaganza marked the rise of the state in such a short span of time. The government agencies have been organizing tourism fare and trade expo which attracts tourists and businesses from the world over. Chhattisgarh has many unique things which the world needs to know.

The Chitrakote falls are the biggest in Asia in terms of volume of waterfall. Khairagarh Music University is the only university in Asia dedicated to art and music. Bastar region produces some of the finest metal works and wooden crafts. The state is a magnet to heavy industries like Iron & Steel, Thermal and Hydro Power and Cement Industries. Now BMWs, Audi and Harley Davidson are very common in the state. It is really a Credible Chhattisgarh in Incredible India.

 As a part of student council, I have attended a seminar with the Chief Secretary and Principal Secretaries of State on “Role of IIM Raipur in overall development of State” and also been to some of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) seminars in Raipur. I can definitely say that the industries and government are working hand in hand for the growth of the region and are writing success stories for the state.

Definitely, it has been a troubling time for state. I wish the so called “naxalites” could be brought to the main stream and their intelligence network could be tapped for anti terrorist activities. After all, they are also the citizens of India. I hope in the days to come pen becomes the mightiest and red belongs to roses. Amen.

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