One of the most natural television hosts in the country, Shekhar Suman, is not only an entertainer, but has an intellectual mind too. Even after achieving fame and success in the tinsel town, he is still proud of his Bihari roots.
SHEKHAR SUMAN is an actor. Apart from working in various films and television serials, he has hosted one of the most popular television shows- Movers and Shakers. He is also an intellectual commentator.
Born and brought up in Patna, Shekhar Suman left for Delhi
in the 1980s for higher education. His quest for acting soon brought him to Mumbai
and since then, there has been no looking back. At one point of time he was the highest paid television anchor. He takes tremendous pride in being a Bihari.
“Just because the media is pointing at you and saying you are bad, you cant resign and accept. I feel all Biharis
are greatly and overtly talented. You just have to go out and prove your worth. It is the talent that eventually shuts everybody up,” says Suman.
Q: Why did you leave Bihar?
has been going through a state of lawlessness and complete confusion for about last 30 year. As far as the academic scene goes, one is always advised by parents and friends to go out and seek better education at better universities, in my case Delhi University, which is presumably the best in India. Also because of the anarchy and joblessness, it is always advised to go out and look for better job opportunities. So, these are the reasons, which motivated me to leave Bihar.
Q: Do you feel that people are (or ever were) prejudiced to you because you are from Bihar?
As long as you don’t prove your talent, people will always be prejudiced towards you. Biharis
are innocent, naive and gullible, and because of their immense language problem, they are always made fun of. This was one reason why I thought I had to get out and speak a language, which everybody understands and do not make fun of. But, there is a marked, stark prejudice for Biharis
as in - he is a Bihari,
what is he going to do?
Q: Are you aware of how the media is projecting Bihar and do you agree with it?
Media has always been very biased towards Bihar. Give the devil its due. I am sure there have been some improvements, of which I may not be aware. But when I talk to people in Bihar, I find that they have progressive ideas and they want their state to do and look better. But the media has always portrayed Bihar as the worst state in the world, which is not true. The kind of lawlessness we are talking about is everywhere. The highest reported cases of rape have been in Delhi that witnesses, 503 cases in a month as against three in Mumbai and may be, four in Kolkata. So, murders, dacoity and other rimes happen everywhere but somehow the media either decides to sit on it or glamourise it. I think the sense of apathy that the media has shown, is a complete bias to a state, which is trying to stand on its feet.
Q: Do you think Laloo Yadav and Rabri Devi have taken Bihar to its doom?
Politicians have taken the country to its doom. So why blame Laloo Yadav in particular. He is just a microscopic example of the entire political scenario. No body is here for the country. Everybody is here for a chair. Our prime ministers have been involved in scams. You name it- whether it is Narasimha Rao, Ajit Jogi, Amar Mani or Promod Mahajan; they all have been involved in scandals. So, it would be wrong to just point a finger towards Laloo Yadav. Yes, he has led the state backwards and made it regressive. If anything he has contributed to in the sate, it is the caste struggle, which is so evident in the state now. But again as I said, Laloo is just a small example. I am not trying to condone him but that’s how it is.
Q: What do you think are the positives of Bihar?
Many great bureaucrats, technocrats, doctors, engineers, scientists and artists, who are all over the place. Bihar has been a great source of inspiration right from the days when Dr Rajendra Prasad became the first president and then there were Sachidanand Sinha, Jay Prakash Narayan and a whole lot of other people who have done the country proud. It is a great state in terms of natural wealth. It has been fairly instrumental in starting a lot of revolutions. Lot of awareness has come from Bihar. Every place has its pros and cons. So it is unfair to run down on Bihar. There are plenty of positives in Bihar.
Q: How do you think a turnaround can be achieved in Bihar?
You have to have a chief minister, who can govern the state in a very conscious way. We need to have a militant movement in Bihar to fight away the caste system. You have to get out of the myopic mould to make them understand the importance of the oneness of being a Bihari, rather than being a bhumihaar
or a kayasth
or a gwaala
. Politicians, for their convenience, have created vote banks based on the caste system. We need a politician with a clear conscious. Somebody with a strong motivation need to be at the helm of affairs to spearhead the change.
Q: Do you think one of the solutions for Bihar is literacy?
Yes. We need to have a literacy drive in the state. More importantly, I think Biharis
need to be constantly being reminded of their cultural heritage and feel proud of it.
Q: What role, according to you, can the media play in enhancing the image of Bihar?
Media is like a father figure. In case of Bihar, it is like the father constantly telling the child that you are bad. The child is ultimately going to be so depressed that he would forgo any chances of improvement.
No state is perfect. In the absence of any motivating factor to take the state ahead, it is the moral duty of the media to tell that ‘look, you are not that bad’. I mean, there are certain people and certain sections, who have done wrong. We have to be constantly made proud of our cultural heritage. The celebrities, luminaries and the sons of the soil have to come forward to contribute to the socio-economic development of the state. Our history is a proof of our political consciousness. It is just that we are the subjugated lot. We are repressed. Media has to tell Biharis
that the situations of lawlessness and anarchy are everywhere. May be, it is more in Bihar today, but if the political veins are tightened and the things are spearheaded towards progress, the day won’t be far when Bihar would be like any other developed state.