Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who appealed to celebrate the centenary as a festival, will formally inaugurate the function at Patna's Gandhi maidan. M I Khan reports
Bihar, which has been centre of knowledge and power over the centuries, on Thursday completed 100 years of its existence.
Three-day centenary celebrations have been planned to commemorate the founding of the state.
The centenary celebrations beginning on 'Bihar Divas' marks the day when the British carved out the state from the Bengal presidency on March 22, 1912.
There was a festive mood across the state on Thursday, particularly the state capital -- Patna. The government declared it a public holiday today. Government offices, educational institutions and banks remained closed as the government declared it a public holiday so that people could join the centenary celebrations.
"Bihar Diwas is being celebrated in villages and urban localities. The state has been decked up for the celebrations. The government has spent crores of rupees to decorate the state capital with blue lights. All important buildings have been illuminated and several programmes including cultural shows have been organized," a government official said.
Prominent artists including Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia,Pandit Mohan Sharma, Ustad Rashid Khan, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Bollywood writer and lyricist Javed Akhtar, play back singer Udit Narayan and Kailash Kher, World renowned Indian painter Subodh Gupta, will perform as part of the cultural show.
Some Bollywood actors including Shatrughan Sinha , Hema Malini, Sekhar Suman, Neetu Chandra, Manoj Bajpayee and director Prakash Jha will attend the function in Patna.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has appealed to people to celebrate the centenary celebrations as a festival. " We must celebrate our glorious past and gear up to revive it," Kumar said.
It was Kumar who started the Bihar Diwas in 2010. "Bihar Diwas was first celebrated in 2010 but not as a grand event. But last year it was celebrated on a big scale," said Principal Secretary, Education Department Anjani Kumar Singh.
Singh, who is the man behind the centenary celebrations, told rediff.com that it would a memorable event, epitomising Bihari asmita (pride) and the state's 100-year journey.
He said that Nitish Kumar will formally inaugurate the function at 5 pm at Patna's historic Gandhi maidan, the main venue of celebrations.
According to him, for the first time, a Bihari state song will be sung at the inaugural function in Patna on Thursday.
"Top officials from Mauritius, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, where people of Bihar origin have settled in large numbers, will be participating in the centenary celebrations," an official said.
Apart from screening children films, a theatre festival and street plays are among the programmes planned during the function. People were also seen thronging to the dozens of stalls serving delicacies at Gandhi Maidan.
Officials said that the 12-lakh-sqft venue is being decked up in a grand way. The main entrance on the western end of Gandhi Maidan is inscribed with religious symbols and has miniature statues of all major religions, which portray communal harmony in the state. A replica of the Mahabodhi temple of Bodhgaya adorns the centre of the 65-ft-high and 150-ft-wide main gate, which has the tomb of Harmandir Sahib and a mosque on either side.