In a rare way to protest against rampant corruption, mismanagement and civic apathy, residents of Bihar's Gaya district played a been (snake charmers' flute) before a buffalo near various government offices.
The protest is inspired by the Hindi proverb: Bhains ke aage been bajao, bhains pagurae (Play your flute before a buffalo, he only masticates apathetically).
"We have made an effort to show that the concerned officials managing the affairs of Gaya are like the proverbial buffalo that chews cud
ignoring the flute being played before it," said Brijnandan Pathak, convenor of the citizen forum Parbudh Nagrik Manch, which is spearheading this anti-corruption campaign.
Pathak said that lakhs of Gaya residents are facing power shortages. "The roads are in a bad shape and the town is stinking with garbage accumulating all over," he added.
Local residents complain that the power situation has remained dismal for years and they have continued to suffer. Most residents have been forced to opt for lanterns, lamps or battery-operated emergency lights.
"Gaya has also been facing acute drinking water crisis during summers for over a decade but district authorities have failed to do anything to
revive ponds, other water bodies or to initiate any other measures to provide relief to its people," Pathak said.
He said that the district authorities had imposed high municipal taxes without providing any facilities to the people.
"In the past, we had sent a memorandum to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and to district officials to draw their attention to the problems faced
by lakhs of people in Gaya, but in vain," he said.
Gaya is an important pilgrimage for both Buddhists and Hindus. Bodh Gaya, considered the birthplace of Buddhism, is only 10 km from Gaya, where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment over 2,500 years ago. Besides, thousands of Hindus from across India and abroad visit the Vishnupad temple in Gaya town to offer 'pinda daan' for the salvation of the their ancestors' souls.