While many people think of Bihar as an ancient land of the great history of Buddha, Mahavira, the Mauryan empire and what not, others see Bihar as a poor, casteist, crime-ridden and overpopulated state.
Then there are the one’s who see Bihar with much hope, for it clocked very high economic growth rates in the last decade; and also for Bihar is one of the youngest states in India, having ginormous demographic dividend.
Yet, only the keenest of observers know that Biharis are India’s most humorous people. I know it for a fact as I am one of them.
Last week, the Bihar government announced a 13.5% “luxury tax” on samosa, bhujia, kachori, sweets etc among other things. Now, I can’t say if the government was just being natural, or it tried to improvise a little. But I am glad that the intense political milieu of the recent times due to assembly elections and government formation did not dampen our spirits!
Let me remind you that this decision comes from the land where Kautilya once wrote the Arthashastra in which, among many other things, he mentions the fundamental principle of taxation inspired from a quote from the Manusmriti-
“That which would enable the King to perform his functions of looking after (the welfare of people) and traders to remain with the fruits of their trades (both should get adequate rewards according to their industry); this, having been well-considered, the Kings hould levy a tax”.
Perhaps, the government had Bihar’s dual burden of malnutrition in the mind.
Whatever it may be, Bihar may very soon witness scenes like these below! Laugh at our misery while you munch on and relish that samosa!
A Bihari student enjoying the “luxurious” samosa