A Stroll Down Memory Lane: Rediscovering Darbhanga, Bihar

Mid-November transported me to Darbhanga, Bihar — a town steeped in history and grace. A journey back in time unfolded as familiar voices and the charming chaos of the streets evoked a sense of homecoming. Amidst the meandering lanes, I witnessed a unique blend of enduring traditions and modern nuances. Bihar, often perceived as chaos, revealed an undercurrent of hope, a spirit personified by the resilient “Mehnati Biharis.” Their unwavering belief in Bihar’s potential as a cradle of civilization challenges preconceived notions. Like an old mother, Bihar clings to memories, refusing to give up on her children’s return. This poignant narrative underscores the indomitable spirit and undying hope that defines Bihar.

Kumar Harsh
3 min readNov 25, 2023

In the heart of Bihar lies Darbhanga, a town steeped in history, embraced by the sacred flow of Maa Ganga. Mid-November ushered me into this bustling town, not for a mere visit but for a rendezvous with the soulful narratives of rural development in Bihar. Pulled into this endeavor by a friend, what transpired was a nostalgic memoir, a journey back in time.

Upon landing in Darbhanga from Bangalore, a wave of familiarity enveloped me, akin to stepping back five to six years. The resonance of voices, the rhythm of accents, the cacophony of streets, and the easygoing ambiance greeted me like an old friend. Was it the passing years or the newfound emotion for Bihar in my mature age that made this homecoming unique? Among those who grew on the soil’s grains, air, and water, yet never felt a profound connection, this time it struck differently.

Roaming the streets, the sensation of traveling back in time became more pronounced. It wasn’t just a reminiscence of bygone developmental features but a revelation of enduring traditions. Fresh green vegetables exuding fragrance, meals served on Pattal (leaf plates), and the juxtaposition of age-old practices with modern conveniences like Swiggy and MBA Chaiwala painted a vibrant tableau of continuity and change.

The world famous Makhana of Bihar. Darbhanga is region best known for it.

Bihar, at first glance, may seem a whirlwind of chaos, perhaps stuck in a cyclical motion. Yet, grounding oneself unravels a tapestry of emotions — a tenacious spirit, an unwavering hope, ordinary individuals carving their paths, and an underlying melancholy. The mehnat (hard work) of the resilient Biharis stands as a testament to their entrepreneurship, disrupting societal stagnation in culturally and economically beleaguered neighborhoods.

In the maze of Bihar’s complexities, I encountered individuals whose faith in the state felt almost surreal, a faith that resonates with the tag of “Mehnati Bihari.” These individuals, true entrepreneurs in the societal realm, defy the odds, offering a glimmer of hope in the face of abhorrently selfish politics. Their unwavering belief in Bihar as the cradle of civilization, despite the burying of physical remnants under the weight of deprivation, humbles those like me who once deemed Bihar a lost cause.

Streets and entrepreneurs.

Bihar emerges as an old mother, seemingly unrealistically innocent, sending her children out into the world for a better life and opportunities. Yet, unlike the world that acknowledges their non-return, she refuses to accept. Alone, she waits with unyielding hope, holding onto memories of happier days. This is the melancholy — the undying hope that Bihar clings to.

Whether her children return or not, whether those old tasks ever find completion, one thing is certain — the spirit of Bihar is indomitable. Like many rural regions in the North, Bihar awaits the return of its talents, beckoning them to join hands with the determined entrepreneurs. Hope, as demonstrated by the resilient heart of Bihar, is contagious. And I hope, just as it caught me, it will capture the hearts of others. #DarbhangaChronicles #BiharNostalgia #RuralResilience #HopefulBihar



Kumar Harsh

Mostly from experience - of tribal Jhabua, and the struggle of learning 'selfless passionate dedication for people'.