The Cultural Me!

This is Narayan K. Choudhary, professionally a linguist and otherwise many more things. I am currently a research scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Besides a graduate degree in English literature from C.M. College at Darbhanga, I have done Masters and M. Phil. in linguistics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. also from here.

My areas of academic interests are Computational Linguistics, NLP, AI, Language Documentation, Language Typology, Language Formalisms and Applied Linguistics.

There is something special about my village. Or to say that it was. I have been brought up in the village environment where I got all the kinds of environment a child needed to grow up as a man. All my schooling up to 10th standard was in this village, except for a brief stint at Jamshedpur, now in Jharkhand. So, the village boy is still there in me and I love to be with him.

So what is so special about my village- POKHRAM. It is very big for a village and the social life here is really very challenging and demanding. It has a population of about 35 thousand and plays a very important role in influencing neighboring villages on several matters. However, it is not surprising that this village is inhabited by very many un-educated and farmer class people (a common feature of Bihar or India, no?). However, education and higher education is penetrating deeper with the new generation. The only thing it boasted till recently was its autonomy (i.e. no body interfered in the affairs of village happenings. Who heard of the Govt. then, and did the Govt. really cared for what was going on in the village? No moolahs to have there, huh!). That autonomy has been marred as the people stand divided after some incidents when the outside forces (i.e. the Govt. bodies, of course) intervened and broke the legacy of real autonomy.

Sharing the common features of other villages in India, this village has also witnessed the exodus of its young and energetic people to major cities in search of other better hopes. Especially during the 15 year jangal raj of the RJD under the leadership of Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav, the people here got hopeless and migrated to several other places. Some even started saying that they do not want to keep any connection with their country of origin.

My village is basically an ‘upper caste’ dominated village and more than 75% of its populace being caste ‘Brahmin’. These Brahmins are basically farmers with or without arable land. There is a great bond of brother-hood among the villagers and a healthy competitive feeling, which sometimes also gets awry (where there is love, there is hate as well, nah?). Even those who have land are not very happy (you know why, don’t you?) and their children are also leaving the village in search of a better pasture.

This village has a history that can go back to three hundred years. It is said that the village was inhabited first by one Vasudev Jha. Once he was travelling to take a bath at the Ganga river when he stopped for the evening at the place where this village is situated. It is said that he understood the language of the birds. He heard two crows talking that the place was very fertile and the progeny of the person who established a settlement here would flourish. Vasudev Jha thought over this and later brought his family there. And indeed, his progeny has flourished!
The geographical location of the village is also very beautiful. The nearest city is the Darbhanga city, situated some 45 kilometers north-west to the village. The village is surrounded by two rivulets, one is a tributary of the Kosi and the other is a seasonal river. Both of the rivulets define the name of the village.

The real name of the village is ‘Paushram’. It is made of ‘paush’, a synonym for the Sun in Sanskrit and ‘aram’, meaning ‘rest’ in Persian. So the real name of the village ‘paushram’ means ‘a place where the Sun comes and takes rest when it gets very hot and tired’.

For the diversity, this village is very diverse in its population distribution. There are people belonging to almost all the ‘castes’ and there is also a small population of Muslims.