21 September, 2020

Quiet, Like A Rhizome

He’s a springer of surprises, working the equations, releasing the tension only when everything finally falls into place, writes a college friend

Quiet, Like A Rhizome

With Nitish winning praise as a master stra­t­egist after the Bihar electoral verdict, I was reminded of an epis­ode back in the late 1960s. We were then classm­a­tes at the Bihar College of Engineering (now National Institute of Technology) in Patna. The college union had turned into an oligarchy of a few elite caste boys from senior classes. Nitish was hardly the kind of a boy the oligarchs would have feared. He was three years junior, not aggressive and not much known. He was not even a candidate in the union election. There was a panel opposing the oligarchy, but it had no real challengers. None of us knew Nitish was working beh­ind the scenes, holding meetings with students at night in his hostel room, fixing an alliance of non-elite castes and discontented groups among the savarnas with the purpose of dethroning the oligarchy. When the results came, the oligarchy did not know where to hide. All of us Nitish’s friends had wanted the oligarchy to go. We also had some inkling of Nitish’s involvement in the election. But we didn’t know...



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