By Madhu Mishra / Insight Online News
The makers of webseries Maharani, which apparently revolves around the Rashtriya Janata Dal regime in Bihar is an art of fiction. It doesn’t stand on facts and actual circumstances that led to unearthing of the infamous Animal Husbandry Department scam, which runs into ₹1000cr, and award of jail term to then chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav.
The webseries, which was released on SonyLIV recently, has raised much political heat in Bihar, as people instantly began to relate it with the so-called Jungle Raj, characterized by caste violence and scams. It’s director Karan Sharma vividly captures the contemporary political and social set up and to some extent made the watchers to relive that era as well.
Undoubtedly, the series adroitly delineate transformation of political ambit in Bihar with backward class asserting their position & the frail bureaucratic frames of the time. But featuring Bapu’s brass statue set up at western side of Gandhi Maidan in it wasn’t a good idea. The statue was opened in 2013 by CM Nitish Kumar, even as the series timeframe ends in 1999.
Another avoidable mistake is that Huma Qureshi was unable to write her name, even as she during a speech in the assembly stated that she could read up to class 4 at her village school. How could one be so Angootha Chaap or Likh Lodha Padh Patthar (illiterate), when she or he attended schooling?
Some casts were seen using mobile phones in 1998-99 in remote areas, even when the mobile phones weren’t actually in operation. BSNL, which tested feasibility mobile network operation for the first time in 1995 through the first call made between then Union communications minister Sukhram and West Bengal CM Jyoti Basu, formally launched cellular mobile service in 2000.
Mobiles reached the common men’s hand in the erstwhile Bihar in 2001, when a minute of receiving/making calls cost around ₹5.60.
The series ignored the roles of opposition leaders, particularly that of BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi and then NSUI chief Prem Chandra Mishra, who had to fight a prolonged legal battle to lodge the case against the RJD chief. Journalists’ role in forcing the Centre to order a CBI inquiry into the scam was also completely ignored.
Those familiar with the modus operandi of the scam and the state government’s abortive bid to cover up are sure to be taken aback to see Rani Bharti (portrayed by Huma Qureshi), the homemaker rustic wife of chief minister Bhima Bharti, unearthing the fodder scam and lodging the case against her own husband along with a minister and other officer.
In actuality, Rabri Devi was nowhere in the picture in governance when the scam surfaced. She was made the CM when Lalu Prasad was sent to jail. In the series, however, Rani Bharti becomes accidental or ‘technical’ CM after Bhima Bharti was critically wounded on Chhath Ghat by armed criminals and was bedridden for five-six months.
The series also encapsulates the caste violence that ruled the hinterland due to war of attrition between the Maoists—the army of deprived sections—and the Ranveer Sena—an armed gorilla of landlords being led by Barmeshwar Mukhiya. Bara massacre in Gaya that saw brutal murder of upper caste people in 1992 set the background of class struggle in the series, which was avenged by Mukhiya-led armed criminals in Lakshamanpur by killing Dalits.
In the series, Shankar Mahto, who apparently reminds the viewers of naxalite Shashi Rai, was seen killing the upper caste people at Bara. Mahato apparently had the support of Bhima Bharati.