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Dr Rajendra Prasad's ancestral house lies forgotten in the narrow lanes of Ziradei

It is election season and all candidates in Ziradei constituency have slogans like “Rajen babu amar rahe” (long live Rajendra Prasad), but none of them have any plans to develop the area in his memory.

Priyarag Verma | IBNLive.com

Updated:October 29, 2015, 7:32 AM IST
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Dr Rajendra Prasad's ancestral house lies forgotten in the narrow lanes of Ziradei
It is election season and all candidates in Ziradei constituency have slogans like “Rajen babu amar rahe” (long live Rajendra Prasad), but none of them have any plans to develop the area in his memory.
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Ziradei (Siwan): Just like several other historical monuments in Bihar, even the ancestral house of freedom fighter and India’s first president Dr Rajendra Prasad is yet to become a major tourist attraction. Dr Rajendra Prasad was born in Ziradei village of Siwan district and his house where he spent his early years is well preserved but both the Centre and the state government have failed to showcase it as one of the top tourist attractions of the country.

Located at a distance of about 15 kilometers from Siwan town, Ziradei is an overgrown village with narrow lanes, dirty streets and lacks civic amenities. The house has been taken over by the Archeological Survey of India but there is hardly anything inside to remind visitors that it belongs to one of the greatest sons of India.

Most of the rooms are empty and there is just a bed, a table and chair, and a cupboard which were used by Dr Rajendra Prasad in the house. A caretaker rues the fact that Ziradei does not even have a museum dedicated to him.

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He says visitors enquire about the personal belongings and other items associated with Dr Rajendra Prasad but there is nothing of significance to show them. In fact, there is hardly any book on him that is available in the entire Ziradei. Almost all his personal belongings are kept at Sadaqat Ashram in Patna where he spent his last days.

What is extremely tragic is that the residents of the village put forward their demand for various facilities in the name of Dr Rajendra Prasad but do nothing to help in conserving the house. There have been several instances when those living nearby have tried to construct illegally and only a police complain stopped them.

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There is a school abutting the house but the students are not fully aware of the significance of the place. Even the name of the school has been spelt incorrectly and when pointed out, a teacher sheepishly blames the painter who did the job.

Even reaching Ziradei for a person who is not well versed with the area is not easy. There is no direct transport available for Ziradei unless one is having a personal vehicle. One needs to take a bus or an auto rickshaw from Siwan, get down at Ziradei chowk and taken another auto rickshaw to reach the village.

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Apart from a board outside the village proclaiming that it is the land where Dr Rajendra Prasad was born, nothing else is mentioned. There is no route map, there are no good eating joints, no shops selling memorabilia related to the freedom struggle, and no shop stocks photos and books of Dr Rajendra Prasad.

It is election season and all candidates in Ziradei constituency have slogans like “Rajen babu amar rahe” (long live Rajendra Prasad) on their posters and hoarding, but none of them have any plans to develop the area in his memory.

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His family members, too, who are now settled outside Siwan don’t bother to visit the house. There are only two dates when the house sees a flurry of dignitaries. Once on his birth anniversary which is on December 3 and the other is his death anniversary on February 28.

But two days of token remembrance hardly do justice to a person who brought name and fame to Ziradei.

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