Bihar and West Bengal can never be too different; after all, they share the same border! Bihar boasts of being home to famous people and celebrities who have made their name not only in their state but made the country proud internationally, too. The first president of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, was from Bihar. There are too many people to even count! Let’s have a look at those famous personalities from Bihar who, apart from being great people, also made it big in West Bengal.
Subrata Roy truly made Bengal more famous than Bihar. He is the founder and the chairman of the Sahara India Pariwar. Within a short span of time he went on to become one of India’s renowned businessmen and investors. There was a time when the Sahara brand name would pop up every now and then on TV or in publications. Even the Indian Cricket national team has had the name of Sahara on it. Bengali businessmen are a rare breed and he was the one who fell in that category.
The Maestro, Ustad Bismillah Khan, single-handedly brought the shehnai onto the mainstream classical stage. And, it also happens to be the most important musical instrument at Bengali weddings. A Bengali wedding is incomplete without the sound of the shehnai. In festivals such as Durga Puja you’ll get to hear a great deal of shehnai. Bismillah Khan was born in Bihar and went on to become one of the best among musicians in the world. He even got the Bharat Ratna in the year 2001, which is the highest civilian award for any citizen of India. No wonder an international figure like him also became one of the most important people in Bengal.
Ashok Kumar is fondly known as ‘Dadamoni’, a affectionate Bengali nickname. He boasts of a gem of a career in the movies, be it Bollywood or regional cinema. Among the many Bengali people in the film industry, he was the one who had made Bengal proud because of the adorable and affectionate roles he portrayed on screen. Later on, he went to become one of the best known screen icons in Bollywood. The elder brother of the legendary Kishore Kumar, he also received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1988 and the Padma Bhushan in 1998 for his contribution to Indian cinema. Bengal loves him for his role in Indian cinema and the fact that he had made the Bengal proud of his work.
Bidhan Chandra Roy was firstly, a renowned physician, and, secondly, the second Chief Minister of West Bengal. He is regarded as the best chief minister West Bengal ever had. We have grown up listening to stories about how he would diagnose patients without having them go through numerous tests. He was born in Bihar but studied mostly in Bengal. He belonged to the Indian National Congress, which had always been of lesser importance in the state of West Bengal. Roy is sometimes credited for creating modern West Bengal. The parts of the state which have planned cities and roadways came up because of his ideas. He was truly a figure Bengal needed at that time.
Vidyapati was a poet who wrote in Maithili as well as in Sanskrit. Maithili is a language close to the earlier versions of Bengali. He is one of the best known poets in India, and West Bengal holds him in great esteem. His poems influenced Bengal like none other before him. Vidyapati even translated his poems in the earlier versions of Bengali and Oriya languages. People often regard him as the “Dante” or “Chaucer of modern Bengali and Oriya.” Among all his poems, the ones written about the love story of Krishna and Radha are the most popular in Bengal. They were sublime and spiritual. Tagore and Bankim Chandra Chatterjee have written in Brajabuli (a language which was modified from Maithili, closer to Bengali).
Binota Roy, earlier known as Binota Basu, was born in Patna in Bihar. She started her career as a singer, singing in various Bollywood films. The 1943 film Wapas had seen her sing ‘Albela Mastana’, ‘Jeevan Hai Bekar’ and ‘Bhool Na Jana’. She even got to sing in a Bimal Roy’s film named ‘Udayer Pathey’ in 1944. She went on to become one of the best in the industry until her marriage. Post marriage she was only allowed to sing wherever her husband was a part. After his death she withdrew from her work only to return as an actress in films made by some of the best in Bengal. She worked with the legendary Tapan Sinha and Mrinal Sen. She was indeed a figure who Bengal loved and wanted to see more of.