RABRI DIDN'T WANT TO MARRY "BIKHMANGA" LALU, SAYS A BOOK

New Delhi, April 29: Barely days before their nuptial, she had complained bitterly to her parents for marrying her off in a penniless family. Years later, Lalu Prasad proved his `worthiness` and political acumen by making Rabri Devi the Chief Minister of Bihar -- a passage from kitchen to cabinet, literally! It was Lalu`s way of "paying off a debt to his wife," reveals a yet-to-be-released pictorial monograph on the Railway Minister. In her own admission, Rabri Devi says, "Shadi mein khoob ladai hua (my marriage involved a lot of family drama). The reason was that while all of my three sisters were married off to well-to-do families having huge landed properties, my in-laws had just a thatched roof. "Just everyone kept telling my father that why are you handing out your daughter to a bhikhmanga (beggar)?" The 300-page monograph, the first of its kind on the charismatic politician, is slated to hit the bookshops in India before the politician`s 60th birthday on June 11. Interestingly, the coffee table book will be released on June 5, the day Jaya Prakash Narayan had launched Sampoorna Kranti (Total Revolution), his social transformation programme. Authored by Neena Jha and Shivnath Jha, the monograph comprises 20 chapters and carries several interesting articles on the veteran politician`s life, his `basic mantra` for success in his life and his incredible turnaround of Indian Railways. The book is dedicated to late Bihar Chief Minister Karpoori Thakur (the political mentor of Lalu Prasad), Jaya Prakash Narayan (who re-shaped India politically), late Dhirubhai Ambani (who had the audacity to dream of a business empire and the resolve to realise it) and some other down-to-earth nationals, who made India proud. The monograph holds responsible at least seven former Bihar chief ministers, then Central leaders, and more than 100 senior IAS and IPS officials for the present sorry state of affairs in the eastern state and making it a "hell". "The upper caste people of caste-ridden Bihar always tried to suppress the lower caste people educationally, economically and politically. Lalu Prasad has given voice to all the voiceless people and empowered them to fight for their right in society," says the monograph. It also contains Rabri Devi`s impressions of her husband and the political turmoil in Bihar during the 70s. She vividly recalls how she had boarded a steamer at Pahleja Ghat in Sonepur (Chapra) to reach the Patna residence soon after her marriage on March 18, 1974 when curfew had been imposed all over the district. And, how she boldly tackled her husband`s hide and seek with the police who would always come to her dwelling at the peons` quarters of the Patna Veterinary College, looking for her spouse.

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