Sitab Diara: Porbandar, Ralegan Siddhi and Sitab Diara. What do these places have in common? They are all birthplaces or villages made famous by men fighting for change — Mahatma Gandhi, Anna Hazare and JP Narayan.
In recent times, Ralegan Siddhi has been in the news for the Jan Lokpal Bill movement, led by Anna Hazare. Now, the limelight shifts to Sitab Diara.
Otherwise famous as the birthplace of JP Narayan, it now gears itself for Lal Krishna Advani’s “Jan Chetna Yatra” beginning on Tuesday. Situated around 40km away from Chhapra and 118km away by road from Patna, the village, by and large, is inaccessible, reported The Times of India newspaper.
Why Sitab Diara? Why this date? Because today is the birth anniversary of JP Narayan, the man responsible for the slice of little fame that surrounds this village. By bringing the media to this obscure village, Advani will turn the limelight on it and remind everyone of its association with a reputed activist like Narayan.
“The vehicle by which Advani would start his countrywide yatra would wait at the point where the embankment links with the metalled road,” said state BJP vice-president Lal Babu Prasad to The Times of India.
According to The Hindu,the residents of Sitab Diara too are breathing in the heady air of political excitement as they eagerly await the take-off, albeit for different reasons.
They pine for better roads, could do with some electricity and hope for improved communication. They wish that once the yatra has been done and forgotten, their village will be a slightly better place to live in.
The village was established in the late 18th century by a fugitive zamindar, Sitab Rai, who was at war with the king of Awadh in the present-day UP, and was also being hounded by the East India Company during its westward march along the Gangetic basin from the then Bengal. Later, Rai made truce with the Company and remained at peace with the rulers, the Times of India added .