Law Kumar Mishra
Patna : Though Bihar had the first chief minister from rat eaters’ community in Jeetan Ram Manjhi, still there is a big gap between the neighbouring villages and 92 villages dominated by Musahars in Gaya district. They are still far away from the hygienic conditions, schools and health facilities. A visit to some of the Musahar dominated villages under  Wazirganj and Manpur blocks in Gaya district recently confirmed the Musahars  not only consumed, but encouraged others to eat rats as it was rich in protein and vitamin.
Tanuja, who teaches kids at village Rasalpur Chiriya under Manpur block said children enjoyed killing rats in the fields for which they go there early morning. Rats are boiled and after applying spices and salt, they become tasty, she said. At Sitarampur village having 365 Musahars in 50 houses, Anita Kumari, who runs an Aanganvadi centre, said she teaches the children twice a week.
A Mumbai based NGO, Bhanshali Trust, has launched a campaign to improve the condition of children of Musahars and under the Musahar Sarvangin Vikash programme introduced coaching classes for Musahar children in 92 villages of the district .These centres are being run with the help of Self help group (SHG) of trained women among the Musahars. The government has handed over 1,200 Aanganwadis under the integrated child development scheme to the NGO. The Jeevan Vikash Vidyalaya run by the trust at Bodh Gaya has 700 children from Musahars, Ravidas and Paswan communities.
Shatrughan Jha, ,a former station master with Gandhian thinking took early retirement to work for Musahars and has decided to devote his entire life for Musahars.Trust organises medical camps by MBBS doctors every week. TB and epilepsy is common among the Musahars, according to a survey conducted by the NGO.
The Musahars regretted Jeetan Ram Manjhi did nothing for them. They had gone to meet him when he was CM but Manjhi ignored them, they alleged. There are no toilets in most of Musahar dominated villages. Pigs and dogs occupy their huts too.

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