The new information technology minister of Bihar Mohammad Israil Mansuri belongs to a socially backward Dhuniya community.
Sami Ahmad | TwoCircles.net
PATNA (BIHAR) — Mohammad Israil Mansuri, a Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MLA is the new minister of Information Technology in the government of Bihar.
Mansuri, 46, belongs to the Dhuniya community and uses Mansuri as a surname. In Bihar, the Mansuris are primarily involved in quilt making. He is considered to be the first in his community to become a minister in the government.
Mansuri started his political career in 2001 as a Mukhiya (village head). Though he calls himself a “servant of all communities,” in political terms he is a Pasmanda (socially backward).
Mansuri completed his early education in his village Mathurapur, Patahi in the Muzaffarpur district. He studied up to I.Sc. and later joined politics.
His father Mohammad Usman does not have prior experience in politics and his wife Zubaida Khatoon is a homemaker. His only daughter Neha Tarannu is studying Unani medicine. Mansuri used to work with his father in litchi gardens and at his grocery shops. He is the third among six siblings of four brothers and two sisters. One of his brothers runs a fruit shop while the other is a teacher. He wanted to be a teacher but could not clear the main examination in 1994 while he had also passed the preliminary test for T.C. in Railways after passing his 12th board examination the same year.
He first joined Nitish Kumar’s party Janata Dal in 1996 and was part of the party till Kumar joined hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2017. He resigned from JD (U) and joined RJD.
Talking to TwoCircles.net, Mansuri thanked the Almighty and his party leaders Lalu Prasad and his son the deputy chief minister of Bihar Tejaswhi Yadav for choosing him to be a minister. “For me being a Mukhiya too was a big dream. Then in 2020, I got a ticket from RJD and got elected as an MLA in my first attempt from the Kanti seat. I was extremely surprised when I got a call to take the oath as a minister. It seems that my struggle in politics has impressed my leaders Lalu and Tejashwi,” he told TwoCircles.net.
“To struggle and strive for something comes naturally to me. I studied in a school where we had to take our Bora (Jute bag used as a mat) and did not have a pen and notebook but slates to write on. I used to cycle 10 to 15 kilometres to bring the grocery items for our shop while I was in school. As I had an interest in social work, I got a chance to meet people. Though I come from the Mansuri community, my popularity in all communities is equal,” he said.
Mansuri was caught in controversy soon after he became a minister. He travelled with the chief minister Nitish Kumar to the Hindu holy city of Gaya as he was the in-charge minister of that district. When he entered the Vishnupad temple accompanied by Kumar, a huge controversy erupted as “non-Hindus were not allowed to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. “I used to visit all places of worship without caring for the religion. I was not made aware of the restriction at that temple. I entered without any intention to breach the rule.”
When asked what his focus would be as a minister of the IT department, he said, “IT is a fast-changing sector. We would try to keep our state updated in this field. We would also see how many jobs we can provide to the youths from our department as this government aims to give ten lakh jobs.” He checks his emails and runs his Facebook page by himself and has his own website.
All India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz President and former Rajya Sabha member Ali Anwar told TwoCircles.net that as Mansuri belongs to Pasmanda Biradari his election as MLA and now elevation to a minister is a great morale booster for the downtrodden section of the Muslim community. “Lalu and Tejaswhi took the right decision to induct Mansuri as a minister and many more such steps are needed for the society,” he said.
Former Director of Jagjivan Ram Institute of Parliamentary Studies and Political Research Srikant sees it as a necessary step to bring upward mobility to the people who belong to the lower strata of society. “Since Mansuri belongs to the most backward section of the society his empowerment in politics is in accordance with the theory of Ram Manohar Lohia and Mahatma Gandhi,” Srikant said.
Srikant added that it was a time taking process to empower the Pasmanda section but a positive step has been taken.
Sami Ahmad is a journalist based in Patna, Bihar. He tweets at @samipkb