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Silk Route Project Craig and Simon are currently travelling from India to Istanbul with the fantastic support of World Nomads. On behalf of Footprints, World Nomad's charity, they will be visiting of a number of projects along the route to deliver supplies of essential medicines to impoverished children.

Ode to Patna

INDIA | Monday, 10 July 2006 | Views [2736] | Comments [16]

We recently had pleasure of having a painful overnight stop in Patna, a grimy northern Indian rail hub. We arrived late, got mobbed at the station, were almost run over on the street, attacked by a pack of wild dogs and then were repeatedly told that every hotel was full. It was horrible.

However it has inspired us to vent our spleen in poetic form

There is a town called Patna,                  

Where savage dogs try to bite ya.        

The roads are full of dust, 

A hotel reservation is a must.                 

The only thing on TV is William Shatner.

Wild dogs bark            

Choking in Patna                 

Hotel staff hate us

P overty               

A ggresive dogs                

T urned away                 

N o compassion!                   

A ngst

(sung to the tune of "Hey Mickey")

Oh Patna you're so crap,        

You're so crap you made me snap,         

Oh Patna ... Oh Patna

Oh Patna what a pity you dont understand,            

I arrive at midnight with no booking and you cover me in sand.        

Oh Patna you're so rude can't you understand,       

It's towns like you Patna,   

What you do Patna, do Patna,             

Don't break my bowels Patna.

Oh Patna (clap clap clap)

(Repeat chorus indefinitely)

Tags: Misadventures



awwwwww poor boys... hope it gets better for you :) xo

  Amy Jul 17, 2006 10:56 AM


Hey guys, thanks for the laugh. It's nice to see you still find humor in the most frustrating situations!

  Jenn Jul 17, 2006 12:40 PM


hahaha least you found a creative outlet for your frustration.

  Michael Jul 17, 2006 5:22 PM


nice haiku.
I lost 50 bucks to jeff when the swans went down to WCE by 2 points having led all the day.
I knew that'd make Simon smile.

  Andora's naval attache Jul 19, 2006 3:45 PM


Hi boys
So I take it you didn't stay for long in Patna?
Keep on truckin'

  Emily Jul 25, 2006 2:35 PM


Where is my damn Beat Poem?

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by Patna,
Starving, hysterical, naked,
rushing through the Paki streets at dusk,
search for a quick fix.
Who arrived at midnight without a booking,
who were mobbed by ungentlefolk,
who's limbs were torn by rabid animals
who listened to the glistening, pitiful hub of the rail that no longer hubbed.
I see you Patna
I see you grinning at me Patna
and I cry Patna!
You whore Patna!
Psychosis coney island hospitalised Patna!
The curse of a thousand bad mutton curries on you Patna.

(then click fingers for 90 seconds, take sip of wine and blow out candle)

  Stelle Jul 28, 2006 12:34 PM


You know that there has to be one of these days on every trip.
What do you call it?.........Four letter, starting with 'C'.
Yeah you know I wouldn't repeat it!
Well you've had yours, hopefully won't be any more this trip!
Love your poem! You guys are hilarious!

  Bridie Aug 3, 2006 10:14 AM


the Davis crew...awesome poetry and songs mates...i can picture each of you doing your version...classic x

  Kazza Koedding Aug 4, 2006 12:36 AM


however grim the situation might be.I'm in love with Patna,Iget pleasure just by its name.I really long to make Patna what it was thirtyfive years back,when I left it.I hope to see its past glory,and would like to do something for the upliftment of Patna.

  revati yadav Sep 3, 2006 4:27 PM


Boss....Patna is not like you have described. Either you don't know the place well or intentionally trying to malign the Image of Patliputra.....Check your facts sir.

  Rajiv Dec 29, 2006 11:46 PM


Patna can be described as a city in slow motion. It’s a city waiting for its time to come (again) when the stars on its sky will twinkle with full brightness, so that it can lighten up (again) the whole of city, region and nation like it has done in the past.

Patna has the potential of becoming the intellectual capital, political laboratory and administrative bank of India. It is a city full of possibilities and it has the rare privilege of being the oldest continuously inhabited places in the World. It is also the largest riverine city in the world because of its uniqueness of having four largish rivers in its vicinity. Located on the south bank of river Ganges (Ganga Nadi) it is surrounded on three sides by river Ganga, Sone, Punpun and to the north of it across river Ganga flows Gandak river.

The first written account of Pataliputra (as Patlibotra) was given by Megasthenes (c.350BCE-290BCE a Greek traveler, geographer and the Greek ambassador in the Court of Chandragupta) in his book named Indica.

Pataligram, Pataliputra, Palibothra, Kusumpur, Pushpapura, Azimabad, Bankipore, all these names have been of present day Patna. Name kept changing with every rulers. Present day name was given by Sher Shah Suri.

Legend has it that once upon a time, there was a great king Putraka, who had a queen named “Patali” which means, “Trumpet flower”. The king loved the queen so much that he created a city for her with a magic stroke and named the city “Pataligram.” Later, the king changed the city name to “Pataliputra” in honor of the queen’s first born, meaning; son of Patali.

Besides the legend, the historical version is that the city of Patna was born in 490 BC when king Ajatshatru decided to shift his capital to the bank of Ganges from the hilly Rajgriha (present day Rajgir) the open bank of Ganges got heavily fortified and the name Pataligram came into being, which later blossomed into Pataliputra. Since then onwards Patna has been the hub of political activities which continues till date.

History of Patna is more than two millennia old and like great cities of Athens and Rome it also has seen the rise and fall of mighty ancient empires; Maurya's and Gupta's, but it never got that exclusive attention in the pages of world history which it deserves.

It is to be noted that from the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD, under the two major dynasties, the Mauryas and Guptas, Pataliputra reached its zenith.

On its soil, Patna has witness the presence of two of the most well known figures of history; Namely; Emperor Ashoka the great and Chanakya, also known as Kautilya.

Novelist H. G. Wells wrote of Ashoka: "In the history of the world there have been thousands of kings and emperors who called themselves 'their highnesses,' 'their majesties,' and 'their exalted majesties' and so on. They shone for a brief moment, and as quickly disappeared. But Ashoka shines and shines brightly like a bright star, even unto this day."

It was Ashoka only who won the war of Kalinga with its sheer brutality in which more than 1, 00,000 people were killed and several villages were burned down, and it was he only who is credited with propagating the philosophy of Ahimsa (non-violence) he was instrumental in spreading Buddhism to the other corners of the world.

It is the Ashokan chakra (wheel) which is featured in the middle of the flag of republic of India The "Ashoka Chakra is the wheel of the law of dharma. Truth or satya, dharma or virtue ought to be the controlling principle of those who work under this flag. The wheel denotes motion. There is death in stagnation. There is life in movement. The Emblem of India is also an adaptation from the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka. It symbolizes power, courage and confidence.

Also in the streets of Patna (read Pataliputra) has walked a man of great political intellect. Chanakya (also known as Kautilya) (c.350-283 BC) he was the advisor and Prime Minister to the first Mauryan Emperor Chandragupta (c.340-293 BC) and was also the uncrowned king, who because of his rare political intellect, foresight, statesmanship, fearlessness and great administrative abilities spread the Mauryan Empire from Bay of Bengal to Afghanistan.

His two major works are the Arthashastra and the Nitishastra.

The Arthashastra lays the rules of governance and gives a detailed account of the state of affairs and polity at that time. The Nitishastra speaks more of morals, principles and observance of austerity in all walks of life.

It is nothing but sad that a man of such great historical importance in the field of politics, public policy and art of diplomacy has been completely forgotten by the people and thoroughly discarded by the state to which it gave its glorious days, which will remain recorded in the pages of history as a sweet reminder of its past.

(The purpose for above description is to emphasize the national contribution of Patna and its people.)

Glory of Patna is not limited till ancient periods only. It later became part of Mughal Empire but the most remarkable period during these times was under Sher Shah Suri who revived Patna in the middle of the 16th century. With the decline of Mughal Empire, Patna moved into the hands of the Nawabs of Bengal, who levied a heavy tax on the populace but allowed it to flourish as a commercial centre.

During 17th century, Patna became a centre of international trade. The British started with a factory in Patna in 1620 for trading in calico and silk. Peter Mundy, writing in 1632, calls this place, "the greatest mart of the eastern region".

After the decisive Battle of Buxar (1765), Patna fell in the hands of the East India Company and continued as a trading centre.

In 1912, Patna became of the capital of Orissa Province and Bihar when Bengal Presidency was partitioned. It soon emerged as an important and strategic centre. (Orissa was created as a separate province in 1935).

Patna played a major role in the Indian independence struggle. Most notable are the Champaran movement against the Indigo plantation and the 1942 Quit India Movement.

Patna was the hub of activity when Indra Gandhi imposed emergency (1975)Jaiprakash Narayan led an anti emergency movement and Gandhi Maidan became the centre of the activity for all those grand rallies to address the people. It was this movement which led to the fall of her government as soon as the election was held (after the emergency) in the year 1977.

The present day Patna has a population of over 1,285,470 (2001 census) the city is approximately 15 km long and 5 km to 7 km wide. Unfortunately to present day modern Patna (post independence) not much has been provided by subsequent government of national and regional parties about which she can feel proud about.

The city is now surviving on private schools, professional coaching centers, private medical practices and small business enterprise. All of them mention above are making good money, if not minting it. Professional opportunity wise there is hardly anything to look for besides the state government job (not much vacancy there) off late some private companies have open their branches in the city and if the trend continues it will be good news for the city and its residents.

One thing which is still relevant about the city is that it has not lost its political relevance, because it’s the capital of one of the largest state of India, and the (political) party who rules at Patna wields great power at centre (Delhi) unfortunately this blessing in disguise has (so far) not been able to provide much of help. Will it in future? Only time will tell; with hope, I will keep my fingers crossed.

  abhaysharma Feb 18, 2007 5:45 AM


hi abhay, you have done a great job by telling, to all those crap tourists, the history of patna. Your points were precise and accurate. Hats off to you. Keep doing the good job. Bye

  Achint Apr 25, 2007 5:08 PM


Hi all, let me tell you the fact that the picture provided here is not of patna probably not of India. This picture seems to be of Pakistan.

  Achint Apr 25, 2007 5:10 PM


The picture is definitely not of Patna. Registration number visible on the car SGD is not in Bihar, nor in any neighbouring state of Bihar, whose capital Patna is. To the extent I know, SGD is not a registration number used in any part of India. The dress is also not typical of Bihar, nor is the motif on the three wheeler or its model.

Patna is not a very well off place economically, but has friendly people and is one of the oldest continously inhabited place in the world.

Is it Sind, Pakistan? I donot know.

  TV Sinha May 7, 2007 4:37 PM


Well done abhay u made all the people of patna proud with ur great knowledge.

As we all know first impression is the last impression as there r good and bad people every where and there is always two side of every thing these journalist were just unlucky to face the bad once first.

  shashi Kumar May 25, 2007 8:06 AM


Before making any derogatory remarks about a city,first take some time out,travel properly,get to know the people well and then think about making a comment!
Just a few hrs experience isnt enough to make such comments...people get mobbed in detroit,is USA a bad place then???

  Amit Anshu Jul 8, 2008 12:34 AM

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