The backstory of this city is like a subplot from Godfather II. Begusarai is a former stronghold for the Communist party in this region, being known as the ‘Leningrad of Bihir’. Politics has always been difficult, with many of its areas being given over to the mafias and the Communist Party of India (CPI). There have been a number of politicians who have ended up in jail over the years. The Balia Lok Sabha seat of the district was represented by a rank criminal in Suraj Bhan Singh of Mokama of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) who was later awarded a life term for being found guilty of killing Rami Singh of Madhurapur village while he was a sitting MP. And we, in the UK, get heated when an MP buys himself a duck house on parliamentary expenses.
Driving is precarious at the best of times, and the Indian people have an interesting interpretation of the rules of the road. There are no rules. Or so it seems. Take a look at this popular video, and note the small white car that comes in from the top, against the traffic, about a third of the way through.
The city has a lot to offer, including the Naulakha Temple, and the largest oxbow lake in Asia can be found at the Kanwar Lake Bird Sanctuary. Understandably, the river plays a big part in the life of people here, and the threat of flooding has increased over recent years. It has to be said that heavy industry is everywhere here, and this is the modern mark of this city and region.
I ‘book’ into the Meera Motel to the west of the city. It is simple, but the people are very welcoming, and I don’t feel too safe parking up and sleeping in the camper tonight. The rooms are very quaint and sparsely decorated. I will get a good night’s sleep and plot my next route. Tomorrow, I head into Bangladesh.