NEW DELHI, March 4 -- Bihar has always fascinated me for several reasons. India's ancient history is replete with glorious accounts of the region and its magnificent past.

Bihar is derived from the Sanskrit and Pali word 'Vihara', meaning abode. It was known as Magadha in ancient times as a centre of power, learning and culture. The Maurya empire and one of the world's greatest pacifist religions, Buddhism, arose from Magadha.

But Bihar has metamorphosed into an arid expanse of dust and dirt, which hardly does justice to the celebrated narrations of a distinguished region.

The capital city of Patna, for instance! Amongst the several names the city of Patna has had in the past, at least four names relate to flowers. - Kusumpur, Pushppur...