DIGGING FOR ALEXANDER
BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has got help from an unexpected quarter. Though he was laughed at for suggesting at his Hunkaar rally in Patna that Alexander had come to Bihar, it turns out that it is a widely believed myth in Bihar. In a book, A Strange Kind of Paradise, on travellers through the years in India, Sam Miller points to the Khambh Baba in Patna, a 6.5-metre tall sandstone column left there by Greek ambassador Heliodorus. Locally though, the pillar has been worshipped as an incarnation of Alexander the Great, who met a saint called Hirapuri, and impressed by his ability to go without food or water for six months, asked to stay with him. For his pains, the saint, the myth goes, was immortalised in stone.