Three years ago, then chief minister Nitish Kumar ordered the officials to prepare a restoration and development plan for the neglected building. He was keen to preserve Orwell's birthplace to attract tourists.
Orwell, the cult author of classics such as "Animal Farm" and "1984", which painted a grim "Orwellian" picture of a future totalitarian society where big brother is always watching, has a unique India link. But successive governments have done little to capitalize on it. The state government issued a notification under the provisions of the Ancient Monuments (Protection) Act, 1976, and declared the building a protected site four years ago. According to district officials, Orwell's birthplace was mainly targeted by encroachers.
Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair in 1903 in Motihari near India's border with Nepal. His father, Richard Blair, worked as an agent of the opium department of the Indian Civil Service during British rule. (IANS)