In his masterful account of the Spanish Civil War, Homage to Catalonia, Eric Arthur Blair, better known to his readers as George Orwell, gives his first impression of the Lenin Barracks in Barcelona as being in a state of "filth and chaos."
While Mr. Orwell was attributing the tumbledown status of the barracks to the actions of the revolutionaries, he may as well have been speaking about his own place of birth in the Motihari township of Bihar's East Champaran District.
Decades of bureaucratic neglect have led to the site where he was born functioning as a veritable 'Animal Farm,' with the Blair family house languishing in a state of abject dilapidation.
However, the Motihari town administration is planning to repair and restore Mr. Orwell's house, along with plans to develop the compound into a heritage site in the near future.
Eric Arthur Blair was born on June 3, 1903 to Ida and Richard Walmesley Blair, who worked in an opium factory in the town.
"We have earmarked an amount of Rs.4 lakh under the Motihari Nagar Vikas Nigam for rehabilitation work. In addition, a proposal of Rs.2.5 crore has been sent to the State Art and Culture Department, as this amount is not sufficient for renovation of the entire house," said district planning officer Ram Kishore Mishra.
The authorities plan to restore one room in the house initially as funds are not sufficient to rehabilitate the entire house. "The first priority will be constructing a boundary wall round the house," said Shailendra Pandey, acting District Magistrate of East Champaran.
Speaking to The Hindu, Secretary for the State Art and Culture Department Vivek Singh said steps were being taken to preserve the site under the Bihar Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972. "As of now, we are looking into the property and revenue details of the Motihari site."