In India, Bihar has become synonymous with backwardness, poverty, illiteracy, corruption and hooliganism (jungle raj). I remember a friend of mine advising me to be extremely careful while visiting areas around Bihar (I was going to visit eastern parts of neighbouring Uttar Pradesh!). Few dare to question this dominant perception of the state. Jeffrey Witsoe is one of them and his Democracy against Development is one of those courageous acts and stands out on the shelf. Sadly, sociological and anthropological works on Bihar have been thin for many years. Witsoe’s work goes against the grain to understand the connection among three axes– development, democracy and caste. The book deals with Bihar and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) party at the empirical level and with liberalism, postcolonialism, democracy, development, caste and State at the thematic level.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: Bihar was overcoming ‘caste order’ and the media didn’t like what it saw