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The Economist says Bihar is improving but slams it all the same

January 25, 2007

The Economist articleIt is always interesting to hear what the world is saying about India. Well, there is this article in the Economist and it is about Bihar, India’s poorest state. Though I knew the world media is pretty harsh where India is concerned, the way this was written made me cringe. Not because they did not write the facts…but because of the condescending tone. Unfortunately this article (which appeared in the January 6th-12th issue of The Economist) is ‘premium’ content so I cannot link to it here, but I can provide some excerpts which made me a trifle uncomfortable.
Telling us about the improving law and order situation in Bihar after Nitish Kumar took over from Laloo Prasad as the Chief Minister, the magazine says:    
“People are less afraid of being mugged by gangsters, the police, local bureaucrats or all three in combination when they walk back into the outside world of rummaging pigs and intermittent electricity. A big reason for the change is that just over a year ago Bihar’s voters booted out Laloo Prasad Yadav, who either directly or indirectly through his wife had ruled the place for 15 years.”

Here’s another one:
“Inside the ministerial compound, now free of the cows that Mr. Yadav liked to graze on it’s lawns, Mr. Kumar is recovering from a bout of malaria…”

Talking about improving crime statistics in Bihar, The Economist quotes A.R. Sinha, Bihar’s Chief of Police and this one made me smile.
“Now people are committing crimes in the night, stealthily – not out in the open.”

Bihar may or may not be improving, but this made me realise that while we may find a hundred reasons and excuses for India being the way she is, the world does not care.

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