Bihar is the third largest state of India so far as population is concerned, above 103 million according to the Census of India 2001, but it has traditionally been backward and poor. Although it was the seat of great empires like that of the Mauryas, and of great religions like Buddhism, it has long been caste-ridden and home to dacoits and criminals. All the more difficult, therefore, would it be to introduce reforms in such a rigid and stratified society.
Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar, dwelt at length on the achievements of his government during a seminar hosted by the Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, on whose invitation he was visiting Pakistan. The performance of his government, even if exaggerated, came across remarkably well, as remarkable indeed as his own political career. Leader of the Janata Dal (United) in Bihar, which has socialist origins, he governs nevertheless in alliance with the conservative BJP. Continue reading