Bihar, the feudal mindset and the bureaucracy

Rats_matterofrats“I think our feudal mindset in Bihar translated very well in the modern age into bureaucracy,” says Amitava Kumar, the author of A Matter of Rats in this interview.

Amitava Kumar: We can’t help. Biharis want to become IAS officers. Who wants to be a writer here? So, we have not been feeding those ideas. Look at the books coming out of Bihar. These are all the views of bureaucrats and politicians. My big lament is not that Patna has not been written about. My big lament is it has been written about by politicians and bureaucrats who keep the conversation among themselves. And therefore it is not a writer’s vision and therefore it is not the vision of the common people with their complexities, their stories. There is no storytelling about Patna. That’s my major lamentation. The other lament is there too. But the bigger lament is that we have been presented with a bureaucratic view of Patna and not the real view of Patna. And there is a pattern there. Get the book released by the President or the Chief Minister. It is promptly followed by a press release. Phir log samosa khaye, taali bajaye, magar koi padha nahi kitab. No one will find the images of their true life among those pages; instead it will be facts, figures and stock analysis.

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