Bihar, we might as well begin by noting, is an extraordinary part of India. It is exceptionally distinguished in its past—its stellar role as the centre of Indian civilisation for over a thousand years. If Bihar was the most progressive part of India from around the time of Gautama Buddha for a millennium or more, it is notable, in a very different way, in its present state of social backwardness and unusual poverty. And there is a third bit of extraordinariness in the determination of Bihar to conquer its present misery by focusing directly on economic and human development. The future of Bihar may not be a repeat of its past glory but nor would it be, it seems reasonable to predict, a continuation of its present state of underdevelopment and deprivation. Bihar is, it would appear, quite extraordinary in its past, in its present, and in the promise of its future.