What India can learn from Bihar

Nitish Rishidev (in blue T-shirt), reunited with his family. Telegraph pictures

This is what poverty looks like in Bihar: a 10-year-old child boarding a train for big, unknown Punjab so that the food at home is enough for his Ma and Babuji. A sister postponing her wedding so that she can be the additional daily wage earner in the family. An anxious mother and father borrowing money against the next 10 years of debt bondage to go look for their little boy.

Nitish Rishidev comes from a family of sharecroppers known as Musahars. Often the word Musa-Har is translated as rat-eater. Musahars work for daily wages to turn the soil in the fields. They are allowed to keep the grain they find inside the rat holes there. Sometimes rats bite them. They don’t eat rats, rats eat them. Musa-Har should be translated as one who is eaten by rats, not as rat-eater. [Read full article]

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