Writing admin on 27 Aug 2012 04:50 am
My piece for India Ink at the New York Times:
When the travel writer Trevor Fishlock went to my hometown of Patna, a journalist greeted him by saying, “Welcome to hell.” A few days later, that particular journalist, who had been zealous in his defense of the freedom of the press, was beaten unconscious.
I read the above story in a piece by Norman Lewis titled “Through the Badlands of Bihar.” But it is not only Western visitors like Mr. Fishlock and Mr. Lewis who portray Patna thus. If you have been keeping track of recent Bollywood movies, the badlands of Bihar have become fertile ground for reaping cinematic violence.
I am writing a book about Patna where I want to present what the people who live there think about it. A part of me believes that Patna might be the victim of bad press. Did you know, for instance, that somewhere in the dark recesses of history, Patna produced the best opium?