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Bihar is an Indian state considered to be a part of Eastern as well as Northern India. It is the 13th-largest state of India, with an area of 94,163 sq. km (36,357 sq mi). The third-largest state of India by population, it is contiguous with Uttar Pradesh to its west, Nepal to the north, the northern part of West Bengal to the east, with Jharkhand to the south. The Bihar plain is split by the river Ganges which flows from west to east. Bihar is an amalgamation of three main distinct regions, these are Magadh, Mithila and Bhojpur.


  • Like Burma/Myanmar, Bihar is a case of partial state failure that falls short of complete collapse. In Bihar the civil service is reasonably competent but elected governments have colluded in the privatization of violence. Bihar thus allows us to explore the impact of the erosion of the monopoly of violence alone, without the confounding effects of the host of issues simultaneously in play in cases of radical collapse like Afghanistan. People in Bihar must live with the effects of the privatization of violence, even while the central government mandates democratic political institutions and a civil service that is often corrupt but relatively competent at delivering services.
  • It is partly, no doubt, because of the furor islamicus that post-Gupta remains are surprisingly few in Bihar.
    • J. C. Harle, The Art and Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent (London: Penguin, 1986), p. 199. in Ibn Warraq, Defending the West, ch 6.

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