This book was written between July 2012 and May 2013. My thanks
to the people who spoke to me and the journalists who helped me.
The term “emotional atyachaar,” the title of the last chapter, could
be translated as “emotional oppression”; it is borrowed from a song
by the same name sung by the ﬁctitious band “Patna ke Presley” in
the Hindi hit ﬁlm Dev. D. My thanks to Anurag Kashyap, the ﬁlm-
maker and my friend, for afﬁrming the swagger of the vernacular.
The reader will notice that several statements made in Hindi or
Urdu are followed by their English translation, but in a few other
places Hindi words have been left untranslated. I didn’t think it use-
ful to translate words like kachori or jalebi, though I would like the
reader to eat his or her ﬁll of such Patna delicacies. Where it seemed
necessary, names of individuals have been changed.
This is a work of nonﬁction. In recent years we have seen an in-
crease in nonﬁction writing and sales of books in that genre. There
is repeated talk at literary festivals and other venues about the pub-
lic’s hunger for truth. We are told that a reading public—turned
off by television propaganda and disenchanted with ﬁction’s flimsy
pretensions—is famished for hard realities. I’m exaggerating, of
course, but this argument on behalf of incontestable truth is now