Post 2, Sargana

2:00 p.m.: I am at Shyamdev Mandal’s house, but he has stepped out. His friend Krishna Hembrom is also waiting for him. Between puffs of his bidi, Krishnadev tells me that he is here to discuss election strategy with Shyamdev, since they are both supporting the same candidate.

2:45 p.m.: Shyamdev returns. He has been at the local bazaar purchasing groceries for the house. But he is only too eager to discuss politics with his waiting friend, so he comes straight to the point. The candidate they support for the post of the President of the local council (the Panchayat) must win. She is the only one capable of responding to the needs of the poor. Her husband iterates between Punjab and Bihar in search of work, so the couple understands what needs to be done to improve poor people’s lives. He asks me to carry a message to my hosts….