Bihar and Maharashtra can be considered states at the opposite ends of the Indian political development spectrum. Bihar is well-known as a case study in backwardness, corruption, feudal domination and, more recently, rural violence. The major causes of this unhappy history are of course arguable, but are most often held to be a political system that is basically unresponsive except to a narrow and predominantly high-caste semi-feudal gentry. 2 Maharashtra, on the other hand, represents a relatively progressive state, with a better infrastructure, higher economic growth, less destitution and a political system that is responsive to constituencies both wider and deeper than those found in Bihar. 3