For a bureaucrat sitting in some obscure government office in New Delhi, Purulia, located in the eastern part of Chota Nagpur plateau is yet another backward place in India. The region, which was earlier known as Junglemahal district owing to its vast forest cover, saw a new district, Manbhum, being carved out in 1833. In 1956 Manbhum district was partitioned between Bihar and West Bengal under the States Recognition Act and the Bihar and West Bengal (Transfer of Territories) Act, 1956.
During my several visits to Purulia, I became overwhelmed by the diversity in its landscape, people and rich traditional culture. But for the average resident of Purulia, the sufferings in daily life are plenty. Earning a proper livelihood is a distant dream for many and the condition of education, health, electricity, transport and irrigation systems is not very encouraging. The pebbly nature of the soil and lack of abundant rainfall makes agriculture very difficult and most of the land yields only one crop a year, that too with very little produce. Migration rates are very high. Work done by the government and NGOs in the region is yielding some positive results but I believe there is a long way to go before the situation changes for the better.