Excerpt: Jean Dreze's New Book With Luc Leruth

Rumble in a Village
Book Excerpt 

Palanpur, 1984

I was at home, quietly resting on my charpoy when Babu stormed inside, 'Anil sahib, come with me, quick!'

By the time I came out, Babu had already disappeared but I joined several others who were running towards the Seed Store. Something uncommon was clearly going on. Then we all heard the horn of a vehicle in the distance. People stopped running and gathered around Rampal Singh's house. We did not have to wait long. Rampal's own dunlop emerged from around the corner, with Phool Singh standing on it and whipping the bullocks as hard as he could. He was followed by a tractor - the first that Palanpur had ever seen - and the driver, a Murao called Ganga Sahai, was blowing the horn.

For a minute, I thought that the arrival of the first train in the nineteenth century must have created a similar commotion. Of . . .