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A big cat overthrows the Indian state and establishes a reign of terror over the residents of a Himalayan town. A developmental legislation aimed at providing employment and commanding a huge budget becomes 'unimplementable' in a region bedeviled by high levels of poverty and unemployment. Paper Tiger provides a lively ethnographic account of how such seemingly bizarre scenarios come to be in present-day India.
This book presents a unique explanation for why and how progressive laws in India can do what they do and not, ever so often, what they are supposed to do. On the basis of detailing the everyday bureaucratic life on India's Himalayan borderland, it proposes an ethnographically derived concept - paper tiger - as a modality for the study of the state. This accessible monograph shifts the very frames of thought through which we will henceforth understand the implementation of law and the workings of the developmental Indian state.