This book shows how governance is high when people follow the rules of transaction, derived from binding custom, legislation, administrative practices and the constitution. The key question that underpins this analysis is why do some people, sometimes, follow rules and not others? This study responds to this central question by looking at analytical narratives of political order in six Indian regional States, surveys of social and political attitudes and extended interviews with political leaders, administrators and police officers. It shows how, by drawing on the logic of human ingenuity, driven by self interest rather than mechanical adherence to tradition and ideology, these regional elites can design institutions and promote security, welfare and identity which enhance governance.
Until the age of five, Loung Ung lived in Phnom Penh, one of seven children of a high-ranking government official. She was a precocious child who loved the open city markets, fried crickets, chicken fights, and sassing her parents. While her beautiful mother worried that Loung was a troublemaker—that she stomped around like a thirsty cow—her beloved father knew Loung was a clever girl.
When Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge army stormed into Phnom Penh in April 1975, Ung’s family fled their home and moved from village to village to hide their identity, their education, their former life of privilege. Eventually, the family dispersed in order to survive. Loung trained as a child soldier in a work camp for orphans, while other siblings were sent to labor camps. As the Vietnamese penetrated Cambodia, destroying the Khmer Rouge, Loung and her surviving siblings were slowly reunited.
Bolstered by the shocking bravery of one brother, the courage and sacrifices of the rest of her family—and sustained by her sister’s gentle kindness amid brutality—Loung forged on to create for herself a courageous new life. Harrowing yet hopeful, insightful and compelling, this story is truly unforgettable.