Unpacking the “Bihariness”—Reflections on “Indian Predator: The Butcher of Delhi”

Abstract

Netflix’s true crime documentary “Indian Predator: The Butcher of Delhi” (July 2022) follows the story of serial killer Chandrakant Jha, a Bihari migrant worker in Delhi. The documentary sensationally portrays his spine-chilling crimes, while superficially discussing pressing issues of police brutality and the dysfunctionality of the criminal justice system. The interplay of socio-economic conditions, the indifferent justice system, and its effects on one’s degrading mental health is what we seem to get out of this three-part series through visual and textual analysis. The backdrop of the migrants as a pathological problem vis-à-vis its interaction with the criminal justice system is emphasized by highlighting the “Bihariness” of Chandrakant Jha. The documentary refers to this “Bihariness” albeit tangentially, though fails to discuss the caste and class locations of these prejudices and chauvinism that is directed against the figure of the working-class Bihari migrant. In this paper, we attempt to unpack this popular narrative as a casteist and classist commonsensical social and cultural reproduction to understand the figure of the Bihari migrant as depicted in the documentary. We contend that highlighting the “Bihariness” of migrant workers is a form of othering that mainly plays out through their conspicuous laboring bodies, language, and their association with criminality. In doing so, we also intend to explore the dimensions of mental health and socio-economic and institutional interactions of poor migrant workers in urban areas.

Author Biographies

Anup Tripathi, FLAME University, Pune, India

Dr. Anup Tripathi is working as an Assistant Professor, Sociology at FLAME University, Pune, India. His areas of interest are urban studies and housing. Currently, he is working on walkability in Indian cities and housing as a care infrastructure.

Moitrayee Das, FLAME University, Pune, India

Dr. Moitrayee Das is working as an Assistant Professor, Psychology at FLAME University, Pune, India. Her research interests lie in understanding the alternate and inclusive practices in psychology, the effect of sleep on mental health and productivity, and hustle culture in the current times.

Published
2024-04-05
How to Cite
Tripathi, A., & Das, M. (2024). Unpacking the “Bihariness”—Reflections on “Indian Predator: The Butcher of Delhi”. Changing Societies & Personalities, 8(1), 222–238. doi:10.15826/csp.2024.8.1.272