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Calcutta Diary

May Day is a paid holiday in Calcutta — and in West Bengal. In the afternoon, unending processions of the labouring classes converge on the maidan; they are entertained to passionate speeches by the leaders, the brotherhood of the international proletariat is fullthroatedly proclaimed.

A "Piece of Real Estate Known as India": Ashok Mitra's 1989 Column on How India's Rich Shed their Guilt and Fear

Former finance minister of West Bengal and Trustee of the Sameeksha Trust that brings out the Economic and Political Weekly, Ashok Mitra passed away on 1 May 2018. Below, we republish an article from "Calcutta Diary" which was published on 18 March 1989. Read a compilation of Mitra's other writings here .

K S Krishnaswamy: A Tribute

K S Krishnaswamy was closely associated with policymaking in the Reserve Bank of India and the Planning Commission from the 1950s to the early 1980s, retiring as deputy governor of the RBI. Over six decades, he was also a writer, well-wisher and supporter of the Economic Weekly and then the Economic & Political Weekly. He was also chairman of the Sameeksha Trust (1998-2006), publishers of EPW. A tribute by a close friend.

Lakshmi Sahgal and Free Will

Patriot, communist and a free will. A tribute to the iconic Lakshmi Sahgal (1914-2012) who died last month.

The State of the CPI(M) in West Bengal

The State leadership of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), in its failure to maintain communion with the masses and the Party cadre, is responsible for the crisis of the Party in West Bengal. Its strategy of compulsory acquisition of even highly arable land to facilitate industrialisation under private auspices was ill-founded, and worse in its implementation. The 14 March 2007 killings in Nandigram shocked the people of the State. How on earth could a Left administration shoot down in cold blood women and children from impoverished peasant families? The resulting widespread public revulsion led to the erosion of the Party's mass base. But all is not lost, for the Party still has a dedicated band of workers who, if given the call, will forthwith form the vanguard of radical activism.

Eyeless in Bengal

For those who continue to look around for a Left alternative in the conduct of the nation's affairs, West Bengal has been regarded as the focal point of a political-economic experiment. The survival in strength of the Left in the state is crucial for sustaining the influence of the Left at the national level. This calls for a dispassionate analysis of the roots of the discontent that has engulfed the state since the installation of the seventh Left Front government.

The Chaudhuris of Bharenga

The death of the eminent sculptor, Sankho Chaudhuri, last August, has brought an end in some ways to the saga of the Chaudhuri siblings. Scions of a brahmin landowning family in Bharenga, now in Bangladesh, the Chaudhuris were characterised by a restless, freewheeling, ever inquisitive spirit. Sachin Chaudhuri, the eldest among them became the founding editor of the Economic Weekly, that later became the EPW. As the youngest of his siblings, Sankho Chaudhuri was drawn to the creative arts, never hesitating to experiment with new forms and mediums of expression.

Suffrage in West Bengal

from appearing for a number of all-India tests owing to clash of dates.
Suffrage in West Bengal Even as the Election Commission put its supposedly best foot forward in conducting with rigour and discipline the recent elections spread over five phases in West Bengal, the Left Front secured a massive victory. The victory belied several suppositions and notions, especially those that prevailed with regard to

Adieu Alice

Alice Thorner, a friend of India for more than 50 years, an intellectual guide over many decades for those working on south Asia and a source of immense support first for the Economic Weekly and then the EPW, died in Paris on August 24. Tributes to a remarkable person from three people who got to know her at different points of time during the past half century.

Rent-a-Womb Economics

The proposed foreign direct investment offered by the Silam group of Indonesia in West Bengal is for establishing a line of luxury activities in the state, the clientele of which will be tourists and the country's super rich, and the profits from which will flow overseas. The handing over of more than 5,000 acres of land in order to provide employment opportunities for the merely 30,000 hands who will be recruited in the proposed new facilities appears to be most inopportune.


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