ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Malini BhattacharyaSubscribe to Malini Bhattacharya

Whose Land? Evictions in West Bengal

In the initial months of governance by the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, attempts appear to have been made to begin subverting the positive results of the land reform programme of the Left Front. What is happening appears to be the inevitable outcome of political rivalry, the hegemonic rule of one party giving place to another, with the citadel of power changing its colour, making the "red" one "green". But a contextual reading of the situation may reveal its more sinister implications that are going to have an impact on land relations in the state as a whole in the long run.

The Lalgarh Story

The Lalgarh story is far more complicated than made out by some urban intellectual groups who have argued the case for the People's Committee against Police Atrocities (more commonly known as the PSBJC), which has found itself in an opportunistic alliance with the Maoists. While the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has indeed failed to fully address the many expectations of the adivasis of the area, the Maoists and the PSBJC have shown that their own agenda is one of exercising control.

Coercion in Nandigram

In response to the tirade against my article on Nandigram from Sujato Bhadra and Siddhartha Guha Ray (epw, September 22) I would like to make two points.

Nandigram and the Question of Development

While ill-founded rumours of many kinds contributed to the build-up of tension in Nandigram, there is no question that the people of the area had genuine fears of what industrialisation and the associated displacement held out for them if a special economic zone was established in the area. These concerns have taken a new dimension in the context of the countrywide agrarian crisis which has had an impact on West Bengal as well.

On Nandigram

We the undersigned, who have long been associated with the Left movement in the country, feel deeply pained and anguished by the loss of lives and injuries suffered during the police action in Nandigram on March 14.

'No' to Nuclear Power

'No' to Nuclear Power We feel deeply concerned at the initiative of the West Bengal government to build nuclear power plants in the Sunderbans.

The Home and the World

Selected Letters of Rabindranath Tagore edited by Krishna Dutta and Andrew Robinson; Cambridge University Press. 1997; Rs 550.
THIS selection of Rabindranath's letters edited by Krishna Dutta and Andrew Robinson comes in the 'Oriental Publications' scries of the Cambridge University Press and spans the whole of the poet's epistolary career. It consists of approximately 350 letters, about a quarter of which have been translated by the editors from the original Bengali. While most of the Bangali letters in the original had been published earlier, about half the English letters in the selection are being seen in print for the first time. Apart from such well known letters as the one written to Lord Chelmsford after Jalianwalla Bagh (1919), or the one to Gandhi where heresponds to the anti-Rowlatt Act movement led by the latter (1919), or the one to C F Andrews where he makes a public statement against Fascism in Italy (1926), or the one to the Japanese poet, Yone Noguchi, condemning the murderous attacks of the Japanese government on China (1938), this volume includes a large number of letters to eminent correspondents like Yeats, Rothenstein, Robert Bridges, Sturge Moore, Ezra Pound, Romain Rolland, Bertrand Russell, Victoria Ocampo, Jawaharlal Nehru, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Sarojini Naidu, etc. Other letters illuminating some important aspect of his work and thought, to correspondents perhaps not so well known, have also been included. These, along with the translated versions of a number of letters in Bengali, will be of great help to scholars and the general public, not acquainted with the language, but wishing to explore Rabindranath's career as a creative artist and a public man. Each letter is accompanied by an introduction and footnotes, meant to acquaint the reader with the specific context. This would surely benefit the reader.

Mahasweta Devi Activist and Writer

There are few writers of Mahasweta Devi's stature today in whose career creative writing and activism have been as closely intertwined.
THESE days, when literary diaspora dominates international cultural space, the renown achieved by a writer like Mahasweta Devi, writing almost exclusively in a regional language on regional issues, is a striking and welcome phenomenon. The Jnanpith award comes in the wake of this renown. But even earlier, the establishment has been forced to take note of her work and an Akademi award for literature (1979) and the Padmasree citation for work among the tribals (1986) also came her way. These awards, particularly the Padmasree, certainly have not added to her stature but are official acknowledgements of what she is and what she represents. But it should be noted that these are not just acknowledgements of Mahasweta the writer; gradually, like Medha Patkar or Sunderlal Bahuguna, through her activism she has come to represent that lone voice of conscience which plays such a crucial role in weak civil societies like ours. There are few writers of her stature today in whose career creative writing and activism have been so closely intertwined.


Malini Bhattacharya Does the USAID project for providing $ 325 million for family planning in India mean aid to India or aid for American drug transnationals to sell their novel contraceptive devices here?

Calcutta A Quest for Cultural Identity

Malini Bhattacharya Calcutta held a fascination for the literary imagination of Bengal right from the early British days. This article speaks of 'Calcutta' as a cultural concept, a sign used in a quest for identity , Whereas 'identity' in a sense means a closure, 'Calcutta' as a living cultural sign is very much there. The closure is never absolute and the quest goes on.


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