Download e-book for iPad: Calcutta Diary by Ashok Mitra, Partha Chatterjee

By Ashok Mitra, Partha Chatterjee

The essays in Calcutta Diary first seemed within the fiscal and Political Weekly throughout the notorious 21-month Emergency imposed in India among June 1975 and March 1977. apparently, Ashok Mitra had labored with former major Minister Indira Gandhi who had imposed the Emergency. The essays recount facets of a special and especially tricky part in modern Indian history.

This new version encompasses a foreword by way of eminent social scientist, Partha Chatterjee, and a concluding statement by means of the distinguished historian of South Asia, Ranajit Guha. It bargains an exceptional portrait of Calcutta (now Kolkata) in all its dirt and glory in a fashion few writers were capable of seize existence and longing during this infuriatingly memorable city in jap India.

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Sample text

Take only the brown sahibs, who took over the industrial and commercial firms from the British; take also the case of those other characters, who have drowned their conscience in the service of Rajasthani equity; or even the native Bengali industrialists, who, at different points of time, have dabbled in such diverse activities as textiles, light engineering, electronics, steelrolling, Pharmaceuticals and what not. There may be minor variations in the pattern; but, ever since 1947, these people have existed in this city, revelled and fornicated here, in total disdain of their surroundings.

A handkerchief pressed against your nose, visit such an area if you want to know what the scourge of inflation has done to that ramshackle, moveable line of poverty economists talk of. The species of the lower middle class residing in these houses are fighting a losing battle; as prices rise, but their wages are kept frozen by the kindly and sagacious government, they are, inch by inch, pushed toward malnutrition and starvation. It is their kismet, they have to put up with this phenomenon of progressive immiserisation.

July 20 was a Saturday. Prabir took his meal at nine-thirty in the morning and left home, the dingy two-room ground floor apartment in Bhowanipore in south central Calcutta. He walked. It was a Saturday. Most of the offices which are not fully closed on "Saturdays empty themselves by lunch-hour. Right at the city centre, as Chowringhee Road meets Lenin Sarani, lies the stretch which once upon a time acquired the appellation of "Esplanade', but is now a mere turnstile for the tram cars. There used to be a patch of greenery in a corner of this stretch, but it is now almost obliterated; till 1947, that patch was 'Curzon Park'; since then, it has become Surendranath Park.

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