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

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Nehru and Education

DEPRECATING the Bengal Renaissance and the Bramho reformation movement, its principal motive force, has become quite a bit fashionable among a section of Bengal left, Sumanta Banerjee, obviously as one belonging to this group, has done his bit in his 'Bogey of the Bawdy' (EPW, July 18). In doing so Banerjee has followed a certain schema. First, he has characterised certain dominant strands of the cultural tradition in the 19th century Calcutta as the direct continuation and culmination of the earlier Bengali folk traditions. Second, by pursuing this line of logic further he has designated these cultural traditions as the culture of the people belonging to "the lower orders". Then, in his framework of reasoning, once a particular brand of culture is identified as the "culture of the lower orders" it automatically becomes sanctified and any criticism of such culture and any attempt to supersede it is, therefore, to be looked upon as nothing less than a regular sacrilege. Finally, the Brahmo movement is delivered some choicest epithets carefully culled from his radical lexicon as this is unmistakably found guilty of precisely such criminal acts.

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