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

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A Bohemian Bibliophile

With the passing of Indranath Majumder, Kolkata’s world of letters lost more than a mere book lover.

In the early 1980s, meandering through the booths at the Kolkata Book Fair, I happened on a stall dealing in rare books, where I found an early Routledge edition of Maurice Dobb’s Russian Economic Development since the Revolution. The owner of the stall recognised me; still, he wanted Rs 20 for the book. As I was then unemployed, I was in no position to cough up that much. Realising my plight, the stall owner told me to pay whatever I could afford; I bought the book for Rs 10.

A few days later, I revisited the same stall. The owner rushed to me and asked me to exchange the Routledge edition of Dobb for an Indian reprint so that he could sell the foreign edition to a wealthy customer for a higher price. I dissented and said I’d rather hold on to my book for all it was worth. The antiquarian bookstore owner burst out in approving laughter. That gentleman was Indranath Majumder, bibliophile, publisher, and nonconformist lover of letters and littérateurs.

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