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

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Political Significance of Assembly Election Results

The recent election results negate the politics of dominance cherished at the centre.

The Many Faces of ‘Parivartan’

Between 2011 and 2021 West Bengal was dominated by the personality of Mamata Banerjee and the period can be described as the Mamata era. She destroyed the power of both the Maoists and Left Front after coming to power, introduced several populist schemes and appeared to be the undisputed ruler of the state by 2016. However, she committed a same-side goal in the panchayat election of 2018 and gave a fresh lease of life to the opposition. Ironically, it was not the left but the right that capitalised on it.

Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in West Bengal

Literacy and education are vital developmental indicators for a nation. With more than 200 million children, India has the world’s most extensive primary education system. While primary school enrolment has increased significantly, learning levels remain low. To strengthen foundational literacy and numeracy, the West Bengal government launched “Shishu Aloy” a model Integrated Child Development Services centre in 2015. But the shortage of trained anganwadi workers is the major drawback of this programme in rural villages of West Bengal.

Farmers’ Politics in West Bengal

After the end of 34 years of the Left Front rule, West Bengal has seen a renewed emphasis on agriculture. A decade-long ethnographic study conducted during and after the political transition unravels the reasons why such emphasis fails to benefit the small and marginal farmers, at places where...

West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021: Does a ‘Party Society’ Really Subsume the Politics of ‘Identity’ and ‘Development’?

While West Bengal’s “exceptionalism” is often touted to explain the claimed lack of communal and caste-based politics in the state, the rise of populist forces has somehow managed to take advantage of identitarian fault lines without creating space for democratic political mobilisation of marginalised sections.

The Singur Agitation and the Contradictions of Agrarian Populism

People’s Car: Industrial India and the Riddles of Populism by Sarasij Majumder, Orient BlackSwan, 2019; pp xii + 198, Rs 695 hardcover.

Whither West Bengal?

Parliament election results could be a deceptive indicator of the local power dynamics.

Demystifying Caste in Bengal

Although caste is a crucial reality in West Bengal, a declining Dalit movement post partition, the neglect of caste questions by the Left Front, and the failure of forging a broader Dalit solidarity due to fragmented Dalit constituencies have led to the invisibility of caste in the politics of the state.

Cyclone in the Sundarbans

Following Cyclone Amphan, relief work in the already sensitive and complex Sundarbans delta was complicated by the sudden nationwide lockdown.

The Singur Movement

​ Land Dispossession and Everyday Politics in Rural Eastern India by Kenneth Bo Nielsen, London and New York: Anthem Press, 2018; pp 221, £70, hardcover.

From Balmikis to Bengalis

The reorganisation of informal household garbage collection work in Delhi is analysed, as migrants from eastern states like West Bengal have begun doing manual waste work, even as their Balmikis deal only with monthly cash payments. Drawing on fieldwork, the effect on the Balmiki jamadars is noted, and the Bengali Muslims, who newly contend with the practices of untouchability in their neighbourhoods of work, are focused on. These newer migrants come to justify the shame they experience by focusing on the equivalence of scrap with money, which has redemptive potential. This reveals a dynamic process through which caste differences are being remade—”casteification”—in relation to economic life.

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