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

West BengalSubscribe to West Bengal

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

Of Relief Work and Resilience 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.

Ponzi Schemes and Corruption in West Bengal: A Reading List

The Trinamool Congress in West Bengal is unable to shake off allegations of protecting corporate allies.

A New Trajectory of Politics in West Bengal

The electoral implications of the 2019 Lok Sabha election results in West Bengal are traced, and whether it heralds a movement from “poribarton” to “real poriborton,” is analysed. The National Election Study 2019 data is used to explain the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the state and the eclipse of the Congress as well as the Left Front.

Is Mamata Banerjee a Viable Alternative to Narendra Modi?

In her years as chief minister, Mamata Banerjee’s leadership has also been questioned for her authoritarian tendencies.

Is There A Second Wave of Dalit Upsurge in West Bengal?

The Matua movement that lost momentum after raising hopes of Dalit awakening in West Bengal appears to have received fresh impetus again. But is it too early to pass verdict on the future trajectory of the movement and Dalit politics in general?

Strengthening Fiscal Health of Urban Local Bodies

In West Bengal, municipal fiscal indicators have improved, but municipality finances are in a grossly unsatisfactory state. Inter-category fiscal disparities are large. Own source revenue is insufficient to cover revenue expenditure. Therefore, municipalities are dependent on intergovernmental transfers, and their fiscal autonomy is limited. Intergovernmental transfers are equalising in nature. There is an increasing need for adequate resources, especially owing to the decentralisation of urban service delivery, and a need for strengthening the fiscal health of urban local bodies by increasing own source revenue or intergovernmental transfers, by restructuring intergovernmental transfers, or by performing both actions.

‘Cultural Misrecognition’ and the Sustenance of Trinamool Congress in West Bengal

The assembly elections in West Bengal in 2016 were historic not only because the Trinamool Congress was given a second chance with a massive mandate, but also because, for the first time in decades, a single political party managed to win the election. Moreover, the TMC secured victory in most of the traditional left bastions, making the Left Front virtually insignificant in state politics. While populist and direct-benefit schemes are most prominently seen as the reasons behind the party’s success, there also exist the hitherto unaddressed alternatives to the Left Front government’s systematic development of “party society.” The promotion of traditional cultural expressions conceptualised as “cultural misrecognition” helped the TMC sustain its control and also attracted votes of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes of the state who traditionally constituted the support base of the left.

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