ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Does the Left Need to Introspect?

Even in states like West Bengal, which have a long heritage of left politics, the new generation has become apathetic to such politics. Left activists of all shades, from mainstream to radical, need to introspect on the ways in which the left approaches state power. It tends to conform to the capitalist world order instead of using power to provide or seek alternatives. Is the old-generation left prepared for such an introspection?

Decentralised Governance Reforms in Primary Education

Can decentralisation reforms in education achieve the goal of universal elementary education without removing the barriers of hierarchical social structure in West Bengal? A study based on fieldwork in Kalipur village of Dhaniakhali block in Hooghly district elucidates that the village education committees which are meant to ensure the participation of the village community, including the socially disadvantaged groups, in the management of universal elementary education, have been reduced to mere formal bodies and seemed to have turned into another tool in the hands of the party leaders to extend their sphere of domination. This article discusses the existing administrative structure of primary education in West Bengal and situates the functioning of village education committees in the larger perspective of the politics of primary school governance in the state.

Kick-starting a Second Green Revolution in Bengal

Two decisions taken by the Government of West Bengal, one, to facilitate easier extraction of groundwater, and the other, the application of a fi xed connection fee for an electricity connection to farmers could well lead to a quantum leap in agricultural production.

Party, Power and Political Violence in West Bengal

West Bengal's parliamentary politics has for long been based on a violent control of territory and the exclusion of political rivals. The Congress did it earlier and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) perfected it. Now the Trinamool Congress is challenging the ruling party using similar tactics. This has led to a spiral of violence and bloodshed. It is only the defeat of this politics of violent area domination that can open the space for true democracy.

The Party and the Panchayats of West Bengal

Despite substantial decentralisation of power through panchayati raj institutions in West Bengal, the presence of an entrenched centralised party in power in the state has meant the use of such institutions as instruments of patronage. Violent battles have invariably taken place during panchayat elections, as these are seen as necessary by all political parties to capture or retain hold over the institutions.

Behind the Present Peasant Unrest in West Bengal

This article discusses the industrialisation policy of the Left Front government in West Bengal with respect to rural reforms and democracy, and comments on how these have been negated in the recent land acquisition drive.
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