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Communal Politics Gaining Ground in West Bengal

The steady decline of the left and the Congress has created a political vacuum in West Bengal. While the Trinamool Congress government consolidated its support base with important populist measures, some of its pro-Muslim policies drew flak from a section of the Hindus. The Bharatiya Janata Party is trying to enter into Bengal politics by attacking the TMC on its appeasement policy and is trying to whip up pro-Hindu sentiments. With the weakening of secular democratic forces, the polarisation of the society on communal lines is taking place with much vigour.

Rereading a Tale of Workers’ Insurgency

The Crisis of 1974: Railway Strike and the Rank and File by Ranabir Samaddar;Delhi: Primus Books, 2016; pp x+186, 850 (hardcover).

Banking for the Poor

Bandhan: The Making of a Bank by Tamal Bandyopadhyay, Gurgaon: Penguin Books India, 2016; pp 304, 414.

The Enigma of Alternative

It is worth reflecting on what exactly is wrong with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam ruling alternatively in Tamil Nadu. The commonsensical discontent appears to be absorbed by the pendulum swing of change of governments. Hence, the critical sense now demands an alternative to such a containment of change.

Socio-economic Status of Muslims in West Bengal

Notwithstanding methodological differences, the findings of successive reports on the socio-economic conditions of Muslims in West Bengal show a significant improvement of the community in the state. Muslim majority districts such as Murshidabad and Malda show better performance of some socio-economic indicators like literacy and employment in government jobs than the non-Muslim population among the surveys.

West Bengal Elections

There is no end to mining into the depths of the Bengali psyche to uncover a vast underbelly of popular prejudices, political naiveté , absurd hopes, selfish interests, blind vengeance that were cunningly manipulated by Mamata Banerjee to shift the electoral verdict in her favour. Her promise of extension of freebies to all sections of society had seduced the voters to elect her, in a trade-off between their self-interest on the one hand, and democratic rights on the other. They are willing to sacrifice the latter, and remain mute spectators to the suppression of political opposition and dissent.

On a Bengali Dalit Autobiography

Surviving in My World: Growing Up Dalit in Bengal by Manohar Mouli Biswas, edited and translated in English by Angana Dutta and Jaideep Sarangi, Stree Samya Books, 2015; pp 150, ₹ 280.

Missed Goals

Government as Practice: Democratic Left in a Transforming India by Dwaipayan Bhattacharyya, Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2016; pp xx+273, ₹750, hardback.

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