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

Economic Weekly: 60 Years AgoSubscribe to Economic Weekly: 60 Years Ago

Sixty Years Ago

This article was published in EPW on 9 January 1999, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the launch of Economic Weekly. Given the content, that article, titled "Fifty Years Ago", is reprinted here almost entirely in full.

Sachin Chaudhuri and the EW: The Early Years

Sachin established the Economic Weekly after independence both to inform India's new policymakers and intellectuals as to what was occurring in the economy and society and to influence government policies in the economic and social fields. Its aim was to influence policy to make a better India for the Indian people, both economically and socially. The EW was a socialist magazine supporting Nehru's policies but independent with respect to specific issues.

The Panorama from Churchill Chambers

Looking back, the creation and sustenance of the Economic Weekly, in the face of impossible odds is a stirring episode that more than challenges comparison with other founder-editor periodicals of distinction - Gandhi's Harijan, K Natarajan's Indian Social Reformer (Bombay), A D Gorwala's Opinion (Bombay), and I F (Izzy) Stone's Weekly (US) - none of whom survived their founders.

Remembering Sachin Chaudhuri and Economic Weekly

Sachin, at that time, was the patriarch of the EW family of well-wishers, friends and amateurs (often anonymous contributors) and the intellectual integrity that one has come to associate with EpW owes not a little to Sachin's faith in himself and the cause he was serving. Sachin, through his journal in both its avatars, provided opportunities to young Indian economists to apply their minds to contemporary economic problems and, in a larger sense, set a new trend in applied economic thinking.

The Sachin I Knew

It was because of his pragmatism that some thought Sachin's Economic Weekly did not reflect any social philosophy. But the discerning readers could notice the strong undercurrent of free and fearless inquiry into social processes.

A Republic of Letters

With India's independence, new forces were unleashed; the period of negativism and imitativeness had come to an end. However, creativity in thinking was sadly missing. Sachin Chaudhuri's Economic Weekly was in a way therefore a historical necessity. Sachin questioned every premise, made others around him to do likewise, and provoked and prodded the younger ones to be restless, aspiring and to seek answers scientifically to the questions of the times. On the 60th anniversary of its launch, a handful of the many who were associated with EW and Sachin Chaudhuri during the 1950s and thereafter reminisce about the excitement surrounding the journal. These reminiscences will be published in EPW during the course of January. Here the first two essays.

Sachin's Only Love

On stimulating upcoming social scientists and commentators, ew succeeded famously. Apart from providing room in each issue for a section on special articles, Sachin Chaudhuri had a knack for discovering new talent, wherever it existed. Many young economists and sociologists started writing regularly for the ew, under their own signatures or incognito. Many who are now internationally famous grew out of the columns of the EW; and happily for the journal their association with the ew's successor - Economic & Political Weekly - has endured over the years. As always, the columns of ew were open to all those who had something worthwhile to say of a practical or theoretical nature, no matter what they wanted to propound - as long it was cogent and intellectually honest. It was a high ideal that he set, from which many young researchers have benefited.
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