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

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Nirmal Chandra (1936-2014)

II – Some Academic Contributions

I knew Nirmal Kumar Chandra, who passed away recently, from 1952, when we were both students of Presidency College, and treasured him as a friend from the very beginning. The following, however, is not a personal memoir, but a feeble attempt to capture Nirmal Chandra’s distinctiveness as a scholar.

There were three major vectors of the scholarly contributions of Nirmal Kumar Chandra (Nirmal, from now on). The first and perhaps the most extended one was the analysis of the Soviet economic system, and its successor, the Chinese economic strategies, and the developments in the Chinese system since the economic reforms of 1978, and in Russia, since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The second vector was the critical scrutiny of the Marxist corpus of class analysis of agriculture from the early writings of Marx down to the Soviet analysis around the strategy of collectivisation under Stalin. Some of this analysis also carried over to his work on agrarian relations in Bardhaman (Burdwan) district, the class character of the Pakistani state (Chandra 1972a), and agrarian relations in the newly independent country of Bangladesh (Chandra 1972b). The third vector was his lifelong engagement with problems of “retarded economies”, with India at the centre.

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