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

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Chronicling a Newly Independent Nation

Reading India: Selections from the Economic Weekly edited by Pranab Bardhan, Sudipto Mundle and Rohini Somanathan, Volume I: 1949–1965, Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan, 2019, xiii + 430, price not stated.

The Economic Weekly (EW) was launched in Bombay (now Mumbai) in January 1949 under the editorship of Sachin Chaudhuri. Chaudhuri was an economist of rare intellectual timbre, who had studied in Dacca University during 1922–26, having been a classmate of A K Dasgupta, the doyen among India’s economic theorists. Due to the peculiar rules and conventions governing the institutions of higher learning in our subcontinent, poor result in his master’s examination ensured that a career in academics was sadly denied for ever to the young Chaudhuri. But Chaudhuri never lost his lust for ideas, regardless of whether they were from history, economics, sociology or archaeology.

The several twists in his life’s chances saw Chaudhuri giving tuitions in Kolkata to make a living, and then shifting, in the 1930s, to Mumbai to stay alternately with his two younger brothers (for a fascinating account, see Mitra 1967, 1977, 2016), and earning his keep by writing political, economic, and even film commentaries for some newspapers. For a brief period, he took up the position of general manager of Bombay Talkies after Himanshu Rai passed away! But his final calling came in 1948 when his younger brother Hiten, working in the corporate sector, was able to prevail upon an initially reluctant Chaudhuri to edit a brand new weekly publication. Hiten’s close friends in the Seksaria Group of financiers had been persuaded to provide the entire equity capital. Thus was born the Economic Weekly.

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Updated On : 17th Aug, 2020

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