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

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Women from Outside

Selfing the City: Single Women Migrants and Their Lives in Kolkata by Ipshita Chanda, New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2017; pp xi + 323, ₹ 995.

History of Popular Calcutta

Claiming the City: Protest, Crime and Scandals in Colonial Calcutta, c 1860–1920 by Anindita Ghosh, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2016; pp 340, ₹ 995.

View from the Other Side

A different kind of understanding took shape among certain sections of the Bengali elite, that is, the professional middle- and upper-classes, which gave a primacy to the norms of society and the needs of the locals over the commercial interests of the colonial state. The local ideas tried to jostle for space with the dominant colonial ideas of the city and manifested in various forms. Also, unlike the colonial ideas, the local ideas about the city space were not identical and unitary, but tended to vary from person to person. However, in all these, the interests of the society were also kept in mind. Some of these writings provided a sharp critique to the colonial administration and its views about the city, be it on the sanitary measures adopted by the administration or the mindless commercialisation in the city. The larger focus of the local views was to provide a critique of the colonial administration, as well as the critique of the social decay brought by it.

The Adi Ganga

The article sheds light on the Adi Ganga, one of the most significant streams of the Ganges in its lower course, and narrates how the stream (later Tolly’s Canal) which was once the life line of Kolkata transformed into a mere sewer and was ruthlessly slaughtered with the changing politico-economic interests of the state.

'City of Dreadful Night'

By cleansing the archival records of the cobwebs of biases and officialese which shroud their language and style, the modern historian can plumb to their depths the dark nooks and corners of the underworld of colonial Calcutta, and look at them from a fresh angle. It will raise a number of queries about colonial criminology - Who were the criminals in 19th century Calcutta? How were they made? What was the nature of their crimes? To what extent did they bring forth the colonial penal system, and in what measure did this newly organised system of detection, prosecution and punishment, in its turn, create new types of crime? This essay attempts to wrestle with these questions and suggests a few explanations while inviting responses from historians engaged in research in the field.

Calcutta Diary

The vocal sections of Indians have their priorities sorted out in excellent detail. The nation, the part of it that matters, lives for cricket and is prepared to die for it. Entertain no illusion, these sections do not have the slightest inclination to pledge themselves either for Iraq or for global peace.

Calcutta Diary

The Calcutta Book Fair is now a formidable institution and has completed a quarter of a century's existence. It draws participants from across the country and sometimes from overseas as well. Even so it is an overwhelmingly Bengali affair.

Calcutta Diary

The UTI fiasco has let down the middle class. It is a politically sensitive issue and the government is bound to launch into a number of firefighting operations. But once befuddled, twice shy. There is a danger of a revolt by the middle class.
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