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

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Ashok Mitra (1928–2018)

Ashok Mitra remained arekrakam (of another kind), insisting that the left could only survive and thrive if it does not abandon its ideology and principled politics. This Arekrakam legacy he leaves behind—als0 in the form of the journal he established by the same name—will remain a powerful inspiration for all efforts to resuscitate and rejuvenate the left movement in Bengal and elsewhere.

Aspiring for Universal Health Coverage through Private Care

The National Health Policy 2017 makes a case for expanding private sector participation through collaboration. The policy offers little assurance of providing integrated and universal healthcare.

Calcutta Diary

It is not that Subhas Mukhopadhyay did not receive enough of prizes and rewards when he was a card-carrying communist. He was a household name in Bengali left households, generations have been reared, and inspired, by his poetry and prose. But once bitten by the bug of disillusion, he got hopelessly disequilibrated. He migrated from faith into cynicism. He chose, particularly during the closing years, coarse company. It was a coarse funeral he received. It is a cruel thing to say, but he dug his own grave. It is a tragedy, but there it is.

Uneasy Convergence of Left and Right?

The ruling Left in West Bengal tends to converge with the ruling Right at the centre in pursuing - half-heartedly though - the amoral agenda of economic liberalisation.

West Bengal: Untenable Umbrage

West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had reason to complain that his state did not get the praise it deserved from the prime minister during the latter's recent visit to Kolkata for the shining example it had set in maintaining communal harmony, in contrast to the shameful happenings in Gujarat. But there was no need for him to take umbrage at the prime minister's advice to the state to do more on the economic front to regain the leading position it had once held in the country.

The Left after the Elections

Now that the dust of the elections has settled, several questions need to be addressed by the Left, if it is to seriously think of chalking out its future. After its debacle in Kerala, will the Left now remain content with its electoral power confined to Tripura and West Bengal? In the rest of India, will it reconcile itself to the role of a minor ally of various regional and centrist parties? Shall we see more of spectacles like the CPI and the CPI(M) tying themselves to the apron strings of the likes of Laloo Yadav and Jayalalitha? Will they be seen on the same platform as the Shiv Sena and the RSS-led Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh in anti-WTO agitations, as witnessed recently in Maharashtra?

Left Front Win in West Bengal

A far-reaching consequence of long Left Front rule has been the manner in which debate and discussion have been made subservient to the CPI(M) party line with the result that to mount any critique of entrenched positions is difficult due to the lack of space for autonomous thinking. The challenge from Saifuddin Chowdhury's Party for Democratic Socialism, its organisational weakness notwithstanding, has perhaps provoked the beginning of some changes within the CPI(M) and the LF. Buddhadev Bhattacharya alluded to this in the run-up to the elections. Whether the substantial issues are addressed or swept under the carpet yet again after the LF victory remains to be seen, but in the long run the CPI(M) has to come to terms with the changing conceptual prisms through which it has habitually viewed the world.

Police Indifference

D Bandyopadhyay's incisive commentary ('Licence to Kill?', January 6) makes a thought-provoking impact. The initiator of Operation Barga was the late Benoy Krishna Choudhuri, the illustrious land reforms minister of West Bengal during the first three terms of Left Front government. But on reading...

Agrarian Backdrop of Bengal Violence

Rural violence in West Bengal seems for the moment to be contained within the three districts of Midnapore, Hooghly and Bankura, but if the CPI(M) and the state government continue to throttle protests through use of muscle-power and the police and the administration, the killing and mayhem will spill over into the rest of the state. The clashes look set to intensify after the next assembly elections.

Calcutta Diary

The press and the electronic media in Calcutta are currently engaged to persuade the middle class to cross over to accepting as gospel truth fabrications cut out of the wholecloth. The centre of attention, as can well be imagined, is the union railway minister. Let us concentrate on a couple of instances where she has displayed her remarkable quality of pyrotechnics in the very recent period.

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