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Passive Revolution in West Bengal
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Passive Revolution in West Bengal
1977-2011

First Edition


March 2013 | 266 pages | SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd
In the wake of the enormous interest across the globe in the fall of the Left Front in West Bengal, this book describes the Left era as one of passive revolution: limited reforms and changes, big compromises, corruption of the commissars and the failure of the Left in assessing popular discontent and anger; thus, it is the end of revolution even in passive form.

A collection of articles by Samaddar from leading national dailies and journals between 1977 and the downfall of the Left in West Bengal, this books analyses the era of the Left rule, its political decisions and its social and economic viability. Samaddar argues that the Left's rule and its own governmental style destroyed the hegemony it had built up through assiduous work of decades.

A commentary on contemporary history and an assessment of it, this work helps the reader understand, better, the re-emergence of the Maoist movement in West Bengal, the governmental techniques of the Left and the dynamics of popular politics.

Introduction: Writing the History of Contemporary Bengal

 
 
I: CAPITAL, LABOUR AND POLITICS
Decade of Strike by Capital

 
A Dying Metropolis

 
Does the Left Front Favour the Urban Elite?

 
Environment and Employment: Will the Trade Unions and Greens Join Hands?

 
The Tannery Workers of Tangra

 
Lessons of Ayodhya: Has the Left Lost Its Vision?

 
New Right and the New Left

 
Party, Mass Organizations, and Mass Movements

 
More on Party and Mass Organization

 
Votes and Populism

 
 
II: NEW ISSUES, NEW PERSPECTIVES
Who is Afraid of the Migrants in Bengal?

 
A Library and an Institution

 
Hunger and the Politics of Life

 
Rajarhat-An Urban Dystopia

 
Dialogue and Growth

 
All Die, But All Do Not Die Equally

 
Chronicles of the Ranks

 
The Fast Emerging Power Vacuum

 
Civil Society and the Politics of a Society /Is Bengal's Restless Spirit in Decline?

 
 
III: CONTENTIOUS POLITICS
Claim Making in the Age of Bio-politics

 
That was Revolt, This is Civil War

 
Elections in the Time of a Civil War

 
Populism and Peace

 
Different Ways of Truth telling

 
The Idea of a Front

 
Elections and Expanding our Representative System

 
Spring Time in Bengal

 
Their Civil Society, Our Civil Society

 
Stocktaking Midway through the War

 
 
IV: MESSY CHANGE
Transitional Challenges

 
Governing the Multitude-I

 
Governing the Multitude-II

 
How to Prevent a Telengana type Situation in West Bengal

 
The Challenge of Building a Non-corporate Path of Development

 
A Suggestion on Bengal's Economic Woes

 
A Square Leading to Many Unknown Destinations

 
Early but Inevitable Errors in Judgement

 
A Violent History of Peace

 
Political Change is never for Utopia

 
Knight Riders in Kolkata /V: PERENNIAL THEMES

 
Eternal Bengal

 
"It does not die"-Urban Protest in Calcutta, 1987-2007

 
 
VI: POSTSCRIPT
The Epoch of Passive Revolution

 
Index

 

The book contains many brilliant flashes of a social scientist. The analytical framework he uses to understand the contemporary history of West Bengal and interpreting it in terms of a sense of heterogeneity of events in a contemporary time scale adds to the value.

The Financial Express

A commendable work, comprehensive and remarkable in a way the newspaper columns are woven together into an integrated bouquet. 

The Statesman, 26 January 2014

A valuable contribution to the rich literature analysing the causes and consequences of the collapse of the left front government in West Bengal...Samaddar walks us through the highly interesting period (1977-2011) of change stagnation thematically arranged under five sections...the focussed discussion on particular lapses and fault lines is complemented by an insightful overview of the essential logic of the LF rule and the process of its inevitable collapse.

Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 49, 18 January 2014

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