Monday, September 22, 2014

The last stretch of the journey: Komagata Maru, the First World War and migrants from Punjab in Bengal


Suchetana Chattopadhyay 

Introduction


What were the local radical anti-colonial actions of Sikh migrants during and after the First World War? In Bengal, the operation of the colonial repressive state apparatus to deal with the passengers of the Komagata Maru and Punjabi migrants influenced the intersections of anti-colonial strands in Calcutta during 1914-15 and shaped the organised transmission of the ship’s memory as a symbol of resistance among the Sikh workers in the industrial centres of South-West Bengal from the 1920s onwards. In the process, certain neglected aspects of the last stretch of the ship’s journey and its immediate and long-term local effect are unraveled.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Keynes Re-Engaged

Arindam Banerjee

A book review of ‘Keynesian Reflections: Effective Demand, Money, Finance and Policies in the Crisis’ edited by Toshiaki Hirai, Maria Marcuzzo and Perry Mehrling, Oxford University Press 2013.

The global financial crisis of 2008 has dealt a double blow at the fundamentals of the world economic system, which the latter is still grappling with. The first blow was to the hitherto unchallenged hegemony of international finance capital, which rose to global dominance over the preceding three decades. The collapse of Lehmann Brothers and with it the disappearing aura of the Wall Street brought into question the deep-rooted confidence of finance capital. However, in the aftermath of the crisis, one can say that though Finance Capital is down but not yet out, given that there is an intense ongoing effort on part of the global financial elites to reinstate the near-complete hegemony that it enjoyed till the 2008 crash. The ardent push for austerity in the Euro zone and the more recent militancy of the Republicans, blocking the US budget, in order to bargain for greater fiscal conservatism, are cases in point, which reflect this continuous effort of finance capital to influence policy-making.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Bipan Chandra and His Times

Salil Misra

If Bipan Chandra – the Marxist, Nationalist, Gandhian, Liberal, all rolled into one – did not exist, he would have to be invented. His life, both as a teacher and historian, is so crucial for us to have a sense of our current accomplishments and predicaments. His life is a parable of five decades of historical thoughts on modern India. However as luck would have it, Bipan Chandra did exist, in flesh and blood, till 30 August 2014 at any rate. So there is no need to invent him. All that needs to be done is to tell his story, a brief intellectual biography.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Dimensions of ‘Class’

Satyaki Roy

Class has been a powerful analytical category in explaining social dynamics. In pre-classical ideas, class was identified in describing historical facts and normative positions. It is the advent of classical theory with Smith and Ricardo that made class an objective category in explaining distributions and tensions independent of technological and natural characteristics. But it is only in Marx that besides being mere distributional categories, class as a concept becomes alive assuming the place of both the subject and object of history.