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Passive Revolution in West Bengal

Passive Revolution in West Bengal

First Edition

March 2013 | 266 pages | SAGE India
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

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

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?

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

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

The Epoch of Passive Revolution



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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ISBN: 9789353289942
ISBN: 9788132110941