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Gender, Culture, Politics: Bengal in the 20th Century - Open Distance Initiative

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Proceedings of the One-Day UGC-DEB Sponsored National Seminar (Seminar Proceedings 24th September, 2016)
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Item Code: HAS521
Author: Edited By Chandan Basu, Barnana Guha Thakurta Banerjee, Manosanta Biswas
Publisher: Netaji Subhas Open University, Kolkata
Language: English
Edition: 2016
ISBN: 9789382112327
Pages: 535
Other Details 8.5x5.5 inch
Weight 630 gm
Book Description
About The Book

The twentieth century Bengal occupies an interesting position in the history, culture and politics of India. In recent years, it has also emerged as a major site of debate and deliberations among the scholars', sociologists, historians and experts' of other fields of social sciences. Recent historical interpretations have made significant contributions and more imaginative micro-study in the realm of gender, culture and politics to locate and identify the specificities of regional historical experiences. The Bengali society witnessed long- term transformation in the 19th and 20th centuries as a result of the introduction of colonial rule. As a result of this transformative process, the women questions had emerged in 19 century India as distinctly articulated discourse. The most interesting point is that it was a public discourse. In 20 century Bengal, the women penetrated in the male dominated public life more strongly. The presence of the women was felt not only in the political sphere of nationalism, but also in the wider arena of left politics. Most interestingly, the women also appeared as a strong social force beyond the circle of the organized politics. It was in the subaltern politics of resistance, the women played most critical role in radicalizing the protest movement. The higher caste elites were able to monopolize the nationalist politics of Bengal in the first two decades of 20 century. They however had lost their domination in mass nationalists' movement during the 1930s.The emergence of the caste movement constituted an important watershed in the history of nationalism in Bengal in the decades late 1930s and 1940s. The Bengal Partition was also an extremely important event which produced new social, political and cultural processes in the state. The transition towards a decolonized political form brought new groups in to the public sphere of newly constituted state, that is, West Bengal. The introduction of universal adult franchise also created new types of dynamism and popular participation in the political perspectives of West Bengal. The politics of protest also took new turn in the decades after independence. It generated new research questions in the academic circle.


It is my great pleasure to note that the School of Social Sciences, Netaji Subhas Open University has taken initiative to organize One-Day UGC- DEB Sponsored National Seminar on 'Gender, Culture, Politics: Bengal in the 20th Century - Open Distance Initiative'. The aim of the seminar is to explore the interplay of gender, culture and politics - the three distinct but interdependent elements of the history of the 20th century Bengal. The notable point is that it is an initiative of Netaji Subhas Open University - the leading open and distance learning institution of eastern India - to interrogate the historical evolution of Bengal through the prism of gender, culture and politics. I would like to praise the publication of the Proceedings of the seminar in printed form in the very day of the Seminar, that is, September 24, 2016.

Any historical account of colonial and post-colonial Bengal, particularly Bengal of the 20th century, should pay adequate attention to the complex transformation of the economic pattern, social structure and political processes: the rise and growth of nationalist movement, the development of communalism, the movements of the plebian social classes, the partition of the province, the erosion of colonial dominance, the birth of West Bengal and the emergence of Bangladesh as a sovereign nation etc. This long 20th century in the history of Bengal also witnessed left movement on the one hand and rightist politics on the other.

Bengal also witnessed major expansion of education during the period under review. The modern form of education which was introduced by the colonial authority in Bengal during 19th century to meet the political, administrative and financial requirements of the British rule started taking a popular character in the 20th century. It included both the primary and secondary education on the one hand and higher education on the other.

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