This felicitation volume has had a long wait. Basically, the brain child of the late Dr. Kalyan Kumar Sengupta, this project took shape in the discussions that he had with the executive editor of this volume who shares a unique relationship with Dr. Sunil Sen. The very first step in this direction was taken by Prof. Sengupta when he wrote the article that features in this book. However, remises had planned otherwise. Dr. Sengupta was deprived of the opportunity of seeing the project turn to reality. Had he been alive the present executive editor would have been spared the responsibility of editing this volume. After the sad demise of Dr. Kalyan Sengupta the project was virtually shelved. Hectic academic schedule and the burden of existence more and more pushed the project to the remote corners of my mind. Months rolled by unnoticed. However, Professor Tripti Chaudhuri had broached the matter with the Vice Chancellor, who had readily agreed. Only last summer at an informal departmental gathering it occurred to us that the Department of History, Rabindra Bharati University which Dr. Sen had served with such selfless dedication should have been more alive to the idea of bringing out a felicitation volume in his honour. Honestly, the Department of History, Rabindra Bharati University, owes a lot to Dr. Sunil Sen and has certainly a debt to discharge. Dr. Sunil Sen has indeed been a father figure for the Department and seen it through in its ebb and tide. There has never been a project or programme of the Department in which Dr. Sen has not taken personal interest. His failing health has never been a stumbling block between us. So, in recognition and admission of Dr. Sen's care and affection towards each of us in the Depart-ment we decided to put in our efforts and contribute in our own humble way towards the completion of this volume.
The range of themes that the volume encompasses may seem a little disparate but, on close perusal, one is sure to discern a pattern. Through these essays the contributors have in their own characteristic way tried to highlight different facets of the Raj. Basically their efforts have been to trace the impact of the Raj and various sectors of the Indian society and to examine the kind of response that the imperial impact generated. So, diverse as the themes might apparently appear, in reality, they go to form a pattern or mosaic. The volume has thus been titled 'The Imperial Embrace : Society, and Polity under the Raj'. My sincere thanks to Dr. Himadri Banerjee for providing the key theme of the volume. Quite in tune with his deep literary roots, he furnished the title with commendable ease. The varied themes on colonial India can also be justified by the fact that Dr. Sen, has all his life, worked on different aspects, of Colonial Rule in India. They also reflect the specialization of respective contributors. Thus, while the late Dr. Kalyan Sengupta has laid bare the exploitative character of the colonial administration and the plight of the Indian peasants the tribal. Population, Professor Pradip Sinha, the urban historian has re-examined the position of the middle-class in 19th Century Bengal 'as a force for social change and retardation'.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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