This remarkable book traces the Left Front government’s rise to power in the wake of the Emergency. It tells the story of how a communist almost became India’s Prime Minister, and how the CPI-M, powering its way to electoral victory through promises of empowerment to the most wretched, began gradually to betray its followers and abandon its ideology. Tracking the heady 60s and 70s, Left Politics in Bengal describes the CPI-M’s evolution from a party leading peasantry; from a party of unstinted opposition to the Congress to one keeping its former adversary in power at the Centre.
The author narrates a tale both deeply personal and objective. Through academic histories, literature, music, films, narratives, of former comrades and her own journalistic and personal experience, she explores the structures and relations of power, specific not just to the CPI-M, but communist parties in general. Emphasizing both the representation of the Left in popular mentality, and the institutional changes wrought by the party in government, she creates a nuanced, well-observed portrait of a government’s fall from grace.
This is a must- read for all those interested in the contemporary politics of India.
About the Author
Monobina Gupta is a veteran journalist. She has worked with The Patriot, The Telegraph, Mail Today and Indo-Asian News Service.
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