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Finding forever

Published @ Business Standard
Jesus Christ by Abanindranath Tagore Since early modernity, popular representation of time is the one that drives capital and manufactures social life In the Book of Daniel in the Hebrew Bible, prophet Daniel sees “The Ancient of Days” as saving the world, after which “his dominion shall be everlasting; it shall never be destroyed”. This is one of the more prominent pronouncements in Hebrew literature of the pursuit of “everlasting” glory undertaken in this world as against, say, the immortality…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Capitalism | Read More

Being human is so yesterday

Published @ Business Standard
Keep walking Late 20th century capitalism has made human identity unstable and unsustainable In the very second stanza of The Cyborg Manifesto (1985) — her game-changing thesis about feminism and identity politics — American feminist philosopher Donna Haraway claimed that the boundary between social reality and science fiction is an optical illusion. Late 20th century capitalism, she contended, had made human identity unstable and unsustainable and pushed humans — in life as in labour — into a war with machines.
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Capitalism | Read More

The family and the city

Published @ Biblio India
Chandak Sengoopta has had a less-than-conventional training. He studied to be a medical doctor in Calcutta, did his doctoral research in the US on the history of medicine and is now a historian of colonial and postcolonial India in Birkbeck College, London. His first book was a study of the notorious Viennese philosopher Otto Weininger’s controversial work on identity, while his next two books – Imprint of the Raj: How Fingerprinting was Born in Colonial India (Macmillan, 2003)…

The Shame Is Squarely On Them

Published @ Outlook India
Taslima’s solipsistic atomism jars, but one must admire her spirit in the face of slimy intolerance An autobiography called Exile is bound to invoke a dreary sense of deja vu, if for nothing else, but for the sheer weight of the word; and the impossibility of improving upon its literary and political foundations. And honestly, since when has exile not haunted a writer or his work? Look attentively to just the twentieth century and you’ll see a Jean Genet or James…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Book Review, Gender | Read More

Crucible Of Intellect

Published @ Outlook India
As I write this review, India is in the middle of another proxy war, televised hate speech is deified as prime-time journalism and a cynical public is deeply divided and communalised. In such times, an anthology that ennobles the opposite of these ailments is a surprising, but welcome, infringement. It is difficult to imagine a time when politicians were also statesmen, read widely and debated vigorously, when they agreed to disagree with civility and yet partook in an…

Bengali Cinema is Moribund and Smug in its Comfort Zone

Published @ The Wire
Poster of Tapan Sinha’s landmark Jotugriga, (The House of Wax, 1964). Bengali cinema has long lost its Madeleine and has also forgotten that it has lost it. With the new film Prakton, the forgetting is now complete. After watching Sairat, a Bengali professional based in Bombay posted a moving comment on his Facebook wall. The post said how the Marathi film reminded him of his parents – refugees and also ardent Communists in post-colonial India – who had an inter-caste marriage in…

Mamata takes all

Published @ The Indian Express
No armchair politics. Mamata Banerjee in a file photo. Photographer Unknown A weakened opposition is unlikely to force Mamata to improve governance. Expectedly, Mamata Banerjee’s All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) has returned to power in West Bengal. Yet, the scale of its triumph boggles the mind. The AITC has, in fact, tallied the maximum amount of seats ever won by a single party in West Bengal. The results, similarly, will baffle the surgeons of the Left-Congress alliance, for they had…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Opinion, Politics | Read More

The Irrepressible City of Modernity

Published @ Economic & Political Weekly (EPW)
Clive Street, Calcutta, early 20th century. Photographer Unknown. Historiography of the modern city must be cognisant of the historical moment in which the metropolitan space made the first gains from modernity as a deterritorialised and yet organising principle of self-articulation. The modern city is the first global space in the modern period, a space beyond narrow nationality, compressed social hierarchy and older orthodoxy. Moreover, that historiography is to be, unsurprisingly, contestable, complicated as it gets by the multiplicity of articulation,…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Book Review, Calcutta | Read More

The more things remain the same

Published @ The Indian Express
Fade out. Free wallpaper by Dipanjano. There’s little to choose between the Trinamool and the Left in West Bengal Bengal started to vote on Monday and will do so for a month and a half. This is the first time in recent memory that a party other than the CPM, as part of a ruling Left Front, is the incumbent party. This is also the first time in recent history that the Congress and the Left parties, after having long…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Opinion, Politics | Read More