Category Archives: India

The Rumour of Calcutta

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David Sunderland Financing the Raj

Quite a start for this book, keen to know more (but need to find a copy I can afford):

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Reviewed here:

> Citation: Sumit Guha. Review of Sunderland, David, _Financing the
> Raj: the City of London and Colonial India, 1858-1940_. H-Empire,
> H-Net Reviews. April, 2014.
> URL: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=41407

South Asian Television Studies articles free till Dec 2014

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Quid pro Quo (I will eventually explain all – (dm me if you can read a draft, on East India Co and value extraction)

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trinkets in The Rumour of Calcutta #trinketization

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get it here: http://zedbooks.co.uk/node/13018

 

Daya Thussu new book

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Tipu Trinkets and speculative plunder

This passage from Maya Jasanoff’s book on colonial and East India Company collections, p 182 – it should be read alongside an earlier post on ‘Tipu’s slippers’, filched by Lady Clive and now in Powis Castle.

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Daftaripara

And the best student workplace inquiry of the year award goes to… http://www.daftaripara.org/

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The East India Company and all that Jazz

Charming, says SF, but I am still waiting for HRH to bring out some equally fetching opium ball presentation boxes, with matching ivory inlaid pipe set, for the Deptford Xmas commemorative exhibit.

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‘The Advocate’ – screening and discussion [Uni of Westminster 23.10.2013]

You are invited to the screening of ‘The Advocate’ and to participate in the discussions on the role of civil liberties movements in the context of development, resistance and repression in India and elsewhere.

‘The Advocate’ documentary film on civil liberties, social movements and state in Andhra Pradesh, India

Wednesday 23 October 2013, 6.30-9pm

Venue: ‘The Pavilion’ University of Westminster, Cavendish Building
115 New Cavendish Street, London, W1W 6UW

The documentary film ‘The Advocate’ focuses on the life and work of late G. Kannabiran, India’s foremost lawyer and champion of civil liberties. The film highlights state repression including extra-judicial killings, political prisoners and violations of civil liberties of the Maoist movement that forms the context for his work in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. The context includes the socio-economic causes for the insurgency and its repression and the role of civil liberties movement in India in engaging the wider social issues. The documentary comes at a time of widespread state repression of popular movements in India including use of death penalties, rejection of clemency petitions, high numbers of political prisoners including women political prisoners, extra judicial killings, widespread use of torture, custodial rape, deployment of armed forces and lack of fair trials. The film highlights the context to the resistance and repression which, in most cases, lie in socio-economic deprivations and social polarisations. The film opens up the spaces for debate on the state of civil liberties in India, seen as the most populous democracy in the world, and more widely, the assumptions about human rights, civil liberties, economic polarisation and socio-economic deprivations more generally in other Third World countries.

Chaired by Prof Penny Green, International State Crime Initiative, Kings College London

Panelists include

Dr Radha D’Souza, University of Westminster, School of Law
Saleh Mamon, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC)
John Hutnyk, Professor of Cultural Studies, Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths University of London

Organised by CAMPACC, Development & Conflict group, School of Law, University of Westminster; International State Crime Initiative; Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers

THIS IS A FREE EVENT. ALL WELCOME!

For information & RSVP contact: CAMPACC: Estella Schmid e-mail: estella24@tiscali.co.uk
Tel 020 7586 5892 www.campacc.org.uk <http://www.campacc.org.uk>

Development and Conflict Group: R. Seenivasan – ramasas@westminster.ac.uk

Red Ant Dream 2:30 27.9.2013

Dear all

i would like to invite to the screening of Sanjay Kak’s new film “Red Ant Dream”
followed by a discussion with the filmmaker.

When: Friday 27th, 2.30pm
Where: NAB, LG01

https://www.facebook.com/events/413288558775627/

Please spread this information amongst your students.
Maybe this is just the right event at the end of a very busy induction week.

More information on the film can be found here:
Red Ant Dream – Teaser 2
Red Ant Dream – Forest Walk

http://www.redantdream.com

https://www.facebook.com/redantdreamdocumentary

Many thanks and all best wishes ! Nicole

VC Gherao Kolkata

On the day that I received a copy of my chapter in the book, Television at Large in South Asia (see here) this news from Kolkata seemed highly apposite.

 

After Jadavpur, Calcutta University students gherao VC

Last Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013, 23:48

Kolkata: Close on the heels of gherao of the Jadavpur University vice chancellor by students for 51-hours, B-Tech students of a college of Calcutta University on Monday gheroed the varsity’s VC and pro-VC alleging that the authorities were not taking any steps for their placement. Calcutta University VC Suranjan Das and Pro-VC (academic) Dhrubajyoti Chatterjee continue to remain gheraoed at the Raja Bazar Science College campus of the university by B-Tech students till late in the night, university sources said. The B-Tech students first gheraoed the principal of the Raja Bazar Science College at 2.30 pm, the sources said.

Hearing the news of the gherao of the principal, Das sent the pro-vc (academic) to talk to the students but they gheraoed him as well. The VC, who reached the campus around 7 pm, was gheraoed too and gates were locked from outside. “Gherao is a democratic right. But this locking of door and gates from outside is not acceptable because if there is fire of any such incident then there may be serious loss,” the VC said over the phone from inside the college. The VC said “that there is a placement cell in the Raja Bazar Science College. However, there is no placement officer at present but a professor of the college is officiating additionally as the placement officer.” “If companies reject the candidates (send for placement) then why should the college authorities be blamed,” he added. The gherao of the VC, pro-VC (academic) and principal of the college was still continuing till 11 pm, the sources said. On September 20, engineering students of Jadavpur University lifted their 51-hour gherao of the vice- chancellor, pro vice-chancellor and registrar, demanding the revocation of the suspensions of two fourth-year students on ragging charges. PTI

First Published: Monday, September 23, 2013, 23:48

MA Asian Cultural Studies starts September 2014

apply here

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MA Asian Cultural Studies (Recruiting for September 2014)

Combining critical theoretical perspectives with an in-depth regional focus, this unique programme provides you with the tools to make sense of the ascendance of Asia and its impact on contemporary culture and geopolitics. Britain is the birthplace of Cultural Studies. Goldsmiths is home to the UK’s largest concentration of scholars and postgraduate students in cultural studies. In the context of contemporary global geopolitics, with the ascendency of China and India, cultural studies must necessarily be Asian.

Most programmes like this are taught from Asian or area studies departments. This course’s assumption is that Asia is now too big for area studies. It is that a proper cultural framework is necessary for engaging with contemporary Asia. The MA incorporates the very highest level of cultural theory and study in global political economy. We feature an engagement with the arts and practice, drawing on Goldsmiths unique position and standing in the context of London’s urban experience. The programme builds on the Stuart Hall tradition in which theory, economics, politics, the arts and Asia itself are conceived as cultural.

You will be taught by renowned academics. Teaching on China is led by Professors Wang Hui, Scott Lash, and Michael Dutton, while Indian material is covered by Professors Sanjay Seth, John Hutnyk, and Dr Bhaskar Mukhopadhyay. Dr Rajyashree Pandey provides expertise on Japan.

Wealth of Bengal before colonial plunder (site of originary accumulation)

Salahuddin Ahmad lists the economic abundance of Bengal, citing Manouchi, the personal physician of Aurangjeb, and Clive, victor of Plassey against Suraj, and at Chandernagor against the French. Ahmad notes fertility of the land, availability of minerals, diamonds, iron, agriculural development, great river systems, irrigation and cultivation, grains, fruits, flowers, sugar-cane, betel, coconut:

‘Referring to the people of Bengal, Marco Polo says, “They grow cotton, in which they derive a great-trade” (Yule, Marco Polo, n. 115). Fruits like mango (amra), bread-fruit (panasa), pomgranate (dalimya), plantain, bassia latifolia (madhuka), date (kharjura), citron (vija ) and figs (parkati) were also widely cultivated. Barnier (1656-1668) writes on Agricultural system of Bengal in his travel account “One can see numerous canals from Rajmahal to the sea. These have been dug with hard labour for river traffic and irrigation”. Chinese traveler Yuan Chwang gives a vivid description of Agriculture in Bengal. He points to the generation of wealth through Agriculture, Crops, fruits and flower were growth in plenty’ (Ahmad, S 2005:9)

Crafts, textiles, salt, pottery, metals, jewellery, stone and wood works, ship-building, Ivory carving, trade – Roman Gold through to Chinese silks from Yunnan (Ahmad 2005:18).

Food stuff featuring in any discussion of Bengal should not be a surprise, though it is interesting to note the Portuguese influence on Bengali cuisine, at Hooghly after 1578, with special skills in baking and pastries, and in ways less regulated than the term ‘settlement’ implies, some Portuguese ‘became plunderers and pirates’. This suggests a convergence of cooking and plunder that would be echoed years later in the sumptuous on-board meals of the East India line ships, noted by Thomas Twining – ‘an abundance and variety, which surprised me, consisting of many joints of mutton and pork, variously dressed, curries and pillaus, chickens, ducks and on Sundays turkeys and hams’ (quoted in Bowen, McAleer and Blyth 2011:118).

The Portuguese at Hooghly did not just feast at table,[1] but brought with a sweet tooth perhaps perfectly suited to Bengal, as:

‘in alliance with the Arakanese and Moghs, a semi-tribal Buddhist people who lived around Chittagong. Known as Feringhi (from the Arab word “Frank”, once applied to the Crusaders), these [Portuguese] brigands reaped a reign of terror over the rivers and swamps of eastern Bengal. These Moghs were to play an interesting role in culinary history. For centuries they had worked as deckhands and cooks on Arab ships trading with Southeast Asia. The Portuguese continued this tradition by employing the Moghs as cooks and they quickly learned the culinary arts of their masters, becoming skilled confectioners and bakers’ (Sen 2010:3-4)

After Clive, through his agent George Bogle, according to North Bengal University History Professor Arabinda Deb, Warren Hastings accepts trade with China via Tibet and Bhutan, concluding a treaty with the Deba Raja of Bhutan in 1775 for trade in betel, sandal, indigo and tobacco (Deb 1984:18)


[1] ‘The Portuguese language remained a lingua franca in Bengal at late as the 18th century. Clive, who could never give an order in any native language, was said to speak fluent Portuguese. The first three books printed in the Bengali language were printed in Latin characters in Lisbon in 1743, and it was a Portuguese who composed the first Bengali prose work and the first Bengali grammar and dictionary. In Modern Bengali, articles of common use, items used in Christian services, and plants often go by their Portuguese names; e.g., ag-bent (holy water), alpin (pin), altar (altar), ananas (pineapple), balti (bucket), bispa (bishop), botel (bottle), spanj (sponge), girja (church), tamak (tobacco), piyara (pear), ata (custard apple), veranda, etc. Other Portuguese words have passed into the English language, including caste, peon, padre, papaya, plantain, cobra, mosquito, pomfret, and palmyra. (Sen 2010:4). Sen includes an impressive two-page table of imported foodstuffs.

Refs:

Ahmad Salahuddin 2005 ‘Rise and Decline of the Economy of Bengal’ Asian Affairs, Vol. 27, No. 3 : 5-26, July – September.

Bowen, Huw, John McAleer and Robert J. Blyth 2011 Monsoon Traders: The maritime world of the East India Company London: Scala Pubnlishers

Deb, Arabinda 1984 ‘Tibet and Bengal; A Study in Trade Policy and Trade Pattern 1775-1785’ Bulletin of Tibetology (New Series) No 3: 17-32.

Sen, Colleen 2010 ‘The Portuguese Influence on Bengali Cuisine’ at Food on the Move: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 1996’ 14 pages – available at http://www.colleensen.com/pdf/portuguese_influence.pdf – accessed April 2 2013.

 

Superman returns? Not in the right place to do any good.

russell-crowe-in-full-costume-on-setDestroying the planet is the gothic of today and no bat in a cloak can swoop down from up high, like some inverted interbred vampire out of Capital, to redeem us. The bad debts pile up; floods, strange weather, drought, fire, starvation and death, compounded, if not outright caused, by a mercenary human aggression with less morality than wasps.

Large dams, mining, war, pollution, an obscenity that abides in the love of wealth and power. Suited monstrosities of corporation, Government, banking and science. In politics, Machiavelli would need rescue remedy today – appalled and embarrassed he would be.

I sit outside in the dull acid rain typing.

(yes SF, I know Russ is not the bat’s dad x)

Mrinal Sen Films

Mrinal Sen 90

Mrinal SenMrinal Sen is 90 today (May 14 2013) and all the best to him. I would argue that he is the greatest living film director, bare none.This YouTube page has some films by and on Sen: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%22Mrinal+Sen%22&oq=%22Mrinal+Sen%22&gs_l=youtube.3…2259.6576.0.9023.12.11.0.0.0.0.0.0..0.0…0.0…1ac.1.11.youtube. (Thanks Abhijit). I will screen a number of Sen films – especially the Maoist period Calcutta films – Interview, Calcutta 71 and Padatik – in the monday night film screening slot in Autumn term at Goldsmiths. He gave Amitabh B his first break, he made Shabana A an actress, he showed Louis M the way round the city, and more and more. Come along to the screenings – check the what’s on back here or the Goldsmiths Centre for Cultural Studies events calendar for info in late September (it will also be a course for credit as part of the new MA Critical Asian Studies, but its open to all comers like other CCS courses).

IPWA

Rustom Bharucha reports that the Progressive Writers Association has its origins, according to ‘its most distinguished founder- member Mulk Ray Anand’ in ‘the expatriate community of India students in London, who had charted their first manifesto as “progressive” writers in 1935 in a Chinese restaurant’ (Bharucha 1998:29)

Bharucha, Rustom 1998 In the Name of the Secular: Contemporary Cultural Activision in Inidia Delhi: Oxford UP

Tipu’s Slippers

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I need to take another look at Derrida on Heidegger on Van Gogh’s work shoes and think about this in relation to the theft of Tipu Sultan’s slippers, appropriated by the wife of Clive and now on display at Powis Castle. Toe-tapping/curling stuff.

On the Courtyard, talk at Tate from January

On 26 Jan 2013, a talk at Tate Modern on the Sharjah Art Foundation Biennale proposed theme of New Cultural Cartographies. My views, given late in the day, reliant on Gayatri Spivak’s hugely influential work, and following talks by the excellent Sarat Maharaj, Yuko Hasegawa and Wael Shawky (interviewed). Slightly combative  and with a slip in putting the Danes in Chandenaggor, it is the talk I wish I could have parsed for Princeton – but that was not recorded, even though some people asked for it (thanks Anisha, Saleh, Ben). Click the picture to get to the Tate link.

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