Kolkata – Seminar on “Development in current and earlier phases”, March 24

March 22, 2011

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Organized by  Nagarik Mancha with the help of NESPON

The urban landscape of metropolitan Kolkata is fast changing. The change encompasses industry as well as agriculture: not only did the once-thriving industrial hub of the British Empire was destroyed but also farm lands of Rajarhat on the eastern fringe of the city; development in the form of shopping malls and apartments devoured those all.

A common tale/tales, this: by now we are familiar with these manifestations of ‘development’, neoliberal proclamations about their infallibility, and the aggression and violence that these narratives contain, especially when the ruling classes back the process.

Questions remain, however. If real estate development and shopping malls represent ‘development’, do we term the industrial civilization that made this city possible ‘backwardness’? The farmlands on the fringes of the city continue to provide food for the townspeople up to this day. Do these signify an ‘inferior’ kind of civilization? And, most importantly, what about the people who gave their skill and labour to keep alive these industrial and agricultural civilizations? When the new ‘development’ gobbles the old ‘developments’, where would they go? What would they do?

Prof Sutanu Bhattacharya and Prof Anjan Chakraborty will speak on “Unnoyner Ekal Sekal” (Development in current and earlier phases) in a seminar arranged by Nagarik Mancha with the help of NESPON, a Siliguri based voluntary organisation, on 24th March, 2011 at Indumati Sabhagriha, Jadavpur at 5 PM. The proceeding will be conducted by Prof Subhendu Dasgupta.

The film ‘Tales of Development: Kolkata 2005-2010’ (60 Minutes), made by Sri Soumitra Ghosh will be screened on the same day in the same venue. The film tries to trace these diverse and contrasted forms of development and shows people and images belonging to the older development eras as well as new. But mostly, it records people, lands and machines which apparently are lost, dead or dying: to show that the dominant reality of our times contains other and parallel realities.

We invite you to the programme.