Neoliberalism and the Transforming Left in India: A contradictory manifesto, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Neoliberalism and the Transforming Left in India

A contradictory manifesto, 1st Edition

By Ritanjan Das


228 pages

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Hardback: 9781138732292
pub: 2017-10-30
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pub: 2017-10-30
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West Bengal has often been perceived as somewhat of an aberration in the wider context of a rather chaotic Indian democracy, as the Left Front (spearheaded by the Communist Party of India-Marxist, CPIM) demonstrated a rare instance of political stability, decisively winning seven consecutive democratic elections from 1977 to 2006. Its development record has also been substantial, with a focus on land reforms, the panchayati-raj institution, and an agriculture centric development agenda.

This book presents a reappraisal of the political economic history of the CPIM/Left Front regime against the backdrop of the Indian reform experience. It examines two distinct areas: the conditions that necessitated the regime to engineer a transition from an erstwhile agricultural-based growth model to a more pro-market economic agenda post-1991, and the political strategy employed to manage such a transition, attract private capital and at the same time sustain the regime’s traditional rhetoric and partisan character. In order to develop a more textured understanding of the recent political developments in West Bengal, the author applies a historically nuanced and inductive political-economic analysis, which draws on published materials, and primary material such as government documents and interviews (with bureaucrats, political activists, members of the intelligentsia and ministers).

A valuable contribution to the ongoing debate in the literature on the drifts underway with the Indian Left and India’s economic transformation post-1990s, this book will be of interest to academics in the field of Political Science, Government, Political Economy and South Asian Studies.

Table of Contents


1. The Politics Of Economic Transition: Surprises, Perspectives, and the Indian Reform Experience

2. From Bhadraloks to Party-Society: Trends in Bengali Left Politics

3. The Production and Legitimisation of Hegemony: Political Rationale of the CPIM

4. Reforming by Compulsion? Fiscal, Federal and Ideological Choices

5. The Politics of Transition: Contradictions, Negotiation and Consensus

6. Land, Consent And Violence: ‘Implosion’ of the Shadow State

7. Conclusion

About the Author

Ritanjan Das received his PhD in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and is currently working as Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, UK. His research focuses on the political economy of development, dispossession, power and cultural identity in contemporary India.

About the Series

Routledge/Edinburgh South Asian Studies Series

This series is published in association with the Centre for South Asian Studies, Edinburgh University - one of the leading centres for South Asian Studies in the UK with a strong interdisciplinary focus. It presents research monographs and high-quality edited volumes as well as textbook on topics concerning the Indian subcontinent from the modern period to contemporary times. It aims to advance understanding of the key issues in the study of South Asia, and contributions include works by experts in the social sciences and the humanities. In accordance with the academic traditions of Edinburgh, we particularly welcome submissions which emphasise the social in South Asian history, politics, sociology and anthropology, based upon thick description of empirical reality, generalised to provide original and broadly applicable conclusions.

The series welcomes new submissions from young researchers as well as established scholars working on South Asia, from any disciplinary perspective.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General