1st Edition

Society and Culture in Bengal Essays in Memory of Bhaskar Chattopadhyay

Edited By Achintya Kumar Dutta, Subhayu Chattopadhyay Copyright 2025
    248 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    This book examines the social and cultural history of Bengal through two major themes — the intellectual and cultural dimension, and the socio-economic changes from the ancient to the postcolonial. Essays by major scholars highlight and analyse major debates as well as little known aspects of the region. From currency in ancient Bengal to the establishment of Calcutta, from the social history of Rahr to the challenges of writing history of mediaeval Bengal, from modern medicine to man-made famines, this book brings to the fore the diverse socio-cultural threads that constitute this region.

    The volume will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of Indian history and culture and South Asian studies.

    Foreword by Upinder Singh

    ‘Bhaskarda’ – Personal Reminiscences of a gentle teacher, scholar and soul

    Ganapathy Subbiah



    Part I: Aspects of Society, Economy, and Religion of Pre-modern Bengal

    1. Currency in Early Bengal

    B D Chattopadyyay

    2. Archaeological Sites in a Constructed Landscape: Case Histories from Rarh Bengal

    Suchira Roychoudhury

    3. Perspectives of Historical Biographies in Early India

    Romila Thapar

    4. The act of Dāna or Deyadhamma: Patronage to Buddhist monasteries in early Bengal (c.5th cent. CE to 13th cent. CE)

    Suchandra Ghosh

    5. Confluence of Creativity and Spirituality: A Study of Some Arabic Inscriptions of the Bengal Sultanate

    Syed Ejaz Hussain

    6. Challenges in Studying Social History of Medieval Bengal

    Md. Shah Noorur Rahman

    7. Medical Literature from Early Medieval Bengal: Making of a Regional Tradition

    Nupur Dasgupta


    Part II: Exploring Life and Culture in Modern Bengal

    8. Three Overlapping Frontiers in Early Modern Bengal: Religion, Agrarian, Imperial

    Richard M Eaton

    9. The Cultural Dynamics of Rahr: Defiance and Decline.

    Suchibrata Sen

    10. Who Owns the Past? Contestation on Mahabodhi Temple

    Goutam Sengupta

    11. Patriotism and a Poet in the Colonial World: Rabindranath Tagore and Nationalism

    Bipasha Raha

    12. Calcutta: The Emergence of a Science City (1784-1896)

    Deepak Kumar

    13. ‘They’ Wanted to Live: Lens, the Witness

    Subhayu Chattopadhyay

    14. ‘For the Recovery of His Health:’ The East India Company and the Problem of Tropical Invalidism

    Mark Harrison

    15. Disease and Disruption in a Bengal District: Fever, Agriculture and Peasantry of Burdwan, 1863-1921

    Achintya Kumar Dutta


    Achintya Kumar Dutta is Professor of History, The University of Burdwan, and former post-doctoral Commonwealth Fellow at School of Oriental and African Studies, London (2002-03). He was a Visiting Researcher at the Brocher Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland (2022). His research interests include socio-economic history and history of science and medicine in modern India. His recent publications include Trauma in Public Health: Tuberculosis in Twentieth-century India (2018), Connecting Nations: Politico-cultural Mapping of India and Southeast Asia (co-edited, 2019), Dreadful Diseases in Colonial Bengal: Cholera, Malaria and Smallpox A Documentation, (co-edited, 2021), and Explorations in Colonial Bengal: Essays on Religion, Society and Culture (edited, 2023).

    Subhayu Chattopadhyay is an Assistant Professor, Department of History, Visva-Bharati. His area of specialization is ‘History of Science and Technology in Colonial and Post-Colonial India’ and ‘Social and Cultural History of Colonial and Post-Colonial India’. He has co-edited a book titled Mapping the Path to Maturity: A Connected History of Bengal Bengal and North-East (New Delhi, 2018).