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'Gripping' SHASHI THAROOR
'First-rate' AAKAR PATEL
'Illuminating' RUPAM ISLAM
After reigning supreme in West Bengal for thirty-four years, how did the Communist Party of India (Marxist) end up on the fringes of the political arena?
Allured by the unrestricted power of the CPI(M), Presidency College scholar Rajat Lahiri joins its student wing, the Students’ Federation of India, and trains to become one of its foot soldiers. On achieving full-fledged membership, he does not hesitate in getting his hands dirty for a regime inherited by Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee from an ailing Jyoti Basu, and marred by corruption and violence.
This change in leadership, prompted by the arrival of a strong contender in Mamata Banerjee, sustains the existing nexus of crime and politics and paves the way for fervid protests and their brutal suppression by the state. With the situation spiralling out of control and public support fading, the stage is set for the Singur movement and violence in Nandigram.
After witnessing the party’s historic defeat in the 2011 Legislative Assembly election, a disillusioned Rajat leaves Calcutta, only to return as a journalist covering the gradual and thorough decimation of the CPI(M) over the following decade.
In this compulsive work of creative non-fiction, political journalist Sourjya Bhowmick explores the burning question: Will the CPI(M) ever recover from the 2021 Assembly election, or will it be pushed into permanent oblivion by the formidable Trinamool Congress and the relentless BJP?
'Gangster State is a gripping book, a non-fiction work that reads with the excitement and pace of a novel. A personal history of the CPI(M) in West Bengal, this searing tale, by Kolkata journalist Sourjya Bhowmick, provides a deep dive into the state’s tumultuous politics. With the 2021 Assembly election heralding a potential paradigm shift in the futures of both West Bengal and India, as well as in the CPI(M)'s own journey, this is timely and essential reading' SHASHI THAROOR, author and Member of Parliament
‘A crisply written, first-rate work on one of the most enigmatic political forces of India. Bhowmick has produced a classic study of the Left in Bengal’ AAKAR PATEL, author and columnist
'This personal account of Bengal's fabled political party is both illuminating and gripping. A must-read for all those wishing to better understand the history of the CPI(M) and Bengal politics in general' RUPAM ISLAM, singer-songwriter and author
Sourjya Bhowmick is a journalist with the TV9 Network in Calcutta. He has previously been associated with the Times Network, Hindustan Times, IndiaSpend, Catch News and the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. He studied Political Science at Presidency College and the University of Calcutta. Sourjya was active in politics from 2004 to 2011 and brings an insider's perspective to his work. Gangster State is his first book.