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As Govind Pansare's Who was Shivaji? arrived from press, came the distressing news of the assassination of the noted Kannada litterateur, M.M. Kalburgi, the third upholder of rationality, after Narendra Dabholkar and Pansare himself, to be gunned down in the recent past in India. Our two latest titles are, accordingly, to honour the memory of fighters for a rational world.
Govind Pansare, Who Was Shivaji?Introduction by Anirudh Deshpande and Afterword by Prabhat Patnaik.
Govind Pansare was assassinated on February 20, 2015. A member of the Communist Party of India, which he joined in 1952 at the age of nineteen, Pansare worked in the trade unions of Pune and fought against obscurantist social practices (such as humiliations of caste and gender hierarchies – based on religious dogma). Comrade Pansare’s book on Shivaji reclaimed the historic figure from the grasp of the Hindu Right – a battle that remains ongoing with the work of Babasaheb Purandare trying to claim Shivaji for Brahmanical Hindutva). The assassins of Govind Pansare have not yet been found. It is believed that they killed him, as they killed Narendra Dabholkar in 2013, for their work against superstition. Our publication of Who was Shivaji? is a tribute to Comrade Pansare.
Subodh Roy, also known as Jhunku, was only fourteen years old when he participated in the Chittagong Armoury Raid of 1930-31. He was sent to the Cellular Jail on the Andaman Islands, where he came into contact with Marxism and with communist activists. He joined the Communist Party of India in 1940, and then the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 1964. A dedicated member of the Party, Comrade Roy spent his life working to build its strength amongst the working-class and peasantry. He was loath to talk about his courageous beginnings. It took a great deal for him to sit down and write this memoir, which he only allowed us to use after his death in 2006. We are happy to finally bring this memoir to you. (There's a special discount on this title, till September 10.)
LeftWord Books is proud to offer their two books to you. This is our tribute to two landmark figures in the Indian communist movement.
Coming up shortly are several books:
Saadat Hasan Manto, The Armchair Revolutionary and Other Sketches, foreword by Nandita Das and an introduction by Ali Mir and Saadia Toor.
Michael Denning, Noise Uprising: The Audiopolitics of a World Musical Revolution, with an introduction by Naresh Fernandes.
Max Blumenthal, The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza, with an introduction by Vijay Prashad.
Communist Histories, volume 1. This is the first of an annual series of volumes that collects original essays on Communist history and historiography, with special attention to the South Asian experience. Each issue will carry archival material with introductions that properly offer their context. This series, we hope, will be a flagship for LeftWord Books.
These four books will be out in October-December. We are especially proud of the Manto volume, which will bring to the reader sketches that are little known.
One of our pleas to you is to help us make LeftWord Books essential to your reading and thinking.
We are pleased to tell you that we’ve recently firmed up an agreement with Prakash Book India Pvt. Ltd., who are one of the largest book distributors in the country. This will help us reach our books to readers all over the country.
But the nature of the book business has changed enormously over the last few years. No longer is it enough to simply have a distributor. The pressure on shelf space in book shops is enormous — over 1,000 titles are published in India in English alone! Our voice needs to be heard in this cacophony.
Distributors and retailers understand only one language — the language of demand.
You Can Make it Happen
Please go to your bookstore and ask them to order LeftWord titles. Be specific about which titles you’d like ordered. Once you’ve asked for them, please follow up till your store actually stocks them. Once the books are there, buy them or get a friend to buy them. That is the only way stores will re-order.
Once stores start keeping them, other customers will start seeing them, leading to higher sales. You can make this possible.
There are other ways you can help. “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter as well as Instagram. Tell people about the books you have read from LeftWord, write a blogpost, talk about our books on social media, and of course write a book review.
We need you to be our megaphone!
Thanks, and with warm greetings,
Vijay and Sudhanva
[Vijay Prashad is Chief Editor, and Sudhanva Deshpande Managing Editor, of LeftWord Books. They are supported by Suvendu, Akshay, Shivani, Sagar and Akshay, who do an amazing job servicing your orders and overall keeping chaos at bay. Mostly.]