From the Editors - Aug, 2016
To our LeftWord Books Community.
We are delighted to share with you news of our new books, what to anticipate for the rest of the year and what we have planned for 2017 (particularly towards commemoration of the centenary of the Russian Revolution).
1. What's out.
Part of the mission of LeftWord Books is to promote interest in the history of Communism. Along that grain, we kicked off our new series - Communist Histories - with the first volume. This book, with deeply researched original essays, carries the work of seasoned scholars who have written on a range of topics such as the early M.N. Roy, Cuba’s Realengo 18 and political memories of the Warli uprising. Prof. Aijaz Ahmad says:
"Delving into buried archives, and ranging from Comintern documents to the yet unfinished dialectic of revolution and counterrevolution in China, and from Cuba and Mexico and Black America to little corners of the Bombay and Calcutta of yesteryears, Communist Histories instructs and inspires. Social History, History from Below, of a different kind. Communist archeologies as it were. Audacious beginning. May there be more."
We're also happy to publish the South Asian edition of Vijay's The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution. It tells the story of West Asia and North Africa from the standpoint of the region’s modern history - from Nasser onwards - but in particular from the crack in the region’s dynamic made by the West’s illegal war against Iraq in 2003. Of the book, Prof. Laleh Khalili, Professor of Middle East Politics, SOAS, University of London says:
"This gripping, grim, and provocative book tells the story of the conflagrations across the Middle East. The book will make the reader think, argue with it, and hope."
Many of you have written to tell us of your delight at LeftWord titles being available as e-books. Seven of our recent titles are available in this format:
Govind Pansare's Who was Shivaji?, Manto's book of pen sketches, Rosa Luxemburg's Reform or Revolution, Vijay's No Free Left, the Communist Histories volume, and, most recently, Subodh Roy's memoir of the Chittagong Armoury Raid and Mangai's book on feminism and theatre, Acting Up.
We are working on moving our backlist to e-books as well.
3. What's coming.
Several exciting books are in the pipeline. Firstly, in October, we are very pleased to offer you the memoir of Teesta Setalvad, a brave activist and journalist who has done as much as anyone to keep alive the question of justice for the victim-survivors of the 2002 Gujarat pogrom. Teesta’s book, which goes back to her childhood and comes forward to the persecution against her, is moving and powerful. The dancer Mallika Sarabhai says:
"Teesta Setalvad is a woman of courage and deep conviction. In spite of physical danger, political pressure and threats she has continued her relentless pursuit for justice for the deprived. This book is a testimony of her spirit and grit."
Prof. Manikumar has produced a fine-grained history of the caste conflict in east Ramanathapuram in 1957. This is a powerful history of the connections between the suffocation of caste hierarchy, property rights and electoral democracy. Prof. Manikumar has looked at a range of materials - from police files to government reports to interviews in the area. This is the kind of historiography that we need - and it is a slim and readable book at that!
A collection of P. Sainath’s remarkable reports on the ‘last freedom fighters’, people who had participated in the freedom struggles from across India - unsung heroes and the lives they led after Independence. Sainath is reworking the stories he published in newspapers to give a robust picture of those who fought to win freedom from colonial rule.
Finally, we are very happy to publish B. R. Ambedkar’s unfinished India and Communism - with an introduction by Anand Teltumbde. Babasaheb Ambedkar had provided a table of contents for this book, but was only able to finish a part of it - his strong critique of Hindu social relations, which - he argued - would hamper any attempt to move toward socialism. Anand has worked for many years to develop just this thesis. He is the perfect person to elaborate on Babasaheb’s unfinished account.
Next year - 2017 - will be the centenary of the Russian Revolution. We, at LeftWord, have been planning an exciting list for the year. These will include:
- A selection of Lenin’s writings from 1917, introduced by Prakash Karat.
- John Reed, Ten Days that Shook the World, with an introduction by P. Sainath.
- Nadezhda Krupskaya, The Woman Worker and Other Writings. Translated into English from Russian for the first time by Alanna Dent.
- Walter Rodney, 1917: The Dar Es Salaam Lectures, Introduction by Robin D.G. Kelley.
- Pankaj Mishra’s The East is Read, a book about the Soviet publishing activities from The Cooperative Publishing Society of the Foreign Workers in the USSR to Foreign Language Publishing House to Progress Publishers and then Raduga.
- Prabhat Patnaik on the Soviet experiment.
As we often say, you are a part of our LeftWord Books family. We count on you to read our books, review our books, make our books part of your conversations. Please tell us what you think of the books you’ve read and give us your thoughts on what we plan to publish and what we should publish. We rely on your input.
Sudhanva and Vijay