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Bose, Sugata

Bose, Sugata

PERSONAL:

Son of Sisir Kumar (a pediatrician and freedom fighter) and Krishna (an academician and member of parliament) Bose.

ADDRESSES:

Office—History Department, Harvard University, Robinson Hall, 35 Quincy St., Cambridge, MA 02138.

CAREER:

Educator, writer. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, Gardiner Professor of Oceanic History and Affairs, head of the South Asia Initiative.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Guggenheim Fellowship, 1997.

WRITINGS:

NONFICTION

Agrarian Bengal: Economy, Social Structure, and Politics, 1919-1947, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1986.

(Editor) South Asia and World Capitalism, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1990.

Peasant Labour and Colonial Capital: Rural Bengal since 1770 (Volume III, Part 2 of The New Cambridge History of India), Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1993.

(Editor, with father, Sisir Kumar Bose) Subhas Chandra Bose, Letters to Emilie Schenkl, 1934-1942, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1994.

(Editor, with Sisir Kumar Bose) Subhas Chandra Bose, Letters Articles, Speeches and Statements, 1933-1937, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1994.

(Editor) Credit, Markets, and the Agrarian Economy of Colonial India, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1994.

(Editor, with Sisir Kumar Bose) Subhas Chandra Bose, Congress President: Speeches, Articles and Letters, January 1938-May 1939, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1995.

(Editor, with Sisir Kumar Bose) Subhas Chandra Bose, The Essential Writings of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1997.

(Editor, with Sisir Kumar Bose) Subhas Chandra Bose, An Indian Pilgrim: An Unfinished Autobiography, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1997.

(Editor, with Ayesha Jalal) Nationalism, Democracy, and Development: State and Politics in India, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1997.

(Editor, with Sisir Kumar Bose) Subhas Chandra Bose, The Indian Struggle, 1920-1942, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1997.

(Editor, with Sisir Kumar Bose) Subhas Chandra Bose, The Alternative Leadership: Speeches, Articles and Letters, June 1939-January 1941, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1998.

(With Ayesha Jalal) Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy, Routledge (New York, NY), 1998, 2nd edition, 2004.

(Editor, with Ben Rogaly and Barbara Harriss-White) Sonar Bangla? Agricultural Growth and Agrarian Change in West Bengal and Bangladesh, Sage Publications (Thousand Oaks, CA), 1999.

(Editor, with Sisir Kumar Bose) Subhas Chandra Bose, Azad Hind: Writings and Speeches, 1941-43, Anthem Press (London, England), 2004.

A Hundred Horizons: The Indian Ocean in the Age of Global Empire, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2006.

Also author of articles for professional journals, and producer and writer of film Netaji and India's Freedom, Netaji Research Bureau (Calcutta, India), 1992.

SIDELIGHTS:

Sugata Bose is a writer and educator whose main areas of research are modern South Asia and the history of the Indian Ocean region. He has written several books dealing with modern South Asia's social, economic, and political history, including Agrarian Bengal: Economy, Social Structure, and Politics, 1919-1947, Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy, and A Hundred Horizons: The Indian Ocean in the Age of Global Empire. Also, Bose is the grandnephew of Subhas Chandra Bose, one of the most important leaders of the Indian Independence Movement who fought against the British Raj, rejecting Mahatma Gandhi's tactics of nonviolence and advocating violent resistance. With this personal link, he has edited numerous volumes of the writings of his famous great-uncle.

Bose's 1986 work, Agrarian Bengal, is an "ambitious, significant work," as Alan Heston noted in the Journal of Economic History. By focusing on Bengal, Bose is able to make generalizations about India as a whole in the given time period, for Bengal was the first region to be administered by the British. It thus became a bellwether for the entire country in terms of the ef- ficacy of various economic theories. Bose's study focuses on the power relationships in rural Bengal, in particular the power the landlords, or jotedar, wielded and their subsequent influence in shaping the economy of Bengal. He also examines the importance of jute as the main cash crop of Bengal, and in the second part of the book looks at the political disturbances which took place, especially in eastern and northern Bengal, beginning in the late 1930s. Heston went on to comment that "Bose's presentation [is] convincing." David Kopf, writing in the Journal of Interdisciplinary History, had similar praise for Agrarian Bengal, finding it "an exceptional piece of work from a variety of viewpoints." Kopf felt the book was "a skillful blending of the traditional narrative style of historical prose with a wealth of quantitative data," and concluded that Bose "has made a vital contribution to a field urgently in need of professionalization and historicization." Similarly Paul Greenough, writing in the American Historical Review, felt that Bose "moves skillfully between economic and general history." Greenough went on to conclude, "In sum, this is a key work— well-written and well-researched, marshalling new sources and sophisticated arguments."

Bose continues his study of Bengal in a volume he contributed to The New Cambridge History of India, titled Peasant Labour and Colonial Capital: Rural Bengal since 1770. According to David Arnold, writing in the English Historical Review, "Bose's main concern is with the interaction between peasants and capitalism during and after colonial rule." The book focuses on the agrarian relations of rural Bengal and its complicated social structure, and examines the process of conversion from a peasant-based economy to a market economy in the nineteenth century. Arnold further noted, "In some ways this is a very accomplished piece of historical writing; it is certainly an ambitious one." However, the same reviewer did not feel that Peasant Labour and Colonial Capital was "particularly accessible."

Bose collaborated with Ayesha Jalal on Modern South Asia, a history of the last three centuries written to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Pakistani and Indian independence. According to Eugene F. Irschick, writing in the Journal of Asian Studies, "A central thesis of the book is that union of economic and political forces overtook and destroyed the Indian state system in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries." As Irschick noted, Jalal and Bose maintain "the villains were the merchant capitalists" of the day. Ben Schonthal, writing in South Asia News Online, felt that Modern South Asia "succeeds on two fronts. One, it provides a concise and fluid panorama of Indian history from Mughal times up until partition. … Two, it gives the neophyte an introduction into contemporary issues in the study of Indian history and historiography."

In 2006 Bose published A Hundred Horizons, which deals with "India's economic, cultural, political connections with the wider Indian Ocean world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries," as Bose told a contributor for Outlook India.com. A reviewer on the Forbes Book Club Web site thought the work "merges statistics and myth, history and poetry, in a remarkable reconstruction of how a region's culture, economy, politics, and imagination are woven together in time and place." Foreign Affairs critic Lucian W. Pye praised the "great ingenuity" with which Bose managed to use the history of the region as a "multidisciplinary history of peoples with distinct cultures but shared experiences."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, October, 1988, Paul Greenough, review of Agrarian Bengal: Economy, Social Structure, and Politics, 1919-1947, pp. 1101-1102.

English Historical Review, February, 1996, David Arnold, review of Peasant Labour and Colonial Capital: Rural Bengal since 1770, p. 208.

Foreign Affairs, May-June, 2006, Lucian W. Pye, review of A Hundred Horizons: The Indian Ocean in the Age of Global Empire, p. 171.

Journal of Asian Studies, August, 1988, Partha Chatterjee, review of Agrarian Bengal, pp. 670-672; August, 1998, Peter Ward Fay, review of The Essential Writings of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, pp. 893-894; May, 1999, Eugene F. Irschick, review of Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy, pp. 540-541.

Journal of Economic History, March, 1998, Alan Heston, review of Agrarian Bengal, pp. 199-200.

Journal of Interdisciplinary History, autumn, 1988, David Kopf, review of Agrarian Bengal, pp. 386-387.

Publishers Weekly, February 27, 2006, review of A Hundred Horizons, p. 50.

ONLINE

Forbes Book Club,http://www.forbesbookclub.com/ (November 16, 2006), review of A Hundred Horizons.

History in Focus: Empire,http://www.history.ac.uk/ihr/Focus/Empire/ (November 16, 2006), Peter J. Marshall, review of Modern South Asia.

Outlook India.com,http://www.outlookindia.com/ (April 10, 2006), "Sugata Bose."

Scholar Voices: Sugata Bose,http://www.accd.edu/ (November 16, 2006), "Indian Ocean: Cradle of Globalization."

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