The report is divided into six sections:
A. Projects & Visits (Completed, Ongoing and New)
B. Distinguished Chair – Report
C. Public Lectures, Seminars and Publications
D. Website, Library, Resource Centre and other Assets
E. Office: Staff Members, service conditions etc.
1. Making Women Count- This project was a collaborative project with PRIO and six partner institutions in India and Nepal: Malaviya Centre for Peace Research (MCPR) at Banaras Hindu University, Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group (CRG), WISCOMP in New Delhi, North Eastern Social Research Centre (NESRC) in Assam, Nambol L. Sanoi College in Manipur, and National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South in Nepal. The project ended in May 2015. The final workshop was held in Kolkata and CRG came out with a report of that workshop.
2. Birth of a Stateless Community: Rohingyas in India -Under the supervision of the Distinguished Chair, CRG has completed a year -long research programme on the Rohingya Refugees in India from December 2015. The research was supported by the Taft Foundation. Research outcome by the six researchers, including Sucharita Sengupta, coordinated by Professor Ranabir Samaddar and Professor Sabyasachi Basy Ray Chaudhury, Vice Chancellor, Rabindra Bharati University, has been published in a Report entitled "Rohingyas: The Emergence of a Stateless Community". Fieldwork in Correctional Homes of West Bengal and Rohingya camps in North and South India were conducted by three researchers and two researchers based their fieldwork in Bangladesh in July 2015. The draft papers were first presented in a research workshop on “Interrogating Forced Migration” on 19 March 2015 and the final papers were presented in another research workshop on August 13-14, 2015, in Darjeeling. The Report, focuses on the history and contemporary situation of the Rohingyas based on extensive field research in parts of India and Bangladesh and also highlights their recent plight as ‘boat people’ within the general framework of statelessness in South Asia. This report was released in the Indian Society of International Law (ISIL), New Delhi, on 1`December 2015. It was later released to the press in Kolkata on 9 February 2016, the venue being the Lincoln Room of the American Centre. The release of the report was covered by three leading print media houses in Kolkata. Policies and Practices – issue number 71-has also been published, apart from the Report, as part of the project. Researchers working under the project have also published individual write ups in media, such as Anandabazar Patrika, Hardnews etc. The detail of the research can be found at - http://www.mcrg.ac.in/Rohingyas/Rohingyas_Concept.asp and the report is available at http://www.mcrg.ac.in/Rohingyas/Report_Final.pdf. The desk was handled by Madhura Chakraborty and Sucharita Sengupta.
3. Resource Centre: CRG has been developing its Resource Centre, with support from the Eastern Regional Centre of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) since April 2010 and till now it has digitized 69,449 pages of primary (research) material, collected by researchers, on Law, Gender Studies, Forced Migration, Newspaper Clippings of News from North East India, Reports & News paper clippings on Bihar, Darjeeling and research material collected on Rajarhat, Food Movement, Environment, Rail Strike, Urbanization, Justice, Autonomy, Displacement, Minority Rights, Media, Child Right, and Human Rights. It has been a consistent effort of CRG to build up a strong Resource Centre, both in terms of documentation and archive to facilitate researchers. The Resource Centre of CRG thus aims at encouraging new researches on various issues that CRG works on, for instance, forced migration, displacement, protection strategies, border studies, justice, autonomy, conflict and peace, resource crisis, trans-border resource sharing, and so on. CRG also facilitates inter country researches in South Asia by means of documenting various aspects of its research and publicizes its research output as widely as possible for dissemination of knowledge. The Resource Centre is open only to registered users and it provides public access to the primary material that CRG has already gathered and is still collecting through its various ongoing research programmes.
4. Cities, Rural Migrants and the Urban Poor – Issues of Violence and Social Justice –The research programme, supported by the Ford Foundation, was guided by Ranabir Samaddar with the help of Iman Mitra, research associate. The research was based on three big cities (Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai) and one small town (Siliguri) in India. It focused on a comparative approach towards the issues of city planning, migration practices, and social justice for the urban poor. Attention was given primarily to the formation of the category of migrant worker and the various identities and locations of their existence within the city space. Three meetings with the six researchers working under the project from each of the cities, mentioned above, have been held in 2014. The First Research Workshop for the project took place in Kolkata in August 2014 where research abstracts of the researchers were discussed and the final research workshop took place in Kolkata on August 21-22, 2015, where the researchers presented their findings based on their respective research work. Ranabir Samaddar was the coordinator of the project and Iman Mitra headed the desk. Four Policies and Practices (69, 72, 73 and 74) have been published under the programme and a research brief comprising of policy implications from each paper is being published on 29 July 2016. There is a plan to bring out a volume. Meanwhile CRG has taken steps to prepare an exhaustive research report of the programme. Details to be found at - http://www.mcrg.ac.in/Rural_Migrants/Rural_Migrants_Concept.asp
5. Transit Labour – Logistical Worlds: Infrastructure, Software, Labour - A year-long research programme, conducted in collaboration with the University of Western Sydney, and titled Logistical Worlds: Infrastructure, Software and Labour, was completed under the coordination of Ranabir Samaddar in March 2016. The first workshop under the programme was held on 20 April 2015 at CRG in Kolkata, and it was preceded by a consultative meeting held on 1 April 2015. The questions that were discussed in the workshop were result of the discussions that had ensued in the consultative meeting. The purpose of the study as mentioned in the consultative meeting was to investigate the shifts in logistical infrastructure of the Calcutta port in the context of development of new trade routes and implementation of the Look East policy of the Indian government. The specifics of development of a port system in Calcutta and uniqueness of its strategic location (intertwined with the port system at Haldia) also came under scrutiny. Apart from this, the town of Siliguri- a nerve centre of military logistics, located in the northern part of West Bengal- and connecting trade routes with several neighbouring states and countries also appeared in this study in the context of logistical development and generation of various forms of informality and illegality. An in-house workshop was also organized at the CRG on 14 November 2015 to discuss the long research abstracts of researchers working under the project. The research programme concluded with a final workshop on 31 March and 1 April 2016, in Swabhumi, Kolkata. Mithilesh Kumar handled the deskwork. Details to be found at – http://mcrg.ac.in/Logistics/Logistics_Concept.asp
6. A new research project has started in CRG with the financial support from Rosa-Luxemburg Stiftung (RLS):
Social and Political Mapping of Popular Movements, Logistical Vision and Infrastructure of India
The project began on January 1, 2016. It is a three year project, though contract will be renewed annually. Funding for this project is received from Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung. This project has the following two segments:
(i) To explore Aspects of Popular Movements and Populism relevant to post-Colonial Democracy like India - Five themes are being studied under this segment this year (2016): i) Refugee Movements in West Bengal (by Paula Banerjee and Sucharita Sengupta); ii) Tram Fare Enhancement Resistance Movement and Teachers’ Movement (Anwesha Sengupta); iii) Food Movement in West Bengal ( Sibaji Pratim Basu), iv) J.P. Movement in Bihar ( Mithilesh Kumar) and v) Marxist Literary Discourses (by Subhoranjan Dasgupta). Anwesha Sengupta is handling the desk as project coordinator.
(ii) To Understand different components and profiles of Expansion of Logistical Visions of India’s Look East Policy for East and North East India and South East Asia - Five themes are being studied under this segment this year (2016): i)Resources and Infrastructure in the Northeast &India’s Look East and Act East Policy (by Ranabir Samaddar and Snehasish Mitra); ii) Bangladesh: The Key to India’s Look East (Subir Bhowmik); iii) Interrogating Migration in India’s Northeast (by Sucharita Sengupta and Samir K. Purakayastha); iv) Kolkata as a Logistic Hub with special reference to the port (Iman Mitra and Mithilesh Kumar) and v) Being Connected: Logistic Visions to the East and West of India (Anita Sengupta). Anita Sengupta is handling the desk as project coordinator.
Ranabir Samaddar is in charge of overall coordination of the two segments.
For the concept note and the individual project abstract see http://www.mcrg.ac.in/RLS_PML/RLS_PML_Home.asp
Activities: a) Consultative Meeting: a two-day consultative meeting was held at Swabhumi on 28 and 29 February 2016 on Social and Political Mapping of Popular Movements, Social Mapping of Infrastructure, Logistics, and India’s Look East Policy in Swabhumi, Kolkata, to discuss the two segments of research under the programme. The researchers presented their research proposals in this meeting and the proposals were discussed by suitable experts of the field
b) Public Lectures: Two public lectures were organised as a part of this project: a) Lawrence Liang spoke on spoke on Bright Lights and Shadows: Histories and Politics of Labour and Law in the Indian Film Industry (in collaboration with PIPFPD as fifth Jayanta Dasgupta Memorial Lecture); b) C. Rajamohan spoke on Reconnecting the Subcontinent: India and the New Silk Roads (in collaboration with Department of South and South East Asia , Calcutta University).
c) Research Workshop: Final research workshops for both the segments will be held in September, 2016.
d) Apart from this major event, study groups have been organized in MCRG as a part of this project. One was held on March 11 where Ranabir Samaddar gave a lecture on the concepts of populism, based on selected texts of Marx, Tilly and Laclau.
7. Another new project on “Changes in Border Policy and Border Identities: A Case Study of the Indo-Bangladesh Border Enclaves” is due to start shortly. This project will be supported by Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) Geneva, Switzerland under its FLASH PROJECT. The agreement for this project has been signed.
VISITS: Exchange of Ideas
8. (a) A team of 22 members, including 19 students, 2 faculty members and one associate, visited Kolkata, Delhi and Agra from State University of New York, Onondaga, as a part of their curriculum. They are students of social science and had come to India as part of an educational tour to study the history, culture and architecture of India in Kolkata and Delhi. CRG facilitated this visit. The trip began with an introductory lecture by Ranabir Samaddar in Kolkata, who briefed the students about the colonial and post colonial pasts/presents of Kolkata. The students spent two more days in Kolkata and visited various places of historical and contemporary importance, including Victoria Memorial, Indian Museum, Marble Palace, New Market, Dakshineswar Kalibari, Howrah Bridge and Park Street. One researcher – Snehasish Mitra, along with Samaresh Guchhait have accompanied them.
From Kolkata they went to Delhi to study the Sultanate and Mughal architecture. Sucharita Sengupta and Samaresh Guchhait accompanied them. Anwesha Sengupta also joined them for the Delhi-Agra Segment. In Delhi they visited the Qutub Minar, Lodhi Garden, Humayun Tomb, Red Fort, Jantar Mantar, Craft Museum and National Museum. A one day trip was organized to Agra where they visited the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort in order to study the architecture. In Delhi too, a brief introductory lecture was given about Sultanate and Mughal history by Jeena Jacob, research scholar, Centre for Historical studies (Medieval), Jawaharlal Nehru University. The team was satisfied with the tour and talks are on for similar trips in the end of 2017 between CRG and SUNY.
(b) Indo-US Cooperation
A team of eight social scientists from the State University of New York visited Kolkata on the 1st week of January 2016. Under this programme, CRG collaborated with the York University and held a joint seminar at CRG on 13 January 2016 entitled ‘On the Cutting Edge of Social Science: A West Bengal-New York Initiation’. Two paper presentations followed by a roundtable discussion with the visiting scholars was held through out the day. Under this programme, a keynote address was also delivered by Professor Ranabir Samaddar at the University of Calcutta on 15 January 2016. This was organized in collaboration with the Centre for South and Southeast Asian Studies of the Department of Southeast Asian Studies, University of Calcutta.
B. Distinguished Chair on Migration and Forced Migration And Honorary Director:
(i) Distinguished Chair:
9. (a) Prof. Ranabir Samaddar is conducting his research under the Chair as per its Mandate. The projects Birth of a Stateless Community: Rohingyas in India; Cities, Rural Migrants and the Urban Poor – Issues of Violence and Social Justice and Social and Political Mapping of Popular Movements, Logistical Vision and Infrastructure of India are carried out under his supervision, details of which are given above. He also delivered several lectures and edited a book -The Government of Peace: Security, Government, and the Problematic of Peace (Surrey-Ashgate, 2015); and published several articles in different journals, details are available from his activity report - enclosed as Annexure-1)
9 (b) Prof. Paula Banerjee joined as the Honorary Director in September 2015 for a period of two years. She spearheaded the Indo-US exchange programme. She is currently working on a Indo-German exchange programme. She is continuing her research on Crime in the borderland and recently she was identified as one f the leading researchers on Obama-Singh initiative between the US and Indian governments. In the current year she was inducted in the governing boards of Rabindra Bharati University, North Bengal University, Central University of Rajasthan and Tezpur University as an UGC nominee. She was also asked to serve as a field expert in the board of Netaji Institute of Asian Studies.
Completed projects :
1. Statelessness in South Asia, 2015
2. Crime and Port, 2016
Current projects :
1. InterAsia Connectivity – Trafficking
2. Refugees in Popular Movements in West Bengal
1. “The State of Stateless in South Asia”, Orient Blackswain, 2015with Atig Ghosh and Anasua Basu Raychoudhury as co-editors.
2. Permanent exceptions to citizens: the stateless in South Asia” Int. J. Migration and Border Studies, 2016
Seminars Papers Presented:
1. “CARFMS 15”, Toronto, 15-17 May 2015.
2. “UNRSC 1325,” New York, 26-28 October 2015.
3. “Seminar on Women in Peace Politics,” Manila 10-12 December 2015
4. “Why People Migrate,” Bochum Germany, 18-20 February 2016.
1. “Women in the Bengal-Bangladesh Border, “ Carl Von Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, 26 May 2015.
2. “Women in Politics in Bengal,” SUNY Onondaga, October 2015.
Director’s Future Plans:
1. To continue and strengthen the programme on Migration Studies including research and dissemination.
2. To continue the course on methodology of studies on Forced Migration.
3. To initiate new collaborative research on critical migration with countries from Africa and South America.
4. To continue collaboration and student exchange with SUNY Oswego, SUNY Onondaga and Oldenburg University.
5. To strengthen research programme on critical border studies.
6. To start a publication series on critical migration and border studies.
7. To continue research on Bengal politics.
8. To continue collaboration with other research institutes in India.
9. To strengthen Refugee Watch.
10. To try to acquire government funded projects.
11. To look for new collaborators.
C. Public Lectures, Publications, and Library
10. Public Lectures:
Swapna Mukhopadhyay, (Graduate School of Education, Portland State University) “Ethnomathematics", 19 February 2016
Ananda Bhattacharya, (Assistant Director, Directorate of State Archives, Government of West Bengal) " Evolution of Archives in Ancient, Medieval and Modern through the Ages: Its Management and system of Record Keeping", 22 January 2016
Ranabir Samaddar, (Distinguished Chair in Migration and Forced Migration Studies, CRG) delivered a speech in memory of Benedict Anderson on 20 January 2016
Anandaroop Sen, (PhD Student, Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University) "The Arakanese, the 'Magha' and the Space of Refuge: Settlement Projects in Cittagong", 13 January 2016
Suryasikha Pathak, (Assistant Professor, Centre for Tribal Studies, Assam University) " Identity and Politics : The Bodo Movement and its Genesis", 13 January 2016
Camille Buat, (PhD Student, University of Göttingen, Germany) " Circulatory Labour Practices and the Constitution of a Trans-regional Scale of Social Relations: Circuits of Migration in the Bhojpuri Region, 1910s-1980s", 06 November 2015
Ranabir Samaddar, (Distinguished Chair in Migration and Forced Migration Studies, CRG)
"Crisis in Greece: Europe's Postcolonial Destiny", 03 October 2015
Clara Atehortua (Lawyer from Universidad de Medellí) " IDPs Settlement in the Cities and Durable Solutions Programs ", 01 October 2015
D.M.Diwakar (Director, A. N. Sinha Institute of Social Studie) " Migration and Social Change in Bihar", 20 August 2015
Taimoor Shahid (PhD Student, University of Chicago) "The Enchanted Paradigm: Modernity of Difference in Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s Poetry", 04 August 2015
Jessica De Santi (Bachelor of Law, McGill Universit) "Pluralisms in Law: International Refugee Law and India’s Refugee Policy", 17 July 2015
(Director, Calcutta Research Grou), "The Crisis of 1947, the Railway
Strike, and the Rank and File", 05 June 2015
Christoph Hauck (Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelber) "Change of Government in Comparative Perspective: The End of Hegemonic Party-Rule in the German State of Baden-Wuerttemberg and West Bengal 2011", 13 May 2015
Iman Kumar Mitra (Research and Programme Associate, Calcutta Research Group) " The Rhetoric of Rent and the Rent of Rhetoric: Birth of the Economic Expert, 08 May 2015.
Besides this there was another public lecture organised by CRG in collaboration with Krishna Trust. The Third Krishna Trust Memorial lecture was delivered by Dr. PunyabrataGun, Physician and People’s Health Activist, on 2 March 2016. The title of his lecture was ‘Women’s Health and Universal Healthcare’. On this occasion like previous years, the Third Krishna Trust Memorial Awards for women educationists, students and caregivers were given to ShikhaShikari (Bodak), a caregiver at ShramikKrishakMaitriSwasthya Kendra; and to Tuktuki Mondal, Social Activist for Homeless People. The awards were given by Noor JahanShakil, President, All Bengal Muslim Women’s Association.
(Policies and Practices)
· 74: Cities, Rural Migrants and Urban Poor (III) (2016)
· 73: Cities, Rural Migrants and Urban Poor (II) (2015)
· 72: Cities, Rural Migrants and Urban Poor (I) (2015)
· 71: Rohingyas in India: Birth of a Stateless Community (2015)
· 70: Labour, Law and Forced Migration (2015)
· 69: Policing a Riot-torn City: Kolkata, 16-18 August 1946 (2015)
· Rogingyas: The Emergence of a Stateless Community (2015)
· The State of Being Stateless ed. By Paula Banerjee, Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury and Atig Ghosh (Orient Black Swan, Hyderabad, 2016)
The manuscript of “Post-Colonial Accumulation of Capital” – edited by Samita Sen, Iman Kumar Mitra and Ranabir Samaddar, is in the press (Springer).
Two issues of Refugee Watch (45-46), June-December 2015 were published in this year under review.
D. Website, Library and other Assets
11. Library: The library and resource centre of the CRG include books, documents, journals, manuscripts, research papers, working papers, thesis, census reports, audio, video and data CDs and primary material collected from various archives and private collections. The library contains 2832 books and 230 CDs (including audio, video and data CDs) relating to law, gender, forced migration, food security, environment, urbanization , justice, autonomy, displacement, literary works, minority rights, media, child rights, and human rights. CRG has an exclusive collection of newspaper clippings on India’s North East. CRG is a regular subscriber of portals like JSTOR, Project Muse and journal Economic and Political Weekly (EPW). CRG library contains digitized material that can be accessed online. At present CRG has 333 registered library users who can access CRG digital library. Some important CDs in CRG library include educational material on sustainable rights, Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2006, 2008, World Investment Report 2005, World Refugee Survey 2003, Brookings materials on IDP, UN Human Rights System 1999, 2000, 2002, Nepal Human Rights Year Book 2004, Ensuring Food Secure Future, Right to Land, and Report on Human Trafficking etc.
12. Website: The website of the Calcutta Research Group (www.mcrg.ac.in) is significant, informative and popular. It contains information about CRG’s past and ongoing researches, upcoming programme, publications, information about the library and archives and important contacts. The website contains an e-source centre with basic and advance search engine through which registered researchers can access the library catalogue and digitized material. The website contains a special blog section which is called “Refugee Watch Online”. The blog is run by Samata Biswas with assistance from Madhura Chakraborty, and Sucharita Sengupta. Samaresh Guchhait looks after the design of the website and regularly updates the website about the progress of the projects, publications and upcoming programmes. He also works as system administrator to maintain the windows 2003 server, mailing system, and provides technical support. Sucharita Sengupta is now managing the library and archival resource centre.
13. Digitization: Already mentioned above under Resource Centre.
E. Office: staff, service conditions and other related issues:
14. Distinguished Chair: The Governing Body of Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group (CRG) took a resolution in its 35th Governing Body Meeting held on 23 August 2015 to institute a Distinguished Chair on Migration and Forced Migration Studies and to offer the position to Prof. Ranabir Samaddar. The resolution was overwhelmingly approved by all the members of CRG in its Nineteenth Annual General Meeting held on 23 August 2015. Professor Ranabir Samaddar accepted the offer and joined the Chair with effect from7 September 2015 for a period of three years.
15. Research and Programme Staff: During the period under report Snehashish Mitra joined CRG as research and programme assistant, Anwesha Sengupta joined as Research and Programme Associate and Dr. Anita Sengupta has joined as a Senior Researcher. Madhura Chakraborty left in November 2015. Dr. Iman Mitra has also submitted his resignation from the post of Programme and Research Associate in the CRG to join the ICAS-MP Postdoctoral Fellowship at Institute of Economic Growth, New Delhi from June 2016. Mr. Mithilesh Kumar also left CRG to join the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Patna as a Research Fellow. Both of them will however remain associated with the CRG for its two new projects under RLS. Sucharita Sengupta is continuing her work sincerely and efficiently. For the details of the research activities of the research and programme staff please see annexure 2.
16. Administrative and Finance Staff: like previous years, the services of Ratan Chakraborty, M. Chatterji, Samaresh Guchhait and Ashok Kumar Giri were retained. The part-time service of R. K. Mahato as typist was also retained. Samaresh Guchhait has obtained his PhD degree in this term.
17 Financial benefits sanctioned to staff : It may be mentioned here that during this period under report, in addition to their usual office contributions to their respective PF accounts and reimbursement of their medical insurances expenses , one time contribution of Rs.9000/- was granted to each member of research and administrative staff towards social security. This was done for development of the skill of the office and research staff.
CRG had to buy a new Inter-com Machine (EPBAX) as the previous one had only four extensions. As the need for more extensions was felt the earlier one was replaced by a machine with the capacity of eight extensions. One Executive Chair was purchased to arrange the sitting accommodation for the Distinguished Chair. In addition to it several computer accessories were bought during this year which is noted in the CRG’s Asset Register. The Register is updated regularly and it is open to all members.
F. Society related issues, membership:
18. As mentioned in the previous year, CRG is still continuing the lean period of scarce funding. The Governing Body, Finance Sub-Committee and senior members are aware of this situation. Members are requested to come forward to focus on funding sources and help fundraising in different ways.
19. Last year Dr. Dulali Nag, Milan Dutta, Anjoo Sharan Upadhyay, Roshan Rai, Anup Sekhar Chakraborty and Amrita Patel were invited to be members of the Society. All of them accepted the invitations. CRG welcomes them to the Society. During this period Dr. Anita Sengupta resigned the membership as she has joined the CRG as Senior Researcher.
20. The present roll of members stands as follows :
1. Sabir Ahamed
2. Krishna Bandyopadhya
3. Paula Banerjee
4. Nirmalya Banerjee
5. Sibaji Pratim Basu
6. Sahna Basavapatna
7. Anjuman Ara Begum
8. Subir Bhaumik
9. Bharat Bhushan
10. Pradip Kumar Bose
11. Sudeep Basu
12. Samata Biswas
13. Sanjay Barbora
15. Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhury
16. Subhas Ranjan Chakraborty
17. Sanjay Chaturvedi
18. Nasreen Chowdhory
19. Khesheli Chishi
20. Anup Shekhar Chakraborty
21. Samir Kumar Das
22. Byasdeb Dasgupta
23. Sumona DasGupta
24. Milan Datta
25. Ishita Dey
26. Jishnu DasGupta
27. Ruchira Goswami
28. Pallav Kumar Goswami
29. Atig Ghosh,
30. Asha Hans
31. Manish K. Jha
32. Kalpana Kannabiran
33. Rajesh Kharat
34. Madhuresh Kumar
35. Pushpendra Kumar
36. Shyamalendu Majumdar
37. Manabi Majumdar
38. Ritu Menon
39. Bishnu Mohaparta
40. Dulali Nag
42. K. M. Parivelan
43. Amrita Patel
44. V. Ramaswamy
45. Kumar Rana
46. Rajat Roy
47. Prasanta Ray
49. Uttam Kumar Ray
50. Roshan P Rai
51. Ranabir Samaddar (invited)
52. Mandira Sen
53. Arup Kumar Sen
54. Samita Sen
55. Simpreet Singh
56. Anjoo Sharan Upadhyaya
57. Mouleshri Vyas