Dr Ranjan Gupta
Professor Narendra Krishna Sinha (1901-1974), the legendary scholar of social and economic history, initiated a galaxy of bright students to historical research. One of them, Dr.Ranjan Gupta (born 1932), breathed his last at the SSKM hospital, Kolkata on 27 November 2015 at 8.45 PM. He taught at the Suri Vidyasagar College, Birbum for about four decades and shot into recognition as a historian by virtue of his painstaking research study, Economic Life of a Bengal District: Birbhum (l770-1857), which was published in 1984. Subsequently, he wrote a number of books in Bangla, e.g. Rahrer Samaj, Arthanity O Ganabidroha (Society, Economy and Popular Rebellion of the Rahr Region (2001), Bhai Girish Sen (Brother Girish Sen) (2009), Vir Savarkar (2004) and Aranyabanhir Aitihasikata O Tarasankar (Historical Nature of Aranyabanhi and Tarasankar Bandopadyaya) (2008). It may be mentioned that Girish Sen first translated the Koran Sharif into Bengali, and Dr Gupta's book on his life and work was published by the famous publishing concern Ananda Publishers. In the book on Savarkar, published by Dey's Publishing, Dr Gupta exploded the myth woven around Savarkar by the forces of Hindutva. It should be added that Aranyabanhi is a novel written by the celebrated Bengali novelist Taransankar Bandopadyay. Dr Gupta's last work on Birbhum based on unpublished records is now in the press; so is the second edition of his book on the Rahr region. A life-long bachelor, Dr Gupta devoted all his life to teaching and historical research. An immigrant from post-partition East Bengal (today's Bangladesh), he had to undergo serious trials and hardships during his student days. In his youth, he was an activist of the undivided CPI, and subsequently, despite maintaining some distance from active politics, retained his general leftist outlook, although not of the establishment variety. Although he taught all through his career at a mofussil college of West Bengal, his name as a scholar was mentioned with respect by more established historians. As a person, he was not only liberal, but also generous. Before death, he donated his lifetime savings to the Centre for Women's Studies, Jadavpur University and a voluntary physicians' organization named Liver Foundation.
A B, Birbhum
[This has referece to the article "Marx's Confessions" by Ramakrishna Bhattacharya in Autumn Number 2015.]
Descartes in his 'On The Principles of Human Knowledge', defines or describes the very first principle as follows: OF THE PRINCIPLES OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE.
I. That in order to seek truth, it is necessary once in the course of our life, to doubt, as far as possible, of all things.
As we were at one time children, and as we formed various judgments regarding the objects presented to our senses, when as yet we had not the entire use of our reason, numerous prejudices stand in the way of our arriving at the knowledge of truth; and of these it seems impossible for us to rid ourselves, unless we undertake, once in our lifetime, to doubt of all those things in which we may discover even the smallest suspicion of uncertainty.
I. Veritatem inqulrenti, Semel in vita de omnibus, quantum fieri potest, esse dubitandum. [Latin original it seems]
FURTHER DESCARTES SAYS MORE IN THE VERY SECOND PRINCIPLE :
II. That we ought also to consider as false all that is doubtful.
III. Dubia etiarn posaisis habenda. [Latin original]
WHETHER DESCARTES APPROVES OF THESE FIRST AND SECOND PRINCIPLES OR NOT IS AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT MATTER.
ALSO IF RAMAKR1SHNA BHATFACHARYA SAYS IT IS NOT EXACTLY WORDED AS "de omnibus est dubitandum" THEN ALSO WE CANNOT HELP. PERHAPS HE SAID EXACTLY LIKE THAT IN SOME EXPLANATION OR LECTURE SOMEWHERE WHICH HEGEL MUST HAVE COME ACROSS AND WE HAVE MISSED.
So, Ramakrishna Bhattacharya's criticism that Marx has unwittingly, unthinkingly and unwarrantedly taken Hegel's saying to be true and attributed the phrase "de omnibus est dubitandum" to Descartes is in my opinion RAMAKRISHNA BHATTACHARYA'S UNTHINKING, UNWARRANTED CRITICISM.
I Mallikarjuna Sharma, Hyderabad
Paris seems to be uniting the Presidents from all over the world. Presidential statements, particularly when it is from powerful countries, are at times manicured to hide the maze of irrationalities just beneath the skin. Why not are they discussing pointedly the use of illegal arms by the militants? The trade in military hardware is around 2000 billion us dollars. And we are expected to believe that best intelligence agencies have little knowledge about this global underworld trade. We are not used to think that intelligence failures can be deliberate.
It cannot be difficult to stop the making of illegal weapons and their sale thereafter. As an humble dweller upon this earth, as an ecologist by profession, can we not expect a complete ban on making and sale of illegal military weaponry all over the world? This is an implementable project and can only be avoided to evidence lack of genuine willingness to save the earth from the holocaust of war.
Dhrubajyoti Ghosh, Kolkata
Vol. 48, No. 23, Dec 13 - 19, 2015