Appearing at a time when plurality of thoughts is being frowned upon, Manorather Thikana penned by Dipesh Chakraborty makes no attempt to conceal that it is rooting for the rational man. The wide variety of essays ranging from communal amity in the wake of Partition, Rabindranath Tagore’s forebodings about Visva Bharati, an unfinished autobiography of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman rest easily between the covers with Chakraborty’s take on whether history is dead, Christopher Bailey, a history of modernism in India and other topics. Walking a path less travelled, the style and substance of the essays of this Anushtup publication ensure that it cannot be read in a hurry. The author deserves thanks for this. For while dwelling on issues which have their impact on the socio-economic aspects of the world around us, he also makes a detour on the predicament of an honest man who had to leave a research institute under a cloud. His honesty and unwillingness to take on the opponents head on comes as a surprise in the backdrop of his joining it after leaving a cushy job. Some may bemoan the fact that he should have taken a stronger stance.
But it is also a pointer to an aspect of Bengali psyche which has not been properly explored. Going by the title of the tome, some readers may jump to the conclusion that the author is directionless. Nothing can be further from the truth. Chakraborty’s thought process and the writing evolving from it progress along a path not marked out by God or Marx if the pieces of this hardback are anything to go by. Even when ideologies be it individual or collective widely differ, these write-ups seem to aim at an honourable coexistence. The book will be in possession of those who are willing to stand up and be counted. May their tribe increase.