Subhajyoti Ray on Reading - Reaping Nostalgia


Subhajyoti Ray, president of the Internet and Mobile Association of India, has already penned two books and is getting ready for a third. And no, it's not the virtual world that his pen traverses but the historical one. 'Historian Subho' takes Nidhi Jain on a journey back through time.

What made you write this book?

My first book was Transformation of Bengal Frontier. Spanning a period between 1750 and 1940, this book analysis the socioeconomic changes brought about by colonial rule in a frontier area of Bengal, Jalpaiguri.

It started as a chore as it was my PhD topic and the project grew on me and I became so fond of it that at the end of the day I thought I had written a second PhD. I didn't want it to confine it to a library shelf as a PhD thesis. I went out of my way to get it published. When one is working on a PhD it's like a baby and the final delivery is when the book comes out.

The second book was more interesting, it was co-authored with Sharmila, my colleague at CII, and is called India Building Partnership for CII. The institution was founded in 1985.

Book and Character

I am a historian, interested more in things of the past than present. I wanted to write a corporate history with a different feel of the process and perspective at CII.

Crux of the book

First, it questions certain beliefs, prejudices regarding the agrarian labour industry in the country. It looks at the national movement, management control of labour, agrarian relations.

What's next on your agenda?

Translating a book, an autobiography by a Bengali author. It's a fascinating account of 50-60 years of his life. How he left his home in Uttar Pradesh, lived in Calcutta, then Mumbai, before the First World War.

It will give you more insights into Mumbai than many other books written on the city.

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