Swapan Dasgupta Indian politician, journalist and columnist

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Swapan Dasgupta
Swapan Dasgupta in May 2016 (cropped).jpg
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
In office
25 April 2016 – 16 March 2021
ConstituencyNominated (Journalism)
Personal details
Born (1955-10-03) 3 October 1955 (age 65)
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Political partyBharatiya Janata Party (2021-present)
Spouse(s)Reshmi Ray Dasgupta
Children1 son
Alma materSt. Stephen's College, Delhi (BA)
SOAS University of London (MA, PhD)
Nuffield College, Oxford (Post-doctoral Fellow)
OccupationJournalist, Writer, Political analyst
AwardsPadma Bhushan (2015)

Swapan Dasgupta (born 3 October 1955) is an Indian journalist and politician.[1] He is influential within the Indian right wing,[2][3][4] writing columns for leading English dailies espousing Hindu nationalism.[5] He was a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha the upper house of the Parliament of India from which he resigned to contest the 2021 West Bengal Legislative Assembly election[6][7] with a BJP ticket and lost to AITC candidate Ramendu Sinha.

President Pranab Mukherjee presenting the Padma Bhushan Award to Dr. Swapan Dasgupta, at a Civil Investiture Ceremony, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on March 30, 2015

Dasgupta was awarded Padma Bhushan (the third highest civilian award in India) in 2015, for his contribution to Literature and Education.[8]

Early life and education

He was born into a Bengali Baidya brahmin family on 3 October 1955 in Calcutta, West Bengal. He received his early education at St. Paul's School, Darjeeling, La Martiniere Calcutta and St. Stephen's College, Delhi, graduating from the latter in 1975. He thereafter went on to earn an MA and PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, where he received an exhibitionership to fund his studies. Subsequently, he returned to India for a brief period in 1979 to take up a management position at his family's pharmaceutical business ‘Calcutta Chemical Company’. He eventually returned to the United Kingdom as a Junior Research Fellow at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, where he taught and researched on South Asian Politics.[9][10] An excerpt from his thesis concerning the intersectionality of local politics in the Midnapur district of Bengal has featured in a volume about subaltern studies, edited by Ranajit Guha.[9]

Personal life

He is married to Reshmi Ray Dasgupta, Lifestyle Editor at The Economic Times and has a son who is a practicing lawyer in the Supreme Court of India.[10] They reside in New Delhi.[10]

Career

Dasgupta has served in editorial positions over several English dailies in India including The Indian Express, The Times of India, The Statesman, India Today et cetera.[9][11] He is a frequent guest on news channels in English-language debates on Indian politics and international affairs.[9] He wrote a foreword to an anthology titled Nirad C. Chaudhuri: The First Hundred Years: A Celebration, wherein he asserted Chaudhuri of having pro-BJP stances.[12]

In February 2015, Swapan Dasgupta was appointed on the Board of Directors of Larsen and Toubro as a nominee of the Unit Trust of India.[13] He stepped down from Directorship of Larsen and Toubro upon being appointed to the Rajya Sabha.[14][15]

In 2019, he published Awakening Bharat Mata: The Political Beliefs of the Indian Right.[16][17][18][19]

Politics

Despite being initially attracted to Trotskyism, Dasgupta became a Thatcherite in his days at England. Since then, he has self-identified with centre-right politics and has been heavily active in the national political theater, as a member of Bharatiya Janata Party.[9][10][20][21] Mushirul Hasan noted him to be the effective chief-spokesperson of BJP in the English language press during the 90s.[22] Arvind Rajagopal saw this shift to BJP to immediately arise after the implementation of Mandal Commission recommendations along with the near-simultaneous Rathyatra by Advani, which Dasgupta held to be a potential event that can bridge the internal divide among Hindus.[23]

In April, 2016, Dasgupta was nominated by the President of India Pranab Mukherjee to the Rajya Sabha. His term was to continue till 2022.[24] However on 16 March 2021, he resigned as a member of the Rajya Sabha.[25]

Dasgupta contested the 2021 West Bengal Legislative Assembly election from Tarakeswar[26] but lost to his opponent from the AITC.

Reception

Meera Nanda notes him to be one of the most prominent center-right public intellectuals in the Indian polity.[27][28] Tanika Sarkar et al. have located parallels between Swapan's writings and the thought-school of Hindu nationalist organisations like Vishva Hindu Parishad.[29][30][31] Manisha Basu, writing in The Rhetoric of Hindu India, deems Dasgupta similarly and further notes of his consistent attacks upon left-liberal commentators—people who have supposedly leveraged their social privilege to dominate the socio-political consciousness of the "Anglophone national bourgeoisie" for long enough—in his process of becoming one of the few self-appointed interpreters of the Indian Right.[32]

Basu also notes him to be a vocal exponent of exploiting English as a tool in reaching out to the masses and substituting the appeal of prevalent ideologies of the socialist left-liberals with that of hindutva;[33] he was one of the most fierce critics of the pro-vernacular policies followed by the communist government of West Bengal.[34] Back in the early 2000s, Dasgupta had noted in his blog:[35]-

The Right is an endangered community in India’s English-language media. I happen to be one of the few to have retained a precarious toe-hold in the mainstream media.

Arvind Tajagopal notes Dasgupta to be one of the most vocal and enthusiast columnists for Hindutva, in English language press in the 80s.[36]

Bibliography

  • Awakening Bharat Mata: The Political Beliefs of the Indian Right. India: Penguin Random House. 2019. p. 440. ISBN 9788185990309.
  • The Ayodhya Reference: The Supreme Court Judgement and Commentaries. India: South Asia Books. 1995. p. 208. ISBN 9780670091690.

External links

References

  1. ^ "Subramanian Swamy, Sidhu, Suresh Gopi, Swapan Dasgupta nominated for Rajya Sabha". The Indian Express. 23 April 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  2. ^ Ayres, Alyssa (2018). Our Time Has Come: How India is Making Its Place in the World. Oxford University Press. p. 28. ISBN 9780190494520.
  3. ^ Basu, Manisha (August 2016). The Rhetoric of Hindu India by Manisha Basu. Cambridge University Press. pp. 67–68, 139. ISBN 978-1-107-14987-8. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  4. ^ Joseph, Tony. "The real reason Indian intellectuals are backing Narendra Modi". Quartz. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  5. ^ Basu, Manisha (August 2016). "Introductory Matters". The Rhetoric of Hindu India by Manisha Basu. Cambridge University Press. p. 16. ISBN 978-1-107-14987-8. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  6. ^ "West Bengal elections 2021: Swapan Dasgupta resigns as Rajya Sabha MP amid row over candidature". The Times of India. 16 March 2021. Retrieved 16 March 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Facing disqualification as Rajya Sabha MP, nominated member Swapan Dasgupta tenders his resignation". Times Now. 16 March 2021. Retrieved 16 March 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Press Information Bureau". pib.nic.in. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d e Basu, Manisha (August 2016). "Between death and redemption". The Rhetoric of Hindu India by Manisha Basu. Cambridge University Press. p. 161. ISBN 978-1-107-14987-8. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d Soni, Aayush (6 June 2014). "Swapan Dasgupta: The Face to Ring in Modi's New India". OZY. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  11. ^ Murari, S. (13 June 2012). The Prabhakaran Saga: The Rise and Fall of an Eelam Warrior. SAGE Publications India. p. 72. ISBN 9788132109914.
  12. ^ Ranasinha, Ruvani (22 February 2007). South Asian Writers in Twentieth-Century Britain. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 103. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199207770.001.0001. ISBN 9780199207770.
  13. ^ "Business Standard". Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  14. ^ "Swapan Dasgupta is not untouchable for me". Rediff. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  15. ^ Saikia, Arunabh (10 July 2015). "Hartosh Bal Versus Swapan Dasgupta. And Others Caught in the Crossfire". Newslaundry. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  16. ^ Pushkarna, Vijaya (10 June 2019). "Understanding the Indian right". The Week. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  17. ^ "No fear of India turning authoritarian". Rediff. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  18. ^ Bhattacharya, A. K. (2 July 2019). "The roots of Hindu nationalism". Business Standard India. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  19. ^ "Our Rashtra Mata in Heaven". OutlookIndia. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  20. ^ Mishra, Pankaj (9 November 2015). "Narendra Modi: the divisive manipulator who charmed the world". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  21. ^ Ludden, David (April 1996). Contesting the Nation: Religion, Community, and the Politics of Democracy in India. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 9780812215854.
  22. ^ Hasan, Mushirul (1997). Legacy of a Divided Nation: India's Muslims since Independence. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. p. 303. doi:10.4324/9780429039690. ISBN 9780429701207. OCLC 1110150477.
  23. ^ Rajagopal, Arvind (25 January 2001). Politics After Television: Hindu Nationalism and the Reshaping of the Public in India. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. pp. 343, 194. ISBN 9780521648394.
  24. ^ "Official: Swamy, Sidhu, Swapan Dasgupta and Mary Kom nominated to Rajya Sabha by PMO - Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis". dnaindia.com. 22 April 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  25. ^ "Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu's office receives Swapan Dasgupta's resignation letter". Hindustan Times. 16 March 2021. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  26. ^ "Babul Supriyo, Swapan Dasgupta Named In BJP's Second List Of Candidates". Moneycontrol. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  27. ^ Nanda, Meera (2011). The God Market: How Globalization is Making India More Hindu. New York: Monthly Review Press. pp. ix. ISBN 9781583672501.
  28. ^ Basu, Manisha (2008). Fathers of a Still-born Past: Hindu Empire, Globality, and the Rhetoric of the Trikaal (Thesis). University of Pittsburgh.
  29. ^ Datta, Pradip; Pati, Biswamoy; Sarkar, Sumit; Sarkar, Tanika; Sen, Sambuddha (1990). "Understanding Communal Violence: Nizamuddin Riots". Economic and Political Weekly. 25 (45): 2487–2495. ISSN 0012-9976. JSTOR 4396965.
  30. ^ Thakore, Aloke (2004). Reporting ethnic violence: context, text, and practice of journalism in an Indian city (Thesis). University of Wisconsin–Madison.
  31. ^ Sarkar, Sumit (1993). "The Fascism of the Sangh Parivar". Economic and Political Weekly. 28 (5): 163–167. ISSN 0012-9976. JSTOR 4399339.
  32. ^ Basu, Manisha (August 2016). "Time's victims in a second republic". The Rhetoric of Hindu India by Manisha Basu. Cambridge University Press. p. 39. ISBN 978-1-107-14987-8. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  33. ^ Basu, Manisha (August 2016). "Preface". The Rhetoric of Hindu India by Manisha Basu. Cambridge University Press. pp. xi. ISBN 978-1-107-14987-8. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  34. ^ Kapoor, Richa (2008). Understanding and Interpreting English as a School Discipline in Postcolonial India (Thesis). University of Minnesota.
  35. ^ Basu, Manisha (August 2016). "Between death and redemption". The Rhetoric of Hindu India by Manisha Basu. Cambridge University Press. pp. 140–144. ISBN 978-1-107-14987-8. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  36. ^ Rajagopal, Arvind (25 January 2001). Politics After Television: Hindu Nationalism and the Reshaping of the Public in India. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. p. 170. ISBN 9780521648394.
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