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Kaushik Bhaumik, A City of Detectives: Calcutta in the Global Division of Intellectual Labour

Let's ask the question like this. Is the cinematic detective the last man standing, who still upholds ideals of rationalism and modernity, long after the disappearance of his literary counterpart?
Kaushik Bhaumik, A City of Detectives: Calcutta in the Global Division of Intellectual Labour

Kaushik Bhaumik

Why are urban detectives so popular in current Bengali cinema?

Imagine Calcutta as a unique postcolonial city teeming with detectives, and imagine such a detective as a unique product of the global division of intellectual labour in the twentieth century.  A man of leisure, an imagination of a particular literary time, the Calcutta detective was more a celebration of the postcolonial Bengali intellectual: maximally rational but in a way that was careful not to rock the boat of bhadralok feudal flamboyance*.

Can we, from our own viewpoints of leisure, reimagine the city of Calcutta itself as an emblem of global urban modernity - but a modernity defined by a persona who would bend rationality itself to his need for leisure?

*bhadralok: literally 'gentleman', 'well-mannered person'

(The film Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! will be screened).

Readings:

Chakrabarti, Gautam ‘The Bhadralok as Truth-Seeker: Towards a Social History of the Bengali Detective’, Cracow Indological Studies vol. XIV (2012) (download here)
Ginzburg, Carlo and Anna Davin Morelli, 'Freud and Sherlock Holmes: Clues and Scientific Method', History Workshop, No. 9 (Spring, 1980), pp. 5-36 (download here)

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