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By Dr. Partha Banerjee
Happy News for my American and European friends.
It is with great pleasure and pride I present to you the six Nobel Laureates we’ve so far had from my beloved city of Calcutta, which is now known as Kolkata.
When I announced to my labor union students in class today that another Dr. Banerjee from Kolkata got the Nobel in economics last week (my wife and I went to the same college that he did — the famous Presidency College), and showed them a short video, they all clapped. They obviously wanted to know if we were related.
Courtesy America media, most people here in USA do not know anything about the rich treasures of Kolkata, Bengal, or India: our science, arts, literature, movies, or history of our glorious pro-people struggles. In my thirty-four years in the U.S., I have never seen or heard anything positive about India or Bangladesh, or for that matter, any Third World country (except for two occasions — when media reported on the deaths of Mother Teresa and Ravi Shankar).
As if we do not exist. As if we have nothing good to report on.
And it has created enormous negative impact not only on Americans or Europeans, but on the new-generation Indians too, who never see anything good about Kolkata or Bengal. This is the neoliberal cultural imperialism, something that I discussed with Noam Chomsky a number of times.
I also call it Journalism of Exclusion, where corporate media selectively manufacture news, and carefully not include news they do not like.
On top of these six Nobels, we can easily include our filmmakers and artists such as Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Ravi Shankar, Alauddin Khan, Ali Akbar Khan, or Uday Shankar, and then some phenomenal scientists, poets and authors Western powers have carefully managed to exclude from the list of Nobel recipients. Drs. J. C. Bose and S. N. Bose are two such scientists. I have written on this blog about Dr. S. N. Bose before. I had the privilege to see him when I grew up in Kolkata.
I plan to offer talks and classes on this subject at some point. But for now, I present to you this short, happy history. If you have any questions, please ask.
I am enormously proud of my beloved city and its people.