TITLE: THE POETICS OF LAND:
A personal journey through the stories, ideas and images of land and people in Bengal, from Vedic times to Nandigram
AUTHOR: Marc Hatzfeld
EXTENT: 316 pages
SIZE: 127 x 203 mm
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THE POETICS OF LAND is the result of Marc Hatzfeld's personal journey of discovery where West Bengal became a microcosm in his attempts to understand the mythic notions of land in the context of globalised development. It was first conceived in 2008 when Marc was living in Calcutta and became involved in the debates triggered by the dramatic events of Nandigram concerning landless peasants and sharecroppers who fought for their survival on the land where they had lived for centuries - a land coveted by industrial projects for the sake of development. During those intense discussions, called 'addas' in Bengali, he discovered a hidden aspect of the controversy about land use. Alongside the economic and political arguments lay an invisible world - a world of dreams and memories, of contradictory emotions and desires. Over the next six years, Marc interviewed West Bengali farmers, poets, corporate executives, economists, artists, filmmakers, writers, activists and politicians. What emerged is a fascinating look into the conflict between the ideas of growth and development which is both timely and relevant.
Marc Hatzfeld spent the first ten years of his life in Madagascar. He was educated in France, graduating in Law and Political Science from the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences - Po) where he was involved in the student-worker alliance of 1968. From 1972 to 1978 he travelled through South America, the USA , Asia and Australia. Returning to Europe, he was employed as a consultant sociologist and a researcher for various ministries including Labour and Public Works. Marc has written a number of highly praised books in social anthropology focusing on contemporary urban problems of homelessness, social alienation, youth delinquency and popular subcultures. He has also published several volumes of poetry. His book, Les dézingués, won a prestigous French literary prize - Prix La ville à lire.