ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Brown Bag Lunch in New York

indeed, if the political situation during elections were understood in terms of sociopolitical processes taking place in Bihar and not in terms of the personality cult. In the Bihar plains the upper castes deserted the Congress(I) and rallied behind the BJP- Samata alliance. Samata could muster the support of the kurmis, koeries, baniyas, and a section of the MBCs as well. This resulted in their bagging 24 seats and a big decline in the percentage of votes held by the Con- gress(I). On the parliamentary left, the CPI shrank to half of its size in the last hustings and the CPI(M) and CPI(ML-Liberation) got nothing. The CPI receded as a great loser with barely four seats (it was eight in the ON Wednesday the 8th of May, I had the opportunity of attending a 'brown bag' lunch at the Monthly Review office in New York, A "brown bag' is an old American tradition. Everyone brings their lunch from home (the brown bag) and then they eat together while informally discussing a topic of mutual interest. A great deal of important academic work, which requires informal interaction among colleagues, gets done this way. I had heard of these brown bag lunches at the Monthly Review: how everyone met once a week to discuss both work and current issues over these brown bags. It was also the place to find out the latest news of new books and publications, not only of MR, but of like- minded authors everywhere. Usually the brown bag meet was on Wednesdays; some 20 years ago, I remember it was on Tuesdays. Clearly, times change.

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