Journalist, researcher and public intellectual, he will succeed C. Rammannohar Reddy, under whose editorship India’s most prestigious social sciences journal reached new heights
New Delhi: The Sameeksha Trust, which publishes the Economic and Political Weekly, has decided to appoint the well-known journalist and researcher, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta as the journal’s next editor with effect from April 1, 2016. Thakurta has a Masters from the Delhi School of Economics and is a respected commentator on political economy issues. His most recent book is Gas Wars: Crony Capitalism and the Ambanis, a rigorous dissection of Reliance Industry Ltd’s controversial KG basin operations.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the trust in New Delhi on Saturday. Among the trustees present were Deepak Nayyar as chairman, D.N. Ghosh, Andre Beteille, Romila Thapar, Jean Dreze and Rajeev Bhargava.
The 1955-born Thakurta will succeed C. Rammanohar Reddy, who ran the prestigious journal for eleven years, taking it to new heights following the death of its legendary editor Krishna Raj. “The trustees recorded their deep appreciation for the admirable work” done by Reddy as editor of EPW “and the enormous contribution that he made to the journal”, a statement issued by the trust said.
The trust meeting also decided to “organise a consultation with persons from the wider EPW community” on the upcoming 50th anniversary of the publication, and the plans for commemorating this event from August 2016 to August 2017 “will be finalised in consultation with the editor-designate, who would commence his work at EPW on 1 April 2016″, the statement noted.
In the run up to the change of guard, more than a hundred academics from around the world, speaking on behalf of the “wider EPW community”, had urged in an open letter to the trust that the different views which had emerged over several issues between the outgoing editor and the trustees – including the anniversary plans and the functioning of the trust itself – be addressed in the spirit of openness, keeping in mind the future of the journal.
Saturday’s statement by the Sameeksha Trust made no reference to that open letter but noted that members had had “a constructive discussion” on the anniversary celebrations and that “valuable suggestions” were made. One of those suggestions, evidently, is the idea of involving the wider EPW community in the deliberations.
Reddy, who was the economics editor of The Hindu before being appointed editor of EPW in 2004 is credited with upgrading the content of the journal, making it more accessible for lay readers while simultaneously introducing greater rigour in the selection of its more technical articles. Under his stewardship, the journal managed to stabilise its finances, and emerge as a presence on the web, besides continuing to play its role as India’s leading intellectual publication.