The Economic Political Weekly magazine has put out a commemorative documentary to mark its 50th anniversary on its YouTube channel. The 32-minute film, titled Fifty Years of EPW and directed by Rafeeq Elias, includes brief insights into the formation of the magazine and interviews with academic luminaries on its importance and legacy.
The magazine’s predecessor, The Economic Weekly, was founded by Sachin Chaudhuri in 1949. Chaudhuri’s brother, Bombay Talkies producer Hiten Chaudhuri, was among the people who encouraged the formation of a magazine that would provide a critical examination of economic policies and the workings of the public and private sectors.
The Economic Weekly was shut down in 1965 after the funders started interfering with its editorial line. On August 20, 1966, under the aegis of the Sameeksha Trust, the Economic and Political Weekly started publication. Chaudhuri died in 1966, and three years later, Krishna Raj took over as editor and made it a widely respected collection of editorial commentary, field reports, papers and reviews of academic publications on numerous issues concerning Indian society, politics and the economy. After Krishna Raj’s death in 2004, C Rammanohar Reddy edited the magazine between 2004 and 2016.
“The range in is good and quite mind-boggling,” says economist Reetika Khera in the film. Among the other voices in the documentary include Amartya Sen, Ramachandra Guha, Andre Beteille, Jean Dreze, Usha Ramanathan, Ashok Mitra and Jayati Ghosh. “EPW… is an enabling journal, it made people serious about questions of caste,” adds Gopal Guru, the political scientist and current editor.
The magazine’s stature can be gauged from the number of unsolicited submissions, Reddy adds. “You would get some article from an unknown and unsought person from a small town and college and then you would work with that person,” he says in the film.