The essays in Calcutta Diary first appeared in the Economic and Political Weekly during the infamous 21-month Emergency imposed in India between June 1975 and March 1977. Interestingly, Ashok Mitra had worked with former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who had imposed the Emergency. The essays recount aspects of a unique and particularly difficult phase in contemporary Indian history. This new edition includes a foreword by eminent social scientist, Partha Chatterjee, and a concluding commentary by the celebrated historian of South Asia, Ranajit Guha. It offers an unparalleled portrait of Calcutta (now Kolkata) in all its grime and glory in a way few writers have been able to capture life and longing in this infuriatingly memorable metropolis in eastern India.