By Frederic C. Thomas

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If they cannot induce Bengalis into selling their ancestral homes by offering large sums of money, they can arrange for goondas (the thugs who can always be easily hired in a city of high unemployment) to move in on properties they covet.

Page iv An East Gate Book Copyright © 1997 by M. E. Sharpe, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher, M. E. , 80 Business Park Drive, Armonk, New York 10504. All photographs by Frederic C. Thomas Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Thomas, Frederic C. Calcutta poor: elegies on a city above pretense / Frederic C. Thomas. cm. " Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 1-56324-981-2 (hard). 1. PoorIndiaCalcutta.

There are about forty beds for men and, in a separate dormitory, somewhat fewer for women; on them shrunken figures, some sitting, some lying, some sleeping. The overall impression is surprisingly pleasant, enlivened by children running about; there are "nonformal" classes for street children regularly held upstairs. Young foreigners work as volunteers. Not told what to do, they manage somehow to settle in and help: washing bedclothes, feeding the patients, picking maggots off a dying woman, and then seeing what else there is to do.

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