The Left in India was faced with a similar challenge many decades earlier during the Second World War. In 1942-1943 the war, an indifferent colonial administration, and an apathetic Bengali middle class caused a man-made famine in Bengal that saw large-scale death and destitution among the peasantry. Nabanna, the most well-known production of the pre-independence Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA), was co-directed by Bijon Bhattacharya and Shombhu Mitra. Independence now made possible a state patronage for the arts. In order to determine its policies in the award of grants and encouraging a national agenda for culture, in 1952-1954 the government instituted organisations like the Sangeet Natak Akademi for the performing arts, the Lalit Kala Akademi for the fine arts, and the Sahitya Akademi for literature. The attacks on Dushopner Nagari were symptomatic of the growing authoritarianism of the Indian state. The Left in India awaits an IPTA-like movement that can consolidate the people’s discontent.