The Saga of Nation’s Hinterland

Striking workers in Calcutta in 1955 (Photo Credit: Keystone/Getty Images)

I have decided to take a week off for delayed-spring break to spend some quality time with my kids. Though I was aware that there will be no beach-vacation, friends-reunion, eating-out during pandemic, but my mind needed some break. A cup of tea and a gloomy cloudy weather suddenly reminded me a scene from very past. One day my cousin-brother and his friend visited my house and told my father anxiously that “Mama Dunlop bondho hoe gelo, ar khulbe na bodh hoi ”.  Atmosphere changed within fraction of time; my aunt was crying relentlessly whose only savior was his young son apart from my father. My father instructed my mom to send me and my brother to 2nd floor to avoid negative impact on his child-mind. But alas, few things are unavoidable, and children are smart. That cousin brother is now settled, but everyone was not that fortunate, including that friend who accompanied him that day.

Bengal’s condition was horrified after independence under Congress. Each day thousands of Hindus were fleeing to West Bengal. Land and resource crisis reached highest pick. Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy tried his best, but his effort was not good enough to rescue Bengal. On the other hand, Punjab was getting plenty of favor from Mr. Nehru. Bengal was deprived from beginning by him. It was not Dr. Roy who could meet ends meet for the state. Communist party utilized this opportunity for political hegemony. They promised to support those refugees and came to power by exploiting their fear, insecurity, pain. In reality CPI -M back- stabbed refugees by opening the flood-gate of illegal immigrants at border for vote-bank. Eventually they rehabilitated those who driven out Hindu refugees from East Pakistan. They have carefully incubated poverty, depression, pessimism to keep alive their agenda. Almost all institutions were politicized, which are supposed to work independently in proper democratic framework. Bengal started to loose heavy industries. Eventually corporate gave up due to anti-capital policies, and political turbulence. Left-front agenda became larger than interest of state and interest of nation. Groupism and partisan-mentality was not only confined in political platform, rather has been spread into society. While growing up, few characteristics I have noticed in family, in society from an eye of a girl, belonged to middle-class, liberal but yet little-orthodox Brahmin family. Very common trends were “blaming others including fate”, “playing victim-card”, “no-solution-situation”, “lots of sympathy but zero empathy”, “proud to be poor-intellectual but secretly wish for luxury” , “denying the fact for moderate capitalism” and “Burjoya der gurie dao” . CPI -M always made sure to keep the anti-collaboration mode with Centre to play the victim-card with cost of state’s deprivation. Political repudiation of true democratic value is one of the reasons of Bengal’s erosion in national politics. Moreover, I personally felt we were taught indirectly not to proud of our identity and origin in order to establish pseudo-secularism.

Rationalism, truth are hard to deny because it is coming from our own biology, nature. Peoples were crying out loud due to poverty, zero-industry, joblessness. Anti-incumbency was building up. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee tried to bring industries. But alas; his own party-member might not have supported him in all levels. He was deceived and failed to be a good administrator.

In politics, being deceived is no excuse. – leszek kołakowski.

This phase was most painful for me. I have started to visualize those dreamy eyes of young engineers. Everything was ruined when Tata decided to step back, and Bengal literally entered into a dark-age. I still sometime wake up thinking of those constable who lost their life to protect industrial property, of those farmers who gave land to have better life of their next generation.

People did not have any other choice than to elect current ruling party. People hoped for some positive changes. That dream was shattered very shortly. There is hardly any space for political-analysis during last ten years, as everything was happening so loudly – starting from corruption, money-laundering, hooliganism and appeasement. Bengal had witnessed enough but not such level of lowness. People were shaken by Park Street incident and associated comments from governance. And it didn’t end here, it continued. Society was exhausted to watch such plebeians politics.

Bengali’s spirit and intelligentia are hard to diminish. It is in our DNA. Below songs of Tagore’s always remind me my favorite philosophical concept called divine justice / poetic justice.

“Bidhir bnadhon kaatbe tumi emon shoktimaan – Tumi ki emni shoktimaan ! “.

We , Bengalis are righteous in nature and have quest for eternal truth. We are not afraid to bring the changes and be the change. That source of life, that light within us is compelling us to celebrate a new dawn with possibilities. Bengal’s journey of new day will always accompany with below philosophy from Gitanjali – Rabindranath Tagore.
“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free; Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; Where words come out from the depth of truth; Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;”