Thursday, October 18, 2007

Singur SOS

Notebook, Kolkata Plus, The Statesman (15.10.2007)

Around this time last year just before the Pujas when our colleague visited Singur to study the effect of the Tata car project on its residents, the mood of the people, though charged, was not as depressing as it is now. This year the scene is so tormenting that our colleague was moved to tears seeing the plight of the land losers and those who have lost their living. the plight of the families of share croppers and farm labourers is the worst. Many are starving and have taken to begging. They have gotten used to going without proper food for days. Their emaciated children look pathetic. With sunken eyes and without any proper clothes they stretch out their arms whenever they see outsiders in their villages. "Kichhu poisha din na, muri kine khabo". Their eyes light up seeing the sight of one or two rupees coin. Such is the level of their penury that their parents too, when they get to hear the presence of outsiders, also come out of their homes running. The women folk in tattered sarees ask for used clothes. "Even last year we somehow managed to buy new clothes for our children. This year it is out of question. Can you have some sent before the pujas as we are almost without clothes. Winter is coming and we have nothing to keep ourselves warm. We desperately need to survive. Please help to keep our body and soul together. This is our SOS to the babus of Kolkata during the pujas" said the women of Bajemelia village. The big question now is will the babus and bibis of Kolkata in the midst of their puja festivities respond to their SOS call and reach out to these people.