As a new contributor to the Development Dialogues, and as a somewhat erratic blogger I shall erm, begin?
It's been a while since I have blogged, and it's been a while since many people saw a peaceful protest march of wednesday's dimensions. Beginning at College Square, 60 thousand plus odd people neatly marched through College Street, Nimal Chunder Street, S.N.Banerjee Road right upto Esplanade. A while back many of us had stopped believing in democracy in the wake of state sponsored terrorism. But then I saw a sweet vendor clutch his wares and join the throng, I saw about twenty burkha clad women join in on Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road, and a little child hold a banner high from the relatively precarious vantage point of his father's shoulders.
From all walks of life people walk. I believe in democracy once again.Stomachs start rumbling once we pour into Esplanade. Some squat with cha, we listen for a while and then move into the heart of New Market as the voice of an eminent artist fades into the evening air. I am listening to the intelligentsia but then again I am hungry.
After a while, I say. After a while I will be back. For many years nobody has analysed the carefully camouflaged fascism of this government. We have had an excuse of an Opposition, the leader of which seems to be a jatra star. Histrionics notwithstanding, why couldn't the State produce some worthy politicians with some vestiges of humanity in them? Why did we even attempt to laud the innate hypocrisy of the ruling party some years back when a nonagenarian newt (that astutely corrupt political lizard!) handed over the reigns to our distinguished silver haired poet politician? Excellent, he is bringing in investors! What a guy! What a Stud! What a good guy. So clean. A dettol rinsed antiseptic image. Born to an ideology, however.
The hope of all Bangali bhadrolok has failed us.The sensitive intelligentsia now shudder at his Stalinism, his Nero-ism, his Hitler-ism, in short they have seen him enjoy a film (a film?!) when thousands are dying not very far away from the cultural capital, the city of joy!
And he won't do a thing about it.
Mind it, this particular party killed indigenous industry completely by trade-unionism and all sorts of virulent policies, and now they want to bring in the most obnoxious multinational chains and endorse cultural capitalism. This is the part that have been organised along compltely fascist lines for a long long time especially in rural Bengal. A Lakshman Seth could see that a man was never seen again, probably because he was chopped into little pieces and fed to his own dog.
Eveybody knew about the cadres. Everybody knew about the sort of violence they were capable of on occasions like bandhs. Perhaps nobody believed that carnage was possible. We sat here and condemned Hindutva and RSS and thought what Gujarat had come to. If Narendra Modi is Naradham Modi, what does that make Budhha babu?
It was wonderful to see a lakh or so persons at Esplanade. Celebrities criticizing the Goverment without fear. Ordinary persons collecting aid. But when I returned after some slight refreshment I thought;how does it help? What is it really? Could it really help Nandigram? Is this merely another exercise to alleviate the pain caused to the (sensitive) urban conscience?
Because we couldn't prevent a Nandigram. Most don't even know what actually happened there and what the issues were. Those following developments through January-March-November still couldn't predict the massive turn that the jomir lorai would take. The Governor was "unconstitutional" for being a good human being, for protesting.
I don't know where we are headed after this. The present condition of the State is disgusting everybody. I do know this. Many of the younger generation today don't know of the long and rather dismal rule of CPM and the rather horrible policies adopted in the course of de-indutrialization. They don't care. They just don't like the State. They don't want to stay. They want to go far far away. Perhaps just to escape.
Do they want to return? Perhaps.
After a while.
Friday, November 16, 2007