|Brinda Karat suggests that the US of A may have been responsible for Nandigram, while the Marxists misappropriate Tagore and begin an intrusive propaganda offensive to counter the recent losses by SFI in students' unions; polls.|
The bloodbath at Nandigram has had, as has been mentioned in these columns earlier, its fallout on college students' union polls. The CPI (M)'s students' body, the SFI, was routed at Presidency and this was repeated last week at the Jadavpur University's Arts Faculty students' union polls. Till now, the SFI has been wiped out in similar polls in at least a dozen colleges all over Bengal, including at a college at Haldia (near Nandigram) that has been an SFI bastion ever since it was established a few decades ago.
The main issue in all these elections was, expectedly, Nandigram and the SFI had a tough time defending the massacre of farmers there. But enough is enough, the SFI bosses and their masters in the CPI(M) have decided. And they've planned a damage-control exercise. SFI activists in all colleges in the state have been asked to prepare extensive databases of each and every student with their names, residence phone numbers, mobile numbers and e-mail addresses. The authorities of the colleges-- most owe their positions to the CPI(M)-- will only be too happy to oblige the data hunting SFI cadres. And once this database is ready, a large scale operation would be launched to "reach out" to lakhs of students, bombard them with messages, mails and SMSes containing Marxist propaganda.Knowing the CPI(M) and the SFI, the methods used to "convince" the students would often be strong-arm and intimidatory. Overt and covert threats would be issued asking students to fall in line and vote for the SFI the next time. And yet another terror mechanism would be put in place in Bengal, making it a little more of a Stalinist state. My Marxist friends may argue that such fears are unfounded; even if the benefit of doubt is undeservedly granted to them, may I point out the small matter of a citizen's privacy? In a democracy (our Marxist rulers have never come to terms with this), every citizen has the right to privacy; and that means not being disturbed by propaganda over telephone, cellphone or e-mails. Especially during the summer vacations.
The CPI(M) had, not so long ago, cried itself hoarse while accusing the Sangh Parivaar of distorting history. It has embarked on a mission to do the same now. All for the sake of SEZs. In what can be termed as an amazing act, the party is trying to quote Rabindranath Tagore-- never mind that the Marxists had once denigrated him as a bourgeois poet-- to justify industrialization and, hence, acquisition of land for industries. Tagore, it is true, had said that man cannot shun machines and industries were essential for generating employment and wealth. He was a votary for industrialization. No right-thinking person would argue otherwise. The CPI(M) is planning to bring out a booklet, perhaps titled 'Even Tagore said so..', with quotes from the Nobel laureate. But Tagore, Bengal's Marxists should be reminded, never said that fertile agricultural land should be snatched away from farmers for setting up SEZs. He never said that land acquisition should be carried out through an executive fiat without holding any discussions with the land-losers. Bringing out such a booklet would amount to misquoting Tagore and distorting history. But then, misquotes and distortions are oft-used weapons in the Marxists' armoury, aren't they?
CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat came out with a outlandish charge that even had her senior colleagues shaking their heads in disbelief.Writing in her party's mouthpiece earlier this week, Brinda said the USA could have had a hand in abetting the violence-- she means not the mayhem by police and her party cadres, but allegations (since proved unfounded by the CBI probe) that the locals there had hurled bombs and fired at the cops on March 14-- at Nandigram! She has based her charge on a visit the US Consul-General in Kolkata paid to the state chief of the Jamait Ulema-i-Hind, Siddiqullah Choudhury, sometime in February. Choudhury is spearheading the opposition to land acquisition at Nandigram. Brinda, in her article, had argued that since the CPI(M) is against closer ties and strategic relationship with the USA that the UPA government has embarked on, the USA is trying to harm the CPI(M) by covert means. And that includes lending a helping hand to those who oppose the CPI(M) at Nandigram. Never before, I'm sure, has such a preposterous allegation been levelled. Not even by Indira Gandhi, the original proponent of the 'foreign hand' behind domestic turmoil. Had the charge not been so ridiculous, it would have been fit to counter it. But the sheer absurdity of her allegation makes it unworthy of serious comment. But it only reveals the lengths embattled Marxists, fighting hard to defend Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's indefensible actions, can go to. And in doing so, little do they realize the theatre of the absurd they're enacting. Or was Brinda Karat just providing some comic relief?