Saturday, December 15, 2007



Amit Sengupta Delhi

Diehard cynics are pushing the threshold. The rumours doing the political rounds in Kolkata and Delhi are uncanny and diabolical. That the spontaneous protests against Taslima Nasrin in Kolkata were stage-managed by those who wanted the nation's attention to shift from the shame of Nandigram. That the Centre and state government played footsie as they twiddled their thumbs while Taslima is shunted from here to there. Is it possible that the mighty Indian nuclear State can't protect one lone woman? And that too in a CPM bastion? It's fishy, and it stinks.

So how come suddenly, from nowhere, unknown, fringe fundamentalist groups with no identity or strength, started calling the shots on the streets of big bully's Kolkata and the big brothers at Alimuddin Street chose to watch the show on the idiot box? How come suddenly Taslima became a hate-figure in a city and state where the 'secularists' call the shots? And why was the army called so desperately and in such quick notice and curfew declared etc, even when the party's bloody party went on non-stop at Nandigram under siege while Writer's Building washed its hands off. So who has the blood of the peasants on their hands, in March, and in November, so that Lal Salem can resonate on the recaptured village bylanes by armed thugs and motorcycle gangsters?

This blood won't wash and the communal twist won't work now as it did not work after the March 14 massacre. It is a peasant struggle and it's not the fault of the poor Dalit and Muslim farmers if they constitute the majority in Nandigram. Besides, Muslims in Bengal have never voted for Muslim fundamentalists — they have voted for the Left, the Congress or Trinamool Congress. The Nandigram MLA belongs to the CPI and it does not matter if he is a Muslim.

Those who forcibly decided to 'deport' Taslima to BJP-ruled Jaipur, have obviously lost not only their ideology, but also their sanity and integrity. This communal insanity, combined with rapes and killings in Nandigram by their cadre, is so transparently crass that even the belligerent and foul-tongued troika of Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, Biman Bose and Benoy Konar seemed to have lost their tongues. If anybody who needs to be deported from Kolkata, it is this cosy muscle-flexing threesome. And if this is not utter degeneration and ideological bankruptcy, then what is?

And look who is celebrating? Narendra Modi and the Hindutva rabble-rousers. They will protect Taslima — so send her to Gujarat. Modi can then take her on a guided tourist package to Naroda Patiya, Ehsan Jaffrey's Gulberga Society, Kalupur, Juhapura, the Shah Alam refugee camp where thousands of survivors were dumped, and of course, the ravaged Best Bakery of Zaheera Sheikh in Vododra where they were all burnt alive. And enlightened 'Buddha' can call up 'vikas purush' Modi and promise to show him his pet, infatuated obsession: the chemical hub of Salem, notorious for backing the murder and disappearances of 2 million dissidents and communists by dictator Suharto in Indonesia.

Indeed, if money has no ideology or colour, as Buddha so proudly claims, then why not deport Halliburton and Bechtel from 'occupied Iraq' to Bengal. Blood for oil in Iraq. Chemical hub for blood in Nandigram. And if Henry Kissinger can be an honoured guest of Buddha, why not George Bush and Dick Cheney?

No wonder, a Rightwing Hindutva columnist is glorifying Modi and Buddha — as great role models of development. The Gujarat genocide celebrated communal fascism. And the Nandigram massacre — capitalist fascism. So why not?

So between the Left and Right, what happens to Indian citizens in the twilight zone of a failed democracy when the State turns predator against its own people? Ask that Muslim woman in Nandigram, surrounded by a CPM mob, gangraped by known CPM criminals, her daughters too gangraped and still missing. Does’t it all remind you of Gujarat, 2002?