Thursday, 15 March 2007

Whose NandiGram, Whose Singur, Whose Bengal ?

The External Affairs Minister, and also, the Chairman of Empowered Ministers Committee for Special Export Zones (SEZ), Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the Congress minister from Bengal, has expressed deep anguish, at the way the Bengal Chief Minister has decided to honour his words, that he gave to big direct investors in Bengal.
The Bengal Chief Minister was groomed by Shri Jyoti Basu, over all these decades of sterile Marxist logic and bhadralok incompetence, to take over the reigns of a NEW BENGAL. The colour of this New Bengal, is unmistakably now red.
This is the Bengal that gave the resurgent India fighting the might of the colonial empire its National Anthem. Today this National Anthem has been sullied unmistakably by the student of Jyoti Basu, a man who decided that his word given in private conversations was more important that the words he could muster for the villagers of Nandigram. What a shame.
Is this then the New Bengal ? Is this then, going to be the shape and the face of the new India ? Is this the face of the urbane Marxists, the Politburo Communists, the Delhi based left ideologues, sitting in Delhi and Kolkata, and pulling the levers of power ?
A bunch of people who are not able to explain in words and win the hearts of the villagers of Nandigram and Singur ?
Is this going to be the colour of capital that will now begin to flow into Bengal and herald a new and prosperous Bengal ?
The revolution has come a full circle.
The bhadralok has decided that the promises it makes in private conversations, to industrialists are more important than explaining the new industrialization policy of Bengal to the people, the small farmers, whose land it wants to grab and forcibly convert into the industrial proletariat, without their concurrence ?
And the bhadralok is now ready to send forth the police in battle armed gear rather than talk, as the External Affairs Minister says, just because the chief Minister gave his word to some top industrialist in a closed room, in a secretive conversation, and will not tolerate any disobedience.
"The issue has to be resolved through dialogue," said Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the senior Congress leader from West Bengal and indeed one of the most respected of Indians on the global stage.
In sad contrast, are the empty words of firebrand Indian Communists of yester years, the occupiers of Writer's Building, who have lost touch with words, and are seeking bullets to do the talking for them.
Eleven people were killed and 75 injured when police opened fire on a huge mob, that fought pitched battles with the men in uniform in Nandigram.
If this is the New Bengal, the new Amar Sonar Bangla. If this is the shape of things to come in the new and incredible India, then maybe the clock has come a full circle after two and a half centuries. The Revolution has occurred.
The year is 2007. The irony cannot be last on those who study history. Exactly 250 years back, in 1757, a young British man, Robert Clive, had stood in mango forests, with a scroll, a map, a sword, and wondered how he was going to pave the way for a band of people to control a vast sub continent, incredibly rich and diverse. A land of whose riches he had read in Britain and had often dreamed of. The land of wealth but inner disjunction between common people and the ruling elite.
He too had decided that he would let the bullets, the swords, the cannons and the firmans, do the talking.
Yes, this protege of Shri Jyoti Basu, this new changing face of bhadralok, invites comparisons with the same young British man who surveyed Plassey and wondered why and how the British Empire would always remember him.
Today, the statue of Robert Clive, proudly stands outside the Winston Churchill Museum and the British War Cabinet offices of Second World War as its memory of the man who paved the way for English Empire in India.
It is exactly, 250 years of Battle of Plassey and a new battle has been won in Plassey. This time there are no British. This time it is a protege of Shri Jyoti Basu.

And once again, the Indian bhadralok has emerged from the slumber of the sterile Marxist rhetoric years.
Bengal. The state that gave India the Nstional Anthem, the state that opened the way to colonial domination over a proud sub continent called Bharat, the state that gave Subhas Chandra Bose, the state that gave the romanticism of Rabindra Sangeet, the state that gave the heart wrenching films of Satyajit Ray, the state that gave Amartya Sen, is now in the hands of a bhadralok, that has no more use for words and winning battles of the heart. How appropriate that this Bengal is in the hands of a protege of Shri Jyoti Basu.
Maybe it is the destiny of India, that this state and its bhadralok, will always, keep opening the doors to foreign domination, over a sub continent of proud people.
Let us remember the Mir Jafars, the Siraj ud Daulah and Robert Clive of 1757 as we turn the pages of history.
The Battle of Plassey (Bengali: পলাশীর যুদ্ধ, Pâlāshīr Juddha) was a battle that took place on June 23, 1757, at Palashi, on the banks of the Bhagirathi River, about 150 km north of Calcutta. It is near Murshidabad, then the capital of the Nawab of Bengal in India. Pâlāsh (Bengali: পলাশ), an extravagant red flowering tree (Flame of the forest), gives its name to a small village near the battlefield. A phonetically accurate romanization of the Bengali name would be Battle of Palashi, but the spelling "Plassey" is now conventional.

The battle was between Siraj Ud Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal, and the forces of the British East India Company. Siraj-ud-Daulah's army commander had defected to the British, causing his army to collapse. After this defeat, the entire province of Bengal passed to the Company, and this battle is today seen as one of the pivotal battles leading to the British Empire in India.

The enormous wealth gained from the Bengal treasury, after its victory in the battle, allowed the company to significantly strengthen its military might.

The carefully groomed political and ideological protege, of Shri Jyoti Basu is certainly, the harbinger of bad news. Not only for Bengal, but for the whole of India.
People will ask now, whose Bengal is it, whose India ?
Is it of the Communists, the capital laden industrialists and the bhadralok ?
What has happened to the real capital of Bengal in all these years ?
Are the people and the fertile Gangetic valley not itself a creator of capital anymore that it is grovelling for recognition in closed rooms for small bits of capital ? Yes the elite of Bengal has a role to play for rest of India.
Are they its rightful inheritors, or are they merely pretenders who got used to the cups of tea, and sterile conversations in Writer's Building and forgot that words and dialogue are all that it takes, for people's capital to once again build a beautiful and rich Bengal ?
A beautiful, "Amar Sonar Bangla" that has the power of the heart, to inspire and lead the whole of India ? Or will this Bengal, of the protege of Shri Jyoti Basu, that lays siege of rural villages in pre meditated operations, lead the new India ? How tragic !! Can we allow this Bengal to lead India ?
Two hundred and fifty years, and who knows, India has lost the Battle of Plassey once again. Marxist rhetoric is revealing its true colours finally in Bengal.
The elite of Bengal is bent on bartering away not only Bengal, but India, for pebbles. They have kind words for direct investors and determination to fulfill their promises, and only bullets for the people of singur and NandiGram.

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