Bengal and The BJP: Past, Present and the Future

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San Jose – Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore once said, “Most people believe the mind to be a mirror, more or less accurately reflecting the world outside them, not realizing on the contrary that the mind is itself the principal element of creation.” The ethos behind the statement could pave way for a socio-political evolution in West Bengal today–To flourish one’s mind in creating something new – something vibrant and progressive.

The region has seen a lot of blood bath. The people stripped naked of dignity and compassion. The spirit killed. The sweetness of the land and the language hurled in the grounds of mockery.

What is it that is left of Bengal today and that can be revitalized with reconnaissance?

One thing that might come at the top of the list is: Pride. A shift in the social and economic trajectory of that region is only possible if the people in Bengal decide to awaken a collective consciousness, pay ode to the region’s glorious past and be the agent of change. Not relenting to power politics, not adhering to terror, not stooping to corruption and appeasement but to hold one’s head high in conceiving a new dawn.

It’s been a century that Bengal is being subjected to a reign of terror. Jayanti Basu writes in her book, “Reconstructing the Bengal Partition-The psyche under a different violence”– The partition left a huge impact in a generation of people; their disturbed psyche would haunt many generations down the family line. It was a chasm that was buried deep, something that would perhaps open years later to show the gnawing wounds within.

Then came the violent 70’s. It is said (in hush tones) that the chief minister, Siddhartha Shankar Ray of the Congress Party, instituted strong counter-measures against the Naxalites to the extent that the house of Somen Mitra, the Congress MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) of Sealdah, was allegedly turned into a torture chamber where Naxal students from Presidency College and Calcutta University were incarcerated illegally by the police and the Congress cadres.

CPI-M cadres were also involved in this “state sponsored covert terror.” After suffering huge losses of buoyant lives and enterprise the Naxalites alleged human rights violations by the West Bengal police. The students’ ideologues subsided but did it bring equanimity in urban and rural Bengal?

Instead, it brought the red terror of the Communist Party.

Shri Balbir Punj, noted columnist and MP (Member of Parliament) wrote on Udayan Namboodiri’s book Bengal’s night without End — It is an agonizing story of how the Marxists have reduced to shambles a state that shone as a beacon in the days of the Independence Movement, and retained its position as industrial leader till the late Seventies.

Udayan’s investigative journey into the heart of darkness began in 1986 when he visited the Sain Bari (the House of Sains) in Burdwan town. Sain Bari had become a household name in West Bengal when on March 17, 1970 Communist goons raided the house and slaughtered several members in broad daylight. The “crime” of the family was that they were apparently Congress loyalists. The Communists were then a gathering storm. As part of the United Front government led by Ajoy Mukherjee of Bengal Congress, they were unleashing their terror techniques on “class enemies.”

The Sain Bari episode which scandalized West Bengal and led to the imposition of President’s Rule stands as a forgotten memorial of red terror. “An evil political force may have parted you from the breast of mother earth” deciphered Udayan on a dedication stone tablet on a grassy sidewalk near Sain Bari, “but your memory will forever fill our lives.”

The anonymous wordsmith was correct in the diagnosis of Communism. Communism, by nature, is a violent, totalitarian and unforgiving doctrine. The Sain Bari massacre was the morning that showed the day. The book documents the saga of Communist terror in a 200-page section “The Book of the Frightened.” From the massacre of Ananda Marg monks on Bijon Setu of Kolkata in 1982 to the massacre of the Trinamul supporters in Gorbeta (West Midnapore) in 2000, it brings out a horrifying tale of red terror.

It was when the people harbored some hope in a changing regime that could elevate the people and their lives from decades of stagnation, however; The TMC party under the incapable hands of Mamata Banerjee shattered all those aspirations into rubbles of despair. In came the politics of revenge, of appeasement and lawlessness.

SATP (South Asia Terrorism Portal) reports: In 2010, when Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress (TMC) had formed a covert alliance with the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) in the run-up to the State Assembly elections to unseat the then ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-Marxist) Government, Maoist violence in West Bengal had peaked. With 425 Maoist-linked fatalities, the State secured the dubious distinction of recording the highest insurgency-linked killings in the country in that Year.

There are also troubling suggestions that some CPI-Maoist front organizations in West Bengal had developed a nexus with elements of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), which has close links with Pakistan’s covert intelligence agency, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). These elements have held several meetings jointly in four Districts of West Bengal, (Murshidabad, West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura), staged protests against alleged violation of human rights, and have been instigating people against the Government. This information was shared by the State Director General of Police (DGP) with the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) during the DGP-level meet on October 18, 2012. However, the MHA on December 5, 2012, informed Rajya Sabha that “no concrete inputs are available to indicate that Naxals have forged direct ties with the Pakistani Intelligence Agency ISI.”

With anarchy widespread and the condition of the state in its dwindling worst, it’s imperative that the people coalesce in a national forum and set a standard that resonate with some of the progressive states in India.

Of late, The West Bengal BJP (Bhartiya Janata Party) presented its ‘Chargesheet’ against the state government on its 2nd anniversary. Briefing the members of the print & electronic media over it at the party’s State Headquarters, BJP State President Rahul Sinha accused the state government of failing the people’s mandate on several fronts.

Earlier a committee was appointed under the chairmanship of ex-State President and National Executive member Tathagata Roy to prepare this ‘Chargesheet’.

These included:
1. Using the police and the administration in a partisan manner to help the ruling party and victimizing the opposition activists has become the norm. What is the difference between TMC and the Left?
2. In-spite of declaring its intent to announce an ‘Industrial policy’ nothing has come so far either in letter or spirit.
3. ‘Bengal Leads’ investors’ meet has been a huge failure and only ended up draining the constrained state coffers further. Is there a plan to at least retain the existing investors?
4. No concrete step has been initiated for fighting unemployment.
5. Nakedly perusing minority appeasement.
6. The state government being hand-in-gloves with the ‘Chit-fund’ companies.
7. Attempting to shield the culprits of the ‘Chit-fund’ scam.
8. The fact that scamster Sudipta Sen purchased the CM’s painting (CM being a amateur painter) for 1.86 crores, proves that its an attempt to buy over the CM.
9. The CM’s claim that she knew nothing of the ‘Chit-fund’ mess before April 15 is a fallacy.

Now, is anybody is going to do anything about the queries is ambivalent in the context of West Bengal’s façade of governance. But the Bengal youth of today need to pose the question to their own kind.

Are they are going to rise above mediocrity and decades of terror-tactics to change their destiny?

“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers,
But to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but
For the heart to conquer it.”

― Rabindranath Tagore

Summary: The BJP is faced with a unique challenge and a historical opportunity to regain the lost ground it enjoyed in the early 90’s. The choice is very clear for Bengal. The choice between the RIGHT and the LEFT and the FAR LEFT (TMC) 

Somanjana Chatterjee
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Somanjana Chatterjee is contributor to various publications around the globe namely San Francisco Chronicle, The Huffington Post,, New Global Indian, The Pioneer to name a few. Founder and Managing Editor of Bengal Bee.

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