Sunday, May 17, 2009

Shobujer Obhijan

She is a mad woman. And she has won. I am ecstatic because it is the triumph of content over packaging. Of real emotions over arrogance. Of humility over despot-ism.

If you are happy and you know it, send your pic! :D

It will be put up here:
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Quick! And do spread the word. If you want the Shoitanir Oboshan badge, mail me, or at the email given above or leave a comment here. This is the badge:

I have also realised that what is truly modern is necessarily eternal. Which is why at this ecstatic moment I suddenly find meanings to so many songs by Tagore...

'mora cholbo apon pothe tobu milbo tari sathe
mora noi badha noi dasher rajar trasher dashotte
noile mora rajar shonge milbo kishotte, amra shobai raja...'

Or Hirak Rajar Deshe...

'Kotoi rongo dekhi duniyaye o bhai re, o bhai
ami jei dikete chai dekhe obak bone jai
ami ortho kichhu khunje nahi pai re...
shonar foshol folaye je tar dui bela jote na ahar
hirar khonir shromik hoye kana kori nai'

or 'Ei bare raja shono, jeno nistar nei kono...'
and numerous other lines.

I am reminded of one of the most memorable days of my life. It was evening at Dobandi, a village in Singur. We had set up the screen in front of a club-house just adjacent to the TATA factory wall. Then with the children, youngs and olds of the village (and security guards watching from over the walls) we watched Hirak Rajar Deshe. It is difficult to express the frisson, it tends to overwhelm you. The children went home along the dark firefly-lit roads between the green fields, in groups, shouting 'Dori Dhore Maro taan...raja hobe khan khan..'

It will be impossible to tell you why I am so happy today. You won't understand :)

Friday, May 15, 2009


There is still a day to go. But the Post-Poll reports look monotonously grim. Frankly I do not think it is going to matter much to India whether the Congress or the BJP lead the coalition. What I am worried about is the State Assembly Elections of 2011.

Scenario I ;
Congress forms the government this time with the usual allies (I am not sure about RJD, but I have a feeling they will eventually join) including the Left. The left will naturally not take up ministries. They like drinking stuff with a long straw.

Now TMC has 2 options.

  • To join UPA- in which case it will be extremely difficult for them to form a credible opposition in 2011 against the Makku-Party. Plus, I have serious doubts if the Congress will be willing to partner with them. SUCI probably will. And hopefully they will manage to reconcile the differences with PDS.
  • To not join the UPA- This will give them more credibility in the State Polls, but make them strategically weaker since the Congress and the Left will be allies at the center.
Scenario II
BJP forms the government. From the pre-poll campaigns it is quite clear that they will invite TMC to join NDA. Again TMC has two options.

  • To join the government- Horrible move this will be. The congress won't stand by them in 2011 and above all it will seriously taint their credibility. To an extent that it will be the doom of them (recall 2004?)
  • To not join the government- This is clearly the best possible situation strategically. The congress and the TMC remain allies. The left remains an opponent at the state level. The BJP government at the center will ensure neutral polls at the state level.
Disclaimer: I am anti-pseudo-communist. Hence, all 'best possible situations' are naturally my way of looking at things. I am looking at things from the perspective of the State, and as to what could be the best way to oppose the left here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I have been asked by the doctor to not go out of the house. But I went out, stood in the queue for an hour and cast my vote. I would, even if I were dying. There is a very popular trend picking up around me: A lot of young people 'stay away' from voting because they have 'lost faith in the system'. They say, it will not matter if they vote. I will vote because I must have my say. I must express what I feel irrespective of whether I am heard or not. I will do my bit to change the system, however small it might be. I never get bogged down by cynical adults who tell me its too small to count, to matter.

The pseudo-communists have turned this state into a nightmare. They have stooped to the abyss of monopoly. There is so much 'red' tape that its a tangled gigantic red ball rolling downhill. School teachers don't work. They have their Red union. Students will get away with ragging, with cheating in exams, zero attendance. They have SFI. Auto drivers will not follow traffic rules. Every auto, legal or illegal, pays 3 rupees every day to CITU. Bus drivers will overtake and kill. Their owners pay just 1000 rupees to CITU for every man they run over. Trucks are overloaded beyond their licensed limits. They have payed their tollahs to police along the way. Rickshaw wallahs will hit pedestrians. They have their union to fall back on. The hawkers will encroach your footpath. They are paying the party-man. Plus, whenever there is a rally all of them will be filled in buses provided for free by bus owners) to the maidan to add to the crowd. The police won't catch them. They have the same party to lick feet of. The courts, the municipal offices, the government offices, each and every person is a member. Who wants to work? No one can touch them as long as they pay their chanda.

I don't blame the party. If any party were in power for 35 years they would become equally despotic. We need change. And nothing, nothing in the world can be worse than where we are.

I love my city. My state. West Bengal has everything from mountains, to a heritage city, to a glorious past, plains, rivers, a sea, a mangrove that is the only one of its kind in the world. And look at the state of tourism. For god's sake, even Jharkhand has a tourism promotion going! Thousands of factories have closed down in the past 30 years. All indigenous industries are making way for multinationals. We had USHA factory, Krishna Glass factory, Annapurna factory, Dabur factory, Sulekha works, National Instruments in the Jadavpur area itself providing employment to the locals. I know because my parents have lived here. Now they are making way for land sharks building apartments that only a certain class of people can afford. Who buys stuff at South City? Who get the money that comes from these malls? Either giants like Reliance, Tatas, or foreign companys. Does it compare to an industry employing hundreds of people, making its own product? You can find a list of factories that have closed down that I tried to compile, here. But this is not even 1 percent of the actual loss!

I know it is difficult for a lot of people who are educated and refined to support a party like TMC, with a leader who is clearly quite eccentric and unrefined, but I respect her. I do. The woman is the only voice of opposition in this state. No one can question her honesty. Congress, historically, has been a party of the weak and the meek. The congress is also historically an ally of the CPI(marxist) in West Bengal. CPIM worked as a close ally with congress to wipe out the revolutionaries (and perhaps the only true communists) Naxals. CPIM provided information to the congress about their hideouts, etc. It would have been impossible for Congress to find them on their own. This again is a tale of dark betrayal that will take days to talk about. But anyone who had been closely associated with the Naxal movements in the 60s 70s will tell you.

CPIM -the party that finally came to power in West Bengal, was a party born out of betrayal. They were the outer party that had promised to run the democratic machinery till time was right for a true communist revolution. The inner party, the revolutionaries, who were supposed to go to the villages and start ground work died out over time, when they saw the leaders of outer party enjoying all the privileges of power which they were deprived of. With the death of the Inner Party the dream of a communist revolution was dead. All that has happened ever since is a huge farce.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

I pee you

I had jaundice. So, I went to a nursing home. Boy. It was painful. But it was fun. The doctor while making a channel for the saline-drip (putting the needle in my vein that is) confirmed what I always suspected- Whoa, you have thick skin, he said. Right.

I would look forward to visiting hours. People would bring cartons of juice and what not. Dibyo even got me chocolate, which I unfortunately could not have and had to pass on to a more deserving mortal. I was seriously overwhelmed by the number of people who visited me, called me, messaged me. The mashis and nurses were nice too. Stop imagining things. Nothing out of an American Daydreams episode. But, well. You can't have everything!

The room-mates were quite funky too. An old chap with prostrate problems was ecstatic about pee-ing. He would drink gallons of water and try to beat me in how much one can pee. First day he peed 750 ml in 2 hours flat. I had just started on saline and lost out by about 300 ml. That night I braced myself for some serious peeing. And next morning, volia! I peed 1100 ml straight. The man was slightly offended. He took revenge by asking to switch off the AC for that night. Huh!

Anyway. So now I am back in the less competitive confines of my home. I just realised this post is got to be the most random I've ever written.