| A Trinamul Congress procession wound its way from Esplanade down Lenin Sarani, on to Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road and out of SN Banerjee Road on Monday afternoon, leaving the city’s central business district stranded. Picture by Kishore Roy Chowdhury
This will be the first XL-size bandh for them, and they are not looking forward to it.
As Mamata Banerjee hurled yet another bandh on the city, a grinding 48-hour one, GeNext hit back at politicians they haven’t chosen for trying to drag them to a place they don’t belong — the city their parents grew up in.
The bandh means heartbreak, with two days’ worth of parties running up to Christmas gone. After all, this is the feel-good fortnight.
But there’s more. For Calcutta’s young, it is a depressing form of politics that will surely blot the present and block the future.
“Five bandhs in three weeks! My friends online don’t believe the situation here,” says Archita Rungta, 21, an NIFT student.
Neither do many youngsters, who have only heard horror stories of a bandh-bitten Calcutta from their elders.
“We have never seen anything like this before. It is as if a few years of progress are being destroyed by a month of madness,” rues Rajat Sen, 16, whose parents chose to shift back to the city three years ago as they felt Calcutta was “turning around”.
If the Sens of Ballygunge are beginning to rue the decision to return to their roots, the likes of Saurav Ryan Ghosh are “frustrated” by the sudden turn of events.
“It is utterly depressing that the city must go through this,” says the 17-year-old student of St James School, recently crowned Champion of Champions at the TTIS Challenge. “We were doing pretty well by way of financial growth... till the recent spate of bandhs.”
Nabil Mamsa, in Class XI at St Joseph’s College, is blunt: “Mamata Banerjee does not want the city to progress.”
The blow to their city and its image has hit GeNext where it hurts. Friends and cousins in other cities are once again starting to snigger at Calcutta.
“No other place will tolerate anything like this and disrupt normal life,” despairs Rohit Agarwal, 14, of Don Bosco Park Circus.
The not-so-young share their concern. “The culture of bandhs is coming back to Bengal and the image of the state is taking a beating,” rues Biswadip Gupta, managing director, Vesuvius India.
For most, a bandh boils down to just another forced holiday. Whatever be the issue, the bottomline is one valuable working day lost to power play.
“It’s astounding how all these bandhs are so successful,” wonders Debolin Sinha of Class XI, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
“If we want to beat the bandh, we must treat it like a normal day and tell politicians that we don’t want no more bandhs no more,” suggests 18-year-old Payel Gupta.
That is unlikely to happen on Thursday and Friday. What will happen, instead, is young Calcutta’s first brush with a 48-hour bandh. Says Sukanya Mitra, 11: “I have seen a 12-hour and a 24-hour bandh and heard about curfews and long bandhs from my father. But this is the first time I’ll experience a two-day bandh.”