Every time the video clip showing sub-inspector Tapas Chowdhury being shot flashes across the TV screen, Souvik Hazra squirms in pain suffered three years ago but counts himself lucky for having survived after losing an eye.
The Behala resident, who idolises Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi in his struggle to make a mark in life, was a second-year English honours student at Asutosh College when he fell victim to campus violence despite steering clear of student politics.
Souvik, then 19, was sipping tea at a stall outside the college on December 16, 2010, when someone from a warring mob of students threw a brick that hit his left eye.
“I was lucky. Had it been now, I could have been hit by a bullet instead of a brick. I would have died like sub-inspector Tapas Chowdhury,” said Souvik, speaking to Metro at his Bisalakshmitala home in Behala.
“Every time I see the footage of the officer being shot, I remember the moment I was hit. I feel a searing pain all over again, as if my left eye is being gouged out for a second time,” said Souvik, who has to turn his head 90 degrees to see things to his left.
“Why can’t we stop this college violence? Because we don’t want to. Which political leader cares about a student’s life? I have lost an eye but is anyone bothered?”
Souvik, who has a prosthetic left eye that has to be taken out at least once daily to prevent irritation, had scored 75 per cent in ISC and ICSE.
In graduation, however, his score came down to 47 per cent. “I could not study for long at a stretch as the other eye and head used to ache. Now, I have somehow adjusted to the situation,” said Souvik.
He recalls how immediately after the incident, leaders of both the SFI and Trinamul Chhatra Parishad claimed him to be their own.
“Leaders of both organisations would call me up and ask me to join their rallies. All were keen to exploit my injury that left me blind in one eye,” said Souvik. “I had never been part of student politics, yet I was the one who suffered.”
The injury has robbed him of some of the joys he cherished most, such as swimming and playing Holi and football.
Despite the odds, Souvik has moved on. He is working on a documentary and plans to make one on student politics and campus violence.
He aspires to become a scriptwriter and director. “Nawab Pataudi is my idol now. If he could play with one eye, I, too, can make movies.... I pray no one else suffers my fate because of student politics and campus unrest,” Souvik said.