For the past few days since Mr Tapas Paul’s barbaric declaration, I’ve been wondering what should be an apt reaction to it.
Should it come in the form of just another angry 140-character tweet, or should it go beyond that, at least a little? Because these occurrences, they disturb me to say the least, and I’m glad they do, because I feel that’s what keeps me human and makes me sad at the general attitude of letting everything pass as a part of the great Indian circus. And that’s why I’m penning this article, to share my thoughts.
It’s surely not a one-off event! It has a lineage of its own that lies embedded in at least a partial failure of the celebrated Indian democracy and the Indian polity turning into some kind of a farce over the last almost seven decades.
From rival party members openly spreading communal hatred in Uttar Pradesh to the Left mohican Lakshman Seth promising to make life a living hell for protesters in Nandigram. From a more subtle yet aggressive Benoy Konar to the direct threats of Anubrata Mondal. From the hideous “sexual” assaults of Anil Basu and Anisur Rahman to the murderous words of Monirul Islam, the track record is long and hopelessly “rich”, irrespective of their political affiliations.
It’s noteworthy that the rate is alarmingly high in our state. Despite that, I must admit that the latest addition to the bouquet by Mr Tapas Paul, actor-turned-politician, stings deep inside, and with a lot of venom, probably because we belong to the same fraternity. Though even here it’s not completely new. A reckless comment by another of our colleagues, a newbie in Bengal politics, provided much cause for embarrassment (among other things) earlier this year.
Mr Paul’s recent comment not only tells us about a complete lack of education and sanity on his part but it also reveals the true picture of rural politics in this country, especially in Bengal. For some of us privileged city dwellers who, under the spell of ignorance, would still like to think of Bengal as a haven of peace and brotherhood, here’s some news!
Bengal has been the biggest hotbed of rural political violence in the country over the past 15 years. It seems politics in the land is sans any regard for the opposition, sans any scope of democratic dialogue and believes in raping, castrating or annihilating any differing opinion, any criticism, any voice against the one that’s most powerful or any antithesis. And anyway, we are only talking of rape here!
Almost a rhetoric now, much in fashion since the last two years, and immortalised in the history of populist titillation of suppressed sexual perversion by thousands of Bollywood movies, isn’t it?
What adds to the misery is the inclusion of criminals and convicts in Indian politics. But that’s not new. What’s new is this trend of film actors joining the political bandwagon in hundreds. It does make one wary of the possibility that there will only be a further decay of political and administrative acumen.
The parties in order to win over vote banks, will keep playing to the gallery, cashing in on the raw, over-impulsive reactions of voters. It’s only being proved right time and again!
I have great respect for our chief minister Miss Mamata Banerjee and sincerely appreciate the energy that she has managed to usher into the state. I’ve been doing the rounds of the suburbs and villages over the past six months on different assignments and have seen that there is at least a visible effort to make things work. Her personal touch to matters makes her someone really close and accessible.
Because I want to believe in her good intent and in the fact that the state will see better times under her guidance, I think I also have the right to want these atrocities to come to an end.
Let expelling Mr Paul be the first step. Let us set an example by bringing some penalty to the guilty, unlike all the previous cases mentioned earlier.
Critiquing the administrator doesn’t mean one is derogating him/her (in our case, her)! If an insider can engage in dialogue and raise points of healthy criticism, it only means that one is concerned about the long-term well being of the state as well as the party. Interpreting such efforts otherwise might result in grave circumstances for democracy in the future. And in that case, the very purpose of laying much-needed stress on the works of Swami Vivekananda and Tagore will be totally defeated.
Hence it’s my humble plea to the present Tolly brigade in politics to be a little more aware, and alert. To be affected by situations around them, to engage in debates within themselves. You’ve been given responsibilities, which involve more than doing electoral campaigns, hanging around for added perks or just being eye candy! Please be aware of them. Don’t let the people of the “largest democracy of the world” lose faith in you, and, as a consequence, in the Constitution.