| Helmet shield for bus drivers during the SUCI bandh. Picture by Sanjay Chattopadhyaya
Satarupa Chaudhuri, a reader of The Telegraph, sent the paper the following open letter to Mamata Banerjee on the eve of the 12-hour shutdown. The views expressed below are those of Chaudhuri but The Telegraph is publishing the letter in deference to her right to be heard.
October 30, 2007
Ms Mamata Banerjee,
Trinamul Congress leader,
At the very outset, it is imperative that I introduce myself. My name is Satarupa Chaudhuri. I am a 36-year-old woman who has been born and brought up in Calcutta. I am passionate about Calcutta and I love my country very much.
The reason for writing this letter is entirely non-political. I chose to write an open letter to you because I feel it is now time to raise our voice against the innumerable “bandhs” you keep calling at your slightest whim and fancy.
I have fullest compassion for the victims of the “state-sponsored terrorism” as described by you. I also have deep sympathy for victims of terror inflicted by your party members who during bandhs behave no better than the CPM cadres whom you detest so much.
You feel that brandishing the Constitution, going on a rampage in the Assembly and fasting for some days will provide all solutions.
Instead, why don’t you stand by the people who are actually suffering, like the wounded boy who had not been admitted to SSKM because of red tape and was suffering untold misery outside the ward for more than 24 hours. But you were too busy declaring a bandh which will cause untold misery to many more people.
You will have trains blocked and insist on stopping buses with threats of throwing bricks at the windscreen. At the end of the day, you will go to sleep with a clear conscience after having deprived our state and the city of yet another working day.
You will go to bed with a full stomach knowing fully well that several daily wage earners have been deprived of their daily meal by you and your party activists.
Madam, you want to oust the Red government! Excellent idea! But give us a stable alternative.
How do you hope to handle Writers’ Buildings' With your whims, fancies and histrionics, you have made Calcutta and Bengal a laughing stock in front of the rest of India and the world. When a visitor to our state asked me recently — “What does Mamata want'” — I had to reply: “I don’t think even she knows.”
If you want Bengal’s development, surely you cannot hope to achieve that by bringing the state to a grinding halt every now and then!
If you have to protest, please do so sensibly. Picket on the roads. Offer people black arm bands or head bands. They will willingly wear them to work as a mark of protest. After all, all of us feel for Nandigram and Singur and all other affected areas.
But this form of protest is entirely derogatory for intelligent human beings living in a free democracy. How can you force people to go on a bandh'
You do not care about the state or its people. You care about yourself and your issues which you love blowing out of proportion.
Through this letter, I appeal to all readers: Please do not comply with this bandh or any other bandh. The development of our state is in our hands. I will be going out to defy this bandh as I have always done.
If we want to protest at all, why don’t we have a silent revolution' Why don’t we show our protest by not making any noise on the road. Instead of a bandh why don’t we have a NO HORN DAY on October 31'
I always end my letters with warm regards, but I have no regards nor any respect for anyone who is out to ruin my motherland.