CPM in propaganda war

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  • Published 6.07.07

New Delhi, July 6: The CPM today resumed the propaganda war over Nandigram, releasing a film that it hopes will help reclaim some of the ground it has lost since March 14.

Nandigram: Asman ki Talash Mein, is a justification of the party’s actions and utterances leading to the killings on March 14 and the talks following the tragedy.

The 36-minute film reflects “the ideological standpoint of us in the Left”, says debutante director Prakash Rai.

The events in Singur and Nandigram were covered extensively not only by news media but also amateur and professional film-makers. There is plenty of footage available on the Youtube site. At least two documentaries, This Land is Mine and Unnayaner Name (In the Name of Development), are attempts to tell the Nandigram story from the non-party, non-government end and also present the government point of view.

Asman ki Talash Mein is a collection of interviews — in Bengali and broken Hindi — of those who had fled Nandigram and taken refuge in Khejuri and is meant primarily for an audience less familiar with the history, geography and politics of Bengal. Rai admitted that he was not able to spend as much time as he would have liked in Nandigram.

In one scene, a Trinamul activist tries to pass off a rotting rubber pipe as the decomposed body of a child that CPM supporters had allegedly killed and thrown into a pond. The soggy mass is identified for what it is a few days later.

The essential questions of hard economics — is industrialisation possible without acquiring land, is it possible to compensate a farmer, can a farmer be given a stake in development — are overlooked in this propaganda war.

In Calcutta, Jyoti Basu today released a documentary on Bengal’s industrialisation drive.