- Published 16.04.16
The theatre community got sharply divided - pro-Trinamul and anti-Trinamul. It is this development that has encouraged even the Trinamul staff union leaders to call the shots.
Another loss that I personally found was the loss of friendship - Bratya was not watching Suman's (Mukhopadhyay) plays, Suman not watching Debesh's plays, Debesh not watching my plays, me not watching Arpita's plays.
When Bibhas Chakraborty did Adbhut Andhar (1997), Ganashakti (the CPM mouthpiece) had refused to print the play's advertisement. That was the limit then. Now, there is no limit.
After one point, people like Debesh, Arpita, Manish Mitra left Natya Swajan. Then the realisation came that after all we are friends from the same theatre community and that the ruling party was using us as pawns. So we started watching each other's plays again. I went and watched Bratya's Boma. Bratya came to watch my Antigone. Arpita came to watch Antigone with members of her group. I went and watched Debesh's Tughlaq. Things are getting cordial among us again.
But the problem is the divide-and-rule policy that we allowed for more than three years (2012 to 2015) worked to the benefit of the ruling party, which will want to maintain the rift. Bratya and Arpita, who took the risk of joining a political party, have to abide by their party guidelines and can't say everything they want. But there are many of our colleagues who did not even join Trinamul but keep mum when any injustice happens because they do not want to antagonise the ruling party. That is most dangerous.
When we were protesting against the Left regime following Nandigram in 2007, our aim was to create a civil society that would work as the conscience of the political parties. Today, we have to call a spade a spade without succumbing to any political pressure. We have to fight for democracy. And the voices of important people like Sankha Ghosh, Soumitra Chatterjee and Asok Ganguly cannot be waved off. They are taken seriously by the Election Commission.
The kind of dictatorship that Mamata Banerjee enjoys is quite evident. But I think there is no point in blaming any party or person. We should have been more careful.