US and them: the dubbed version

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  • Published 25.11.07

I have been suffering from a strange sense of dislocation of late. Whenever I see Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee speak, I hear George Bush.

I suspect Buddha is a dubbed version of Dubya. A very good one too. For Bush speaking on Iraq and Osama and Buddha speaking on Nandigram and pratirodh sound far closer than Night at the Museum does to Museum ke Andar Phas Gaya Sikandar. (The only difference lies in Buddha’s Bengali accent.)

Sample these. Buddha: (This is the Bengal chief minister after the CPM attack to recapture Nandigram): “There were attacks from the other side and they were paid back in the same coin.” Bush: “The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States — and war is what they got.”

Since the war on Iraq has been happening for years now and the war on Nandigram is barely 11 months old, the US President has had more time to elaborate on the theme. Bush has also said: “The once all-powerful ruler of Iraq was found in a hole and now sits in a prison cell.” The underlying idea, as we can all see, is a roaring rampage of revenge. Though both could have just said: “Kill Bill” — and saved much time.

Then again, Buddha: “(The Opposition forces) had been attacking our men for months. That’s why the retaliation took place.” Bush: “My answer is bring ’em on.” He was challenging militants attacking US forces in Iraq. The underlying idea, in this case, is Us and Them.

Bush is really being far cleverer here than Buddha, for when he says US, he also means the U.S. He is punning, stupid. (Others have been thinking about Us and Them and War, too. There is also a song by Pink Floyd called Us and Them. It goes: “Us, and them/ And after all were only ordinary men./ Me, and you./ God only knows its not what we would choose to do./ Forward he cried from the rear/ And the front rank died./ And the general sat and the lines on the map/ Moved from side to side./ Black and blue/ And who knows which is which and who is who….” But who knows what Pink Floyd meant?)

More quotes. Before the attack, Buddha (actually his home secretary): “Nandigram has turned into a war zone.” After the attack, Buddha: “Many are saying this is the peace of the graveyard. For the last 11 months, did a heavenly peace reign?” Bush (summing up): “I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace.” War is peace.

Finally, the effect of war. Buddha administration: “Nandigram is terror-free.” Bush: “The tyrant has fallen, and Iraq is free.”

At this point, my head is reeling, as it happens when I see the long lost judwa was finally meeting each other. Or as it happens when you reach the end of Animal Farm. “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again, but already it was impossible to say which was which.” I look from Buddha to Bush, and from Bush to Buddha, and which is which and who is who? And as Pink Floyd continues: “And in the end it’s only round and round and round/ Haven’t you heard it’s a battle of words/ The poster bearer cried/ Listen son, said the man with the gun/ There’s room for you inside/ Down and Out/ It can’t be helped but there’s a lot of it about…

All this is so absurd it can’t be real. Too many Americans seem to know what exactly is going on here. So Buddha must be a movie. A very good dubbed version of Bush, the great American blockbuster. So ultimately Nandigram must be a giant conspiracy, funded by American corporations, so that the state (of West Bengal) withers away. It’s really the U.S. and Them, only the CM doesn’t know.