Friday, May 30, 2008

The future of CPI(M)!

Much is being discussed on the recently declared West Bengal Panchayat election results. The main topic is whether it is a debacle for the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or not. The debate is obvious due to the fact that after 1977, CPI(M) never faced a situation like the present one. There were various critical problems and multifaceted attacks on the party and LF government before but ultimately most of them was controlled or nipped off before any serious damage. It was mainly through the rock-solid party organization and the mass base which always paved the way for them. At least the party was never in the grim mood as it is today. What is so special this time? This question is analyzed by anti and pro industrialization thinker and activist groups. They are concluding according to their very own politics. It is also said by some that there is no need to be an expert to understand the politics of the situation because the answers are blowin’ in the wind. Only the CPM does not want to listen to them.

The anti-land acquisition groups are asking CPI(M) to clarify the following: will they continue caring big capital or peasants-workers interest? Clinging on to the government at any cost or leading working people in their struggle? Embracing right-wing opportunism or leading various struggles and movements through out the country? The pro-land acquisition and industrialization groups are saying: industrialization is okay but the procedure followed by the government (read CPM) is faulty. Loosing some seats does not nullify the people’s verdict of 2006. In a democracy, people’s mandate is final but the people always do not deliver their verdict through thoughtful analysis but many a time gets carried away by emotional surge. The peasant front which was the backbone of the party is stagnant by the lack of peasant movements and the opposition fully utilized the opportunity. The difference between the government agenda and the party agenda got mixed up which substantially depleted the party’s credibility in the eyes of the people. Interestingly, both groupings have agreed on one point. The responsibility lies with the leaders who must have badly lost there mass contact.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Make no mistake; this is the beginning of the CPM's end!

So now the Panchayat 2008 results are announced. All the progressives and well-wishers of Bengal are jubilant. Their toil and hard work for the last two years has ultimately brought them a great success. CPM has lost Nandigram and Singur.

The charming Lady of the Mass has assured to halt all industrialisation in the state because, as she predicts, this campaign will now definitely pave her way for the complete ouster of the CPM. East Midnapore results have fulfilled her heart. The oppressed mass has finally passed their verdict: they are looking up towards her, only her, as their savior, to rescue them from the brutal CPM. Progressive bigwigs like the ‘almost Nobel’ foulmouthed literati et al, also browbeaten by the arrogant CM, are also looking up towards her, only her, as their Messiah. She had assured everyone while distributing rasogolla: ‘Make no mistake; this is the beginning of the CPM's end’.

The LF partners are visibly delighted after the debacle. One vocal partner said that they had already predicted the results and the other said philosophically, ‘whom should we blame?’ However, is it not crystal clear who they want to blame? It is the arrogant pseudo-left CPM, damn it. From the day Singur tumult started, weren’t they raising alarms? As pillion riders, they knew very well that CPM might manage himself even after the jolt as they had managed before, but they were not so sure about themselves. Therefore, they spoke in the tune of the dissent to public and media, trying hard to prove how pure leftist they are. One of them backed off after deciding to resign from the ministry realizing he might be more harmful by staying inside. One ‘national leader’ almost started to think about throwing CPM out to build a stronger Left Front. Sorry to say but a pillion’s optimism for authority is a pathetic illusion.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bob Dylan

Possibly, many of ours interest started to grow about Bob Dylan after the arrival of Kabir Suman (then Chatterjee) in the Bengali music milieu. Before that, Paul Robson, Pete Seeger and Harry Belafonte were the only three American singers known within the circles of progressive minded Kolkata youths, not only for their music in particular but also because for their leftist inclination. In the introductory Marxist days, IPTA songs was the one and only window for progressive leftist music. For obvious reasons Bob Dylan was never an icon with the official communist cultural front where Robeson of Seeger was much accepted. Belafonte was introduced, courtesy Hemanga Biswas, for his version of John Henry, which became highly popular in those days. A foreign name was always more stimulating to the post-colonial temperament of the educated middle-class youth. It was even the same while listening to music that expressed solidarity with the oppressed.

Suman arrived with his gaan like a fresh breeze in the early nineties. He brought with him the new style of one-man performance, ruling the stage alone with a guitar and mesmerizing the audience by his lyrics with a new vocabulary of poetic expression. He also brought the essence of Blowin’ in the Wind with him. Suddenly many discovered Bob Dylan and subsequently whoever seriously looked into Dylan became instantly addicted. However, the official left had its own problems to admit him. But, honestly speaking, they couldn't ignore him either.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Stories of fear: you see what you want to see

First phase of the much awaited West Bengal panchayat poll was over on Sunday, 11 May. Even as five districts went for poll in the first phase, the media which termed the poll ‘officially peaceful’ has concentrated their focus on Nandigram, which also went for poll the same day. As expected and foretold, (see the previous post Nandigram again) the media aim was to acquire fair and unbiased reports of massive booth jamming, armed booth capturing and open rigging by CPM harmads.

Reporters found a family of placid villagers in Kendamari area of Nandigram, coming from far Delhi to cast their anger against CPM. They were waiting patiently in the polling queue for three and a half hour for the angreji reporters to complain that the queue has not moved an inch from dawn 5 to 8.30 am. It’s a pity that the daring reporters cannot support their finding by a photograph only because CPM cadres waiting there threatened to smash their camera if photographs were taken.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Satyajit Ray and our days of romance

Those were the days in the 80’s Kolkata when Satyajit Ray was hale and hearty. The maestro was busy working on his cinema, prose, music and illustrations, and inspiring the whole generation of educated middle class Bengalis.

His presence was felt almost everywhere in Kolkata; from coffee house to university campus, from cultural and political gatherings to social functions. As he was a keen listener and connoisseur of Western Classical Music, lot of us started listening Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. We started to study the structure of western compositions, were curious to understand the 'sonata form' as Ray in many of his interviews spoke about the relation of this form and his cinema. The film societies were similarly influenced and regularly publishing important articles on his cinema in their house journals. The top class little magazine Ekshan was publishing his full film scripts and every issue of Ekshan was a collectors item. Many of us loved to dream about unexpectedly discovering a lot of old issues of Ekshan while browsing the collection of an old book shop in College Street.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Nandigram again

News about clashes started pouring in from Nandigram again. The Panchayat poll day is looming near and there were reports of sporadic incidents in the recent past. As desired and predicted by the free media, the violence has intensified now. The harmad CPM force are attacking the simple and peaceful but immensely anti-CPM villagers of Nandigram, scaring them to ensure that they either vote for CPM or remains housed in the polling day. The tortured villagers were inspired by the extensive support they received from M. K. Gandhi’s grandson, the Governor of Bengal, and decided to remain nonviolent.

The Governor is so worried about the suffering of the common man due to the seasonal power cuts that he has wisely decided to take a two hour break from the uninterrupted power supply at Raj Bhavan and suffer in the dark just like the common man sitting in his imperial palace. The darkness will also help him to think deeply about Nandigram again and deliver a perfect media exclusive at the right moment.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The stupid American

Average Americans are stupid. This common phrase has been floating among the residual relatives of the non resident Indian community for a long period of time. That’s the reason our children are doing so well there, that’s the reason our children are on high demand there, they say.

This reasoning itself sounds stupid. As if the Indians are a brainy super breed consigned to improve and manage the lives of their idiot counterparts and in exchange the Americans are feeding them with hefty pay packages, assigning them to run the economy on their behalf. According to them, the source of revenue of the non resident Indians is the American stupidity. Therefore India as a country must delightfully provide the necessary fodder to develop its generation next for their future mission and as a return they will pump back dollars to enrich the foreign currency reserves of the Indian state.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A small piece on Singur and Nandigram protests

When Singur and Nandigram was steaming, more in the minds of the middleclass Bengali intelligentsia, various celebrities and political groups were busy fishing in the murky water. Watching from a distance it was unlikely to track the events accurately. The internet played a vital role to negate the difficulty.

The awesome and loud protest by the devi’s and babu’s termed as ‘sushil’ was rather extraordinary. Also it was surprising to watch the hardcore self proclaimed underground rebels joining hands with reactionaries, theorizing and justifying their stand in their various inscriptions and dialogues. Almost every of these were documented in the newly discovered net sphere by enthusiastic cyber volunteers where they were published and republished. Whichever side one belongs to, it is undisputed now that these volunteers were basically honest, sensitive to voice their concern over an important socio-political issue of their time. Emotions were running high with obvious support from a big chunk of the sarcastic bhadrolok society. Also the protests were a relatively trouble-free one sided act as their enemy number one were defensive from the very beginning. Without any real backlash from the tactfully low key opponent the hullabaloo went on in full swing. Lot of imaginative forecasts and rumors were floating in the hot wind and it was pathetic to see, there were actually no difference between an illiterate, superstitious village folk and a high educated, rational, city dweller buddhijibi on this matter.