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.

Reporters found helpless families, all obviously anti-CPM, in Sonachura, Garchakraberia and other places waiting for them to express their grief that they were not allowed to come out from their homes to cast votes because from early morning armed cadres were patrolling the area. The reporters also were able to dig up the scrupulously detail list of country made arms the cadres were carrying. As if each of the arm carrying miscreant had a placard hanging around there neck with the words ‘we are CPM harmads’ written on it and made it easy for the reporters to identify them.

The reporters found an honest Presiding Officer admitting that the brute cadres forced all including him and others like the lone security staff and opponent party polling agents from a booth in Baruni Snan Primary School. When they were able to return, they found all the 884 votes were already cast. The officer also told the reporters that he was unable to identify the loyalty of the miscreants but sure that all the votes in this booth has been cast in favour of CPM. The ballot boxes deployed in that particular booth must be of a new variety. It displays voting result even before counting. Or the ballots must be chatty.

A section of the local-national media and the apolitical while staunch anti-CPIM swajan intellectuals made a peculiar mix. They were by and large successful in creating a caveat in the mind of common people on the recent events in West Bengal. Their main weapon is a mixture of half truth and farce activism. Unfortunate; but in the end it is always the way of seeing which matters the most. The viewpoint, if deliberately chosen will always conclude to the predictable.

You see what you want to see. But the truth remains elsewhere.