Saturday, June 19, 2010

The other side of Rabindranath Tagore

A remarkable aspect of Rabindranath Tagore’s life is the way his persona had changed radically from the restricted identity of an oriental romantic-mystic to the wide-ranging identity of a concerned citizen of the world. A poet, who had earlier attempted to blend spiritual and romantic notions in his quest of grasping the mystery surrounding individual human soul and the divine, increasingly began to give voice to the minds of the colonized and oppressed people and expressed his passionate desire to be identified as one of them. This absolutely stunning transformation is manifested in the non-conformist and modernist approach of his later works. Quite obviously, this aspect of his life was somewhat overlooked by his ostensible admirers who has imposed upon him the title “Gurudev” and converted him into a sacred idol. W. B. Yeats, who was primarily responsible for forming the synthetic image of Tagore as a mystic poet in the West found problems with his later works. Amartya Sen in his brilliant essay Tagore and his India, has rightly pointed out that the “neglect and even shrill criticism” that Tagore’s later writings received from these early admirers arose from the “inability of Tagore's many-sided writings to fit into the narrow box” in which they wanted to place and keep him. “To those who do not read Bengali, Tagore is exclusively a literary person or a mystic of sorts,” regrets historian Tapan Roychoudhury. He further clarifies, “The fact that some two-thirds of his writings are serious essays, mostly on political and socio-eco­nomic problems of India and the crisis of civilization has been more or less ignored in Tagore scholarship.” (Source)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Innocent Maoists and the incredible but factual tale of a heartbreaking rail tragedy

Half minister Dinesh Trivedi always has a refined presence on television debates. Sometimes too refined one would say. He speaks chaste English, he can articulate his party chieftain’s feral “vision” in plain words which typically bear mordant remarks about the bête noire CPI(M). Therefore after the Maoists have successfully derailed the Mumbai bound Gyaneshwari Express near Jhargram in Bengal’s Midnapore district and caused several civilian deaths, the half minister’s clean and cold face kept flashing on various news channels. When asked about his opinion about the horrific incidence, Trivedi squarely puts the entire blame on the State government, parroting the Trinamool chieftain’s corrosive guideline and asks: Isn’t law and order comes under the state? When the anchor of the show asks him whether the Railways minister also owes some responsibility or not, the half minister thundered: How do you blame the Railways Ministry when the incidence has taken place in CPM ruled Bengal? After all Mamata Banerjee is not Bengal’s chief minister. He then delivered a gem. The half minister assured us, “The day Mamata Banerjee becomes the chief minister of Bengal, I can guarantee you there will not be any such problems”! (Source) How is he so confident?

Indian politicians are habitually infamous for talking nonsense in public and Trinamool Congress is particularly notorious in this aspect. One might therefore think that Trivedi must have gone utterly paranoid to stupidly justify an awesome disaster on behalf of his party boss who unfortunately is the Railways minister of the country. One might also wonder how Trivedi is so sure about the administrative competency of Mamata Banerjee. Both the thoughts have a close connection. In fact, Trivedi was speaking according to an instant strategy derived from the fantastic brains of Mamata Banerjee and her present advisors. The script was plain and simple. First to put the entire blame on the state government’s failure to maintain law and order, then to spread the rumor that the incident was possibly the handiwork of the CPI(M) and finally, to obscure any feature that could draw attention towards the Maoists and their frontal organization PCAPA as the real culprits behind the tragedy and shield them.

Intellectuals, who claim to be representatives of civil society and are openly supporting both the PCAPA and Mamata Banerjee, immediately jumped on the bandwagon. Instead of assisting the hapless victims and standing beside their families, the so called intellectuals, many of them on payroll of Indian Railways, were more anxious to clear the name of Mamata Banerjee and the Maoists from any public suspicion. They called a press conference to condemn the deaths and offer condolence to the victims. But the event was instantaneously converted into a political platform where the “awake and aware” intellectuals accused the CPI(M) of being involved in the mishap. “The accident was made to happen at a time when people are preparing to ring in a change,” thundered painter Shuvaprasanna, Mamata Banerjee’s trusted Rasputin and chairman of the passenger amenities committee of the Railways. Amid table-thumping approval from Shuvaprasanna, another jewel of the crown Debobrata Bandopadhyay unambiguously said that “the needle of suspicion is towards CPM, which is the only beneficiary of the accident.” During the press meet no one minced a single word about the involvement of the Maoists except Railways heritage and culture committee chairperson Shaoli Mitra, who monthly draws Rs. 50,000 and other perks from the Railways coffer. Posing as the most credulous among the lot, Mitra uttered, “Even though Maoists have denied their links with the accident, media is emphasizing the Maoists link. We are going through a dark time.” How bad not to believe the honest and truthful Maoists! However, the “intellectuals” refused to answer any question posed by journalists who asked them about the basis of their allegation. (Source)

Within hours after the now infamous “intellectual” press conference, Mamata Banerjee appeared into the arena to hold one more press meet with her matching message: “I don't know who has done the heinous crime. But whoever has done it, it's a political conspiracy. (Emphasis added) I have requested the union home ministry to conduct a probe,” she said briskly. She then added her punch line, “The accident has happened two days before the (civic) election. One may be politically against us, but I feel bad the way the incident was engineered to fulfill one's political interests.” (Source)

Why the Trinamool tricksters are so eager to put the blame on the CPI(M)? Is it just because they wanted to score brownie points before the civic polls? This logic seems valid and persuasive, but there is a more intricate mechanism that is working deep beneath the visible surface. During the Singur-Nandigram fiasco, a single enemy strategy was vigorously employed by the detractors of the CPI(M) which had helped the Trinamool Congress to evoke an innate fighting impulse against the Marxists. To some extent this fighting impulse has stimulated the common man’s mind and caused the party’s 2009 poll debacle. No one can completely deny that the CPI(M) as a party has made quite a few serious blunders during the land acquisition controversies. But it is also a fact that to serve the single enemy strategy and impale the Marxists as enemy of the people, the blunders have been trumped up on an enormous magnitude. The CPI(M) has been blamed for every malady and misfortune of Bengal. It was a well crafted strategy to cloud rational judgment and distract attention from the real causes. The vicious attack has worked extremely well in the recent past and eroded a substantial chunk of the Left Front and the CPI(M)’s support base. At the same time it has helped the Trinamool chieftain to emerge as the only unyielding voice against the single enemy CPI(M). Quite obviously it became the central strategy for the Trinamool and their rainbow allies which also include the Maoists as a vital but disguised ally. Blaming the CPI(M) have therefore served a dual purpose. It has augmented the single enemy strategy and also obscured the role of the atrocious Maoists in the train tragedy that has caused death of nearly 150 innocent civilians.

The “blame CPI(M)” ploy was initiated by the Trinamool MP Sisir Adhikari with his “evil forces are out to vilify Mamata” remark. Receiving the tip-off from Adhikari, the PCAPA convener and spokesperson Asit Mahato was quick to announce, “We had no knowledge about the attack on the train. Our people did not do it…. It was the handiwork of CPM goons. It was a conspiracy hatched by the CPM.” After denying any involvement of the PCAPA in the sabotage and strongly proclaiming about a “CPI(M) conspiracy” Mahato did not stop there. Sensing the ramifications of the tragedy, a concerned Mahato desperately attempted to vindicate Mamata Banerjee and said, “CPI(M) has plans to politically isolate Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee so that she is forced to resign”. (Source) Then the Trinamool intellectuals started their synchronized chorus to deliver an identical message which was followed by a statement issued by the State Committee of the CPI (Maoist). The statement assured the railway authorities “Nothing will be done from our side” and solicited them to ply their trains without fear. Keen to distance themselves from the tragedy fearing public backlash, the Maoists also repudiated the charge against them by stating that, “We were not involved in the sabotage.” Shaoli Mitra’s argument about the “innocent” Maoists was based on this statement. The Maoists also “demanded” an independent enquiry of the incidence by “a neutral investigation team comprising intellectuals, scientists, engineers and unofficial experts” since the state controlled CID and the central agency CBI “both are biased”. The Maoists demand call in mind what Rabindranath Tagore once wrote condemning the violence perpetrated by Indian extremist groups during the freedom movement, “To light the fire and then complain that it burns is absolutely childish.”

Why the Trinamool intellectuals and the veiled backers of Mamata Banerjee so intensely struggling to shield the Maoists from the train mishap? It is only because the chronology of events clearly show how the Trinamool leaders, the intellectuals, the PCAPA and the Maoists are coordinated with each other. Within days, the Indian Express published a story on PCAPA leader Bapi Mahato who controls the Guimara-Lalgeria panchayat area where the Gyaneshwari train disaster took place. The 25 year young leader, charged as the mastermind behind the attack by the police and investigating agencies, has revealed that “…we targeted the goods train. But somehow, we were fed wrong information that the goods train would cross through this track and we removed pandrol clips from a long stretch.” (Source)

Here we must also mention about some “neutral” analysts like a learned economist turned talk-show star who was simply “unable to comprehend why the Maoists will attack a train if they are so intimate to Mamata Banerjee”. Are the so called “neutral” voices really so naïve to figure out that to achieve her enduring objective of occupying the Bengal chief minister’s chair, Mamata Banerjee has willingly mounted on a savage beast? A Maoist leader has explained her predicament to the media, “We had expected Mamata to pressure the Centre in withdrawing the joint forces from the Jungle Mahal area. But she did nothing… She took our help in Nandigram, but she didn’t help us and so we wanted to cause minor damage to the railways by targeting a goods train.” (Source) The savage beast will possibly stop only after consuming the rider. These so called neutral voices are in fact deceitful to the core. By pretending to be naïve, they are actually trying to mislead the people from the clear nexus between the Maoists and Trinamool. People only see what they are prepared to see. Mamata loyalists and lobbyists are therefore trying too hard to preserve the post Singur-Nandigram milieu so that the opportunity of a “change” does not spin out of control.

Mamata Banerjee’s admirers adore her for the essentially ruthless fighter image she has fostered over the years and for her ability to enforce a creepy but effective anti-CPI(M) diatribe. In her ongoing business of deception, she is steadily assisted by her intellectual friends who are putting the final wrapping on her glitzy packages. Under her direction, incessant attacks of virulent deception are widely been used as a worthy weapon to win over different segments of the population and for keeping the support intact till the 2011 assembly elections.

Most of the arguments spearheaded by the Trinamool chieftain are essentially phony as their base substances are all lies. In unusual situations, even phony facts and phony arguments sound logical. The same is happening today in the post Singur-Nandigram political atmosphere of Bengal. The fallacies and lies she have mastered to execute her deception strategies will obviously fool some people for some time. Many of her enthusiastic supporters are unable to visualize the actual situation as their minds are besieged under the grand emotional appeals and fallacious arguments of the Trinamool Congress. But will it be possible for the megalomaniac Mamata Banerjee to keep this momentum till the 2011 assembly elections is a tuff question to answer. From the almighty chieftain to the creepy-crawly lower rank leaders, most of the Trinamool team is habitual offenders of democratic integrity. Their rhetoric is full of unsound reasoning. Their language is filthy and obnoxious. Their approach is unscrupulous and fascistic. Their outlook is reactionary.

The Trinamool chieftain and her destructive forces have launched a new brand of manipulative politics in Bengal where emotion instead of reason is used to prove a conclusion to every political argument. Her expendable pawns of today and her future day scapegoats are mostly unaware about the ulterior motive of this deceptive politics. By deliberately replacing reality with illusion, by appealing to people’s emotions and prejudices to cloud their thinking ability, she has converted political deception almost into an art form. Hence, for the time being, her every wrong seems to be right. The Trinamool intellectuals on the other hand, especially the most vicious among them have confirmed once more that greed and self-interest are truly great motivators. But the recent events have proved one more thing for sure. You really do not need enemies if you have friends like the ones who are buzzing around Mamata Banerjee’s spoilt hive.

As a continuation of their 2009 general election performance, the Trinamool has achieved a “giant victory” in the civic polls today. It is an expected verdict. Only a miracle would have turned the verdict in CPI(M)’s favor. But the writings have already started to appear on the wall. It will become more and more prominent in the coming days. Do we really need a weather man to know which way the wind blows?

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