Saturday, May 14, 2011
The unimaginable recrudescence of Bengal
13 May 2011 shall go down in the history of Bengal and of Bengali people as "freedom day". As a university student, when my baptism in becoming Bengali began, I learnt about the date, 21st February, ekushe februari, that lies at the heart of Bengali identity. 13 May is for me as significant.
The con-munists have finally been ousted.
See images of Calcutta on 13 May 2011 here.
There was a time, just a little while ago, when not a leaf in Bengal stirred but with the party's say-so, when freedom of speech, of thought, of action, was forgotten ...
I have no doubt whatsoever that things can only get better. But most importantly, I hope the main lesson has been learnt, that things can become better only if everyone, each and every person, tries to be better, and do better. And thus break the inertia, of thought, speech and action which has trapped Bengal in a miasma of stagnation. If that happens, then the new government will be enabled to begin in some substantive fashion the enormous task of rebuilding from shambles. However, if people look to the new government to wave some kind of magic wand and create some magical transformation - then, despite the best intentions and efforts of the government, stagnation and rot shall continue.
It is possible now for people's own thinking and efforts to bear fruit, provided these are rooted in working with the people. Now is the time to give oneself to the public cause, through constructive action. I am sure we are going to see a blooming of voluntary grassroots action now with the exit of the cowardly dogs, the CPI(M), who clamped down on all voluntary action simply because they were petrified lest anyone see and know for themselves the real truth behind their deceitful claim of being "pro-people". They wanted to be gate-keepers, and thus be unimpeded in sucking the blood of the people.
The people of Bengal can be proud once again. We have a leader who is a genuine mass leader, who has battled almost single-handedly against and withstood every kind of assault and attack and adversity, to finally prevail over her enemies and emerge gloriously victorious. It is a victory for democracy, it is a victory of people power. Bengal has once again shown the way for India - in showing the importance and power of democracy. Since we got it cheap we take it for granted.
But the real work of Mamata begins only now. That may make her struggle over two decades seem tame. But if she applies herself to the challenge with the same unflinching, fierce tenacity of which she has become a veritable iconic symbol, then positive change is inevitable.
I wish her Godspeed and Godstrength.