A street Fight gone wary…Mamta Banarjee
For me Bengal always has a special place. Having lived for a small time in a quiet town Balasore, on the eastern cost of Orissa (which has a sizable Bengali population), I was extremely influenced by it and its culture. I was able to pick Bengali, loved their cuisine, stories and movies; thanks to all the wonderful people who lived around and helped me during my formative years. What fascinated me was the abundance of culture and history they had and their fascination to ensure that the legacy continues. It awed me that Bengal produced more leaders of independence movement than the entire India combined. It was a state which was considered the harbinger of new era intellectualism and gateway of India for trade, education, international collaborations. Calcutta was erstwhile capital of British India and was destined to be the cultural capital of the world once India got its independence. I loved it when I was still living in my own ivory tower. Then it all dawn upon me. Today the state is in shambles, with nothing more to be proud of other than their past legacy; Bengal has been relegated to backwardness and darkness that would have shamed even some of the failed states of the world.
It would not take enormous intellect to evaluate what went wrong, three and half decades of misplaced communist ideology and dysfunctional governance. Unruly and pampered labour unions, without a social agenda but a penchant to go on strike for all petty and political reasons; terrorizing the industries to complete nonexistence. If that did not take away what mattered to progress into a new era, the cultural and social fabric of the state was hijacked by the political l nincompoops and their petty goons.
The average Bengali understood the issue but continued to opt the same ideology and ensured CPI(M) to be in power for almost an entire generation. There have been intellectual debates of what is going wrong in the armchairs of private households and intellectual clubs, but it never transcended beyond the four corners of the brick wall. There was an undying hope that someone will do the needful. Over the years entire state hoped that their beloved Didi with her porivartan agenda would bring the state out of the clutches of desperation. They banked their life and the future of their children in the rhetoric of a street fighter who promised CHANGE. It was a promise to bring porivartan (Change) in everything that has gone wrong in the last few decades. It was a dream to bring the past glory back to the people and set Bengal on the track of its destiny. A powerful populous election manifesto, fueled by the growing desperation of the aam Bengali, ensured rout of what was left of the left in the last election by the Trinamool juggernaut.
But the new porivatan has done little to bring about the salvation of the state. While CPI(M) has a failed ideology, one that is no longer relevant in the present economic scenario, the Didi phenomena has no ideology at all. The entire political career of Mamta Banarjee has been based on whining, with little or completely absent economic intellect. It is based on showing a dream, one that says “I will, I can, I want to…but”. When it is time to realize it, action it, there is nothing but ghastly smoke of nothingness. It is what I call the cry baby phenomena. When a toddler wants a toy and he is refused he wails, cry’s and creates a tantrum. When he finally gets it, he gets bored with it in less than an hour and refuses to play with it.
What have we seen in the last one year in west Bengal?
We have seen nothing more than whiffs and puffs of development and holding the center at Ransom.
The curious Episode of Dinesh Trivedi:
We have seen the bizarre episode of Railway budget and a poor Dinesh Trivedi, who faced the ire of the national cry baby for suggesting to do what is the need of the time. The rail fare had not been hiked for nearly a decade putting Indian Railways in ICU as far as its financial viability was concerned. The proposed fare hike would have added 4200 crores to railways income, which while paltry compared to its expenses, would still have saved railways from becoming bankrupt. The budget received enthusiastic support from a wide cross section of society including the general public, industry groups and all five Rail Unions. However, the fare hike proposal in the budget was fiercely opposed by Mamata Banarjee. Although Trivedi initially tried to defend the budget by pointing out that it was necessary for making Indian Railways stronger, Mamata Banarjee forced him to resign as Railway Minister on 18 March 2012. The fact that the central government let it happen is another story altogether. There were some sharp reactions to this from the general public and industry stalwarts some of them are below.
Chairman & MD of Biocon, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw tweeted that
“Mamta is a dangerous, populist demagogue: economically illiterate but politically astute – deadly combo!” She added that “Mamta is a sad reflection on just how feudal our society and culture is – talk of human rights!” and “Mamata is behaving like a mad despot. Political leadership is in deficit with such irrational behaviour that can only harm the poor.”
Source : IBN Live , http://tinyurl.com/947mmy8
Industrialist Rahul Bajaj opined that “”It was a very bold budget and he is a brave man to take such a tough call of increasing fares after ten years. I would have wished to see him around as the Railways Minister. However, it is very unfortunate that his own party is now distancing him.”
Source : IBN Live , http://tinyurl.com/947mmy8
Veteran journalist, Vivian Fernandes reported that, “It is getting clearer by the day that Mamata Banerjee’s poribortan is not a change for the better. Like the communists, she can only tear, not build.”
Source : IBN Live, http://tinyurl.com/9z2y8ap
Trinamool MP Kabir Suman came out in open support for Trivedi and expressed his solidarity with him, saying “My respects for the Chief Minister and other party leaders notwithstanding, I must say that it defies parliamentary decorum to get a Railway Minister removed simply because he has acted in the country’s interest.”
Source: “Cong playing un-fare games, cries Mamata”. IBN Live.
Does it not answer the question why Indian railways is losing money in the first place, Mamta inherited a profit making enterprise from her predecessor? It was an amazing turnaround that is still being discussed in major business school of the world. Lalu prasad Yadav did manage to make it a profitable venture during his tenure, just to be fizzled away by the whims of an eccentric leader. Under Mamata Banerjee’s watch, the railways saw the worst operating ratio of 98 per cent: only two rupees were left in every hundred earned after operating expenses and appropriations for pensions and asset wear and tear. It was a funny incident which underestimates the basic federal structure of Indian government: A state minister was able to influence the national policy based on her whims and fancies without any national debate.
The king shall be mine
Out of nowhere there was an entire hallabulla about the presidential election. It made a complete mockery of the entire institution. Even for a layman like me it seemed evident that Pranab Da’s presidency was eminent. He had the majority support of the Electoral College and there was no strong opposition other than the wimpy Sangama playing the minority card. Even BJP was in a state of confusion because there was no viable alternate candidate. Mamta played her populist card of nominating APJ as her candidate. The funny part was Dr Kalam had not even confirmed his candidacy. She knew APJ was someone people wanted as president so she played it and came out looking like a political novice in professional ring with stars like Mulayam and Sonia on one side of the court. After holding the UPA to ransom for more than three years since its inception, Mamata Banarjee finally got the jolt from the Congress, and was shown its (Mamta’s) ‘irrelevance’ for the ruling dispensation in the Presidential election. The prize….Bengal lost a lot of clout in the center and the aid that it could have mustered had Didi played her cards rationally.
Porivartan…but no reforms
We oppose, because that is all that we know…. seems to be the philosophy of the Mamta Banarjee and her party. In the current bleak economic scenario, foreign investment which had been driving Indian dream has been progressively drying up. It is a prudent economic decision to ensure that we open new sectors in the economy to rejuvenate the sagging economy. While making a note that Indian entrepreneur should be protected, opening up Retail, Insurance, aviation and Pensions is the next logical step. But like a Saindhav in Mahabharata, Mamta blocked all economic reform at national level. TMC has emerged as a major stumbling block for the government, forcing it to backtrack on several reform proposals. More than 30 legislation proposals are pending in Parliament. The move to raise the FDI limit in the insurance sector to 49% from 26% and open up the pension sector has faced political roadblocks for several years now. Result a complete policy paralysis at the center when it comes to FDI.
“We are not in favor of FDI in retails and all this… insurance and pension. We are not in favor of FDI in aviation also. Always, we are in favor of common people,” Banarjee told reporters after her meeting with Chidambaram.
Times of India, Aug 24, 2012
If you are really in the favor of common people, the state should know economic development is the only way to elevate the life style of the masses. Have a pro industry economic policy, get the industry into the state and generate employment… let people live. Didi, your stand on FDI rings more like CPI(M) than Trinamool ideology. STOP and STAGNATE
Thou shall not question me!
Finally what irked me to write this article? Mamta Banarjee has been a failed administrator, in whichever capacity she has worked. But she is absolutely intolerant to criticism. Her ascent to CM of Bengal made her extremely visible and when you are visible, you have to answer your critics. But like a toddler with a bamboo stick she wants to hit at everyone who points out where she is going wrong and there have been far too many incidents to ignore her fascist behavior
Law and order…that is just fine.
It all started in Feb 2012 with an unfortunate incident of rape in the upmarket Park Street in Calcutta or Kolkata if you prefer. It was an eye opener to the rest of India of the deteriorating law and order situation in the state. But instead of addressing the core issue, Ms Banarjee had reportedly said the rape of an Anglo-Indian woman was a “fabricated story” intended to malign her government and had blamed some TV channels for airing reports on the incident. In a few weeks the police were able to apprehend the perpetrators putting the govt. in an awkward situation. In an Indian Express article on April 4th it was mentioned that the Irked Mamata govt. transferred IPS officer who cracked rape case http://tinyurl.com/9upx7ek
In another bizarre incident, reminiscent of a dystopian state, a professor of the city’s Jadavpur University was arrested for forwarding e-mails with humorous reference to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banarjee replacing Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi with Mukul Roy. The arrest according to me is not only childish, but is a serious infringement of Freedom of speech. It is a jolt to the basic fabric of democracy. The action is authoritarian and completely undemocratic. The govt. faced a setback when the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC) recommended departmental proceedings against two police officers connection with the arrest of Ambikesh Mahapatra, his neighbor Subrata Sengupta. But how many cartoonists can be arrested. I have curated some of the many cartoons that are doing rounds in the print media and internet below.
The bouncer attitude continued when a framer was arrested for questioning the government’s policy on farmer. In a public rally he stood up and asked what Banerjee’s government was doing for the farmers as they are dying because they have no money. The CM immediately labelled him as Maoist following which he was detained, quizzed and later arrested by the police. He was remanded to the judicial custody for 14 days.
The childish, immature and fascist attitude of Mamta Banarjee continues. In a more public display of erratic behaviour she walked out of a recent televised public interactive session blaming the audience to be moist. Well they were students from local university. In the video below you will witness the anguish of a leader who can whine but not debate. You will also witness a leader who does not have the clarity or the vision to run a political office. It also is a clear case of lack of respect for the people who have elected her to power.
More recently Mamta Banarjee was under attack from political parties and eminent lawyers for alleging there were instances when court judgments have been delivered for money. Speaking at a seminar in the House on the platinum jubilee of West Bengal Assembly Didi said;
“Why will judgments be given only in favour of those who offer money? I am sorry to say this; people can condemn me for this. I can be arrested and put in jail for this, but somewhere I will have to express my opinion,” Ms. Banarjee said. She was speaking at a seminar, ‘Executive Accountability to the Parliament/Legislature,’ on the occasion of the Assembly’s platinum jubilee celebrations.
Source : http://tinyurl.com/8ztkygd
Didi wants to make a strong statement about what is going wrong in the judiciary, she lives in a democratic country and she has absolute right to show discontent, but i wonder why this privilege is only restricted to her, when other did the same they get to face the wrath of the state mechanism…is it not a tiny bit hypocritical…?
Eminent lawyer Soli Sorabji, posed an interesting question reacting to Banerjee’s controversial statement.
“…What about the cases, she has won in court? Who paid the judges? Mamata? This shows the absurdity of the allegations. I mean, one expects a mature reaction…I am very very disturbed,” Sorabji said.
Well the layers did what they are really good at, filed a contempt of court petition on Mamta for her unbridled rhetoric, I guess she not a tiny bit worried, she must be assuming she can buy this judgment too.
This is just the first year and there will many more to come. I do feel sad… Mamta Banarjee was a leader I really liked. She was a street fighter, though an emotional one, fighting for her people trying to break the shackles of a dysfunctional government. Somewhere in midst of the fight things have gone wary. The fighter is fighting the audience while the opponent sits calm waiting for the right time to hit, for that decisive Knockout. Mamta Didi do remember we are a democracy and there will elections in just about four years’ time.
A land of dreams…..
In a land where I live,
to my people I shall give,
a life of bliss,
that none shall miss,
but my hands are tied,
The media has lied,
the judge was bribed,
the Maoist have tried
rains have failed
Forget not your horrid past
remember my dream, that shall long last
O my fellow Bengali, dream a dream
wake-up not from its sombre scheme
I leave you with a very nice rendition of What is happening in Bengal with a viral video by Kabir Suman,a Trinamool MP. It is called SHILADITYO — WITH AN APOLOGY TO RABINDRANATH. It is a good song, do watch it. if someone can do a good translation do put it in comments, I will add it below.
There are Batsmen and there are artists, just like a shot that sends a ball flying over the mid-off to cross the boundary and a gentle flick of the ball from the off stump that send the ball racing to the square leg boundary . There are a lot of great batsmen with amazing stats in international cricket, but the artists are endangered species. VVS Laxman is one of those artists on the endangered list who just got extinct.
Of all the supremely gifted Indian stroke makers of the last two decades, arguably none have dazzled in quite the manner of the man dubbed ‘Very Very Special’. When in full flow Laxman’s effortless grace at the wicket is unmatched in the world game and while he hasn’t consistently matched the run-scoring feats of his contemporaries Tendulkar and Dravid (and there’s no disgrace in that), he has produced innings of such class and significance that his status as one of the modern era’s most gifted technicians is secured. Like other Indian artist of yesteryears notably Gundappa Viswanath, Azhar, and Dravid in recent years VVS would not only bring India out of its self-inflected batting woes , he would always do that in style, there was always beauty in the way he approached the job he is assigned. Wristy, willowy and sinuous, he can match – sometimes even better – Tendulkar for stroke play. His on-side game is comparable to his idol Azharuddin’s, yet he is decidedly more assured on the off side and has the rare gift of being able to hit the same ball to either side. He truly justifies his dressing room nickname “VVS…Very Very Special”
VVS affinity with Australia seems to be legendary. A lot has been said and even more written about his 281 at Eden Gardens in Kolkata in 2001, when he helped India win after being forced to follow on, and his 73 not out at Mohali in 2010, when he overcame a sore back and guided his team to a thrilling one-wicket triumph while batting with tail-enders, both against Australia. He then spoiled Steve Waugh’s farewell Test series. A backs-to-the-wall 303-run stand with Rahul Dravid sets up the famous victory in Adelaide before a dazzling 178 in Sydney and a triple-century partnership with Sachin Tendulkar gives India a chance to seal the series
The Australians give him a rare compliment by acknowledging that it is not only difficult to ball but and almost impossible to set a field for VVS, he can hit the same ball to either sides of the field with the same effort. His affinity for Australia started early. In his first outing with the India Under-19s, he averaged 110.25 in three Tests against the visiting Australian U-19 team, which includes Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee and Andrew Symonds. He ends his career next to Sachin as second largest runs scored by an Indian against Australia.
He was a master of winning loosing battles; his fourth innings specials gave us hope for a win or a draw even in some hopeless conditions. Chasing a testing fourth-innings target of 257 in Colombo, Laxman eases to an unbeaten 103. After being four down for 62, India canters to a five-wicket win. Next time it was rescuing the team from even deeper problems. Chasing 216 against Australia, India were 124 for 8 when Laxman put on his Superman cape again, scoring an undefeated 73 to steer India to a one-wicket victory. For me even his 96 against South Africa in a low scoring 2nd Innings was one that defined him as India’s finest artist. In a match where the second highest score of a batsman was 39, VVS was able to muster a 38 and 96 to secure the match for India.
He was an orthodox player with some very unorthodox shots. With a large repertoire of shots VVS could have been a great ODI player, but for some unexplainable reason he was never able to maintain his position in the team. I was really surprised to learn that in his entire test career Laxman hit only 5 sixes. It is, of course, as a classical Test batsman that Laxman will always be spoken of in glowing terms by those with a sense of art and aesthetic, beauty and poetry, perfection and style.
I believe he never got what he deserved, like the Unknown Soldier, he came and performed and went back. He was the soldier who was lost among the war heroes of his time. When the blaster, master and the wall failed, he was there to get India out of its peril. It makes me sad that he retired without much fanfare; I wish he was there to sign off in style with NZ series in India. He would always be remembered for his touch of genius and as a perfect gentleman.
Ten Things Women Should Know About Men
1) We’ve secretly been looking at nude photographs of Dame Judy Dench. Well, no, we haven’t actually – but we would if we knew anyone who had some. Oprah too. And that singing bank manager woman from the Halifax advert. It’s not that we fancy them or anything, you understand. We’re not weird, we’re simply curious – we are driven, irresistibly, to seek out knowledge. Knowledge of what women look like. All women. Naked. You know when you try on a really quite seriously alarming top that you have no intention of ever buying? It’s just like that. Just like it.
2) For men, true love is tacit. Mindless sexual hunger buys you quirky little gifts and leaves funny messages on your answering machine and can’t get over how beautiful you look in that dress. But, when love kicks in, the meaningless noise of sexual display stops and a silent, tranquil and deep spiritual calm settles upon us. Your partner lying on the sofa watching TV all evening and not having said more than a dozen sentences to you since last Tuesday is his way of demonstrating he loves you without doubts and is in it for the long haul. We ‘just know’ that this is love and, frankly, are quite hurt if you’re so shallow and drawn to shiny objects that you don’t ‘just know’ it too. An important corollary to this truth is that if your, formally long-torpid, partner starts once again buying flowers and giving you spontaneous, non sequitur hugs in the kitchen then it doesn’t indicate that his love for you has suddenly got a second wind. It indicates he’s sleeping with Debbie from Accounts.
3) Never look in that box of ours in the attic. But never demand we throw it away. That box contains things from our past. Private things. Things we have left behind, but can’t bear to let go of… Oh – and let’s not make an issue of this, OK?
4) At some point during a discussion about care of the children, your partner will say, ‘Well, that’s what my mother did, and we turned out OK.’ Any reply of yours except, ‘Yes’ at this point is as good as pulling the pin out of a grenade and carefully placing it on the table between you. You may criticise a man’s mother as she is today (she is, indeed, statistically likely to be as mad as a hatter). However, you must never criticise her as a mother.
5) We covet your little things. We don’t have all those little things; we have a deodorant and a shaver – that’s it. In the arena of little things, we’ve been royally screwed by Life and the injustice is all the more stinging because your opulence is there for comparison. You have a numberless profusion of little things, all of which lure and fascinate us; our sometimes mocking your spillingly abundant collection of them is, in reality, nothing but simple invidia. Given the opportunity, a man will go through your handbag, dressing table drawer or bathroom cabinet. But we’re not snooping on you, just exploring – through our envious tears – with childlike wonder. You have tiny brushes, twist-up lipsticks and eyelash shapers. You have all kinds of cases that hold pads and colours and foam tipped implements and that click shut satisfyingly. You have things we can’t even work out what they are. We – hollow – go through it all, longing to be filled: men never get over the bitter, bitter resentment they feel because Nature has denied them the right to own a tampon applicator.
6) Don’t ask us to decide, or even give an opinion on, everything. We don’t feel ‘included’, we feel plagued. And, if you really want to annoy us, insist we make a choice when we’ve repeatedly said we don’t care either way… and then ask, ‘Why?’
7) Want appear sexy to men? Really? You’re not going to like it. OK, then… don’t shave your armpits. Out of every ten men, seven won’t care much one way or the other, one will think it thoroughly repellent, and two will find it very attractive and horny indeed. Playing the odds, therefore, it’s best not to shave – medically advisable too, as it happens. Your girl friends, and women in general, will think it’s vile, of course. But then – pfff – when did you ever take more notice of women’s opinions about what’s attractive than you did of men’s, eh?
8) We love gossip. It’s just that we never have any. Every time we try to gossip ourselves, it simply ends up in a conversation about how best to upgrade a hard disk. Please let us listen in on yours.
9) Men, with a minuscule number of exceptions, are not ‘afraid of commitment’. The idea that men generally are ‘afraid of commitment’ is the offspring of a thousand, lazy, uninventive novelists too clueless to do anything but grab a tired, off-the-peg motivation for their hero. If a man doesn’t want to commit, he doesn’t wasn’t to commit to you.
10) If we’re invited to a wedding and we’ve slept with the bride – ever – that’s utterly, utterly, utterly all we think about throughout the entire ceremony.
Here are my top ten words, compiled from online collections, to describe love, desire and relationships that have no real English translation, but that capture subtle realities that even we English speakers have felt once or twice. As I came across these words I’d have the occasional epiphany: “Oh yeah! That’s what I was feeling…”
Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan, an indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego): The wordless yet meaningful look shared by two people who desire to initiate something, but are both reluctant to start.
Oh yes, this is an exquisite word, compressing a thrilling and scary relationship moment. It’s that delicious, cusp-y moment of imminent seduction. Neither of you has mustered the courage to make a move, yet. Hands haven’t been placed on knees; you’ve not kissed. But you’ve both conveyed enough to know that it will happen soon… very soon.
Yuanfen (Chinese): A relationship by fate or destiny. This is a complex concept. It draws on principles of predetermination in Chinese culture, which dictate relationships, encounters and affinities, mostly among lovers and friends.
From what I glean, in common usage yuanfen means the “binding force” that links two people together in any relationship.
But interestingly, “fate” isn’t the same thing as “destiny.” Even if lovers are fated to find each other they may not end up together. The proverb, “have fate without destiny,” describes couples who meet, but who don’t stay together, for whatever reason. It’s interesting, to distinguish in love between the fated and the destined. Romantic comedies, of course, confound the two.
Cafuné (Brazilian Portuguese): The act of tenderly running your fingers through someone’s hair.
Retrouvailles (French): The happiness of meeting again after a long time.
This is such a basic concept, and so familiar to the growing ranks of commuter relationships, or to a relationship of lovers, who see each other only periodically for intense bursts of pleasure. I’m surprised we don’t have any equivalent word for this subset of relationship bliss. It’s a handy one for modern life.
Ilunga (Bantu): A person who is willing to forgive abuse the first time; tolerate it the second time, but never a third time.
Apparently, in 2004, this word won the award as the world’s most difficult to translate. Although at first, I thought it did have a clear phrase equivalent in English: It’s the “three strikes and you’re out” policy. But ilunga conveys a subtler concept, because the feelings are different with each “strike.” The word elegantly conveys the progression toward intolerance, and the different shades of emotion that we feel at each stop along the way.
Ilunga captures what I’ve described as the shade of gray complexity in marriages—Not abusive marriages, but marriages that involve infidelity, for example. We’ve got tolerance, within reason, and we’ve got gradations of tolerance, and for different reasons. And then, we have our limit. The English language to describe this state of limits and tolerance flattens out the complexity into black and white, or binary code. You put up with it, or you don’t. You “stick it out,” or not.
Ilunga restores the gray scale, where many of us at least occasionally find ourselves in relationships, trying to love imperfect people who’ve failed us and whom we ourselves have failed.
La Douleur Exquise (French): The heart-wrenching pain of wanting someone you can’t have.
When I came across this word I thought of “unrequited” love. It’s not quite the same, though. “Unrequited love” describes a relationship state, but not a state of mind. Unrequited love encompasses the lover who isn’t reciprocating, as well as the lover who desires. La douleur exquise gets at the emotional heartache, specifically, of being the one whose love is unreciprocated.
Koi No Yokan (Japanese): The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall into love.
This is different than “love at first sight,” since it implies that you might have a sense of imminent love, somewhere down the road, without yet feeling it. The term captures the intimation of inevitable love in the future, rather than the instant attraction implied by love at first sight.
Ya’aburnee(Arabic): “You bury me.” It’s a declaration of one’s hope that they’ll die before another person, because of how difficult it would be to live without them.
The online dictionary that lists this word calls it “morbid and beautiful.” It’s the “How Could I Live Without You?” slickly insincere cliché of dating, polished into a more earnest, poetic term.
Forelsket: (Norwegian): The euphoria you experience when you’re first falling in love.
This is a wonderful term for that blissful state, when all your senses are acute for the beloved, the pins and needles thrill of the novelty. There’s a phrase in English for this, but it’s clunky. It’s “New Relationship Energy,” or NRE.
Saudade (Portuguese): The feeling of longing for someone that you love and is lost. Another linguist describes it as a “vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist.”
It’s interesting that saudade accommodates in one word the haunting desire for a lost love, or for an imaginary, impossible, never-to-be-experienced love. Whether the object has been lost or will never exist, it feels the same to the seeker, and leaves her in the same place: She has a desire with no future. Saudade doesn’t distinguish between a ghost, and a fantasy. Nor do our broken hearts, much of the time.