21 July. A day that has been immortalised in the pages of history. Generations to come will remember the Left Front Government of West Bengal for their atrocities. And 21 July will keep inspiring people to stand up against a government that does not have interests of the people in mind. On 10 July 1993,the youth Organisation of the Congress Party was demonstrating against the policies of Left Front,demanding for legal voter ID cards for all, when without any provocation the police opened fire on the crowd. 13 people lost there lives and over 200 were injured including present Union Minister of Railways Ms. Mamata Banerjee. Since then 21 July has been observed as “Shahid Divas” in Bengal.
Martyr’s day. A day when we take lessons from the past and reaffirm our pledge to build a better future. For 34 years people have borne the brunt of a non performing government and an equally inept Opposition. But times changed post 2008. Bengal got the much needed voice of protest. A leader who always stood up to fight for the poor, never paid heed to critics, who believed in what she did. From being an eccentric street politician to a responsible administrator, she has become the face of change in Bengal. On this Martyr’s day people again proved that Mamata is Might.
People in large numbers have placed their faith in her. She is Bengal’s messiah who can lift our state from the abyss we are in now. Critics have always branded her anti-development. “Intellectuals” slammed her for her irrational behaviour. She is blamed for the departure of Nano project from Bengal. But the media happily forgets her role in re opening Burn standard, plans for reviving Dainik Basumati, innumerable railway projects that could change the face of Bengal. Mamata never opposed Tata plant at Singur (which is the general perception), she wanted justice for the land losers (ample land was available for the industry to come up on a field just on the opposite side of the Durgapur Expressway(which i have seen with my own eyes). In fact the ruling party is guilty of breakdown of industrialisation in Bengal, and their lack of genuine zeal for setting up more industries is reflected in their shift of stand on Industrial policy.
Ever since Mamata became the Railway supremo, a section of the Indian polity was up in arms to find faults in everything about the Indian Railways. She was accused of being partisan (show me one Railway minister who was not; why did NDA not protest about her bias for Bengal when she was railway minister in NDA government?). Railways witnessed two deadly attacks which put the credibility of the railways to question. With a legacy of lies from the predecessor, what can someone do in 15 months? And with a section of miscreants ever so eager to bring her down, her fight becomes all the more difficult.
The so called urban intellectual sophisticated population finds it hard to digest that a woman can possess such charisma,a woman with rustic roots, who always speaks her heart. No leader in any state can boast of such a large number of followers. Why otherwise would people from remotest of places flock to Kolkata on 21 July 2010 to catch one glimpse of Didi. The saviour, the hope!
Like a future Chief Minister, in her mega rally yesterday, Didi rekindled the hope of a better state in our hearts, a Bengal where we can breathe freely again, speak out our minds without being branded Maoists, where Party will not be the Supreme Power Center, but people will have their say. In the poet’s words “Bangla abar Jogot sobhai shreshtho ason lobe” ( Bengal will regain her lost glory).
Although i was not blessed with the divine sight of her face, but being present there among the 10 lakh Bengalis who had gathered for hope, charged me with a new enthusiasm. YES WE CAN.