Politics of Culture or Culture for politics?

Bengal has always been a trend setter for rest of India. From housing India’s original capital city to giving birth to nation’s noted philosophers, thinkers, freedom fighters and politicians, contribution of this state has in no way been trifle to the Indian society. Of late the present generation of state leaders have been setting the stage for a new breed of political culture. A new trend in India AGAIN.

Ever since the Communist Party of India (Marxist) came to power for the seventh time in 2006, Bengal has seen a downhill slide of morality, ethics and political etiquette. Arrogance fills the corridors of powers, and so blatant is the display of political prowess, that even common man is unabashedly humiliated time again in this state.

Our Chief Minister is known to be a man of culture. Born in a family with a rich heritage of “education”, he is known to be a patron of the arts. However his mask comes off too easily and the failed attempts to hide his unfailing human nature is defeated when he utters words like “amra ora” or “amar kache party boro”. His real “culture” shows when he takes potshots at the leader of the main opposition party. The communist party has a heritage of impatience and lack of political etiquettes. History is witness to what “unparliamentary” words the Left Front chairman used for the judge of high court when the latter ordered a ban on political demonstrations. Neither is it hidden from public how the leaders of the party publicly insulted the sanctity of the post of the Governor when then Governor Gopal Gandhi decided to take voluntary power cuts to show solidarity to people of Kolkata. Leave aside the words these people use for the opposition leaders.

Mamata Bannerjee inherited this culture of political vindictiveness from the Marxists, if not anything else. Boycotting any function of which the CM is part or staying away from all party meets to avoid being seen in the midst of the ruling party, blaming the state government for the presence of cockroaches on trains, to name a few is surely not healthy sign of democratic spirit.

It was really tragic that a government which “celebrated” the death of an ex CM just ten months ago with a 3 day state mourning and a fitting state funeral for the departed, did not bother to as the Central government for a state funeral for another ex CM who passed away last week. Reason? while the former was a leader of the CPM and CM for 23 years, the latter was CM for five years (that too from the Congress). [These words are not mine, Rabin Deb, a CPM leader uttered the same on Star Ananda in a panel discussion]. The CPM had done the same with another ex CM from the Congress party in the 1980’s. So this is nothing unexpected from them. Is this what Indian democracy has shrunk to? Even the government of Punjab announced a 3 day state mourning in honour of their ex Governor, although the party in power is an opponent of Congress in electoral politics.

Improvement of a state depends on the harmonious coordination of the rulers and the opposition. The need for opposition is not to “oppose” but guide a government, while a government, however huge its mandate may be, must always pay heed to the opposition. Sadly neither of the two happen in Bengal (and i daresay when tables turn in 2011, the situation would be worse, since we all know what fabric makes the communists).

Our CM is a very noble man. He is educated. He reads books, meets veterans from various fields of culture. Of course he knows better than a lady who fights with police on the streets. Undoubtedly. Inaugurating film festivals and book fairs is surely a mark culture. And shouting slogans in favour of the oppressed is politics. The question looms large, culture of politics or politics for culture?

About Agnivo Niyogi

Typical Aantel, reader, blogger, news addict, opinionated. Digital media enthusiast. Didi fanboi. Joy Bangla!

Posted on November 11, 2010, in Politics and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. bongs will be bongs…


  2. Its true that SS Ray’s funeral was not accorded to his stature. Its straight and simple, WB has never been an integral part of Congress’s strategy, Pranab Babu knows it much better. + CPM knows that they will have relinquish power for the next half decade, hence they did’nt show any worthwile interest. The only sad thing is the National Media went gaga over Jyoti Basu’s demise who ruined Bengal just to show media’s marxist leanings whereas SS Rays funeral pyre was burried inside a single column in the national page..


  3. Rofl! Do you seriously think that Bengal is leading the way, for India? Atleast for the last decade? Man! Rest of India is trying to move away from communist ideologies, away from middle path, and more pro capitalist, while Bongs are still scampering over each other to hold on to it.

    and one dead politician is as good as another, unless u can remember that person as a person.


  4. It is unfortunate, but it is true, we interpret things, like we have let ourselves think. I am personally a right wing person, and I find myself advocating capitalism wherever possible. Elitism is something I quite encourage, because frankly, not all men are born equal, there is always going to be people better or worse than me. The same needs to be understood of the current political situation as well. I agree, outward shows of culture and refinement are nothing compared to the inner hollow rhetoric of “Workers of the world unite”.
    Dear world, socialism is a lost cause, and it is lost because we humans are not ego-less beings, we have to have a level of self fulfillment to survive. But unfortunately when party diktats outweigh personal moral decisions, Bengal Happens.
    Also, I know for sure, 2011 is going to mark the commencement of a lot of things, and, I pray,while Bengal is tossed around like a bone among hungry dogs. I am a person of faith, and that is the only language understood by all Indians. Like it or not, neither culture, nor politics have as much a say as our faith in the man in the clouds, and what we choose to call him.

    (References to all persons living or dead is intentional)


  5. Faith in the man in the clouds? Don’t get it.If you wanna abandon Marxism then it should be done in favour of something superior! Religion in 21st century doesnot make sense,at least in public or ntional life.Religion divded people and brought miseries in the last few hundred years of world history.A person may or may not be religious, for that’s his personal belief,but under no cisrcumstances religion be allowed to play any role in politic or affair of the states. Capitalism is good as long as it ensures welfare of the common less fortunate ones in the society.May be that’s why Prof Yunus talks about Social business concepts or Islamic thinkers about Zakat(charity).All of them desire to protect capitalism I believe.


  6. Politics and politicians were always like this. Nothing new. There is nothing new. Boycotting Advani in the parliament and spirited campaign against Sonia Gandhi’s PMship- This country has seen it all.


  7. The following is not an argument, just a clarification of what I believe was a misleading post, my apologies.
    I am not someone who is in a position to take the decision to move away from Marxism or otherwise, neither am I an advocate for religious thought. What I wanted to say was that, in spirit, India is by and large a chaotic place and like it or not, religion, faith and ancillaries of the organizations dedicated to the “Almighty” that put the only order (of sorts) here. Also , like it or not the very fabric of our society (however dysfunctional “occidental modernists” believe it to be or “revelatory” as “orientalists” would have you believe) is mired in faith, is wrought with stories from myths emanating from our faiths.

    So religion has already played a part, and still continues to do so, it would be quite arrogant and indeed very foolish of us to discount the good that can come from it (however, having written Good, I suspect, I was being sarcastic)

    I for one wish that reason prevails, but also that reason must not make us sacrifice our identities, true it may be, that our identities are mostly bound by temporal constraints of morals and ethics passed onto us by ones who came before us, but history is not something we can hope to overlook….Not in a country with as rich a tapestry of history as ours.

    True, our (and for that matter the world’s history) history itself teaches us how harmful religion may prove to be when allowed to run amok in the corridors of administration and power, but that is not what I meant by “I have faith” I meant, may our faith help us find peace in ourselves, so that we may find some peace here, by here, I mean the world as a whole, and Bengal in particular.


  8. Like you said, “Arrogance fills the corridors of powers…” … aptly points out the declining prognosis of WB. We may want WB to extricate itself from the good ole Marxist values (whatever is left) and drift towards middle-classing-loving capitalist enigma… but that’s just piper’s dream.

    The main issue is volition and violation of the sanctity of power/position and as you’ve pointed out repeatedly how morality has taken a back-burner….


  9. @dibya That is a part of a culture which is obnoxious. Despite calling her names, Advani never boycotts functions which Sonia G attends neither does Congress compare BJP to lowly animals without any provocation! In Bengal these people have nothing else to do! And you know what, we are in a big financial crisis, and no one cares.

    @subhro Socialism can never be dead. The people who craved for power in the name of socialism have been exposed. And you are right, we are humans after all. Definitely we can never achieve the ideal state.

    @dilir i think you read too much into subhro’s words.


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