Bengal has given her verdict loud and clear. Mamata Bannerjee has been entrusted to govern the state for the next five years with a thumping majority. For the first time in 34 years, the Red Citadel has crumbled. And how. Almost everyone i know had moist eyes when Mamata delivered her victory speech and dedicated the victory to Ma, Mati and Manush. The much anticipated moment of change had arrived in Bengal.
This 54 year old lady, from a humble background in Kalighat, surprised everyone with her Lok Sabha win from Jadavpur in 1984. There has been no stopping her since then. From early childhood, we have known only two leaders in Bengal – Jyoti Babu and Mamata Didi. An ace street fighter, she always took up the cause of the people, the oppressed.
Mercurial, maverick, moody, loud, aggressive, the epithets this woman earned over the last 27 years of her struggle would even put the Hindu Gods with 108 odd names to shame. From comparisons to all types of animals to being called a call girl, she has borne it all with silence and resilience. Firm on what she believes is correct, Mamata never budges from her position. Determination and Integrity define the essence of the incumbent Chief Minister of Bengal.
Being a woman in this man’s world and fighting against a system which is completely under the male domain, requires immense guts. Every woman in South East Asia who made it big in politics had a male mentor. From political widow Sonia Gandhi to the political orphan Sheikh Hasina, from Mayawati to JayaLalitha, each one of them capitalised on the experience provided by their male counterparts/guides. Mamata never had any political Guru. She started her career and chartered her course according to her own whims.
From 21 July 1993 (when she narrowly escaped being killed by the police when the latter opened fire on Youth Congress agitation) to Netai, Mamata has come a long way in her struggle. But she has not changed a bit. Clad in the cotton sari, wearing chappals and carrying a bag (which she calls “Jangal Mahal”) Mamata has rushed to the need of people every time circumstances demanded.
People (specially residents of Non Bengali states) remember and visualise Mamata as the woman who drove the Nano out of Bengal. They do not know/want to know the history behind the tragedy. (We can save the Singur debate for some other time. It is now well known that the Left Front government was at fault). Chandmoni’s displaced tea workers, Sain bari’s political martyrs, Nandigram’s hapless villagers, Mamata became synonymous with Messiah. She became the alternative that the people of Bengal were waiting for.
Mamata is the answer to CPI-M’s arrogance. Mamata is the answer to CPI-M’s state sponsored terror. Mamata is the answer to Unnoto toro Bam Front. In Bengal where development means an increased floor to the CPI-M party office, Mamata’s frugal lifestyle is a matter of envy for many. Across religions, across castes, across genders, across all divides, people reposed their faith in Mamata, their faith in democracy. The time has come for the fighter to don the administrative hat (she has already done that with her stint as Minister in the Union government, not once but on multiple occasions, but every time she resigned to come back to Bengal and fight the terror machinery emanating out of Alimuddin Street in Kolkata).
Never before have i felt so liberated, so euphoric, so emotional. Not even on 2 July 2009 when homosexuality was decriminalised. We are indebted to her for making us have faith in Change.
Aaj aami matha tule dariye bolte pari ami Bangali. Kalima lipto 34 er ondhokar, Bijoy dhwani te obosan. Punorutthan hobe Banglar. Aj amar protibad korar odhikar ache, aj amar nijer kotha bolar odhikar ache, aj amai parar dada, rastar mastan, beyadop autowallah’r theke bhoy pete hobe na, aj Bangla abar saadhin holo
The road ahead is full of thorns, but people are with her. All the best to Mukhyo Mantri Mamata Bannerjee. Or as she prefers, sudhui Mamata.
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