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An Open Letter To Presidency University

প্রিয় প্রেসিডেন্সি

আজ আমার খুব মন খারাপ। লজ্জায় মাথা হেঁট কাল থেকে। প্রেসিডেন্সি আমায় দিয়েছে অনেক কিছু, প্রতিদানে ভালবাসা দিয়েছি যথাসাধ্য।

আমার মনে আছে সেই ভীরু পায়ে ২০০৫ এর জুলাই মাসের প্রথম পদক্ষেপ। তারপর তিনটে বছর, ইতিহাস!

কাল আবার ফিরে দেখা প্রেসিডেন্সিকে। এ কোন প্রেসিডেন্সি? ছাত্রবেশী এরা করা? কি চলছে আমার সাধের এই ইনস্টিটিউশনে? মুখে এক রাশ রাগ আর চোখে জল নিয়ে মেনে নিতেই হলো প্রেসির এই অধপতন।

কাল রাতে ঘুম হয়নি ভালো, টিভি দেখছিলাম সারারাত। মেধার উত্কর্ষস্থল যে প্রেসিডেন্সি, সেখানে মধ্য মেধার মুষ্টিমেয় কলরব। আর কতদিন? এই অবক্ষয় ঘুণ ধরিয়ে দিছে দেওয়ালে দেওয়ালে, নৈরাজ্যের লেলিহান শিখা গ্রাস করছে শিক্ষাকে।

কাল গর্বে বুক ভরে উঠেছিল যখন শুনলাম দেশ বিদেশ থেকে গুণীজন আসবেন ২০০ বছর পূর্তি উপলক্ষে; নিমেষের মধ্যে গর্ব ধুলিস্যাত হল চোখের সামনে। যে “স্বর্গের সিঁড়ি” তে একসময় নেতাজি করেছিলেন বিপ্লবের সূচনা, সেখানে চলছে প্রহসন।

ভয় হচ্ছে। যে স্বপ্ন প্রেসিডেন্সিকে নিয়ে আমরা সবাই দেখেছিলাম, পূর্ণ হবে তো? যে উগ্রপন্থী ছাত্র রাজনীতি একসময় প্রেসিডেন্সিকে গ্রাস করেছিল, সেই দুর্দিন ফিরে আসবেনা তো আবার আমাদের সাধের প্রেসিকে কড়াল গ্রাসে জড়াতে?

প্রাক্তনী হিসেবে দুঃখ আর অনুশোচনা ছাড়া কিছুই দেওয়ার নেই আজ আমার। আর পাশে থাকার বার্তা।

ভয় হয়। প্রেসিডেন্সি বেঁচে থাকবে তো?


Dear Presidency

My heart is heavy with grief today. My face blackened with shame. My Presidency, the institute that gave me my identity is going through a dark phase. In return, I can only offer my love.

I still remember that day in July 2005, when I walked into the campus for the first time. With trepidation in my heart. Presidency welcomed me with open arms, made me her own. The three years that followed are history…

Presidency visited me again. Last evening I watched with shame as the two hundred year old institute was desecrated. My face burst with anger, my eyes wet with tears. We have no choice but to swallow the ignominy with a pinch of salt.

I could not sleep last night. Kept shuffling channels on TV. The Centre of Excellence that once produced the brightest minds of the world has been hijacked by lumpens who claim to be students.

For how long? The pillars have withstood the test of time. Will they tide over the systematic crumbling of meritocracy? Will they continue to be blackmailed by a handful who hold the might?

I am scared. In less than two years time, Presi will celebrate 200 years of existence. The world is expected at our doorstep. Is this the image we want to project to the world? Will the institute allow itself to be grasped by the seeds of anarchy and directionless student unrest?

We dream of Presidency occupying the hallowed ranks as Cambridge and Harvard. We want her to fly towards new heights of glory. Can we allow a few to shackle her with fetters of a dead ideology?

As a former student of the institute I have only apologies to offer for what happened last night. I can only extend my hand of solidarity to the place that helped me grow!

I can only pray that Presi survives over this crisis at hand!

An Open Letter to Ratan Tata

Dear Mr Ratan Tata

It was perhaps a long and tiring flight from Mumbai – and a meaninglessly long schedule in the city – that probably got better of your senses yesterday. And I do not blame you either. A man is known by his company, and who knows not about your comrades, who have presided over mass murders until 3 years back in this State! But that is besides the point. Hope Ms Radia is in touch with you still.

ratan tata

Old age and retirement can often send people to depression, and it is absolutely sad that a former Chairman of a multinational company has to pass his time nowadays by giving bytes to the media. Talking of media, we heard that you took questions at the press conference from only three journalists belonging to a specific media house (no points for guessing which one).

We all know your fascination for all things Gujarat. You even said that Bengal must learn from what the former Chief Minister has done in the Vibrant State. Sure. The progress of a State is compared on the parameters of Human Development Index. Definitely Bengal has a LOT TO LEARN from Gujarat on what not to do:

 

Parameter West Bengal Gujarat
Infant mortality rate (per 1000 births) 31 42
Maternal mortality ratio 145 148
School dropout rate (I-V)

1.5

 2.6
Household access to safe drinking water

2.2%

 3.3%
Growth in revenue collection 15%  2.27%

 

Sir, such is the vibrancy of Gujarat that one-fifth of the MoUs signed by the former Chief Minister under much fanfare fail to take off!

Sir, like the former Chief Minister of the Vibrant State, are you unaware of the labour strikes in Gujarat? Are you aware that in the last three years, number of mandays lost in Bengal has come down from 5 lakh to zero?

I am sure, like your Vibrant Gujarati friend, you too are not habitual in dealing with facts? Meanwhile, you can also ask the man about a few land scams.

As the State Industry Minister highlighted earlier today, even your own company is expanding business in Bengal. But you did not see any industrialisation in Bengal in the last three years. True. If industrialisation for you means snatching away land from farmers, and egoistically sticking to your stand despite an alternative proposal by a man of impeccable reputation (Dr Gopal Krishna Gandhi), Bengal still needs to match the standards of Gujarat in such “progress”.

Sir, you also blamed Singur for the bad performance of the Tata Nano. Absolutely! Were the hapless farmers, who fought for their only means of survival, not part of the process to design a faulty car which had no feature that could appeal to the consumer (except the price)?

I am too trivial for you to even ponder on the points raised by me.

Have a nice stay in Bengal next time too. And try visiting the districts to see the growth in small and medium scale industries, not just the arterial road connecting Dumdum Airport to Taj Bengal.

– A humble Bengali.

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