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Lest we forget: Singur Black Day

December 2The second day of the last month of the years always brings with it painful memories. Tears roll up in a corner of the eye automatically as those horrific images cloud any logical response. The National Conference of the Physiological Society of India was just 5 days away and we were engaged in last-minute rehearsals for cultural programmes.

It was lunch hour and I clearly remember I was munching on a dosa outside the gates of Presidency College when the news came. Kolkata TV (back then the only independent voice against the Left regime) was airing horrific footage from Singur.

It was a cursed morning. Blinded by their ego after winning 235 out of 294 seats in Bengal Assembly, the Left was determined in acquiring a multi-crop land in Singur for setting up a car factory for Buddhadeb’s comrade Ratan Tata (although alternative land was available not far away). December 2, 2006 was the day when fencing began.

Kolkata TV footage was scary for any democracy. Black fumes over the entire village as houses were burnt. Images of women running helter skelter as CPM harmads ran after them, tugging at their clothes. Footage of the police, acting at the behest of the government of the day, beating up men mercilessly for not parting with their land and standing up to a Bourgeois industrialist.

The students’ union at college, run by Independents’ Consolidation, decided to hold a protest rally immediately. A road blockade was planned at College Street-MG Road crossing. Several people, tired by then of the incessant Bandhs and rallies called by then Opposition parties, had extended their support to us, horrified and sickened to their core by state-sponsored terror.

Singur Black Day

 

Buddhadeb had imposed Section 144 on key locations in Kolkata by then. The party of the proletariat had by then refused to listen to the voice of the people.  Absolute power corrupts, Buddhadeb was a leading example. behind the garb of an intellectual, a fascist was presiding over the carnage of innocents! The white robe he wears is nothing but a shroud, hiding the skeletons of Singur, Nandigram, Netai, Bhangar in his closet!

2 December, 2006 – SFI goons tried to stop PCSU’s rally. Buddhadeb’s police detained students, beat them up for the right to protest. Few honest officers lamented, their hands were tied!

Eight years have gone by… The martyrs of Singur still demand justice soon. After all, the party of the people is in power now! Unlike 2006, we have full faith in the Leader of the State now.

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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