R.I.P.

There once lived a bhadrolok named JB…You may have heard of him…

One day at a public rally many years ago, he said that if people followed him they would become diamonds amongst pebbles…The great state of Vengal would reach heights hitherto unknown…Instead of courting favour from the moneyed and powerful, he would protect the poor and the powerless…All resources and capital would be owned by ordinary workers, everybody would be equal…

By romanticizing poverty and the underdog, he managed to get a grip on the emotional core of the Vengali…

Thus the journey began…Droves of people followed JB, some voluntarily and others forcefully…They wandered for years while Vengal went from a thriving state to a wasteland…Party members could do anything they wanted to make a buck – after all, they were just making a living…From time to time, the great leader took breaks in America and England to get away from the power cuts, heat, filth, and sweaty workers…He sampled some of the best single malts on these breaks and always returned looking younger and fresher…

30 years on, as JB lay on his death bed in his mansion, an old man came to meet him…He said, “Babu, I heard you speak at the great rally and your words touched my heart…I followed you for all these years but my life is worse than it was then…My children are uneducated and jobless and the little parcel of land I had was taken away by the government and given to an industrialist…I believed in you, but now I’m a broken man…You haven’t delivered what you had promised.”

“But I have, my dear man, I promised you equality and I have given you exactly that…I have driven away the capitalists, ambitious and educated…We are a land of mediocre and unambitious have-nots  now…And the best thing is,  we all live in a wasteland.”

Saying this, he slowly shut his eyes and passed away to the nether world…

Share

Advertisements

36 thoughts on “R.I.P.

  1. And the people voted the same people for their next leader ..that’s the way of vengal !

    Me: Kya kare, the 10 rupees they get for voting buys them food…Also, the goondas make sure the red party gets the votes…They never win in the capital city though…

    The other thing is that the party romanticized poverty thus creating a huge fan base esp. in the hinterland…

    Like

    • wonder what kshamata di will do once she become C Yum of vested Vengal..

      Me: Ah, Kshmata di has great plans – she’s going to make Digha the Riviera of South Asia and Darjeeling another Switzerland…How will she do this? By calling for bandhs every fortnight…

      Like

  2. Great post, Bones. Will surely be on the Spicy Saturday list this week. I remember how horrified I was when I first heard JB’s men used to lock people into their apartment blocks in the capital to prevent them from going out to vote. Open, blatant rape of democracy.

    Me: You think so? Let’s see…Thanks for the confidence…

    That’s all they are good at – goondagiri and anway, what rape of democracy? They don’t believe in that political system…They believe in dictatorship of the proletariat , the operative word being dictatorship…

    Like

  3. Very well written, Sraboney! It would be funny if it were not so sad!

    Me: Yes, it’s sad, truly sad…The worst part is even if the opposition wins next year,things will not get any better…

    Like

  4. True in the case of most commies, I think. Their ideals are great but almost always falter in the execution. Also somehow this made me remember Shakespeare’s immortal line “The evil that men do lives after them…”

    Me: Communist ideals are theoretically great but are not practical because human nature is competitive and not meant to be restricted by the shackles of communist ideals…

    JB’s evil doings will last a hundred years…

    Like

  5. That will raise some eyebrows! I read his interview after he relinquished the CM post – he was honest in admitting that he failed on the jobs front and on education. He conveyed the exact message of ‘despair without regrets’ that you wrote here!

    Like

  6. While the whole country sings praises, I guess someone needs to tell us the truth…

    the death knell of the party which refuses to reform nor live by its core principles is ringing…

    Me: Not only does the party refuse to reform, but it also refuses to do anything that won’t get them votes…Things like education are not important because they are not vote getters…

    Like

  7. Bones, you have beaten yourself.

    The story is telling and told wonderfully. You have captured not only the essence of what JB did to Vengal but also what communism did wherever it came to power. Yet people want to believe otherwise. And I beleive the hospital to which his body has been given is going to mummify it. Who will have the nerve to dissect his cadaver and pickle parts of it?

    Me: I agree with you…I’m sure is mummified body will be a part of the city tour now…And thank you for the compliment…

    Like

    • I think mainly because he managed to capture the emotional core of Vengali hearts by romanticizing poverty and the underdog…If you notice, many movies made in the 50s and 60s did the same…

      Rural people probably vote for the party because of the land reforms and other rural initiatives undertaken by them (all vote getting issues), but urban people vote because Vengalis are generally left leaning secular liberals who can’t stand uneducated politicians and communal parties like the BJP…Thankfully, caste based politics is not popular so Mayawati & Co. have no chance in the state…The Congress does have a chance, but only if it can manage to revive itself…The red party wins because there’s no viable opposition and no big film stars like MGR and Karunanidhi…Didi may win next year but I’m doubtful she’ll last for too long because of her own flaws – she can’t hold her own party together…She’s already losing momentum so I’m doubtful she’ll be as popular as she was post Nano and Nandigram when assembly elections are held next year…

      In a nutshell, the party has been winning especially in recent years because Vengalis have no alternatives worth voting for…

      Like

      • Bones, good analysis,may be even better than the post. So as I guessed Vengalis were not foolish but opting for the best option they had. I feel the ‘vote getting issues’ are also important.

        Me: Land reforms etc. are important but so are issues like education for which the party has done zilch because it’s not a vote getting issue…

        Like

        • I am suprised that education is not a vote catching issue there. In Kerala by contrast educational issues are powerful enough to decide the fate of elections . Are there any reasons for this difference ?

          Like

          • I don’t know why…I’m assuming education is not a vote grabbing issue because the party hasn’t done anything in this field…

            The state exchequer has been empty for a while now (we all know why)…As a result, there has been no investment in schools or teachers…In the primary sector (maximum number of students), there has been no recruitment of teachers for a while now…The pay is so low that most teachers don’t teach much at school and ask their students to take private lessons from them if they want to pass…As a result, many poor children drop out early…

            Also, the education system has been taken over by the party cadre…Unqualified teachers have got jobs because of their loyalty to the party and not because of their qualifications…

            This state of affairs is surprising because JB himself had an elite education…He studied at St.Xavier’s and was a Barrister from Lincoln’s Inn…

            Like

  8. Let me also ask like Charakan… any idea why they were foolish as to elect him again and again? is the fault with the man or the voters?

    should this Man be just brushed away?

    Me: Nope, the Man should not be brushed away…Please read by reply to Charakan’s question…

    Like

  9. A good analysis…

    and here is Gurumurthy too…

    http://expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?title=A Bhadralok Communist&artid=ao92j8QENic=&type=

    Jyoti Basu was the face of Bengali Communism most acceptable to the Bengali Bhadralok. For the British, Bhadralok meant the ‘well-mannered’ Bengali. But, in the dictionary of Indian politics, it would simply mean the upper castes in Bengal. While in rest of India, with the democratic process deepening with each election, the lower castes’ share of power increased, the Marxist controlled West Bengal had virtually kept out the lower castes and denied their due share in power. Surprised?

    Me: Yes, I read it yesterday…Thanks…And no, I’m not surprised…

    Like

    • Happy Kitten,
      Gurumurthy is notorious for twisiting facts to support his Party’s point of view.
      The book he quotes linked here
      where he gets the statistics for SC participation in WB Ministries says something else also in the same page which Gurumuthy forgot to read.
      It is not open to infer the whole character of a government or a political party from the caste composition of its senior members. The Communist governments of West Bengal and Kerala have been among the best State governments in India in terms of both probity and service to their poorer citizens

      Why did the scheduled castes always foolishly supported JB in all these elections? May be again due to lack any better options.

      Like

      • Let me give my 2 bits…

        Yes, it’s true that upper castes are the leaders and lower castes are the followers, but even the Maoist movement (champions of the downtrodden) is controlled by upper castes…I don’t think a lower caste leadership would make a difference to the party though…Take a look at Mayawati, Lalu Prasad Yadav etc. …Are they any better than the upper caste leaders?

        When the CPM came to power in 1977, they undertook land reforms which made them very popular amongst rural people, but they failed to look after agricultural workers most of whom are from the lower castes…I don’t think this failure has anything to do with upper caste leadership but with politics…

        The strategy of the party is to give something to everybody so that they continue to win…Ideally, given their ideology, they should be taking away resources from the haves and giving them to the have-nots, but they have not done that because they don’t want to lose their upper caste voter base…They’ve taken the view that caste problems will automatically be solved once the class problems are because a majority of the people in the lower classes are from lower castes…

        Although untouchables constitute 22% of Bengal’s population, there has been little intercaste violence, as a result of which caste issues have not been taken seriously by the government…

        The problem is that the CPM, BSP etc. are all political parties and not political movements and to a bring change, we need more of the latter…No political party can bring about a social change in a vote based system and that’s why caste based parties have proven to be failures…

        And why has the party been winning for 30 years? Because there are no alternatives + votes of imported Bangladeshis…

        Like

        • Bones I find your analysis informative and interesting and agree broadly with your observations especially regarding the need of a movement for real change to take place . My feeling is most of the political parties initially start as a movement but when they turn themselves to a Party with some vested interests to hold on they loose their progressive nature. I will not consider backward class parties or their politics as utter failure. All these movements and Parties in my opinion had some positive effects also. Abt Bangladeshi immigrants. . I feel ppl will continue to migrate to greener pastures whether from Tamilnadu and Orissa to Kerala or from North Kerala to Gulf of from South Kerala to USA and Uk In case of Bengal it is more easy as there is no language barrier

          Me: …and no physical barriers…

          Like

  10. Very well written, seriously what has it become of a beauiful state amidst all political drama! A rich cultural heritage has gone to dogs over the years, feel sad every time I visit there! Feel sad for the ppl, where most states becoming economically progressive, that state is still struggling…!

    Sigh..!

    Me: Sigh!

    Like

  11. It’s sad that the intelligentsia of Vengal chose to follow an ideology that did not help development. Neither did they wake up and change when they realized that their leaders were just using ideology as an excuse for corruption and lack of accountability.

    Me: As I wrote in my reply to Charkan’s question, Vengalis don’t have any options and so have been voting for the party for 30 years…

    Like

  12. superbly written Bones.. JB has left the CM post and the state in the same way after 23 years is an understatement.. because he made it worse.. and you have said it perfectly… 🙂 🙂

    Me: Thank you!

    Like

  13. JB has caused a stir(a heated debate) at home since Hubby just wouldnt let me off easily after I tried explaining what Bones was saying…

    Charakan, even I thought over Gurumurthy’s article.. have read many such ones and have always taken it with a pinch of salt…

    think one must not be harsh with JB and that is what I feel after going through the comments….. Let us give him his due..

    The land reforms have affected everyone just like in Kerala and one continue to hear the longing for the good old days…

    the truth is that voters had no choice and Congress failed miserably even here… and plus the influx from Bangladesh was too much.. I am not sure if the country should have turned a blind eye…read this from one such person.
    http://pragoti.org/bn/node/3755

    I think from here, the next government may have a better road ahead and if it is Congress they would be forced to work harder.. let them!

    Me: If JB is so great, then why is Kolkata and Bengal in the state it is in today?

    A TMC govt. will be no better…

    Like

  14. Pingback: Bloggers from India with their best blog posts

  15. We have two persons in history who came to power around the same time. Jyoti Basu and Deng Xiao Ping.

    One kept ideology and polemics to discussion rooms and donned the role of a visionary and scripted a role that took his country to enviable heights.

    Jyoti Basu was a prisoner of his ideology and practised it as a solution to all the ills plaguing our society. It was this stubborn ostrich like attitude that has set the clock back and many many millions will have nothing but ill-will for this man and themselves to blame for their fate.

    It will take a generational change to even try and bring WB back on track. What a tragedy. A litany of missed chances.

    Me: Absolutely true!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s