Subhas Chakravorty, who died on August 3 of cancer, seized the city of Kolkata and its surroundings as one million people behaved like crazy to have a last glance of his body. In death, he caught up with such Bengal greats as Tagore and Ray.
I can't simply explain how so many people mourned the death of someone who had a bully's image in public life. He was a controversial political figure, what with his outrageous boasts("Except giving life to a dead man, I can do any job whatsoever"), and behaviour(He offered puja at Tarapith despite being an avowed Marxist).
But he was also generous in a mythical way. His door would always remain open to everybody. And he helped any one who dared approach him, irrespective of caste, class and political affiliations.
In TV footage, celebrities cutting across different arenas spoke highly of him. But most of these were second-rate and dubious. Chakraborty made them launch their career.
The convoy that followed his body had 400 cars.
The mammoth gathering seemed embarrassing for his party CP(I)M, which never favoured him despite his huge contribution to the party.
His party used his clout to fill the Maidan with crowd when it so required. He had the stunning ability to gather one lakh people at the drop of his Panama hat which was part of his appearance.
Obviously, post-death, he had no active role in having one million people following his body. This is something which will have many of us think over to demystify the weird personality that Subhas was.