Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hanif Kureishi on Pakistan

“Nobody is safe. There are more and more beards in the country. You can tell the state of a country by the number of beards.''

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Militarized democracy!

"We are facing the prospect of a militarized democracy, though that might sound as an oxymoron."

Friday, May 20, 2011

For those who know Bengali: Shraddha Invitation

Friday, May 13, 2011

The rise and fall of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee

Gone! The thirty four years of monolithic 'Marxist' regime in Bengal.

People, tired of and fed up with the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and his pro-corporate policy, defeats him and his powerful colleagues in an unprecedented way in this year's Assembly election and brings down his Front strength to mere 62 seats from 235 seats in a 294-seat Assembly.

The party had long stripped its ideology of Marxism, and got detached from its workers-and-peasants base. It just became another right-wing party toeing the line of neo-liberals headed by Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India.

The process actually started with Jyoti Basu, the first Chief Minister of the regime, who lived life like a Czar, and ruled the state in an authoritarian manner. Among the many atrocities he committed were Marichjhapi refugee killings, burning of 17 Anandamargis alive, Bantala slaughter, to name just a few.

His party removed him just at a time when people began to loathe him. Buddhadeb Bhattachary took over in 2001 as chief minister. Once a radical student leader, he played the first term as a cool and cultured administrator, devoting much of his attention to cultural affairs including his own created culural hub Nandan.

But the problem arose during her second term in 2006. He was seen to get into a liaison with the industrialists, ostensibly for the industrialisation of the state. The industry sucked him in, and he was soon morphed into the industry's blue-eyed boy. Then he began to acquire land - fertile land - for the cause of Tata's Nano project, but faced stiff opposition from the farmers and dealt with them with police brutalities, though unsuccessfully. Once again he incurred the people's wrath when he ordered the police to fire a protesting mob in Nandigram (it was opposing the Govt's attempt to acquire land for a chemical hub)and killed 16 persons. Aside from these killings, many women were raped and brutally assaulted.

Buddhadeb's image had taken a heavy beating since. In his last days he made himself a laughing stock in his public speeches where he, by turns, admitted to his mistakes, apologised for them, and then all on a sudden shrieked,"We've not done anything wrong" or "what we did, we did it right". He turned crazy and openly threatened the opposition.

But what is unforgivable about him is that he got his comrades and hired goons ('harmads') to terrorise and brutalise ordinary people in the rural areas for his party's gain.

Personally, I never believed he could be defeated in such an abominable way by a margin of 16,000 votes. But it was a free and fearless poll this year - without any kind of rigging. And the people had the right snub for him. No doubt he's the most hated chief minister today since independence.

Buddhadeb's career as a public figure is more or less finished. He deserves no sympathy. Rather he should be booked for his wrong doings, especially for the genocide in Nandigram.

Would Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister-in-waiting, ever try to try him, I wonder.


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