April 28, 2011

Colour blind

To continue my fixation with the land of my birth, today may well mark a turning point in history. A time when legacy and history reduce to naught, and a time when we begin to dream bolder and bigger. Today is when Calcutta went to polls. Though loath I was to be absent from the proceedings, I have nevertheless been there in spirit. And I can't help but feel the silent rebellion.

To be honest, I never really thought such a day would be needed. Being brought up in a primarily Left-wing Calcutta, it is difficult to suppress the Comrade in me. I grew up in a time when micchils (rallies) and hartals (bandhs and strikes) were order of the day. Helpless and relentless, we learnt to take it as a part of life and even derived joy from it (the fun of playing cricket on a really wide road is something you can experience only in Calcutta).We never even complained when the Left shut down our factories, or when Skyroom on Park Street (arguably the best restaurants in town then) closed down due to "Union" problems, and remnants of which continue to adorn the legendary road to this day. We suffered and watched silently in an emotion that can only be described as akin to the Stockholm Syndrome. We thought all this would change when Jyoti-babu left, only to left equally surprised. Buddha-babu was no substantial improvement over his predecessor.

Thirty-four years. Thirty-four years is enough time to foment and execute revolutionary change, no matter how dire the circumstances. An entire generation has grown up listening to tales of how the Left will "soon" deliver. No more. We Bongs, to put it quite frankly, are at our wit's end. However this doesn't mean that we place our allegiances with Didi yet. Writers' is yours for the taking, dear Comrades. But, we do feel that five years of introspection would do you some real good- shake you up from your slumber and get you up and running again. As for Didi, we'll bear with her for five how we bore you for thirty-four! Although it pains my heart to say this, it may be best if you go.

No matter which way the vote swings, one thing is sure,, things will never be the same. The Left may scrape a narrow victory, or suffer bitter defeat. So, which way will it go? Only May the 13th will tell.

Till then,
Your loving Comrade
(Laal Salaam)


  1. Nice post and a little disheartening coming from a Bong.I too feel your pain comrade. Not just you Bongs, us mallus from down under also realize the "great idea poor delivery" phenomenon that the Left has become. There has been a lack of good leadership in the Politburo and too much of corruption in its ranks. The election results too show that this feeling is not just limited to you.
    "Lal Salaam"

  2. Interestingly, I think its really not just the question of a poor delivery. Of course the state machinery had become inefficient to the point of non-performance, but it goes a little deeper than that. Over the years, the lines between party and Government became so blurred that it was difficult to separate one from the other. However, what is most alarming about the present-day Left is its resistance to change with the changing times. Anti-imperialism, anti-capitalism and US bashing was justified in 1967 but not anymore, and parties across the political spectrum acknowledge the need for a market economy with a strong regulatory framework, something the Left has missed over the years.
    I totally agree with you on the need for a complete overhaul of the Party leadership. Most party mandarins are nearing 80 and their control over their cadres has only progressively declined. What the Left needs is a charismatic, young leader, one who is willing to bite the bullet, walk the talk and provide Left with a much needed software update ;)