Tuesday, November 13, 2007


'Nandigram embarrasses me,' writes Rohini.

I've been living out of Calcutta for almost three years now. Wherever I speak, write or think of it, it is my City. I say it with pride, i say it laughingly, sometimes with a touch of mockery or ruefulness.

I flew in to the city about two weeks back. Into the eye of Nandigram. I have been following it at a distance, but boy was I unprepared for the close-up.

I have lost faith in my City. My love for it never extended to its political parties. But I realize now that there is no such thing as being a-political. I belong to no party, but I have my ideals. And my ideals are ashamed and bruised.
My City, that is famous for its famous cholbe na cholbe na public is being forcefully silenced. In Nandigram, the people do not know whom they are serving. They are being hit from all sides. Brutally.

We the people are kept down by bandhs and threats. Those who speak out are jailed instantly.

I know my City by its roads and its people. Both appear vacant. I am disgusted, trite as it sounds. L.M. Montgomery once spoke of feeling ' a sort of nausea with life.' That is just how I feel.

War has always seemed such a faraway thing. I have read about it, analyzed, dispassionately distributed blame...
I am selfish. 9/11 horrified me. The bombing in Afghanistan, the Iraq war, I hated it all. But this closeness, knowing that within Bengal this is taking place is....
People are dying. Homes, land...everything is politicised, everyone wants a piece.

My City...how shall I speak of you now? When I am teased and called a Communist, simply because I am from Bengal...I shall cringe.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Party Games

Bengal is under indefinite strike. For anyone who has spent a few years in Kolkata, this is a commonplace occurance. A month without a bandh is a surprise in my City.

This time however, I am not apathetic.

Tis a tangled story will two or three political parties...all of whom are in for their own gains and no more. Innocent people have been killed in the scummy relations that exist between these parties.

The villages of Nandigram are being held at gunpoint, as are the villagers. That is all I understand. I could write of SEZ and the brutally distorted Communism and all the isms that Bengal upholds with such vigor. I like long words and I love using technical terms...but...there is a war raging very close to where I am. Helpless people are being held hostage, others are being mercilessly gunned down.
And it's all about party games.