In West Bengal today, after four decades of red fascism, has come an era of secular fascism, which takes the Hindus for granted, rides roughshod over them and snatches away their right to live in dignity and security
In a Press conference sometime this week, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, finally admitted the texture of her politics of appeasement. She said that since 30 per cent of her electorate were Muslims, she had to cater to them; had to appease them; had to manage them and ensure that they received preference over the remaining 70 per cent of her electorate.
She was speaking on the sidelines of a protest meet held over the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh. For those who say that she never speaks out, or had kept silent throughout the violence in Kaliachak, Dhulagarh, Nadia and Basihart, where Hindu families and villages were attacked, markets burnt, places of worship vandalised, it was a moment when they were proved wrong.
Banerjee does speak out, she does express her concerns and often acts but it is only on selective occasions when she feels like pampering only 30 per cent of her electorate, that 30 per cent for
which she is ready to change the facade and fate of West Bengal and dump the Bengali Hindus.
She does speak out if it is one more opportunity to abuse Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to ghettoise the Hindus of West Bengal, to pillory the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and to thwart legitimate political activity in the State. Her outrage, her castigation, her retaliatory actions, her administrative response, her constitutional sense — if there is one — is selective and hypocritical. She applies these only when the mullahs and lumpens, on which she bases her politics, are affected or exercised over some issue, the rest sees her either ignore or abet violence, communal pogroms, lawlessness and criminalisation.
Similarly, those who egg her own, those elements, those professional protestors, who have their banners attacking Prime Minister Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the RSS always in a ready state and are quick to jump to conclusions whenever incidents of violence take place in any parts of the country, also keep silent or ignore when the victims of violence are those who do not subscribe to their political philosophy.
Criminalisation or syndicatisation has reached such a point in Mamata Banerjee’s paradise, that one of her own Members of Parliament — Sugata Bose — the one who tries to balance and divide his time between managing the lumpens of the Trinamool Congress and his own academic pursuits in Harvard, was at his wits end when these very lumpens demanded their pound when he tried to carry out some restoration work in Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s ancestral house in Kolkata.
When the lumpens were reminded by Bose that he belonged to Netaji’s family, they simply asked him to shut up and get going. Ironically, it is this same Bose who, in his interventions in Parliament, keeps talking about how, ever since Prime Minister Modi’s arrival, the democratic spirit of the country is being threatened and is under duress!
The situation in West Bengal today is extremely worrisome. It is, for those who study the evolution of the State and the history of Bengal in modern times, reminiscent of the days when the Muslim League ruled the Province in the 1940s. Repeatedly, for the past three years, Mamata Banerjee has issued dictates and restrictions on the immersions during Vijaya Dashami.
In a cavalier attitude, without even inviting community leaders for a discussion, without taking into account the sentiments of lakhs of Bengali Hindus of the State, Mamata simply issued a ‘fatwa’ that immersions will be restricted and will only begin after Muharram is over. Except for some sections, one does not hear even a whimper on this, an act which directly interferes with the right of the Hindus of Bengal to worship and celebrate.
If one reads, for example, Syama Prasad Mookerjee’s diary entry of January 1944, one finds a stark similarity between Suhrawardy’s Bengal and Mamata Banerjee’s West Bengal, or at least a West Bengal that is surely and steadily being pushed into that state.
“The ratio of communal representation in respect of services”, writes Mookerjee, “the defilement of Hindu idols, the suppression and supersession of better qualifications in respect of Hindus and preferential treatment of Moslems in educational and other technical spheres, the passing of laws specially jeopardising Hindus, the encouragement of riots, attacks on Hindu women — were some of the glaring instances of our suffering…”
Syama Prasad’s protest against and his success in preventing the passing of the Secondary Education Bill, which pitched for Islamising the education system and syllabus of the Province, was another instance of how Hindus of Bengal then were being denied the right to express themselves culturally and educationally.
The ongoing episodes of Nabi Dibas and no Saraswati Puja, the enforced shift from ramdhonu to rongdhonu, from jal to pani, the hurdles being created against the immersion of idols, the defilement of Hindu temples in rural West Bengal, the patronage that the ruling Trinamool Congress extends to rioters, are symbolic of how West Bengal is gradually metamorphosing and back cycling to becoming the Bengal of the 1940s, a Bengal in which the Bengali Hindu lived as a third class citizen, forever in the grip of fear, instability and discrimination.
Legitimate intellectual and political activity is being thwarted, as the cancellation of venue for a programme to commemorate the 150th year of Sister Nivedita that was to be address by RSS sarsanghchalak (chief) Mohan Bhagwat or the conjured non-availability of venue for a programme that was to be addressed by BJP president Amit Shah in the second week of September, go to show.
Hindu youth, who do not indulge in the club politics of the Trinamool Congress, are being victimised, with false cases being slapped against them, with threatening phone calls being made from ‘unknown’ numbers and with physical intimidation.
Make no mistake, in West Bengal today, after four decades of red fascism has come the era of the secular fascist, the appeaser fascist which takes the Hindus of the State for granted, rides roughshod over them and snatches away their right to live in dignity and security.
Every Durga and Kali Puja and the long interval in between demonstrates the actual State of West Bengal and in it especially of the Bengali Hindus, a people once revolutionary and at the forefront of intellectualism, once the standard bearers of nationalism, now being reduced to the margins, denuded and weakened, strangely by one of their own…