To, all the Bengalis out there
I am writing this as I love Bengal, its culture and the people. My wife is from Kolkata and she can’t believe that I have loved this City of Joy with all my heart since my teenage years and much before I met her.
However, what I write here is from my personal experiences, and hope that the people of Bengal will not put me in any category.
Bengal is about to face the most important election ever, and the BJP is putting all its might to come to power. I am compelled to write on the situation, on what I am witnessing as an “outsider”.
BJP has ruled India for almost 7 years, and there is nothing hidden now, from raising inflation because of bad policy decisions by dictator like acts and by promoting crony capitalism, spreading hate and lies using godi media and IT Cell, to forming governments by buying (horse-trading) MPs and MLAs, not acting against China and exaggerating Pakistan issue for political mileage. Making worst decisions ever like the Notebandi, hurried implementation of GST and a harsh lockdown at the very last minute have not only ruined businesses, raised unemployment but killed people too.
There is no talk of development anymore. The false castle created as Gujarat Model has fallen too. And most importantly, what Bengal represents, pluralism, secularism, multiculturalism, is exactly what the BJP is opposed to and is likely to kill all the ideals that Bengal and the Bengali culture is known for if it comes to power in the state.
But what are the people of Bengal doing to stop such forces?
Let me describe the situation one by one.
First of all, I am shocked to see the differences between Bengali-speaking and Urdu-speaking Muslims here. Difference in Urdu and Bangla linguistics was an issue in Pakistan that led to the creation of Bangladesh. But that was not the case in India, at least till now. There will be some issues, but it could never be as major that the two sections of people could not understand the imminent danger looming over them, because when Muslims are being put behind bars whether in the name of CAA-NRC or get lynched for eating-selling beef, transporting cattle or love-jihad, they never get identified linguistically.
If Delhi’s ruling dispensation uses Muslims and their culture as a political tool to get power, they equally condemn secular voices to the same category, “anti-nationals”. The activists who are doing great work by standing united against the amended (and inhuman) citizenship act or joining farmers’ protest are also divided in terms of their political affiliations. But if they can stand together against the tyranny of the saffron brigade then they should also work together to mobilize society to vote against the BJP and its politics of hate, crony capitalism and economic down gradation of the country.
Truth is, if their activism cannot translate into votes and stop the BJP from coming to power, it will be the activists who will face the heat first. And if they doubt this fact then the 16 activists languishing in different jails and termed as urban naxals can very well show them what the future under the BJP regime holds.
Yesterday, a senior journalist who dabbles with activism as well, broke down before me saying he has failed to bring activists to one platform. And that now both sides are attacking him.
But I would like to end it by mentioning my friend Ravindra Patwal, who pointed out something worthy of highlighting.
There is around 30 percent Muslim population in Bengal but post-partition there have never been any major riots in the state, leaving aside small skirmishes. And whatever violence took place in recent times, the provocation was done from right-wing groups to gain political mileage.
So, if BJP is showing Muslim threat to Bengalis, they should know the real picture and decide sensibly. A trait they have been known for centuries. They can look at the situation of Gujarat, UP, MP and see how the BJP ruled states are doing, how they patronise violence after coming to power.
It is still not late for people, who can visualize the future, to wake up. And give a strong fight, together.