Monday, October 6, 2008


The withdrawal of the Nano project from West Bengal is the most depressing and disappointing news I’ve read in a long, long time, more so because I, like so many other hard-working, right-thinking Bengalis, was hoping that the project would somehow be salvaged.

Not that the project was a pristine one. Questions can justifiably be raised as to the way in which some of the land was acquired, and maybe on other policy matters as well. Ms Mamata Banerjee could well have asked for a referendum to be held, or some such other legal and acceptable form of protest.

But then, legal and sane is not what Mamata is all about. She is famous for her histrionics, for rushing in where angels fear to tread and for her pro-people paglami (madness). She has to maintain her brand image, and the image of West Bengal can go take a dive for all she seems to care.

She is such a wrong sort of opposition leader in a state which desperately requires a strong and SENSIBLE opposition. It is simply not healthy for a democracy to have a ruling party, which by hook or crook, has remained in power for donkey’s years.

The CPI(M) is an ugly party, period. In its cynicism, behind its doublespeak, under its smooth manipulation of facts and factions, in its ruthless and systematic mowing down of any protest, in its seeping down and eroding basic services like health/education and basic values like work culture, in its three decades of anti-industry-stance and recent pro-industry ‘won’t you come into my parlour, said the spider to the fly’-attitude, it reeks of ugliness. A little deodorant in the form of a smiling Buddhadev Bhattacharjee is not really enough to hide the stench.

There is something rotten in the state of Denmark (as Hamlet said) and Ms Banerjee is not the person to stem the rot. Instead of offering viable alternatives, she is getting sucked into the very rot which she is supposedly exposing. And caught in the crossfire between UGLY and PAGLI, the Tatas have left Singur, breaking a million hopes.

I feel so, so sad when I hear people talking dismissively and derisively about West Bengal. It’s a place where people talk more and work less, where no business can thrive because people are only interested in politics, where it rains bandhs and strikes…that is what I hear all the time. The red party flag has become synonymous with STOP WORK.

The Singur project was supposed to change all that. It was supposed to herald a new era, a BENGAL SHINING instead of a BENGAL SHIRKING. That is not to be. And the schism between my West Bengal, muddled and riddled with self-destructing Ugly-s and Paglis, and the rest of India, marching ahead with new-found confidence, has widened all that much more.


Mystic Margarita said...

Very well said! *Applauds!* Everything I always felt but was too lazy to blog about. Happy Durga Pujo, btw - hope you have lots of fun! :)

Anil P said...

I'm sure there're a lot of good things about West Bengal.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Hi Mystic M,

i am not very fond of blogging about politics and such like, but this Nano pullout has really affected me very very deeply. I was so desperately waiting for a renaissance in Bengal.

Hi Anil P,

Welcome to my blog. There are definitely lots and lots of good things about West Bengal but, unfortunately, a dictatorial ruling party and an irresponsible opposition are definitely not among them.

Niladri said...

completely agree with u....i was hoping against hope that the project would get salvaged....makes me sad to see people always speak depreciatingly of my state.

June Saville said...

Can you tell us a little of the Nano project please Sucharita? I want to understand better.
I really congratulate you on your forthrightness. If we don't voice our opinions nothing will ever be done - anywhere.
June in Australia

The Scatterbrain said...

Things like this are not only a shame to West bengal but to the whole of India as well! My home state - Kerala is quite similar.

I recently watched a malayalam movie called "Arabi Katha" (Arabian Story) that I'm sure you'd love.

It's about a staunchly Marxist man who is forced to leave the country to work in the 'gelf' (read gulf) thanks to being swindled by his own party leaders. If you manage to get your hands on it, do watch it! I'm sure an english subtitled one is available.

ugich konitari said...

Sucharita, there are Uglies and Paglies almost everywhere. we even have them right here in Mumbai.

They specialize in kicking the hand that holds out a promise for a better tomorrow for common folks.

But for the Uglies and Paglies, only Today is of relevance..

lopamudra said...

I think every right minded bengali worth their salt waited for reconciliation.The people of our State is literally caught between the devil and the deep sea.We were equally shattered.I know how you feel!

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Hi Niladri, Lopa,

thanks for commiserating.

Hi Scatterbrain,

I have a lot of Mallu friends who always point out the similarities between Bongs and Mallus and their home states. And the movie sounds really intesresting, will definitely try to get my hands on it. Thanks.

Hi UK,

I agree with you on the prevalence of uglies and paglies everywhere. But Bengal's tragedy is that they have no other alternatives.

Hi June,

The Nano project is a huge automobile manufacturing unit that was supposed to be located in West Bengal, my home state. Nano is the name of a very low cost car designed by the TATA company, a leading industrial company of our country. West Bengal has seen numerous factories shut down in recent decades because of trade union protests, which are supported by the local leftist government. With almost no industry to speak of, miliions of jobless youth were banking on the Nano project for employment. But though the leftist govt is now supporting the arrival/revival of industries, the opposition parties are now creating problems. The Tatas have withdrawn their project and taken it to another state, and the people of West Bengal are very very disheartened.

The Weekend Blogger said...

Hi !! i am a regular reader of your blog it's just that I dont get to comment much (access restrictions). Anyway this is just to tell you that I used to be a blessed "skinny" types but not anymore...I am a plus-plus sized charatcer and you';; ussually find me in "ALL" section at Panataloons or in the "Gia" section at Westside... either cursing the tent-like designs or rolling kmy eyes at the prices !!

sukku said...

Well said and I guess West Bengal needs this sort of development and I am sure the other states are going to benefit by this relocation. I guess too much freedom has its bad efect too.

arpita said...

Shubho Bijoya to you and your Family......You deserve a lot of applause for calling a spade a spade. KUDOS!
There are a lot of educated (in the real sense of the word) individuals who wish to work here and see Bengal thrive with the rest of the states. But with petty politics(and cheap drama) winning over state welfare, the opprtunities to bring industries, companies always get nullified, leaving us in utter despair and very very angry. Where have all the pro-people leaders gone.......???

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Hi weekend blogger,

I am an ALL-addict, too, they are the best of the plus-sized stores. Westside's GIA (at Infiniti) is too far away for me (Andheri to Borivili) and Inorbit's Revolution deals in tents, not clothes!

Hi Arpita,

I share your anguish and anger completely.

Hi Sukku,

You have hit the nail right on the head. Freedom is a heady, destructive toy in the hands of the wrong people.

sidhubaba said...

This will keep happening if we always start in the middle. After all the WB Govt does not have epic status! All processes have processes. Infrastructure development is the first thing that is needed. Then a rational policy balancing farmland and industry-land. Otherwise all the Tatas will say bye-byes.

Sucharita Sarkar said...


i couldn't agree with you more. not just a muddled middle, but a meddled middle.