May 22, 2011

Conversation about Mamata Banerjee/The Grassflower Revolution

Earlier this week, at a family dinner, the most obvious topic to speak about was Mamata Banerjee becoming the CM of West Bengal and the poribortan that was to be seen. While the question of who supported CPM and who supported TMC was avoided, the focus was brought to a seemingly silly decision she made-the entire Judges Court Road that leads up to her house on 30, Harish Chatterjee Street is now extremely brightly lit at night because of extra lights that have been put by her on either side of the road. While this is good for the pedestrians and maintains safety at night, one must also look at the wastefulness of these lights that are placed less than 20 feet from the next, having three bulbs to each lamppost.

Another point of debate that stirred up was on her attire. Someone said that Didi should start dressing in a more 'dignified' manner and more appropriately to her post. This angered me greatly and I brought up the point that if someone with the level of dedication as her can deliver the work she has taken up, why should anyone have a problem or even look at what she wears? I got only two thumbsups on this point from a room full of twenty people or so.

I had recently read that the story behind her white saree is this: When her father passed away, her mother, Gayatri Devi, started wearing white sarees as was expected of a widow at her time. They were very poor at the time and that is why Didi also started wearing the white saree to save on expenditures. The image of her in the saree stuck, and it continues to be worn by her all the time, which does not reflect a lack of dignity in any way.

When I told everyone this story, they questioned me on her state of apparent 'poverty' now. There have been claims that like any politician, she too has taken enough bribes and is not poor by any standard. Owing to this, she could buy more clothes and better shoes and change her house if she wanted to. My only defence to this was that though money might enter someone's life, it need not change them the way people expect them to. Why would anyone want to unroot themselves from an established, familiar place that you can call 'home' just because of the lure and prospect of a bigger, fancier mansion?

(History is being made in Kolkata: the uprootment of communism and the defeat of the 34 year old Leftist regime led by CPM, by TMC's Mamata Banerjee, a struggle that met its deserved end; the resignation of CPM's Buddhadeb Bhattacharya as the CM of West Bengal; the resignation of Didi as Railway Minister after being reelected in 2009 to give her post as CM her full concentration; the swearing in and Didi becoming the first woman and non-Marxist CM of West Bengal, bringing in the Grassflower Revolution.

I am just glad to be able to see history unveiling itself and working with a newspaper like Indian Express during this time. For the first time, politics and government-related issues is actually genuinely interesting me. After a long time, I am reading not only the headlines that interest me but reading the newspaper cover-to-cover (minus Sports and Stocks). Being the first internship in journalism, I can feel how inclined it is making me towards the field.

I have a strong feeling that this poribortan will stay.)


Saket said...

I have no idea about the politics in the East, especially Kolkata; but the news channels tell me that it is very dirty.

I am happy that Left is out of business as I hate communism.

I might be cynical here but frankly, I do not see any hope of any Poribortan of any sorts as I believe all parties are equally dirty.

I think it is very difficult for the voters to decide who to vote as they have to choose less dirty people from a bunch of dirty douches.

Afterall everyone doesnt work like Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi. (Yes, he screwed up with riots but he made Gujarat a developed state..!)

Rajesh said...

Rohini, mamta is just a bull in a china shop, a politician who encashed on rhetoric. I hope she now evolves into a leader who can bring about sustainable change; not the mall and IT variety which makes it even more difficult for the poor to survive!