“West Bengal has been on a decline ever since 1963, when Chief Minister of the state Bidhan Chandra Roy passed away.” He reinforced the foundation of the state after partition of 1947, got the Durgapur Steel & Alloy Steel Plant, Chittaranjan Locomotives, India’s 1st satellite town in Kalyani, Digha Beach Resort, expanded the engineering industries, set up engineering, technology, medical, management, and other institutes. Durgapur had the only wheel rim plant of the country on which the lifeline of the nation Indian Railways ran.
Calcutta, Shanti Niketan and Jadavpur used to be the prime universities in India those days. West Bengal had IIM, IIT, Indian Statistical Institute – Operations Research School, Bengal Engineering College, besides, of course, Presidency College, SXC, Scottish Church and many other venerable institutes.
It was the business head quarter of the Birla clan, JK, Bangur, Jalan, Metal Box, Lipton, Thapar and Tata and all tea behemoths. The grand Tata Centre was built for that purpose. This was the vision of Tata’s. Most of their investment were in Jamshedpur. Most foreign companies had their India HQs in Calcutta. This was the reason, Calcutta has best of the private Clubs in the country. It had the best library, the highest number of International flights. Bombay used to serve mainly Aden, Muscat, and East Africa. Period. The civil construction work of the lock and dock berths started in January 1968 and the dock system was opened to international shipping in 1977. Growth of the Haldia Dock Complex that started its functioning in the year 1968 got momentum with commissioning of Haldia Port in 1977.
And then ‘Ashok Kumar Nite’ happened in February 1968. Women were dragged out of the stadium and their naked dead raped bodies were found in and around the ‘salt lake’ area over the next two days. The CPM leaders (Jyoti Basu & Co) called it “the rise of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie”, and justified it at that time. Old Calcuttans were shocked to learn the decay setting in the society.
Calcutta started emptying and many dadas and didis moved to Bombay. Soon after, Aditya Birla was dragged out of his car between GPO & RBI, opposite Writers Building, thrashed, clothes torn, stripped down to his undergarments and made to walk like that to his office at 15, India Exchange Place. With a crowd roaring in laughter and jeering, he went home and took a flight to Bombay, never to return. He took all his money and offices out of Bengal. Today they are one of the top industrial houses in the country. Bengal communists invented ‘Gherao’ and Bandh and with this deadly weapon they could successfully drive out the last corporates from Bengal. This also ensured that no corporate house takes birth there. Unfortunately PSUs remained and slowly only card holders of the CPM Cadre could get jobs and my maternal uncle who was the CGF of the DSP remembers that after a bottle of whiskey, the labour would dose off to sleep and well educated engineers used to make sure the factories worked smoothly but losses mounted and mounted.
Communists know that only unemployed and poor people can be deceived by them. It is to be noted that no communist union can be seen in any software company.
So did JK, so did Thapar, within a month. So did most entrepreneurs, so did most MNCs. Latest example was ousting of Tata Nano. Those were the ‘Mass Exodus’ of money, knowledge, expertise, senior management and employment from the state. Today no Industrial house plans to start any project, even in dreams in the state. That, this being the dream that the Communists wanted, and there is no change by the present government too.
Presumably, the Communists in West Bengal started their political power capturing from ‘Ashok Kumar Nite’ in 1968 and went through ‘Sain Bari killings’ in 1970, ‘Marichjhapi massacre’ in 1979, ‘Bijon Setu massacre’ of 1982 to ‘Bantala gang rape’ of 1990, ‘Nanoor massacre’ of 2000 and ‘Nandigram massacre’ of 2007. They destroyed the work culture and closed down thousands of factories in West Bengal in the name of violent Trade Union and Co-ordination Committee.
Presently, the state has been infected with the vicious culture of ‘Cut Money’, ‘Syndicate’, tolabazi, Ponzi schemes operated by old left volunteers, Para – teachers, Civic Volunteers, unauthorised intrusions from other countries, and migration of lakhs of labourers to other states. Those educated ones, who could not cope up with destruction of the West Bengal migrated out to other parts of India; to other countries. One finds so many teachers, scientists, researchers, doctors, economists, artists, from West Bengal in the US, UK, France, Germany, Benelux, Scandinavia, but none worth the name here in West Bengal. It was a ‘Mass Exodus’ of brains.
The people of West Bengal have been strangely watching this downhill journey of the state for the last five decades passively.
That is the ongoing tragedy.
Besides, I hope the author of all things watches over Bengal. Also, I’m amazed at the all-out publicity of the audio-message of the former CM, and a CPM leader, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee who projected all negative things against the ruling TMC, and BJP, who apparently is gradually finding its hold on the cross section electorate in Bengal. It has been clearly vouched by Prashant Kishore, the poll planner of TMC in a leaked audio-tape a few days back, and later he countered BJP’s claim saying they may not cross 100 seats, though. I’ve watched his interview of Kishore with both Rajdeep Sardesai, and Arnab Goswami in their channels. No doubt, funny things are happening around. While PM Modi in his inimitable statesmanlike, and at the same time witty poll – addresses in genuinely disgruntled pockets of West Bengal, where unmanageable huge crowds throng.
But Bhattacharjee in his audio address claims that BJP and TMC remain as the harbingers of ruination the State suffers, today. To my dismay, he easily, and conveniently forgets the failed governance he and his Party initiated, and the outcome – mobs out any developments in Bengal; be it industry, education, citizen welfare, health issues et al., mercilessly bringing down almost all positive possibilities the State could’ve entered into. The shocking narratives spelt out from these past rulers of Bengal are so inauthentic, and waggish that their party workers make fun of it. Futile nurturing by the Politburo and Central committees, and willfully politicising the entire State machinery (like TMC has sketched the same portraits for the past years. But, unlike Left front, I’ve to agree that, TMC has added some colours to the beautification of the cities, and offering helps to a particular section of the society, keeping in view the future polling.
The politics of death is a new culture. There is grief among the ruling class and crocodile tears when Muslims die or made to die but there is stunted and eerie silence when Hindu die. Men and arms are made to smuggle during the elections in the porous borders and local leaders are given full charge to distribute relief money during floods and natural disasters and public distribution system grains are under weighed to make money in every sphere of life.
The vehement arrogance of the former CM and his left- colleagues shocked us for a long time. The former rulers of Bengal never realised that besides in-party deliberations, they failed to look out of a window and distanced from the common man.
And never ever they said ‘And into the midnight we galloped abreast’ (Browning).
Whatever we may say, the number of beggars per hundred thousand population is highest (89) in West Bengal at present. This is the bottom line.
So, take your time and rethink before you cast your vote.