By Rohit Gupta:
Mamata Banerjee aka Didi; may be a staunch anti-Marxist, and would like to oppose Communism in every possible form in every imaginable way. The “poribortan” which she often speaks about, promises the complete transformation of every mortal in Kolkata, with his every right and dignity completely in place. The days of hegemony and social acrimony are bound to be over.
But, a few recent incidents forced me to think otherwise. The recent fiasco regarding the rail budget and the way it was taken care of seemed to be more of a populist measure rather than any protection of the aam aadmi of our country. The subsequent appointment of Mr. Mukul Roy and the general methodology of execution is a matter of debate, and it is quite natural to have people on both sides of the line when philosophies differ. And that is where the problem starts.
The ideologies of the two major parties in Kolkata seem to be quite opposite, but there seems to be an overlap nevertheless: nab anyone who expresses anything against you. A professor from Jadavpur University in Kolkata, was arrested on Friday for allegedly spreading ‘anti-Mamata Banerjee’ cartoons on the web. He was later granted bail.
Ambikesh Mahapatra, a professor from the Chemistry Department of the Jadavpur University, reportedly became the target of an attack by the Trinamool Congress workers on Thursday Night. He is also slapped with charges under section 66 of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly sending “derogatory images” of Banerjee on the Internet and mocking her governmental policies.
The leading national dailies usually have a column on political doodles, which have served as a refreshing agenda for conversation among political enthusiasts over the years. Should the editors of these dailies be jailed as well? Or the painters of these scribbling be impeached for drawing such “controversial” cartoons?
I don’t think so. We live in a free country, and it seems to be perfectly under the limits of the ‘Right to Expression’. This modus-operandi will only serve to alienate the people with the current regime; keeping in mind the increasing awareness of the current middle class about the prevalent political scenario around the world. The ban on English newspapers in state-run libraries, the removal of Marx from the syllabus and the paint-all-blue campaign by Banerjee are a few steps that might not be seen in good light after all, and this is probably not the “Poribortan” which a common Bengali expected.
This is quite an immature way to handle an expression against the regime. We live in a digital world, where the citizens are fully aware about the scenarios in the various countries, the uprisings in the middle-east and the kind of democracy we live in. We don’t live in an absolute regime and this is not China after all. It is really difficult to just curb the voice of every person who speaks up against you. It is just plain unviable. Moreover, the economic growth which has been elusive for the state of West Bengal deserves special attention, and this populist rhetoric is not just what a common man wants. He needs financial freedom and opportunities. The policies in that department are not very visible right now, and the aware and elite will take notice eventually.
Image courtesy: http://cartoonacademy.blogspot.in/