[*This is a long post. So please be warned. May I also request people to read the whole post if they at all choose to start reading. Update on December 3, 2007: A minorly edited version of this post has appeared in the December edition of Pragati]
Amar naam, tomar naam—-Vietnam
“My name, your name, Vietnam”. Resonating across the streets of Calcutta and the villages of Bengal, this slogan of the late 60s and early 70s was as much a cry of solidarity for the Vietcong fighting the Americans as it was emblematic of the growing popularity of the philosophy of Communism among an entire generation, a political ideology that defined itself primarily by its support for the “little guy”, the downtrodden and the oppressed, as they fought the depredations of the West, evil corporations, landlords and the oppressive rule of the Congress. Tapping into this groundswell of Bengali idealistic passion, came to power a man who had positioned himself perfectly to ride the wave, branding himself as the “Sarboharar Neta” (the leader of those who have nothing).
A man by the name of Jyoti Basu, the leader of the CPIM.
Bengal was never the same again.
After nearly thirty years of Communist dominion in West Bengal, in what can only be called poetic irony, a word that rhymes with Vietnam has come to symbolize the political ideology of a new generation, that defines itself primarily by its support for the “little guy” as they fight the same set of enemies as before but with the oppressive rule of the Congress being now replaced by the oppressive rule of the CPIM.
That word is Nandigram —a human tragedy, an indictment of the extra-Constitutional authority of the democracy-crushing CPIM, and a political dagger in the hands of both the religious right and the “actual” Left to draw blood from their common enemy, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya
Will Bengal ever be the same again?