Aah the sheer joy of destroying public property. [Picture courtesy Telegraph and Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya]
Here are two Kangress supporters from Kolkata smashing windows of a public bus as the city faces yet another debilitating bandh.
Observe the heavenly bliss on their countenances. [The Telegraph calls it “gleefully picking up road dividers and attacking a state bus”]
This is what their entire lives have led up to, one moment when their ordinary useless existence, spent playing bridge on local trains, forcibly extorting subscriptions for the community Pujos, watching Rojgere Ginni, attending Didi rallies and in general doing dadagiri (and didigiri), come to fruition.
For one moment, one glorious moment, they are at the center of the world. They have the power to stop students from going to examinations and the sick from going to the hospital. They have the power to inflict suffering, cause nuisance and severe financial damage and make sure that Kolkata with its collapsing public transportation has a few less buses come Monday.
And in Kolkata such moments of dream fulfillment come. Again and again. As Paulo “Chhai phelte bhanga”Coelho says: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”. In our city, the entire universe isn’t needed. Mamata-didi and her minions, the Congress and the CITU are enough.
In the city of false dawns, vampires walk in the light. The law looks away as infrastructure and opportunities are destroyed. To be honest, what can they do? Any attempt to arrest these “peasants” and “common people” and “angry folks” and what have you will be met with violence and resistance. And God save our souls if in the inevitable fist-fights a single button from the protester’s exquisitely tailored shirts from Naihati pop off. If that happens, then the intellectuals of Kolkata will come streaming out of their Ballygunj Circular Road apartments like wailing banshees, “Citizen’s Forums” and “fact finding committees” will be formed faster than an army of intestine-munching zombies, a certain jeebonmukhi artist will belch out the fart of the Devil and call it a song, another protest twenty-four bandh will be called and all shit will hit the fan.
Better to just let the roof be set on fire. Better to let the motherf-s burn. The buses suck anyways.
And better to back out of a critical infrastructure project that will not only lose the state millions in investment but also send a knock-off effect that will potentially kill the chemical hub at Nayachar and several other proposed projects. After all, the Bengalis are not interested in development as long as they get a bandh holiday on Friday (note how all spontaneous displays of people’s disaffection lead to long weekends) and as long as they are suffused by the “feel good” that Naxalite Luddite-ness and the good hour of sleep that follows a “sorshe-ilish”(Mustared Hilsa) lunch brings.
Finally, just to show that even God cannot help but laugh at the state of the state here is a picture, again from that excellent photo-essay at Telegraph.
On the side of a bus set aflame by Congress supporters (backed by Trinamool) it says “Hum hain toh dum hain”. [English: As long as we are here, we have the life-force. Bengali: Amra jotokhon achi, amader ache alur dum]
Brilliant. Just brilliant. On a day the state accrued untold losses, lost investment in millions and saw the wanton destruction of public property, there was at least one silver lining of dark irony amidst the gray smoke of burning metal and of shattered dreams.
[Images courtesy Telegraph]
[Note: The Bengali sentence means “As long as we are here, we will eat potato curry”]