A Personal Perspective on Kolkata Today

In 2005, when I went to Kolkata I had been pleasantly surprised by the optimism in the air.  Growing up, Kolkata was a city of processions with people carrying placards saying “I am an educated unemployed. Give me work.” , a city where when parents told children “Be the best in class. Else you will starve” kids took their parents more seriously than their contemporaries in other parts of the country, a city of closed jute mills, haunted in their desolateness, with the red flags dotting the perimeters resembling raw, festering wounds inflicted by the proverbial “death by a thousand cuts” of CITU trade-unionism. In a surprising turn-around I could not have foreseen, that same city seemed to have gotten rid itself of the despondency and stagnation that had characterized it for decades. Buddhadeb was being considered to be a transformative figure responsible for this change, determined to roll back the darkness of the Jyoti-Basu era, with his genuine focus on capitalist evils like investment. Sector V was bustling with IT majors lining up to open offices. The manufacturing and heavy industry sectors were looking to take off, with ambitious projects not seen in Bengal for decades being inked. A new township was coming up in Rajarhat. Change was everywhere and one could not but feel heady with all the feel-good.

This time, however, the mood was different. Dark clouds had once again gathered and despair had spread far and wide. Nano is gone, taking with it dreams of Bengal becoming a manufacturing hub. Construction lies stopped in large parts of Rajarhat after the Vedic Village fiasco and amidst turf wars between a resurgent Trinamool and CPM. The CPM leadership, under severe siege, has stopped all development work because they do not want to give Mamata another opportunity to mobilize support before the elections and are instead concentrating on the worst kind of populism, to wean back minority votes back from Trinamool. Illegal hawkers, who had made the footpaths hell in the 70s and the 80s and who had been uprooted in the 90s, have once taken full control, forcing people to walk on the streets and clog up the city’s arteries. A large cut-out of Shahrukh Khan, sweating with what is supposed to be passion, sits near the Metropolitan Bypass with a golden helmet in his hand, looking like a gigantic sweaty man taking a dump by the road with a lota in tow, served as a reminder that even sport is not going to provide respite to a tired city.

And towering over all of them are gigantic images of megalomaniac Didi folding hands with her slogan “Ma Mati Manush” (Mother, Earth and Human), prepared to set fire to Mother, Earth and Human so as to become the Chief Minister. Flapping their dark wings are the Nazgul, Kolkata’s ‘intellectuals’, an euphemism for jobless theatre-workers, disgruntled college teachers, washed-out film actors, beaten-up ex-Naxalite wastrels and tuneless songsters,  many of whom slighted under CPM rule with small plot-hand-outs from the Chief Minister’s quota in Salt Lake have gravitated to Mamata Banerjee if not for anything else but the opportunity to sing and perform in Railways organized jamborees.

If anything captured the spirit of total administrative paralysis it was the fire in one of Kolkata’s most loved landmarks, Flury’s in Park Street, Kolkata’s historic eatery district, that happened while I was in the city. Twenty-six people died as the administration took three hours to bring in hydraulic ladders, firemen, each of them above forty-five (because recruitment has been frozen), were seen running about, lacking the requisite training to use the ladders (since they evidently havent done fire drills in a while). Spare a thought for the firemen also because they were forced to enter a building full of smoke with handkerchiefs on their noses, because there is no money for masks.

What makes this  even more tragic was that there was a fire station on that street itself but it didnt have a working lift and so lifts had to come from far off. While this running about was going on,  people were leaping to their deaths, choosing to put their faith in miracles rather than in the West Bengal government.

And if this is the state of affairs in downtown Kolkata then one can imagine the bandobast for normal people living in other parts of the city, in the suburbs and in the villages (Only exception being Salt Lake which is where the ministers and the government-land-allotted intellectuals stay—the ladders were located near there coincidentally). The final icing on the cake. West Bengal is perhaps the only state (this I am not sure) that actually has a Fire Minister, a man who was seen the next day shamelessly absolving himself of all responsibility for the sorry state of fire services. Disgusting !

Perhaps what summed up Bengal’s problem most appropriately was a poster I saw in honor of dead comrade Jyoti Basu. Below the picture of the late patriarch was a line that encapsulated his greatest achievement in the eyes of his fans—-“Ajibon Communist” or “Communist for life”.

West Bengal, like Basu, had also stayed “Communist for life”.  And the outcome of that is there for all to see.

84 thoughts on “A Personal Perspective on Kolkata Today

  1. Heard you’re giving iPads this week? 😛

  2. This is the type of post that you particularly excel at – a sort of understated, measured indignation. I too am pained by the sustained decay of the city that I love – not a physical decay, but worse.

    We always had many faults, but apathy was never one of them. As children die in nursing homes and fires burn down our landmarks, as the cherished prizes of our heritage get stolen from our museums and our libraries crumble beneath dense foliage… we have come full circle. It is the unkindest cut of all.

  3. I feel your pain GB. Watching your home town, a city that you love so much, collapse before your own eyes. That too when many parts of rest of the country are experiencing face changing reforms.

  4. Why so serious son?

    Same thing happened in Bangalore last month. It will again some place else.

  5. And the sorry thing is that it will remain communist even if Mamata comes to power. Yesterday I read a news item which said that when Lalu was railway minister, files used to get cleared every friday leaving no backlogs as he had a trusted band of advisors. But now, there is a backlog of more than 600 files as “DIDI” as neither time , nor does she have any trusted advisor there.She is even screwing up the dedicated freight corridor plan which is so crucial for the funding of new projects with her laggardness . She cannot take any care of a ministry, what she will do with an entire state Will search the link of the news item and post it here.

  6. The only constant in life is change. That’s why the US elected Obama and WB elected J.Basu….R.I.P. Kolkata of our nostalgic childhoods.

  7. P.S: JBasu dug WB’s grave while Obama tries hard to pull the US from the grave that GWB dug generously.

  8. Excellent post!! I’m not related to Bengal or Kolkotta in any way..but could truly feel your concern. Such topics bring out the true writer’s genius in you.

  9. Could completely correlate with you, being in the city last September.

  10. So much apparent wealth but no money for firefighting equipment. Is corruption a lesser evil than rape, paedophilia or murder?

    PS. Your descriptions of the Kolkata could be applied to many large non-metro cities too. India may be shining, but it’s cities remain oh-so-dull.

  11. GB,

    I always wanted to see Kolkatta, being a ‘madrassi’ it was a bit exotic to me but well not really (we are not that different you know)!
    The picture I had of the city was all these educated and idealogoically narrow Bongs, constantly adda’ing and talking about the next marxist revolution. It sounded like a strange paradox, a city with so many purported intellectuals but suffering from a long bout of cognitive dissonance.

    Anyway I thought things have changed a lot there, but Nano controvery put the mad back in the Marxist. Don’t think Chennai is exactly blooming, we just have little less madness here 🙂 Bangalore see-saws too, hope that makes the Bongs bit more hopeful.

  12. 30 years of stagnation making the”voters” to vote for anyone anything in the opposition, so donno what is in store.


  13. Just sad. I see no future for the state. (Never has the phrase “between the Devil and the deep sea” has seemed so appropriate for a state. Bihar has a better outlook than WB has currently – at least till Laloo comes back to power.

    I regret that fact that I have had to send my parents back to Kolkata from Pune and they have to spend the rest of their lives in that godforsaken city.

  14. Nice write up..can feel it while reading..and on a lighter note : remembered one part of ur book -jihad by the bangladeshis & the terrorist :)..

    Kolkata is changing…lack of proper education, the “gundabaji” of the “para-club “..no new road construction..no planning..and too much arrogant people( when I dont know where that baseless ego comes from )..I love the city because of my root ..I love that city because spent 80% of my life there…

    Nowadays when I visit kolkata, I feel I am walking in bihar..:)..irritation starts from kolkata airport where taxi drivers are horrible ( more horrible than chennai !)..I feel like an alien in my own city..knowling my mother toungue also dont help.

    I feel ashamed when “ma mati manush” lady talks alien english on TV channels..Lack of leaders in local politics ..I feel theres “lack of proper education ” …One of my friends faced problem while transfering his bank accoun to hyd..why? Hyd bank people wanted kolkata bank ( name I am not giving the name here ! You should guess it as most unproffessional bank !)people to call them..but none from the kolkata branch ever called them beacuse they do not wanted to show their “english speaking skill” to them!!!..and that they admitted when my angry friend reached their office!

    I know my many friends just dont like to go to work in kolkata, because of “dada culture”..& attitude problems..they say a bengali start his day with fish curry & rice and ends with it too..:)
    I dont see any new politicians in bengal with good academic knowledge..:)

    So either bengal will be ruled by communists or by the singers-dancers-actors-alien english speaking jokers..:)..Do not hope for a better future.

  15. GB. If possible, run a Google search on Pratim Chatterjee (Fire Minister, WB), filmography.

  16. http://in.news.yahoo.com/48/20100328/804/tnl-in-the-hot-seat-why-india-s-only-fir.html

    This news says that he is the “ONLY” fire minister in India. So, GB, you can be sure now.

    Btw, I liked your book but did not like that you put some of your blog entries in there. It should have been all “fesh maal”. 🙂

  17. Even as a non-Bong I feel sad. Bengal has such a great heritage, so many great personalities have been born there. When will it come out of this commie stupidity? It’s not that all other states are great, but one feels that Bengal could have achieved so much more. What a waste.

  18. Arnabda,
    You can be sure. Pratim Chatterjee is the only joker of his kind in this country!

  19. Arnab, perhaps striking a different note from the general mood of your post and commentators, I would request you to look beyond Kolkata when you sum up the plight of Bengal. Please visit the ‘small’ towns of Durgapur, Asansol, Murshidabad, Siliguri before you write the epitaph of the state.

    Political stupidity notwithstanding, these small places generate new employment which employs people from across the country. I know ,as the billboard of Sourav on the EM Bypass says, ‘there are miles to go before we sleep…….’.But as a representative of a small section of the local population who decided to stay back and create a livelihood for self and for a few others within the state, I feel that though BIG houses still avoid Bengal and the political leaders are useless, the next decade would be different from what we have seen in the past.

  20. Hi Arnab,

    I am a Kolkatan but never lived in the city.I was born and brought up in different parts of the country.I moved to Kolkata 2 years back as my work brought me here.Initially I disliked everything here but slowly I realised that it was not the city by itself that I disliked but the way things worked here.The city had grown onto me and I started liking it despite the sluggish pace of all activities here.However,the recent tragedy of Stephen Court has erased my liking for this place.

    There is an old world charm about this city that makes it different and likable but for how long can we cling onto the past.The government machinery seems to be so helpless and crippled in front of the loudmouthed so-called Didi who seems to have taken the Herculean task of doing good for the people all by herslf on her able shoulders.

    The city has everything to be progressive if only the mindset of the supposed leaders changes.

  21. There has been a marked upward swing in the quality of your posts after the book has come out.
    Don’t get me wrong, I have generally liked all your posts, but there was a little bit of GB-factor that seemed to have gone missing when MIHYAP was in progress.
    And for the record, as numerous others have mentioned, I was also a little disappointed at re-reading some of the blog posts in the book. When I had first read those posts, I had laughed my guts out, but after already re-reading them repeatedly on the blog, reading them again in the book was a bit of a let-down.

  22. Didi is to WB what Maya is to UP…

  23. Excellently put. Very poignant state of affairs in WB. Also, I am glad that you noticed the anomaly of having a Fire Minister in WB. I too was quite surprised. Is he there just for the heck of giving a ministerial birth to a favoured MLA?

    I didn’t know that Flury’s was gutted too. This is a tragedy of gigantic proportions for me because I really have strong sentiments for landmark joints of historical cities and Flury’s had been one of my favourites.

    Of course, WB is doomed to remain like the way it has been and it is now because of the people there.

    People who say that they don’t have options beyond the Left and the Maoist-courting TMC, then I must say that people there don’t have a will for a change, the degree of which drives people to create options.

    Today, 70 CRPF personnel were killed in a Maoist ambush in Dantewada. This is an unprecedented number of casualties in a single ambush in India’s history. Maybe, one battle in the jungles of Vavuniya in Sri Lanka in the late 80s had that many IPKF soldiers dead. These Maoists are the same terrorists whose support Mamata Banerjee sought and got enabling her party to win the unprecedented number of seats in the last General Elections in WB.

    Therefore, as you wrote, it will be the same ajibon.

    By the way, death by thousand cuts is not something that you found in fables. The Chinese carried executions this way that they termed as língchí as late as the early 20th Century.

  24. I have always heard about Kolkata’s goodness from my mom( she is born n brought up in park street in 60’s) but when i went there in recent time, I could also see the difference.

    I read RED boardings asking for a UNION in IT also. Ghee!!

    The issue which is of greater concern is the current generation and the upcoming ones have never been exposed to any kind political school except communism which hamper’s the thinking process and even if DIDI comes (or for that matter any one else) I don’t expect substantial changes.

    Capitalism( here i mean in a controlled manner) is for good and is a need of time, government should understand it.

  25. Dont let the fire minister get – out of sight out of mind…else another tragedy will happen in absence of necessary equipments and policies.

    Dedicate a blog (Its free)tracking his inactivities in a daily blog. Use twitter and facebook to promote the blog! Start a “send i protest T-Shirt(write i protest on a old TShirt” campaign at the fire minister’s office from all over the world. (remember pink chaddi campaign!) Jago Voter Jago!!

    When Truck fulls of Tshirts will arrive from all over the place…non stop week after week …i am sure media will join in. And lets see …who wins!!

  26. 2005 Dec… My joining at a leading IT co. brought me to Kolkata. I worked at Sector V, and stayed in Salt Lake, THE places to be at. Weekends were spent at City Center, Forum, Gariahat, Esplanade. We heard our managers speaking of expansion to Rajarhat. We were actually happy being there!!!

    2007 Jan…. The previous month saw four state-wide bandhs. To make them more attractive, they were called on either Fridays or Mondays. The project managers found it difficult to explain the clients what is a Bandh. New accounts went to our offices in other cities.

    P.S. I moved out of Kol in 2007 June

  27. It is not enough to blame the Communists or Govt. The people are apathetic to an amazing degree too. The city continues to be in shambles and keeps just sliding into a worse state every year.

  28. Saddest aspect of all this is that in any democracy the government is pretty much what the people electing it deserve. After having fought some real uphill battles to build a house to stay in Kolkata after retirement, my parents are thinking of selling it off. Much sadness.

  29. I was going to comment saying that Kolkata seems to be a lot like Dada these days till I read your reference to the Park Street fire. That was a chilling incident. Left a dark cloud and I have not even been affected personally. My heart goes out to all who suffered

  30. What is the trick with Bengal politics and “intellectuals”. You have hinted at it multiple times but I don’t think any non Bengali, including me, understands it.
    Do poor of Bengal vote on their advice?

  31. ‘Shame’ would be an understatement for the Stephen Court incident – it was total failure of govt administration & absolute lack of preparedness to handle such crisis situations. The clown minister was what all the news channels wanted as a bonus.

    however i don’t quite agree with the observation that Kolkata was far better in 2005 than in 2010. i moved back to kolkata towards the end of 2004, and since then have been staying here. at least i didn’t notice any drastic change for the worse. 2005 was perhaps the only year without a single bandh during this period (a memorable achievement indeed), otherwise all other things have remained as they were. bandh culture continues. political meetings, loudspeakers, processions, road blocks (now there is a game of one-upmanship btwn the ruling party & the opposition). traffic jams are as they were. our footpaths were never quite bereft of hawkers, maybe their numbers have increased in the last couple of years. power-cuts continue – although for much shorter durations compared to our ‘nostalgic’ childhoods. people were laid back, they still are. the city still makes an eager countdown for the pujos every yr. the city still revels if KKR manages an elusive win, the city goes into a frenzy if dada clicks with the willow. cost of living still remains lower compared to other metros. so many things remain unchanged.
    perhaps the changes that GB noticed after a gap of 5 years (now that’s a LONG time even by NRI standards!), i missed out having seen things on a daily basis.
    Maybe it would be more apt putting it this way – things WERE bad, they didn’t get any more worse (AT LEAST in Kolkata). don’t u feel the state govt needs to be congratulated for preserving such an old world charm in an ever-changing world ? 😉
    as regards stalled constructions, i guess we shudn’t blame the state govt for that. u will see such structures in all cities nowadays – these are a result of the financial meltdown post-Lehman. The credit crunch that ensued had delayed most projects. there is a huge multiplex cum mall under construction just beside my office building & it has been under construction for 4 years now ! at least the road & bridges which are being built – work there is happening there, although at snail’s pace when compared to Delhi.
    if anything has worsened, it is the political atmosphere. earlier the ruling party called the shots & was at its intimidting best if anyone dared to protest. now didi has started apeing the ruling party & is making them taste their own medicine. she has cloned the Left machinery blindly & the result is a vicious political scenario esp. outside Kolkata. The next state elections in 2011 are unlikely to usher in any change. Add to that the militant Maoist movement & it seems WB is unlikely to become a favourite for industrialists at least in the near future, meaning the semi-skilled continue to remain unemploymed adding to the simmering social tension.

    despite all the gloom, let’s hope we have touched the nadir & the only way from here is moving upwards. and also let’s indulge in this wishful thinking that unlike KKR WB does not languish at the bottom for years !

  32. now that you are done with the lament, how about suggesting a solution for the fast slipping state, GB? Use the power of weaving your words.

  33. The malaise affecting kolkata is simply a reflection of the nature of bengali people. We can blame the commies, didi, the intellectuals, the goondas, the unions and even george bush for that matter, but the fact remains that this decay is evident in every aspect of bengali life. The “culture” we pride ourselves upon is in the same pile of shit as the rest of the state.
    I haven’t stayed in kolkata but have visited it umpteen times, and it seems to get worse day by day. I always feel sad as Kolkata remains a city stuck in the past, refusing to acknowledge the truth staring a it in the face and do something about it – much like bengalis themselves. We still live in the past, bring up tagore, bose and ray in any conversation about bengalis, and refuse to believe that we are miles behind the rest of the country.
    I hate the commies. I do not want to vote for them. What options do i get? didi and a bunch of sycophants. wow. and I can’t even vote “neither”.
    Fact is, we are too lazy to do anything about it. We like our strikes and our slow lives. We like the shitty roads and traffic conditions. We like glorifying poverty and being intellectuals. Unless we change ourselves, I don’t think we will ever be able to bring bengal back to a respectable position. But then, why change when you have “old-world charm” and “culture” and “revolution”?

  34. @Abi… u r scaring me dude. i am planning to move back to kolkata after working for 6 years in Bangalore!!! Ya…ya… laugh at my misery 🙂

  35. Sad but true.. very very true…

  36. Soham wrote:
    “The “culture” we pride ourselves upon is in the same pile of shit as the rest of the state.”

    Rishi’ response:
    A few questions that I am inclined to ask
    -What is this Bengali culture?
    -What defines this time period that is taken as the defining moment of Bengali culture? Is it the 1860 to 1930?

    Soham wrote:
    “haven’t stayed in kolkata but have visited it umpteen times, and it seems to get worse day by day. I always feel sad as Kolkata remains a city stuck in the past, refusing to acknowledge the truth staring a it in the face and do something about it – much like bengalis themselves”.

    Rishi’s response:
    I find it funny that people feel that what happens in Kolkata defines what happens in the rest of Bengal.

    Personally, I feel it is the other way round. What is happening in Midnapore, the Parganas, Nadia, Dinajpurs, Bardhaman, et al, reaches Kolkata a few years later, in a cumulative manner.

    Not only that, what happens in Dhaka, Faridpore effects Bengal as much.

    Soham wrote:
    “We still live in the past, bring up tagore, bose and ray in any conversation about bengalis, and refuse to believe that we are miles behind the rest of the country”.

    Rishi’s response:

    Why do you think we do that?
    Do you think we bring up Vivekananda, Aurobindo, J C Bose, Satyen Bose, Bankim as much too?

    Soham wrote:
    “I hate the commies”.

    Rishi’s response:
    Have you tried to deconstruct the rise of Communism after Partition?
    Why do u think the “Begalees” across the border in Bangladesh never supported Communism? What differs?

    We cannot change things unless you understand the whys and whats and hows.

    1. Full tangent. Pura hubba hoye gelo 😦
      Now, can we have Rishi’s response to ‘Rishi’s response’ please?

      1. Ok. My bad. Rishi has lots of responses below 😛

  37. now that we dont have any more east bengal , shouldnt west bengal be called just bengal
    just wondering

  38. @rishi
    1. its not 1860 to 1930. it was doing good even till the 70s. Its been ill ever since.
    2. that is funny, I accept whole-heartedly. I think it has more to do with the fact that kolkata was(or rather still is) the cultural capital(and the administrative too), and given the importance of “culture” I think you may be able to see why it is as such. Unfortunately enough, that is the bengali psyche – which is why it is even sadder to see that the defining city is in decay. As regards things happening in other parts of the state(incidentally – their offices are in kolkata) – if those who rule cared much about those parts, a lot of the mess we are in today would not have existed.
    3. We do, and a host of other names too. My point was that we as a people are always in desperate search for heroes and take it to blind extremes(nothing on the names discussed – am merely pointing out our own fallacies) – like fireflies attracted to light. Thus we remain stuck in the past. All those people form the past – I wanted to say that we need to move on (but not forget them). Also, you ignored the other part of the sentence – our inherent tendency to ignore what is right in front of us – rather than accept that maybe we need to work harder, it is always easier for us to complain and say “bangali derke dabiye rakha hoyeche….ek jon bangali uthte chaile- onno shobai mile take namiye dai” and similar nonsense.
    4. One could argue favourably for the rise of the commies, and one could say they probably earned their first few victories. But what followed since was a one way route to systematic destruction of everything that was good about the state, starting from the educational institutions, and penetrating into every other aspect of life. I do not see how those on the other side of the border have any relevance to how we managed to screw up our state except for that fact that they served to form a large vote bank for the cpm.
    “the whys and whats and hows” – that again is another issue – the problem lies in the fact that we spend almost all our time analysing “the whys and whats and hows” in our addas rather than do anything about anything – because doing something requires much more effort than just talking about it – something we specialise at.

  39. What is the trick with Bengal politics and “intellectuals”. You have hinted at it multiple times but I don’t think any non Bengali, including me, understands it.
    Do poor of Bengal vote on their advice?

    For poor in Bengal, voting is a Hobson’s choice between staying poor and becoming poorer. What the “trick” effectively does is to control thought leadership and preclude real alternative choices. Tools of indoctrination are the usual suspects – education and media.

  40. What is this Bengali culture?

    A combination of –

    1) Hindu revival (Bankim, Vivekananda, Aurobindo, Vidyasagar)
    2) Emergence of Brahmo school (Ram Mohan, Debendranath, Keshav Sen)
    3) A willingness in both school of thoughts to embrace what the best in west had to offer and set up scalable institutions and frameworks to implement those best practices
    4) National political leadership

    Most of trade and commerce in Bengal, however, was controlled by the British, Marwaris and Muslims, with conflicting goals. The cultural revival was not fully aligned and integrated with the commerical and industrial goals. That was perhaps the left Achilles heel, the right being the unresolved “Mohammedan” question.

    -What defines this time period that is taken as the defining moment of Bengali culture? Is it the 1860 to 1930?

    In that ballpark. I recall Nirad C dating the beginning of the end a little earlier, around 1918-21. Although he was primarily referring to the loss of Bengal’s control over and pre-eminence in Indian Congress, when Chittaranjan Das, despite his initial reservations about Gandhi’s ideas and his willingness to fight those ideas, eventually became a disciple. But Nirad C is probably not too far off base, because politics and culture are hard to separate.

    Do you think we bring up Vivekananda, Aurobindo, …, Bankim

    They are way too “Hindu” and cringe-worthy.

  41. Soham wrote:
    “1. its not 1860 to 1930. it was doing good even till the 70s. Its been ill ever since”.

    Rishi’s response:

    Were we?
    I feel that the decline was very much on the way since the late 30s. The cataclysmic events between 1947 to 1971, leading to the largest continuous refugee crisis of the modern era, has a major role to play.

    But then again, the otherwise, “addabaj” Bengali will conveniently overlook that, and thus flipping “causality” topsy turvy.

    Thats the first mistake we make.

    Soham wrote:
    I think it has more to do with the fact that kolkata was(or rather still is) the cultural capital(and the administrative too), and given the importance of “culture” I think you may be able to see why it is as such.

    Rishi’s response:
    To bastardize a more popular phrase, “Bengal sees today what Kolkata feels tomorrow”. Fix the rest of Bengal, Kolkata will automatically get fixed.

    Soham wrote:
    My point was that we as a people are always in desperate search for heroes and take it to blind extremes. Also, you ignored the other part of the sentence – our inherent tendency to ignore what is right in front of us – rather than accept that maybe we need to work harder, it is always easier for us to complain and say “bangali derke dabiye rakha hoyeche….ek jon bangali uthte chaile- onno shobai mile take namiye dai” and similar nonsense.

    Rishi’s response:
    There is nothing wrong is having heroes.
    Vivekananda, Aurobindo, Subhash, JC, Rabindranath are inspirations that should work as positive catalysts, and actually, they do work as positive catalysts of inspiration for the Bengalis.

    But that is not the problem here, the problem is that Bengalis dont see the (as you rightly said), what is right in front of us.

    For example, most of us completely overlook the reason why Communism attracted Hindu Bengalis so much, after Partition.

    The lack of ability of the Bengali Hindu to hold on to resources (movable and immovable), led to the internalization of their resource struggle.

    What the Bengali Hindu lost royally in Bangladesh at the hands of Islam, was made up by an attempted redistribution of the meagre lefovers in the 1/4 th part of Bengal that is left for them. No better ideology to perpetrate that, than Marxism.

    The sad thing is that this is still continuing. As more and more people flood in from across the border, the more the local population gets displaced, the more the pressure increases (weakest amongst the Hindus keep getting crushed at the margins), the more “leftward” they move.

    What an irony.

    Soham wrote:
    “One could argue favourably for the rise of the commies, and one could say they probably earned their first few victories. But what followed since was a one way route to systematic destruction of everything that was good about the state, starting from the educational institutions, and penetrating into every other aspect of life”.

    Rishi’s response:

    Argue favorably?
    For internalizing the struggle of the Hindu Bengali, rather have grow the balls to claw back what was lost from 47 to 71.

    Isnt that an intersting perspective? Spread it around on all the “Dhapees” and “paraar clubs”.

  42. Some Nostalgic Moments April 7, 2010 — 3:17 am

    If that is the feeling and concern you have about Kolkata then think of the people who live in places which are being raped since time immemorial(i mean Bihar,Jharkhand,Orissa,…..) by the blood sucking politicians….wonder if something will ever change so as to give an opportunity to next generation to rejoice,feel nostalgic and a chance to become a “DEMENTED MIND”…excellent post btw…

  43. The irony of it all is that it turns out that the WB govt is the owner of the ill fated building! BTW, the fire minister is quite an interesting character — deserves a full post alone.

  44. Like Naipaul described Calcutta in ‘India-A million mutinies now’ way back in 1990, its a dying city-still.

    Wish Thackery doesn’t ‘do’ to Mumbai what Basu did for Calcutta..!!

  45. I may be stoning a hornets’ nest here.
    I have a different view to the Stephen Court tragedy. The residents are as guilty as the administration, fire services and so on.
    What were they doing all these years when all the norms had been so grossly flouted? Why did they not protest to the illegal constructions? Why were there no safety arrangements of any kind in such a large establishment?
    If anyone is aware of the landowner-tenant kind of situation that prevails here, it does not come as a surprise that the owners cant afford to repair these propoerties or provide basic safety facilities because the rent paid is comparable to peanuts.
    Its the basic callous mindset of us …. the general people of Kolkata and West Bengal that is to blame for all that is wrong with this place today. If the Communists could ruin this place, it was only because we let them do it. If a lunatic lady is a looming threat to any development, its because we continue to vote for stooges like her guided by our misplaced ideology. The people of this place are solely to blame .. and that includes all of us who have stayed back in the city and all of you who have left this place in search for greener pastures.

  46. The reason Kolkatta and West Bengal are dying is because of the typical Bengali disdain for business. They and many Indians seem to be under the misconception that the reason industries exist is to provide jobs. Thats why industrial revolution never took hold in India. The main priority of Industry is towards the shareholders. Everything else is a by-product of that. Shareholders will not benefit unless the customer is satisfied. So customer satisfaction is paramount. These 2 things have always been ignored and the only thing given importance is labor satisfaction.

    Shareholder needs to attract the best labor, so he creates a situation which labor finds attractive. However he cannot exist simply to provide labor. You do not build a house for the sake of providing employment to maid servants and do not buy a car to provide employment to drivers. This point has never been understood by the left and the socialist intellectual class which continues to influence the thought process in India.

  47. Well said ranger.

  48. So Kolkata/West Bengal sucks?? Get the hell out of there. Come to Bengaluru. We love Money. We think Greed is Good.

    Don’t let the border between states or between countries stop you. They are but imaginary lines.

    Let your loyalty be towards all humans and your ideal be humanity.

  49. Enjoy reading your blog 🙂

  50. WB is patal pradesh no development is possible here. Things have not changed and will only worsen going forward once the mad lady takes over.

  51. Indian statesman Gopalakrishna Gokhale once said — “..what Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow!”. No doubt Bengal had very rich culture and rich people who could change something, somehow. But now (be it congress/cpi/cpm bla bla) there is only one culture and that is “strike”. The “strike culture” had changed the state.
    Bengalis/Bengal were/was pioneer of many things in India. But we need to accept the fact that we have become very lazy now (korte pari kintu keno korbo attitude). We have succumbed to our politicians. In college we got to become SFI/NSUI/something else sans study. I am really frustrated to see the present Bengal. Nothing much to say. Hope you all get it.

  52. Great writeup…I am working in Sector V and feel the same thing which u wrote.

  53. Dear Bengal_uru, there are some connections from which escapism is equivalent to cowardice. To see and to comment syndrome is a common disease everyone in this country suffers. Just because your home “sucks” there is no point in relocating to your neighbour’s house, there is need to stay and confront and millions of people (not just Bengalis) are doing exactly that in WB everyday. The State/City is in disease no doubt but still can’t agree with your remedy.

  54. Very nicely written post, like always. I am a Bengali staying at Kolkata and I think the problem with us Bengalis is that we care too much about politics and politicians. We shake our heads and lament the loss of great leaders, feel sad that the era of Great Bengalis is over. It is a very good topic – something worth writing about. But who cares really! Politicians and leaders are same everywhere, in every state, every country. Instead we should do our work and live our lifes. That way we and everybody around us will be better off! Why give the opportunity to someone to say ” what Maya is to UP, Didi is to Bengal”. I may not be an ardent admirer of Didi, but still I feel bad about such statements. We the people of Bengal, cry too much and paint dreary pictures of our state. Hope someday we will learn to hide the thorn while painting the picture of a rose.

  55. another perspective on Kolkata.. here


    I came across Karan Johar in
    conversation with the lovely Bipasha Basu. Speaking about her childhood and early years, the Bong belle mentioned that she had grown up in Calcutta (as it was then called and what I am most comfortable calling it), blah, blah.

    “A real small town girl,” retorted Karan, wallowing in his own cleverness. Bipasha looked a bit bewildered. A small town called Kolkata? Either Karan was an air-head par excellence or one of the canniest observers of contemporary India.

  56. @Bengal_uru

    Bengal to Bengal_uru….Nice word-play !! Thanks for your offer but No Thanks ! Why would we pseudo-secularists give up our homeland and migrate to a “Communal state” ruled by a “Communal BJP”? And you want me to move to its “communal” capital city where its people are highly educated and yet, unabashedly proud of their Hindu roots?

    I am totally shocked at last week’s civic elections where the Greater Bangalore Municipal Corporation (BBMP) went the Saffron way for the first time, with the BJP winning a full-majority in the BBMP and capturing the reins of power in metropolitan civic polls for the first time in Southern India. 😉

    P.S: Notice how the “neutered” media played down the defeat of the pro-Islamic political parties viz. Congress and JD(S).

  57. Greatbong please don’t edit my previous post. I will give you dosh taka.

    [Sorry oto sosta noye. Abuse will lead to comments being removed and even a ban. If you want to “khisti-khasta” do it in your own forum]

  58. @Bengal Voice

    Easy dude. People can’t be categorized neatly as communal or secular. We are as “unabashedly proud of our Hindu roots” as you are proud of Mamata Banerjee.

    There are opportunities for growth in Bengaluru and you are welcome to come here. Tomorrow if there are better growth opportunities in Kolkata, I have no reservations in coming there.

    Again..the borders between states, countries, religions, ideologies exist only in the imagination. Do what you think is good for you, but don’t forget your humanity.

  59. @Greatbong : Check this link for a similar story …


    Very lyrical in the face of tragedy.

  60. I hate to admit that the educated arrogant Bong and his city of joy is going nowhere.
    I hate to admit that i belong to that ‘probasi bengali” clan who dicuss “bengal” over “scotch ” or “absolut” or if luck has in store some “manala cream”
    with other equaly wannabe Bongs on a freak non working saturday or sunday.
    I hate to admit that KKR matches I hav no time for butif they win , i feel happy though am too busy to spend hours on their future prospects
    I hate to admit that neither Didi nor Buddha inspire
    I hate too admit i cannot leave my job and float a new political perspective right away
    I hate to admit that blogs are nothing but literary amusement to me and more i read them and the posts commenting on them i hate to amit that it doesnt solve a shit
    I hate to admit that the bongs who are to an extent responsible for an independent india are masquearading as the doing well probasis.
    I hate to admit that “Khudiram” is a joke in Bengal and so is Mr.Chatterjee of the Chatterjee Group who went to invest in Benagl to fulfil her mopther’s wishes and now is in deep deep shit
    I hate to admit that when Mr. Bagchi cant do shit in Bengal unless he has the mind as bright as the “Chirag”
    I hate to admit that the dhoti clad cigarette puffing bong ministers are as useless as the statue obsessed maya memsaab…..whose “Shusri” posters adorn the walls of Lucknow
    I hate to admit that our redIndians do not have swiss bank accounts to boast of
    I hate to admit that our red brigade is as much a jerk as the maharashtra police when it comes to being prepared
    the point is…mujhe to ghar cahlana hain bhai…..sarkar nahin….aut jo log to gar chalaney k liye hain … woh bhi ghar hi chala rahein hain….
    guys , got to get back to the dead line…
    sorry for the interruption to the bongibberish!

  61. first of all
    sorry i couldnt come for your book release in kol, was hoping to come desperately but working in an NGO doesnt really give you a personal life

    secondly i have been in kol for 3 months and 8 days and i have seen 6 fires in kolkata.
    thats about one every fortnight.

    6 fires. the only one that created ripples was the one in park street. is this some new thing we indians have come up with?
    realise terror when MUMBAI TAJ is attacked?
    realise Naxal Terror when rajdhani is attacked
    realise thr is major fire problem in kolkata when park street is affected

    it hurts even more when you work in a sector that is trying to make a difference and you realise that thr is practically nothing you can do. you cant help beyond three people in your entire lifetime
    and the NGO itself has its own problems.
    you realise that you arent equipped enough to make a difference. cause the more positive changes you try to bring thr is some bloody party who is trying to ruin it coz of thr unknown political agendas

    is it just india? or does this happen outside india too?
    wasnt communism for uplifting thr poor? then how the hell are they becoming poorer?
    how the hell do they not have proper education?
    i used to always think that women in rajasthan were abused, not allowed to study, are full of superstitions?
    kolkata has made me realise that it is worse.
    not only worse but much worse. because here it is a so called “urban” population.
    what were all the naxals fighting for in the 70s?
    was it this future they wanted to see for kolkata?
    My dad fought, then later came to delhi to work.
    but now he has become what is called “udaseen” in bengali
    he doesnt see a future for kolkata. he doesnt even expect another revolution or whatever. its stagnant and is just rotting under the piling garbage that the people, politicians, are putting.
    and the most affected are “CHILDREN” and no one, absolutely no one thinks about them

  62. I am a probashi bangali, but every time I visit Kolkatta, I see that most bongs have still managed to keep themselves isolated in their self imposed stupor of snobbish euphoria. Where they are caught in an endless cycle of mutual admiration and thus – Aall is Well !!
    It is high time that we stop basking in the sunshines of the past, and look ahead, and most important of all, learn from others. Gone are the days when LB Shashtri said ‘What Bengal thinks today, India will think tomorrow’. Infact, it’s the other way round now! Its time that Bengal starts taking lessons from others in the country. It is always a good idea, at times to learn from others. Something that Bongs till date did not like to do. But now when they have to move out of their beloved Kolkatta, they are forced to do, be it in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore or in Chennai. There is so much to learn from the Madrasis, the Gujjus, the Punjabis, Mallus or even the Biharis for that matter. A well-groomed and developed state needs not just intellectuals, who only excel in music, films and other art forms. Some great Bong of yesteryears said ‘A knife all blade is of no use, for the hand that holds it, bleeds’! We have seen for the last thirty years, that just erudition and articulation is not enough to make good governance. For if it was so, then JB would have done wonders to the state.

  63. The Communists & Naxalites don’t deserve all the credit for Bengal going down the toilet.

    Take a good guess – Who uttered these priceless words today (see TOI article below) while accusing the Communists in West Bengal of betraying their interests:

    “When you wanted bombs made and hurled, you needed us. When it came to brandishing pistols and shooting people, our help was required.”

  64. Agree whole-heartedly. There is only one element left in the politics of this city and state – the race to outcheap one another.

    And some hapless knights, perhaps!

  65. Bondhugon/fucking bengalis,

    ekhaane comment chhere ki hobe? (what happening with leaving comments here?)


    1. Change requires personal sacrifice at ANY level (maane loss at some level, e.g. life, property, YOUR life, maane total dediceshaan).
    2. Personal sacrifice requires GMD (Gaand Mein Dom)
    3. Bengalis lack GMD. (along with physical strength)


    Please be honest in assessing – how many ppl in this blog have GMD? A “simple” starting task for example, try and change people’s attitude towards traffic rules, increase traffic awareness and NOT to be beaten by heat, pollution, millions of people till the job gets done?? 40 deg. heat remember)

    Ki kore change hobe shonaaa? Panjaabi aar maarwadi lokera aamader unnoti korbe bole boshe aachen naki aapnaara??

    It should be obvious that I also lack GMD, hence just commenting as well. If I ever have kids, I am going to give them proper nutrition (I have been brought up on a very healthy-ish diet of carbs, maane bhaat/khichudi/aachaar, and very little protein) and self defense training so that they can fight CPM/TMC gundaami, becos one of them is going to rule for the next 30 years fo shizzle)

  66. nice post,
    I started my corporate life in Mumbai & very much intuned with the work culture here, now shifting to Kolkata; shall do my part to bring in the revolution..


  67. GB, awesome again. Your bereaved ballad about Kolkata made me remember Saratchandra’s weakest novel Devdas. At the last line, he asked his readers to spare few drops of water from their eyes for the hapless hero. Kolkata is in deathbed and Bengal is being burnt alive by mostly Telugu speaking Maoists, spare a few drops of water for them. You and me and thousands like us, we could do nothing beyond saving our own career and exit Bengal. It is the collective sin (i.e. antelamo in bengali) of our previous generation that put the Bengal where it is today. It would be the collective hopelessness and frustration of our generation that is keeping the Bengal where it is today. Unless, we criticize ourselves too harsh, our generation is not going to rise from their collective “antelamo” and jhola-wala-giri to save the land we loved so much.

    Speak for yourself, when you talked about “gaand me dam” or “physical strength”. There are many among us, who went out of state or country, became wildly successful even in the places where we are not liked much and has considerable physical strength (at least more than “amader kolkata” type of cigarette smoking skinny Bong intellectuals).

  68. roy.

    I have G. And I have D. But no GMD.

    However, I can give you a GML. Massive L.

    Dedoos dat.

    Dey doo do dat dypa ding, don’t dey?

  69. @ SID

    you misinterpret GMD for physical strength. It is the willingness to make a change by living IN kolkata..do YOU have the BALLS/temperament/patience/nous/any practical ideas to do that? the commitment to carry out the change? Probably not. Ask yourself first. Many bengalis have achieved MANY things living outside of Kolkata. Same as GB. He is funny when it comes to writing humorous articles, living OUTSIDE of kolkata..blogging away..very easy.

    @ Marathi Jalwa

    well done at being a sarcastic moron. If your a bong, seems like your ego has been bruised by my comments. Deal with it. If your non-bong, seems like you like making fun of bongs.

  70. Came upon this while browsing.

    Interesting posts.

    Nothing is wrong with the people of Bengal as such. It is the politics that has made taken it to where it is. Instead of working towards the good of the State, confrontation has been the zam zam of politicians.

    Jyoti Basu and the Comrades did exactly what Communists do.

    In 1967, deputy chief minister in a coalition government in Bengal.

    • Became chief minister of West Bengal June 21, 1977 & headed Left Front government till Nov 6, 2000.

    They join a coalition since they do not have the power of the people. The subvert the law and order and other government machinery, build their cadres, wreak havoc. Capture booths during elections and win.

    Once they win, they set up their Coordinating Committees who actually dictate terms to the heads of the organisation and ensure that the power of the Communists is supreme. The people soon realise that it is better to be a Communist supporter and live, than live otherwise.

    When the anarchy and goon culture becomes to much to bear then there is a backlash and the Communists lose.

    Didi Cool is not winning because she is popular. She is winning because the people are fed up with the goon culture. Interestingly, the lotus eaters i.e. the goons are also abandoning the ship like rat, as would rats do and is joining the anticipated new ship of the State.

    What a replacement for Bengal. Tyranny will be substituted by the quixotic, erratic and the cantankerous.

  71. 1. Famous Hindu mathematicians, poets, and philosophers: ??Aryabhatta (Kerala), Aryabhatta (Bihar), Bhaskara (Andhra), Brahmagupta (Gujarat), Susruta (North), Panini (Punjab), Kalidas (MP), Tansen (MP), Baiju Bawra (MP), Jayadeva (Orissa), Guru Nanak (Punjab), Buddha (Bihar), Mahavira (Bihar), Vatsyayana (Gujarat), Kabir (UP), Soordas (UP), Amir Khusrau (MP), Ramanuja (Tamil Nadu), Adi Shankara (Kerala), Mirabai (Rajasthan), Tulsidas (UP).??NOT EVEN ONE FAMOUS BENGALI! ??

    ?2. Famous Indian kings and emperors:??Ashoka (Bihar), Chandragupta Maurya (Bihar), Samudragupta (UP), Bimbisara (Bihar), Raja Raja Chola (Tamil), Akbar (Delhi), Krishna Deva Raya (Karnataka), Tipu Sultan (Andhra), Shivaji (Maharashtra), Kanishka (North India), Prithviraj Chauhan (Rajasthan), Vikramaditya (MP), Rani Lakshmiba of Jhansi (MP), Rajendra Chola (Tamil), Harsha (Haryana), Zamorin (Kerala), Ranjit? Singh (Punjab).??NOT EVEN ONE PROMINENT MONARCH FROM BENGAL! ??

    ?3. Famous Indian battles: ??Kurukshetra (Haryana),? Panipat (Haryana), Haldi Ghati (Rajasthan), Pataliputra (Bihar), Puru-Alexander (Punjab), Vijayanagar-Bahmani (Andhra-Karnataka), Ashoka-Kalinga (Orissa).??NOT ONE SITE IN BENGAL! ???

    4. Ancient Indian religious and philosophical centers:??Varanasi (UP), Tirupati (Tamil Nadu), Haridwar (Uttarakhand), Nashik (Maharashtra), Ujjain (MP), Dwarka (Gujarat), Puri (Orissa), Prayag (UP), Mathura (UP), Ayodhya (UP), Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu), Gaya (Bihar).??BUT NOT A SINGLE ANCIENT CITY FROM? BENGAL!???

    5. Classical Dances in India: ??Bharatanatyam (Tamil), Odissi (Orissa), Kuchipudi (Andhra), Manipuri (North East), Mohiniaattam (Kerala), Sattriya (Assam), Kathakali (Kerala), Kathak (Hindi states).??BUT NOT A SINGLE CLASSICAL DANCE FROM BENGAL!???

    6a. Ancient UNESCO world heritage sites:??Mahabodhi (Bihar), Hampi (Karnataka), Ellora (Maharashtra), Ajanta (Maharashtra), Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu), Konarak (Orissa), Khajuraho (MP).?

    ?6b. Medieval UNESCO world heritage sites: ??Qutb Minar (Delhi),? Taj Mahal (UP), Red Fort (Delhi).??6c. Majestic palaces and forts: ??Lake palace, Udaipur (Rajasthan), Amber Fort (Rajasthan), Gwalior Fort (MP), Hawa Mahal (Rajasthan), Jantar Mantar (Delhi, Rajasthan). ??

    6c. Ancient universities and monasteries: ??Nalanda (Bihar), Taxila (Punjab/Pak), Ratnagiri (Orissa), Sanchi Stupa (MP), Vikramashila (Bihar).??BUT NOT A SINGLE MONUMENT IN BENGAL!

    Bengalis are 15-20% of the entire population of South Asia. Yet they accomplished NOTHING until the British came and gifted them with Kolkata city and modern education.

    These Bengalis profited from British invasion when the rest of India was ruined.??All Kolkata monuments are British gifts: Victoria memorial, Howrah bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Esplanade, etc. ??

    Tagore, Bankim Chatterjee, Jagdish Bose – all a result of sycophancy towards the British. British sycophant Tagore wrote Jana Gana Mana only to kowtow to the British overlords. The only truly “patriotic” poem he wrote was for ANOTHER country (Bangladesh). The rest of the Bengali “freedom fighters” were only motivated by the partition of Bengal. They hadn’t raised a finger during 1857 when Mangal Pandey of UP had to lead the uprising in Kolkata.?

  72. @ KAM

    to free yourself from cholera


    1. Sankhya + Rishi Kapila
    2. Samudragupta
    3. Vivekanand
    4. Aurobindo
    5. Vidyasagar
    6. Prasii
    7. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

  73. Fitting reply Rishi. This diseased KAM needs some serious history lessons.

  74. Where do you guys get your facts from?

    Rishi Kapila: He has nothing to do with Bengal. He was associated with the descent of the Ganga from heaven, hence lived close to the Himalayas, far away from Bengal.

    Samudragupta: He belonged to the Gupta dynasty, and had nothing to do with Bengal, except he might have annexed it. He probably lived closer to Allahabad, UP, very far from Bengal.

    Prasii: Nobody heard of him.

    Aurobindo, Vivekanand, Vidyasagar: Products of the Bengali “renaissance” i.e. British influence.

    Chaitanya: His parents hailed from Assam/Orissa, thus ethnically non-Bengali.

  75. @ History 101

    Rishi Kapila had his monastery at Gangasagar (google the palce )

    Samudragupta’s was the founder of the Gupta empire. P0lease trace his rise to power.

    Prasii- Just because your history is at 101 level, please dont make a fool of yourself.

  76. >>>Rishi Kapila had his monastery at Gangasagar (google the palce )

    Typical Bengali to take credit for any link to Bengal, no matter how tenuous! You fool, just because he died there does not make him a Bengali. Kapila was ethnically from north India and that’s the bottom line.

    >>>Samudragupta’s was the founder of the Gupta empire.
    >>>P0lease trace his rise to power.

    Again, you idiot, that does not make Samudragupta a Bengali. He is ethnically Bihari.

    >>>Prasii- Just because your history is at 101 level, please dont make a fool of yourself.

    Shaddup roundface! You Bengali idiots gloat over any little titbit that you find, don’t you? Just like you are doing to Samudragupta and Kapila.
    The facts for you to mull over and weep:
    1. Alexander was not driven off by a formidable army of Bengalis (LOL!). He did not even cross the Beas.
    2. That army (which Megasthenes only indirectly heard about), might not have been from the Ganges Delta at all.
    3. It was most likely an alliance of kingdoms including those from Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa.
    4. Only a silly Bengali can compare an unheard of king with great monarchs like Chandragupta, Ashoka, or Akbar.

  77. @History101

    From Wikipedia:

    “Another theory about the origins of the Guptas is that the Guptas originated from Bengal. The mention of “Varendra Mrigashihavan Stupa” on a mound in Nepal is a strong evidence that the Guptas originated from Bengal. Maharaja Sri-Gupta probably ruled a portion of Northern/Southern Bengal. Later Chandragupta I established his dominion over Magadha through marital policy with the Licchavis.”
    Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_the_Gupta_dynasty

    About Prasii and Gangaridai – Google about Gangaridai!

    Pala Empire: “Pala dynasty were the first independent Buddhist dynasty of Bengal. The name Pala (Modern Bengali: ??? pal) means protector and was used as an ending to the names of all Pala monarchs. The Palas were followers of the Mahayana and Tantric schools of Buddhism. Gopala was the first ruler from the dynasty. He came to power in 750 in Gaur by a democratic election. This event is recognized as one of the first democratic elections in South Asia since the time of the Mah? Janapadas. He reigned from 750-770 and consolidated his position by extending his control over all of Bengal. The Buddhist dynasty lasted for four centuries (750-1120 AD) and ushered in a period of stability and prosperity in Bengal. They created many temples and works of art as well as supported the Universities of Nalanda and Vikramashila. Somapura Mahavihara built by Dharmapala is the greatest Buddhist Vihara in the Indian Subcontinent.”

    The Pala Empire can be considered as the golden era of Bengal. Never had the Bengali people reached such height of power and glory to that extent. Palas were responsible for the introduction of Mahayana Buddhism in Tibet, Bhutan and Myanmar. The Pala had extensive trade as well as influence in south-east Asia. This can be seen in the sculptures and architectural style of the Sailendra Empire (present-day Malaya, Java, Sumatra).”


  78. @History 101 and kam
    1.you have mentioned some names of famous hindu mathematicians and mentioned their geographical origin but does that mean anything.do u follow their theory?do u learn sanskrit in school?do u read sanskrit sahitya?if not then be proud of modern bengali scientists like Meghnad Bose,Jagadishchandra Bose etc.
    2.in your list of famous indian kings you have mensioned names of bimbisara,raja raja chola,krishnadeva raya,tipu sultan,harshabardhan.
    etc but you have not mentioned sasanka gouda emperor.harsha was never able to defeat him.pala emperors were as powerful as the cholas like rajendra and rajraj.you told vikramaditya is from mp.but even historians dont know the real identity of vikramaditya…how did you know?there are atleast 32 vikramadityas in indian history.rani lachmibai was never a patriot.she only thought of jhanshi.because she wanted power.bimbisara was even defeated by own son ajatsatru.kanishka of kushan dynasty was not even an indian.go and read history before you comment.hushen shah,sasanka,dharmapala are all bengalis.
    3.krukshetra battle!!!!!18 akshohini sena of pandavas and kouravas can not even stand on that small ground.it was fake.panipat,haldighat.hmmm…let me think in haldighat akbar defeated rana pratap.so what made it a great war?in palashi s war english defeated bengal nawab siraj in 1757…ya that battle had some significance.your brave rajputs only fought against muslims they even did’nt fight a single battle with british.if u tell that rana prataps battle was more devastating…then compare it with the 1971 indo-paki war.which took place in bengal.and how could having battlefields makes a nation or jati mahan?war is just an outburst of animal within man nothing more than that.
    4.about religious places.i’m not even interested about it.religion only create division among human race.btw have u ever visited poramati temples in birbhum and bankura?have ever gone to nabadwip or gangasagar?if not go there and you will get your answer.
    5.6. and 7. everybody except u know about the rich culture of bengal.btw i think ratnagiri(orissa) will be khandagiri.paharipur,mahasthan and mainamoti have some great ancient hindu and buddhist temple.during the pala and sena emperor there were numerous university in bengal but they got destroyed by by muslim invasion.bengalis like atish dipankar were achariyas of nalanda university.and u idiot who the hell are you criticiseing rabindranath tegore.he was the 1st asian not only a bengali not only a indian 1 st ASIAN to get noble prize.his song is national anthem of 135 crore people.bigger than english anthems of all countrys combined(85 crore).he was not puppet of british.he actively took part in banga vanga birodhi andolon(1905)he was a fan of gandhi.he build the basic structure of bengali litrature.he was the one who protested and did not take the “sir” title from british after jalianwalabag hatyakanda.and about other bengalis taking english education.do u seriously think that learning furshi and sanskrit of mediavel india made them more educated and modern than learning english.why you are commenting on english dude?comment in urdu/farshi/sanskrit.they made the modern india.education makes people aware of there own rights and dignity….the western knowledge came through english which helped indians to become aware of there right to rule there country india.these so called puppets under british were the men behind the creation of indian national congress.psycho s like mangal pandey and regional leaders like lachmibai or weak old bahadur shah or uneducated nanasaheb only thought about themsleves not about common people.that’s why 1857 revolt was unsucessful.but vidyasagar never thought of becoming a latsaheb.he was interested in education among rural people,marriage among young widows etc.u selfish faggots will never understand his legacy.do u want satidaha?do u want widows raped by brahmins?ok then criticise vidyasagar.i have no objection.

  79. The late medieval period excavations at Garh Bhavanipur in Howrah district, West Bengal revealed interesting artifacts that trace their origins to the late medieval period.

    Garh Bhavanipur belonged to the Bhursut Kingdom. The Bengali Hindu queen Bhavasundari, who was the monarch of the Bhursut royal family fought against the Pathans and killed the treacherous Osman Khan Lohani in the battle.
    Some more historical facts about “Raibaghini” Queen Bhavasundari (Courtesy, Wapedia http://wapedia.mobi/en/Bhavashankari):

    Maharani Bhavashankari (Bengali: ??????? ????????) was the ruler of Bhurishrestha Kingdom, who decimated the Pathan resurgence in Bengal and again established Hindu sovereignty. [1] Bhavashankari in her reign brought power, prosperity and grandeur to Bhurishrestha (Bhurshut). Maharani Bhavashankari is a glorious example of the fighting spirit of Bengali people, including women who later took great part in Indian independence movement.
    Battle of Kastasangrah

    The Pathan forces, fed with intelligence inputs from Chaturbhuj Chakravarti, set out to capture Bhavashankari and her son alive. Osman Khan himself, along with twelve of his well-trained, experienced and most trusted soldiers infiltrated into the territory of Bhurishrestha in the guise of Hindu monks. Another contingent of 200 Pathan soldiers would follow them in disguise.

    However, Osman’s advanced forces were spotted at Amta and as the news reached the queen, she summoned a detachment of 200 guards from the nearest garrison. At nightfall, she put on svetapatta over her armoured attire and engaged herself in worship. Her female bodyguards took guard outside the temple and the soldiers spread themselves along the jungles.

    The battle ensued when one of the Pathan soldier tried to enter the temple complex by breaching the security. The female bodyguards swung into action and a swordfight ensued. Soon the royal guards joined the fight. The Pathans were miserably defeated and as they tried to escape, the royal guards chased and killed them. The second detachment of Pathan mercenaries were killed by the warrior monks of the Shaiva akhara in the nearby jungles in the wee hours. Osman fled.

    Battle of Bashuri:

    In the meanwhile, the Pathans regrouped and once again bought Chaturbhuj. The latter declined to directly join the Pathan forces against the Queen, but assured of sabotage. Osman Khan and Chaturbhuj conspired to capture Bhavashankari on the night of her coronation, when she would be guarded only by a few of her female bodyguards. Accordingly, Osman led a contingent of five hundred Pathan soldiers and infiltrated into Bhurishrestha territory. After travelling throughout the night, they camped in a jungle near Khanakul on the morning of the D-Day.

    The Pathan army was spotted in the jungle by Kalu Chandal, a hunter, who reported it to the police at Khanakul. The officer in duty immediately dispatched a Dandanayak with the news to Garh Bhawanipur. At that time Raja Bhupati Krishna Ray was away at Pendo fort, and the acting commander Chaturbhuj dismissed the incident as a false alarm. The Dandanayak not impressed with Chaturbhuj’s complacency, dispatched the news to Pendo. In the afternoon, Chaturbhuj advanced with his forces towards Khanakul. In the evening he sent a message to Osman Khan, suggesting him to launch the attack towards the end of the night. The Pathans emboldened by Chaturbhuj’s support started moving towards Bashuri, crossing the Damodar near Pursurah.
    After the coronation ceremony was over, she received a message from Raja Bhupati Krishna Ray, updating her on the recent developments. She immediately deployed the troops from Chhaunapur, Basdingagarh, Lashkardanga and the female battalion. An elephant brigade of 100, a cavalry of 500 and an infantry of 500 readied for the battle. The royal advisor Haridev Bhattacharya arranged irregulars from the local Bagdi and Chandal population. On the other hand Raja Bhupati Krishna Ray led the troops from Pendo and Dogachhia to confront the renegade battalion of Chaturbhuj Chakravarti.

    As the Pathan forces approached they were cornered into a battle ground surrounded with trenches on the three sides. The Pathan forces initially mistook the Bhurishrestha army as the renegade army of Chaturbhuj. In the resulting confusion, they lost the initial edge. Osman tried desperately to turn on the tables but in vain. Bhavashankari herself led the battle atop an elephant, and armed with her hand cannon Rudragnishakti she accounted for a sizeable Pathan casualty. The superior warfare skills of Bhurishrestha soldiers coupled with the strategic advantage, led them to victory. Osman Khan, wounded and defeated, fled the battle ground. After a lot of hardship he reached Orissa in the guise of a fakir.

    I don’t agree with some of your sentences. This ongoing senseless bragging between Kam/History 101, you or me will continue forever. We should be proud of our Hindu kings, our culture, traditions and heritage, irrespective of the region they belong to. I have utmost respect for Chhatrapati Shivaji and Rani Laxmibai because of his valiant efforts to overthrow the Mughals and British Empire. Similarly, I value and respect the bravery of Kings and Queens like Bhavashankari, Maharaja Pratapaditya freedom fighters like Bagha Jatin, Subhash Chandra Bose and gurus like Swami Vivekananda and others. We should stop this senseless criticism and be united as one force to fight against injustice.

  80. “have utmost respect for Chhatrapati Shivaji and Rani Laxmibai because of his valiant efforts to overthrow the Mughals and British Empire”

    oops..typo..the correct word should be “their”

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