As of yesterday the Bengal I knew is gone. Having been born in a “Left” Bengal and having heard horror stories of ’71 and all it is scary. Besides if Mamata handles Bengal the way she handles the railways and with the left openly threatening a “tit for tat” by doing a nandigram and singur type agitation, if TMC takes land for industries, guess doomsday is not far away. But then Left winning would have also spelt equal doom for West Bengal.
So what went wrong with Bengal’s Left? Firstly if anyone feels it was just Singur or Nandigram they are sadly wrong. Singur and Nandigram was just the final nails in the coffin or the fire that the opposition needed to get the Left out. The seething anger against Left had been brewing and these two incidents just lit the fire in a state which was already fueled up. Just in itself it would not have had the impact it did.
Secondly, why did Left fail? I think one of the first things where left went wrong is to making every a party member. In a state where everyone is a party member how can the state ever progress? Every institution was politicised. I remember during University when a Professor was brought in, who all knew had no credentials but was there cause he was a political appointee. Since everyone had a political patronage being mediocre or worse, was ok with all, cause end of the day the party was behind them to take care of them. This was the first mistake that Bengal did, which slowly ensured it moved to being a “dead” city as many call it today.
The politicising of the state had another fallout. Everyone became a party cadre and with the numbers rising, the party lost all control over them. The party cadres ruled supreme and by the time the party realised that most of them went rogue, it had become too big a system for them to clean up.
Another problem that I have seen with Left in its current avataar is its inability to listen to criticism or any voice of dissidence. The left used to pride itself in being party above individuals. No matter what the differences were, when they came out of the politburo, all spoke the same language. Sadly that slowly transpired into a situation where any voice of dissidence was either met with a banishment from the party if it was a party member, and if it was the general public it was met with a complete disdain for such voices and at times even attacks. I happen to have witnessed this of late quite a bit at least in the virtual world. The so-called Left supporters/members/empathisers would on hearing any word of dissent against them would either criticize, attack or block them off. I can just imagine the same happening in offline world too.What it culminated into was firstly alienation of the common people who felt Left was a bunch egoists who cared two hoots about people and secondly the party commanders being unaware to a certain extent of the level of frustration that people had. (I refuse to believe that they had no clue as am sure like all they too saw the news channels)
Left in Bengal had the undisputed run for over 34 years. Now firstly 34 years is enough time to let corruption seethe in any system and left was no exception. What made matters worse for Left, was that unlike other parties it had no one to blame its faults to. It could not even say that we did not get enough time to rectify our mistakes like many political outfits say. Left sadly had only itself to blame for non-deliveries which included industrialisation among others. Sadly when Buddhadeb Bhattarcharya took over and emerged as the “Brand Buddha” for West Bengal, he tried correcting all these follies but unfottunately by then the corruption was so deep rooted that it was too late to correct, at least while in power.
Of course, one can also blame Yechury and Karat for their complete lack of acumen when it came to understanding national politics and its various tugs, but that was an internal matter for the Left.
So then you may ask, why am I dreading a Green Bengal when the Red Bengal had so many faults? Well for the primary reason, is TMC so far has not given me a reason to trust them. Railways has become a personal property to distribute wealth in the name of jobs to Mamata’s many followers and I dread to imagine what would happen if the State too is reduced to that. Secondly Mamata’s move to power is based on the same Left flawed Ideologies which has left the State in this condition. Thirdly TMC shows the same trend of making everyone TMC with everyone joining the “Poriborton” bandwagon. Fourthly with the Left openly threatening to do a “Singur” and “Nandigram” to Mamata, can only make me wonder what will happen, even if TMC ever plans to improve the State.
The “Storming of the Red Bastion” has happened but like the “Storming of Bastille” was followed by a period of mayhem and murder, will this too have the same outcome, only time will tell. For the moment, we can only hope and pray that Bengal does see the “poriborton” or change it so eagerly voted for. And Left can now hopefully stop blocking off people’s voices and listen to them when they say “we want you to change”