Though feed-readers to this blog are steadily increasing, I feel guilty for not writing posts for a long time.
This would perhaps have continued for some more time had it not for the fact that I somehow felt compelled to pen my thoughts on the failure of the left parties in the elections just gone.
Any major social event needs introspection, and the last month’s huge electoral upset for the left parties in Bengal was no exception. Yet I was not finding the right answers to several puzzles in my mind.
To give examples, many pundits argued that at last Bengal joined the mainstream political wind to align with the Congress supported alliance because it felt that the Congress alone could take the country ahead.
I’ve no argument against that, but the question is why now?
Some people said it was the anti-incumbency factor that played the crucial role. If so then why it did not ‘play’ in the last 3 decades?
No, the reason should be something else and I was groping in the dark to find it until I came upon the article by Kalyan Sanyal, a professor of Economics in the Calcutta University, in the editorial column of Anandabazar Patrika of May 29 last (a small image below).
Sanyal wrote that a massive social rejection was the reason for the left’s defeat.
Now, having lived in many parts of India in the past, I can tell you that it is perhaps not possible for anyone leaving outside Bengal to understand what Sanyal meant by social rejection.
What is common to most of India but largely absent in Bengal – at least in electoral politics – is the division of people along caste, creed, and religion. But Bengal is unique in that it has sharp ‘political divide’ which you find nowhere.
In Bengal the left ideology demands unconditional subservience to the Party. If you are ‘in’, you are privileged. If you are ‘out’, you are doomed.
This deep political divide, nurtured and ruthlessly enforced over the last 3 decades, has resulted in talented people leaving or having left the state in droves, and their places being taken over by the self-seeking, mediocre, and inefficient people.
There are many ills that plague Bengal today, and examples are there everywhere that show how grossly inefficient the government has now become.
What will happen in the assembly elections 2 years from now is anybody’s guess. But there is no doubt that many people have voted against the left front out of sheer agony and helplessness that have been accumulating over the preceding years.
This result could have happened earlier if there was a close alliance among the principal opposition parties. That alliance happened this time and hence this result.
The situation now in rural Bengal is very tense what with mindless political violence taking its huge toll.
I often wonder that given such deep animosity among people along political lines, how will the state ever make any progress!
But I’m hopeful that even though dividing people along caste, creed, and religion may not go away in a hurry in other states, Bengal will ultimately eradicate the menace of political divide among its people.
The chance of that happening may appear slim today, but then wasn’t Europe a hell-hole a century and a half back, changing to what it is today!
Let Bengal reconcile to the fact that living in harmony is a far bigger virtue than mindless killing. When that happens we will be beckoned with a glorious future that was once ours.
If I’m looking for a change, I’ll want a ruler who is honest, capable, and who loves its people irrespective of political affiliations.
Let us keep our sufferings behind… can we?