When they were named Rabindranath, their parents certainly hoped that the talent of the Nobel laureate would rub off on their offspring. Some amount does seem to have rubbed off but in a wrong way, for otherwise the honorable MLAs, Rabindranath Bhattacharya and Rabindranath Ghosh wouldn’t be what they are today.
They have of late earned the fame of disrupting normal flow of life to register their protests. It is clear that there is very little common between them and Bengal’s most famous poet.
They are however elected representatives, which the writer of the national songs of 2 countries was not.
Let’s look at the 2 Rabindranath’s recent claims to fame.
Rabindranath Bhattacharya is the Trinamool MLA from Singur constituency. He is actively involved in the land losers’ struggle against the Tata’s car factory in Singur. The factory is on its way to completion, and recently the High Court rejected appeals that wanted to stall it.
None of those are enough to let Rabindranath Bhattacharya see reason. Last week on Feb 8 he participated in a novel protest when he led protesters to enjoy picnic on the Durgapur Expressway near the car factory.
A large contingent of police was present on the occasion, armed with water cannons, Kalashnikovs, tear-gas shells, sticks and shields. But none were put to use because the police wanted to wait and watch instead of removing the demonstrators.
This meant the police virtually guarded the picnic as it went off smoothly for more than 3 hours from a little before 11 in the morning (ref: ABP, Feb 9).
Like Rabindranth Bhattacharya’s protest, that of Rabindranath Ghosh was also peaceful. The latter is the Forward Bloc MLA from Uluberia and a minister in the state cabinet.
He sat for hours on a chair on the railway line at Uluberia station on Feb 6, 2 days before the protest of Rabindranath of Singur.
Both the Rabindranaths were able to completely disrupt the flow of traffic – road and rail – for several hours. That their protests actually harmed ordinary people was not a concern at all.
That is not surprising, because over the years the entire political class in Bengal – and indeed the country as a whole – barring perhaps just a few have mastered the art of ignoring the common people’s plight unless it has the potential to serve their narrow political ends.