My profound apologies to my nonexistent international readers. I could not resist commenting on this Singur-Tata-Mamata drama.
When I was growing up, this same bunch of people, who has been in power for an eternity in Bengal, opposed computers in particular and industrialization in general. They called it the US conspiracy to rob the youth of their jobs. We listened. After all, anything going wrong in Bengal was the fault of the imperialist Americans, when the central government could not be blamed. Again we listened. It felt slightly cliched when they supported the central government but still blamed them for all the ills. But then again, we were so used to it by then, we still listened. And of course the big bad Americans were sitting right there, staring at us, sniffing at every opportunity to harm the hard working Bengalis.
So how did they keep all these enemies away? By sheer people power, of course. Any thing you do not like, assemble a mob, pelt stones at random directions, set something totally unconnected on fire and block traffic for hours. It obviously worked, since the idea gained ground. Soon, we were swamped with gifted holidays (read strikes) and a chance to play cricket on the main thoroughfares of the cities. One has to notice how cricketing fortunes of Bengal improved from then on. The police never tried to stop any protesters (unless they were from opposition parties, who by definition were anti-people and pro-American) - and anybody even thinking about defying them, willingly or by some compulsion, met with violent consequences. All was well. How I miss those peaceful times.
Now this poor lady. She is only trying to learn from history. Only way to connect to the people of our state is evidently to cause chaos and disruption, and oppose industries grabbing land. And now, no wonder, she is being blamed as a part of a bigger conspiracy by Americans.
I do not know much about the exact details of the land acquisition process and fairness of the compensation. I do not know if it was good agricultural land.
But sitting in the land where Americans are still a majority, I do know this. Americans care a damn about whats happening in there. And I have a sneaky feeling they never did.