Saturday, April 16, 2011

Goodbye, faded red?

Failed governments get thrown out in the elections. Corrupt politicians go to prison. Dictators are forced to step down. Regimes change. Everywhere, except in West Bengal.

I am on the wrong side of thirty now. If I was a football player, I would probably consider retirement. And yet, I have not seen any other party in power in West Bengal except the party I prefer to term Communism redundancy advocacy party (henceforth will be referred to as crap). An entire generation of Bengali's grew up, went to school, went to college, found a job, started a family; while the same crap ruled. The remarkable part is, West Bengal is neither a heaven on earth as this kind of total allegiance to crap will indicate, nor it has a dictatorial system. Crap won democratic elections. So many of them, that I lost count.

The obvious question is why, and unfortunately there is not a clear non-partisan answer. Part of it is like how the reservation system is implemented in India - so called backward castes were treated terribly by your great great grandfather, so the dumb guy living a palatial house next door with a backward-caste-lastname will be picked ahead of you for admission to a college or for a job. The previous government did some unmentionable bad stuff, which our generation only heard about, but that meant they can never ever be voted back. To all fairness, crap did some good stuff for rural folks yeas back, but simultaneously they systematically politicized the whole society. People in high posts all over the state became political appointees. People needed to be crap-sympathizers to get jobs or promotions. Effectively west Bengal became crap monopoly. Fear and favor ruled. Opposition parties had no effective existence - their candidates could not enter their constituencies. In polling booth after booth in rural areas, crap got close to 100% of the votes, sometimes more.

One has to give credit where credit is due. I am sure it was no mean feat for them to control every aspect of the society so efficiently. But as they say, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. They grew arrogant, and the pressure to keep their loyal followers happy was growing all the time. They needed low skill jobs, and crap also had to keep rural folks happy. Mediocrity ruled, teaching of English in schools were abolished, computers were shunned. That crippled an entire generation, who could not compete in national level. Exodus of students to engineering colleges down south became commonplace. Those who could afford, learned English anyway. The class difference was ironically used as a tool by crap to paint a picture of elites against us. The state which lead in education and innovation lost its aura, and those who succeeded did not because of the state policies, but in spite of them.

Imaginary enemies were invented and blamed for all ills. Amazingly people fell for it too, or pretended they did to keep crap happy. All the non-developments were blamed on the central government, all the dissidence on CIA and USA. Periodic strikes were organized against them, even when the central government was supported by crap, the ridiculousness of which was somehow drowned in mass hysteria. Unions and unionized workers became powerful, so powerful that they started dictating the terms to the factory managements. Those who tried to comply with the outrageous demands could not afford it long. Those who did not were termed as "America-r dalal" and violence ensued. Net result was the same though - closed factories. That militant unionism spread to all sectors. In universities, non teaching stuff proudly claimed "Aamrai to sob chalai", in government offices, there was no impetus to get work done, or even come on time. The whole mentality was turned into an "us versus them" scenario, where "them" were conveniently defined according to the situation. Anyone could block the road, burn buses, beat up the station-master, occupy or encroach on a land, and still claim to be a victim.

I do not know if the alternative will be any better. Honestly, I do not care, and that is not because I am living away. Perhaps for the first time in my life, I see a real chance of crap being cleaned in this election. A change is desperately needed to get rid of this well entrenched arrogance propagated and used in all these years. I hope that happens.

P.S - these are all intended to be factual statements.

3 comments:

shabsslg said...

You will be snubbed as a blogger with imperialistic plot, working for CIA! :P Hardly a nice name calling! But then again, I liked the last para! Anti incumbency has surged and I do not believe it's for worse. It's an uphill task to degrade further, the datum level of abyss that the place of your childhood sojourn, has become!

suvayu said...

"... Crap won democratic elections. ..."

Are you sure you can call the elections during the later years of the regime Democratic or free and fair?

dipthought said...

@Subhayan: Heh! As I proudly claimed, this is a very partisal rant ;-)

@Suvayu: We all know what happened, dont we ;-) (note the oblique reference to them getting more than 100% of the votes)
Hopefully today is a new day!