Saturday, 30 August 2008

Political Bankruptcy

I was born and brought up in the steel township of Durgapur.

The city was a brainchild of the most dynamic chief minister of West Bengal, Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy. At that time it was the most modern steel factory in the entire country embodying the hopes and aspirations of a surging newly independent nation state.I grew up in an industrial environment where the household clocks were set to time depending on the siren heard from the factory. All of us knew a little bit of the steel making process by the time we were in high school.

For a long time I believed that working for a livelihood meant working in a steel plant. All other professions were either dependent subsidiaries/ancillaries or did not exist at all. Above all, I was a first hand witness to the growth and prosperity that the factory and its ancillaries brought on to the peripheral regions of Durgapur. It had the best educational institutions, medical services and entertainment areas of the entire district.

I had also been a first hand witness to the fall of the steel plant from a place of pride at the hands of militant trade unionism. The other premier steel plants grew from strength to strength whereas, Durgapur Steel Plant moved from one strike to another. The union leaders grew so powerful that they held the factory at ransom and the degeneration was definite to the point of being complete.

Dr. Roy’s dream became a problem child. My entire generation was forced to look outside for livelihood and till date we all regret to have left our place of dreams at the behest of some short sighted individuals.

Now, seeing the daily happenings at Singur, I feel frightened. It’s ironical that the political parties have changed sides and the erstwhile tormentors are mouthing platitudes. But what is really spine chilling is the ease with which a handful few are holding the future of the entire next working generation in balance.

I feel so tired to think that the idiosyncrasies of a few would decide whether the average ethnic educated male would be in a position to be able to earn his livelihood whilst staying in his place of birth. My present profession forces me to get in touch with land selling agents and believe me; they come from all corners of the political spectrum irrespective of the public stances taken by their leaders.

Where are we going? Whose gain are we talking about? Who cares for us?

These questions at the moment have no answers as my home state braces itself towards another plunge into darkness—and no, I am not talking of the present power cuts only


Sharat said...

The surprise Ani Da, is that there are many, so called educated people in this God forsaken City of ours, who actually believe that the factory should not happen and join hands to add on to the 10,000 Cr. losses that we have already made.

Current example of rally of the 2.50 Lakh Kolkatatans to prove NOTHING....

Sucharita Sarkar said...

I could not agree more with you on this issue. Here in Mumbai, the already battered Bengali image has taken a severe beating, as this was one opportunity to redeem ourselves which we lost to petty party politics. Frustration and bitterness at the sheer bloody blindness of the party-leaders is just half the story, what I feel is a deep hopelessness at the vicious circle of unemployment-party politics-unemployment.

Pinku said...

agree with you...a few can mar great progress made by many.

just a query though "decide whether the average ethnic educated male would be in a position to be able to earn his livelihood whilst staying in his place of birth"

why do you talk of only the males?

Lazyani said...

Unfortunately, till today the society is chauvinist , including yours truly.

But on a different note , with reservations for women coming up , the average general caste male is surely a threatened species:))