Thursday, June 18, 2009

Where the Waters Stink

"In to that heaven of freedom my father, let my country awake". These were the words of that immortal poet Rabindranath Tagore. But today, the peace that is prayed for is in ruins. There are violent activities in Darjeeling, Nandigram, Lalgarh, and several other places of the West Bengal state alone. The people are becoming restless. There is a hope. Hope for change.

I always said it. The plan of the Marxists in West Bengal cannot stand too long. It is based on two correct premises used for wrong reasons; the correct premises are "in an utopian state everyone will give according to one's ability, and take away according to one's need" will prevail, and the other premise that "the class struggle of the proletariat will take the society to wage a war against the power of the bourgeosie". The wrong application was this : therefore ensure that maximum number of people remain proletariat and keep giving them a morsel of bread if they need a loaf, to ensure that the poor remain the poor, so that they keep voting the Communists back to power. This seem to have not paid off. The reds have lost the race in the last national elections.

One reason to this is that people of Bengal are moving a lot more than before. With very little job opportunities available in the State, even the poorest travel to far off places in India, and find the development and growth in those places. There is a general dissatisfaction that is set in the heart. The second reason why the Communism of the type that Indian Communist Party (Marxist) supports is found to fail is because the party has not given space for the poor to feel equal in dignity with the rich. Instead, it has been a struggle of the poor to raise their voices even for what is normally their right, to get access to it. Let us take for example the right to have electricity. This is a "fundamental right" whether the Constitution recognises it or not, for any ordinary citizen living in the 20th or 21st century. Without electricity how can children study, how can the women spend their evenings other than watching the famous soap operas, how can the men watch the favourites of their games, and how can medical, social, and communication systems function if not for electricity? Now look at the struggle. The government takes several years, and hell a lot of money before electrification to a village is completed, with a large sum paid in kickbacks.

Take the case of West Bengal. More than 60% of its villages are not electrified. No wonder, people are upset when they compare themselves with their southern neighbours where electricity is given free of cost for farmers, and over 80% of villages have access to electricity. This is just one example. The same is true for education, health, public utility services, administration and for every right of the citizen. One begins to wonder, "Do I need to shout each time, block the road, disrupt normal life that my voice may be heard?" If so, it is stagnant water. Stagnant waters stink. And in their stink, crocodiles and other deadly animals that eat up ordinary citizens flourish. It is time to change the stinking waters.

No comments: