Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | April 26, 2011

As Bengal braces for a change..

My father informed me that Kolkata is going to polls coming Wednesday as a part of Assembly elections in West Bengal. Every Indian knows if there were ever a time that a new political party other than the ruling Communists will form a Government in West Bengal, this is the time. In all probability, the 33 year reign of the Left Front will come to an end soon and a new party will take care of the people of West Bengal.

I have never seen a change of guard in West Bengal, so I am excited. At the same time, I am sceptical. I am scared, cynical and pessimistic about West Bengal’s future. Even though I know the state cannot get as low as it has got to, still I fear this change of guard. I have thought about this looming change for more than a year now and still I could not reconcile the change in my mind. I am not scared because I have some affinity towards Leftists but I am scared because I don’t seem to have any faith on the opposition at the helm of this “change”.

However, I do want that change in West Bengal is not just a mere change of political parties governing the state. I would like to see how the new rule revives the state from economic doldrums. How the new rule revive the lost glory of the educational establishments. How the new rule transform the people of the city who are respected for their work and actions. Trust me it is not going to be an easy job and soon we will see excuses pouring in.

Let’s hope for the best and look forward. Do you think anything worthwhile will change?

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Responses

  1. Oh, in fact a lot of things are going to change, Tanmoy. For one thing, there will be a ‘change of guard’ at every level, from the ministry and top bureaucracy to the village panchayats. If it’s only a matter of one group of greedy crooks replacing another, I’d still applaud, if only because one particular group has been at it for too long. If you call that cynicism, so be it. Besides, it would do the Left a world of good to sit in the opposition for some time: they have forgotten all about it. Finally, if you and I know that the new rulers are going to have a tough job living up to the expectations they have aroused, don’t you think they know it too? So they are likely to do their best, if only because they are not keen on losing power in a matter of months.

    As for Bengal regaining its ‘lost glory’, I am not at all hopeful. But I would lay that at the door of everything that is wrong with Bengali culture as a whole, which no political party or government can change. Remember, ‘politics is the art of the possible’. And I do not believe that it is possible for anybody to make Bengalis hardworking, cooperative, farsighted, willing to take risks, and dedicated as a race to high ideals again, not at least in the short or medium-run. So I expect that it will be a case of ‘the more it changes, the more it remains the same’!

  2. I am sure you and your readers have all become aware of Mamata’s landslide victory by now, Tanmoy. For the record (and I don’t want to withdraw or change anything that I said in my last comment), I didn’t want a landslide; I would have much preferred either party to win with a small majority, so that it was compelled to learn about cooperating and compromising with a strong opposition every inch of the way instead if riding roughshod over the needs and sentiments of millions of out-of-favour ordinary people – that way alone lies a healthy democracy. Now, instead, the overwhelming winners have an overwhelming challenge ahead, and very little time before the euphoria burns out. I admire Mamata as the greatest Bengali fighter in half a century by far regardless of age, sex and profession, but I do not envy her, and wouldn’t like to change places with her!


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