Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | May 16, 2011

New Bengal

This is the first time after my birth that I will see an alternative political party running the Government in State of West Bengal. Friday 13th May, 2011, marks a landmark event in the history of West Bengal, a state where I belong. A state where power cuts, joblessness, closed factories, dirty walls, filth became a part of our daily lives long ago.

However, as I wrote previously, I am sceptical because like many people I get worried about a big change. However, like many people I am hopeful and more than hope, I wish the change is for better. Sadly, I do not trust the “us” completely i.e. the people of Bengal.

This is the reason why I wish hard. I wish hard because I doubt whether Bengal’s failure in the last thirty years can be attributed solely to the ruling Government or the people whom it ruled. We Bengalis are not very good in accepting our mistakes and even if I write something today in this regard which makes sense, there will be innumerable number of Bengalis who will attack me in order to defend themselves. That is our biggest problem and that has majorly hindered our progress. This affected the incumbent Government, this affected the opposition and sadly this affected all of us. Unless we realise it and make considerable change in our collective attitude, we will make any developmental efforts on part of the new Chief Minister and her team difficult.

Do I see the current political change as a waking up for Bengalis and its people? I am not sure about that, when I see the kind of immature comments being discussed over facebook, blogs etc.

Already people have started getting agitated (in name of passion), with any alternative talks. Already people have started saying that the new Government cannot do any good in 5 years (excuse!). Already people have started saying like the new Government came into power by non-cooperating, the incumbent will do the same thing in order to survive (god save us!). These are a few stray comments amongst the passionate voters but I have not heard/read anyone seriously saying – here is an opportunity to make a new beginning. Let’s all be party to it. None has voiced such things so far.

The answer to these would be – why should people bother? People have voiced their opinion after 34 years, when they could not voice their opinion because of booth capturing etc and as long as, they have enough free tickets to go to Eden Gardens to watch Sourav Ganguly thrash Kolkata Knight Riders on behalf of Pune, they are happy.

Issues are much graver to be honest. And just political interference will not resolve them. Bengal is one of the poorest states in the country and for Bengal to succeed, people need to have livelihood and show commitment that they are keen to work. In the rural areas, there are a large number of people who are waiting with bated breath for the new Government to return their land, for that to happen the Government needs to find alternative means to foster industrialisation. There is a huge demand for investments in the state to create jobs.

For even a single such agenda item to happen, people need to be committed rather than expecting commitment only from the new Government. The current mandate of course shows lot of motivation amongst people and now it is time for people to translate the same motivation into work. I hope this happens. I also hope, we get back a state which was largely peaceful devoid of communal riots and terrorism.

Overall, I hope sense prevails and the state of Bengal takes this opportunity to regain its glory. Bengalis though exhibit moderate success in national events but largely do not command much respect nationally. The lack of respect is not due to anything else but the way we work largely. We need to be believe that we need to be taken seriously by people outside our small cocoon. For that to happen, we need to seriously evaluate the new Government’s performance from day one critically and objectively. Further, we need to work harder and take individual ownership to resurrect our image wherever we can by showing our skills rather than relying on pride of people who have either long died or retired.

Time is now because we cannot wait for another 34 years to take an emotional decision! We will then be nowhere in the world map. Will we really change, time would tell. Will we again self-destruct ourselves a little further? I hope not. In all our supreme confidence, let’s realise our fallacies as a race and correct them.

In all, good luck to us while we start a good time. A new Government always comes with lot of motivation and vigour. I wish Bengal’s cities and hinterland can see positive effects of changes soon. While Ms. Banerjee has broken the red bastion for the better, she needs to move forward with concrete policies along with all the people of the state.

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