Opinion » Lead

Updated: April 6, 2013 01:17 IST

A dangerous connivance

Garga Chatterjee
Comment (45)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

It is worrying that West Bengal’s political class remained tactical spectators to the Kolkata rally organised by Muslim groups in support of Bangladeshi war criminals

West Bengal looked to the Shahbag protests in Dhaka with hope. In 1971, a massive relief and solidarity effort was undertaken in West Bengal for the millions trying to escape a veritable genocide. The then leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami in East Bengal and its students wing organised murder and rape squads in collaboration with the Pakistani forces. Their crimes included mass murder, rape as a weapon of war, arson and forced conversions. Post-1975, generals used them to cast an Islamic veneer of legitimacy over their illegal capture of power. Their immunity lasted until the present Bangladesh government restarted the legal proceedings in the War Crimes tribunal. The Shahbag protests demanded maximum punishment for the guilty.


In West Bengal, a few meetings have happened around Shahbag, mostly expressing support. But, shockingly, the largest was a massive rally held in Kolkata on March 30, explicitly against the Shahbag protests and in support of the war criminals already convicted. Various Muslim groups, including the All Bengal Minority Council, the All Bengal Minority Youth Federation, the Madrassa Students Union, the Muslim Think Tank and the All Bengal Imam Muazzin Association, organised the rally. People arrived in buses from distant districts of Murshidabad and Nadia, as well as from neighbouring districts. Students of madrassas and the new Aliah Madrassa University were conspicuous at the gathering.

The old rallying cry, “Islam is in danger in Bangladesh,” was heard. We heard a similar cry in 1952 during the mother-language movement, in 1954 when Fazlul Haq and Maulana Bhashani challenged the Muslim League, in 1969 when the Awami League made its six demands and during the 1971 liberation struggle — basically during every secular movement for rights and justice. The rally thundered that West Bengal would be “cleansed” of supporters of war crimes trial and the present Prime Minister of Bangladesh. They promised that political forces supporting Shahbag would be “beaten with broom-sticks” if they came asking for Muslim votes. Like Taslima Nasreen and Salman Rushdie, Sheikh Hasina would not be allowed inside Kolkata. They expressed solidarity with the anti-Shahbag “movement” in Bangladesh. This assertion is worrisome, as the anti-Shahbag forces in Bangladesh have initiated a wave of violent attacks on Hindus, Buddhists and secular individuals, and the destruction of Hindu and Buddhist homes, businesses and places of worship. Amnesty International documented attacks on over 40 Hindu temples as of March 6. That number has increased.

This large gathering and its pronouncements have been in the making. A collapse in the Muslim vote was important in the Left Front’s demise. Muslim divines regularly remind the present government of this. The Trinamool Congress wants to ensure a continued slice of this vote. In an unprecedented move, the government handed out monthly stipends to imams and muezzins to build a class of Muslim “community leaders” who eat out of its hand. The debt-ridden, vision-deficient government is unable to solve the problems that are common to the poor. It has wooed a section of the marginalised on the basis of religion by selective handouts. These are excellent as speech-making points masquerading as empathy. This also gives fillip to forces whose trajectories are not under usual political control.

The Left Front’s political fortune stagnated after 2011. It has cynically chosen not to strongly oppose this communal turn. Waiting for the incumbent to falter is its roadmap to power. The damage this is doing to the West Bengal’s political culture is possibly irreparable. The incumbent’s connivance and the opposition’s silence are due to the long-eroded tradition of democratic political contestation through grassroots mobilisation. Both deal with West Bengal’s sizeable minority population primarily via intermediaries, doing away with any pretence of ideology in the transactions.

Politics of blackmail

Organisations inspired by political Islam have used this disconnect to the hilt to blackmail the government. An emerging bloc of divines, and former and present student leaders have used students and youths as storm troopers at short notice. Sadly, they are unconcerned about life and livelihood issues of Muslims. With assistance from the Left Front regime, they drove out the persecuted humanist writer, Taslima Nasreen. The extent of their clout as blackmailers was evident from the government’s pro-activeness in keeping Salman Rushdie out of Kolkata, after his visit to Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai. This pushing of the envelope fits into a sequence of events that is increasingly stifling the freedom of expression. The double-standards are clear.

On March 21, a group of small magazine publishers, human rights workers, theatre artists and peace activists were disallowed from marching to the Deputy High Commission of Bangladesh to express their support to the war-crimes trial efforts. The police had “orders;” some marchers were detained. A month earlier, the same police provided security cover to an anti-Shahbag march and later to the marchers when they submitted a memorandum to the Deputy High Commission demanding the acquittal of convicted war criminals. Last year, public libraries were directed to stock a sectarian daily even before its first issue was published! The State thinks that it can play this brinksmanship game with finesse. When the political class acts as tactical facilitators or tactical spectators to apologists of one the largest mass-murders ever, the demise of Kolkata as a centre of culture is a natural corollary. A combination of circumstances can cause an uncontrollable unravelling. Bengal’s experience with sectarian politics is distinctly bitter.

The bye-election to Jangipur, a Muslim-majority Lok Sabha constituency, saw the combined vote of the two main parties fall from 95 per cent in 2009 to 78 per cent in 2012. The beneficiaries were the Welfare Party of India, a thinly-veiled front organisation of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, and the Social Democratic Party of India, a similar group. “Tactical pluralism” is their game, a concept quite akin to the tactical defence of Taslima’s freedom of speech by Hindu communal political forces. The rally in support of war criminals has exposed this faux pluralism.

There was another significant beneficiary in the same election — the Bharatiya Janata Party. Communal tension has been rising, with serious disturbances in Deganga and Canning. Sensing a subterranean polarisation, the majoritarian forces see an opportunity. Mouthing banalities about Bengal’s “intrinsically” plural culture is useless. Culture is a living entity, recreated every moment. It is being recreated by the victimisation discourse by fringe groups like Hindu Samhati and in certain religious congregations where unalloyed poison produced by divines like Tarek Monawar Hossain from Bangladesh is played on loud-speakers. Thanks to technology, vitriol produced in a milieu of free-style majoritarian muscle-flexing in Bangladesh reaches West Bengal easily. Hence the popularity of one of the convicted war criminals, Delwar Hossain Sayedee, who in his post-1971 avatar had become a superstar in the Bengali waz-mahfil circuit.

What are the effects of cultural exchange of this kind? The rally is a clue. A defence of Sayedee and the claim that he is innocent, made repeatedly in the rally, are like perpetrating Holocaust-denial.

A day after the anti-Shahbag rally in Kolkata, almost as a divine reminder of starker realities beyond the defence of Islam, nearly 45 lakh unemployed youth, Hindus and Muslims, sat for the primary school teachers’ recruitment examination for 35,000 posts. Clearly, the ‘minority’ employment exchange set up by the incumbents has failed. West Bengal has petitioned the Centre for a relaxation of the minimum qualifications for primary school teachers. The promotion of religious education is hardly the way to empowerment and livelihood generation for the minorities in a State where they have been grossly under-represented in all white-collar services. There are no short-cut solutions.

(Garga Chatterjee is a researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology)


Rebirth of a nationMarch 5, 2013

More In: Lead | Opinion

I would like to thank Ms.Gargi for writing this unbiased article and
exposing true nature of so called secular parties of our country who can
go to ant extent in order to remain in power .
What really baffles me is the haunting silence of majority minority
community who are first to demand equality in India but fail to condemn
the atrocities and this is also not a secret that a certain influential
section portray these acts as a symbol of their martial spirit.....

from:  saurav anand
Posted on: Apr 8, 2013 at 20:35 IST

It may be remembered that the rally was held at the same ground where
the Direct Action day was initiated in 1946, leading to chain of
events culminating in India's partition in the name of religion,
eventually into 3 countries.
These are fringe elements among Muslims, but they hold a
disproportionate sway over the collective psyche of the whole
community. A true secular state should keep them under good check.
Otherwise,as the writer points out, majoritarian communal forces would
only be glad to fish in troubled waters.

from:  Abhishek
Posted on: Apr 8, 2013 at 14:59 IST

The opinion seems to be biased and laced with malice towards one party
- the Muslims. If Taslima has a right to her free speech why not those
who want to protest against the 'Shahbag' movement, the intellectual
hypocrisy is appalling.
The author must be reminded that crisis in Bangladesh from all
perspectives is political in nature which is creating rift between the
people downright, Indian intellectuals out of their myopic visions are
creating a situation whereby the Hindus in Bangladesh would suffer.
Furthermore, we as Indian Muslims do not need the gratitude of the
majority (also a misnomer - because in a country like ours no
community can claim the mantle of majority let the saffron parties try
as hard as they could). All Muslims need is a level playing field and
as we have noticed post Babri Masjid demolition, the direction
community has adopted has been positive and the trend cannot be
reversed, inspite of all efforts to stamp the terrorist label.

from:  Ammar
Posted on: Apr 8, 2013 at 14:06 IST

This is utterly shocking that politician in India know nothing more than WOOING PEOPLE based on CASTES just for votes. How can a rally in support of war criminals be tolerated. Holocaust happened in Hitler's time and we should learn from the European countries where if someone says that HOLOCAUST DIDN'T HAPPEN implies he has committed a crime under their penal code.

from:  Gaurav Nagori
Posted on: Apr 8, 2013 at 10:47 IST

How unfortunate is that our politicians an go to any extent to form and run a government
,nationalism is just for tokenism .Patriotism is appeasement and vice versa. Is it not true that
once there was one Jaichand and now there is mob of Jaichands . Can't India be a real
secular country,any communities like these fanatics be shown door.How these people's are
allowed to sing for murderer of minorities on Bangladesh. Is it not eye opener for rest of

from:  Naivedya Sharma
Posted on: Apr 8, 2013 at 08:51 IST

The left remaining silent is news? Well, I am surprised that this got published in 'The Hindu'.

from:  Praveen
Posted on: Apr 8, 2013 at 08:49 IST

Deep thanks to Mr Chatterjee for his proper treatment on our Shahbag and proceedings of ICT(International Crimes Tribunal).The people of Bangladesh always look to proper dispensation from our secular friends in India.When respected Mamata Banerjee swept to power in West Benagal,Our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was euphoric to expect our relations to grow with dynamic touch of former.But the following episodes demonstrate that politics of power and honest wishes do not coincide.We have witnessed the same community(West Bengal Muslims) in 1971 in quite indifferent to our cause.We deeply indebted to the people of India in general and the people of Kolkata in particular for the extent of support and generosity provided during our great liberation struggle.Let our sense of unity drive us to stand against common enemy "Mowdudism".

from:  Jamil Akhter Siddique
Posted on: Apr 7, 2013 at 22:00 IST

This is completely irrational ink. Author supported agitation and
its cause fair enough,everybody has his notion on every narrative
but why other can’t differ?Four decades it took to reach on this
consensus?This is the serious question and many more reasons
tended me to think on agitation’s credibility.It seems these all
events is managed and fabricated.Media managers are out there to
give proper cover.Having said that I wish if every culprit gets
appropriate punishment for his/her committed crime than history
perhaps not full of atrocities and carnage story.Bangladesh has
numerous ecological and financial challenges and its politician
diverting this issue through this drama.This is all political and
serious collusion of handful person,word Islam is getting used
for illusion.Islam is beautiful religion and its actual follower
can’t go down as its appearing.Law and constitution has given
right of protest to all.Islam has no classification,it is all
rubbish if someone classified Islam.

from:  Rehan
Posted on: Apr 7, 2013 at 21:42 IST

This is utterly shocking that politician in India know nothing more than WOOING PEOPLE based on CASTES just for votes. How can a rally in support of war criminals be tolerated. Holocaust happened in Hitler's time and learn from the European countries where if someone says that HOLOCAUST DIDN'T HAPPEN implies he has committed a crime under their penal code.

from:  Gaurav Nagori
Posted on: Apr 7, 2013 at 21:18 IST

After the Sachar Committee report, there has been a mass awareness among the Muslims in Bengal that they are a deprived lot and the deprivation of the Muslims is not a fiction. Now what happened after the report is that there had been an attempt on part of the left front govt. To allay the discontent among the Muslims by announcing certain poll bound measures. However, two consecutive elections have shown the failure of the left parties to win the faith of the whole community, and a section of the Muslim minority vote went to the present ruling party. The previous government made an attempt at the formation of reservation policy for the religious minorities which has not been implemented properly till date. In other words, no effort is directed to implement a policy that would lift the socioeconomic condition of the Muslims in Bengal. The present scenario demands an uplifting the Muslim society, through proper education and economic empowerment. In reality the government policies are directed to promote the ignorance and backwardness of the Muslims by depriving them of secular education by not building enough educational institutes in minority dominated areas. On the contrary the government is thinking of providing permission to unaided madrasahs that would practically produce no employable- enlightened youth. The government has announced imam-vata. This announcement is a double edged weapon against the Muslims: 1. it is completely unnecessary because there is an Islamic system of paying the imams. They are not at all unpaid or unfed. By announcing a payment to them the government wins the popularity among a section of the Muslims who fails to understand that this is a tactic by which the ruling party is attempting to delay their process of empowerment by confining them to the darkness of ignorance. Hate na mere vate mara has remained the tactics for long, and the sad thing is that Muslims have failed to see this.2. The announcement of imam-vata and many such cheap popularity measures have not gone down well with the Hindus, who feel that their money being used for wrong purposes. The government policy, thus, becomes responsible for strengthening the communal divide. The communal forces get an atmosphere to germinate their seeds. It is not surprising that BJP or some other religion based political party is increasing its hold in Bengal.
The sudden growth of communal and fundamental forces in Bengal is thus politically fed monsters.

from:  monirul Islam
Posted on: Apr 7, 2013 at 19:21 IST

The rally held in Kolkata on March 30, obviously in support of the war criminals organised by Wahabi fanatics who are cohorts of pakistani Mullahs, was shocking. I share chatterjee's preoccupations on these elements. The main instigator of these kind of shenanigans, making use of secular atmosphere of the country, was the so called Jamaat-e-Islami Hind. Jamaat-e-Islami is a most dangerous and shrewd outfit which in one way appears as a peaceful organisation inculcating Holy Quran and Hadees, and in another way through their study classes feeds veritable extremist lessons of their founder Moulana Moududi into the wayward youths in the name of Islam. Now a days they are running amok for the foothold in the electoral politics of the country. Authorities should take cognizance of this reality and should beware of the emergence of an Indian version of the Pakistani Mullaism.

from:  N E Haque
Posted on: Apr 7, 2013 at 13:59 IST

It has been a while since the politicians of the subcontinent have been working with the presupposition that the general populace of the land is indolently narrow-minded and basically no better than a bunch of bigots. The action of the mainstream politicians of West Bengal can be attributed to the same feeling.

from:  Pratik
Posted on: Apr 7, 2013 at 11:36 IST

I'm from Canning Town, the place of West Bengal mentioned in the
article, which recently witnessed first communal violence after 1964.
It is Mamata Banerjee's whimsical attitude, profiteering motive out of
human sentiments and inexplicable love for power making West Bengal
lose its pride and tradition of being culturally and communally most
liberal state of India. First "honor killing", first "communal-riot",
serial suicides by farmers, Bengal's second spot in rape incidents in
India, student activist's death in police custody etc. etc. etc. (the
list seems endless) are all the feathers that Mamata won for Bengalis'
crown for falling into her pre-poll rhetoric trap.

from:  Rheetam Mitra
Posted on: Apr 7, 2013 at 10:54 IST

I salute chatterjee for the objective comments on vahabies fanatics who are pakistani puppets. Need of the hour is to resurrect mukti bahini to free india and bangladesh of these parasites

from:  anand
Posted on: Apr 7, 2013 at 09:20 IST

The radical Muslims' open advocacy of militancy and
supporting wrong causes would increase the isolation of the Muslims
brethren further from the main stream.Majority of Muslims don't with
this kind religious identity because of common man among Muslims feel
the pinch of it .Public viewing them with an of eye of suspicion in
public places and denial of rental accommodation are the most common
problems they face in any place .Majority of the Muslims don't relish
as they want peace and progress .It is pity that W. Bengal government
support them for garnering their votes in the same ways as Communists
did.The communists were washed out in the last election .The CM should
take cue from this and take measures to take the state to the path of
development and prosperity.

from:  Rajagopalan
Posted on: Apr 7, 2013 at 05:59 IST

There is no dearth of fools in this country of ours.
What those people said in Kolkatta is true. Islam is in danger. From jahilliyah like this - not from people demanding justice for genocide. If these idiots reflected on what they were doing - protecting people who organized mass killing and rape from their just deserts - they would find out that as true Muslims, their duty lay with the people in Shahbag. But in India, organized religion has existed only to assist criminals. Arrest a hoodlum or a bootlegger, his community is up in arms. Need to win an election, engineer communal strife. Need to clear a slum to make some money in real estate, you know how to do it. And the establishment is solidly behind you. I do not believe that Sheikh Hasina would have come out with any action against the Quislings and murderers unless her hand had been forced by the public. Even in India, we see the same sort of unholy alliance between "sworn enemies" in shielding the murderers of 1984 and 2002 .

from:  Jayadevan
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 23:23 IST

Communalism is to political life what corruption is to the economy: a
destructive instrument of power. Danger is the greater when we ignore
it. Thanks for this insightful article.

Communalism is not only a grave threat but also a long-term, global
political agenda of our modern times, as Markandey Katju reminded us
in this newspaper on October 11, 2012 ("Rid our body politic of
communal poison").

We must see through this global agenda of instillating this very
modern poison in the guise of identity and tradition. And instead of
pointing our fingers at the government or various political parties,
let us ask, what have we done to protect Muslims from persecution in
Gujarat, to protect Taslima Nasreen when she was abducted by the West
Bengal police? If we don't do anything ourselves, why wonder at the
government's apathy or connivance, which is, after all, in our name?

from:  Laurent Fournier
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 22:22 IST

Unfortunately no government can help its people if the people themselves are ignorant enough to be swayed by irrational religious fundamentalism. If police could have intervened only in case of violence outbreak in an otherwise peaceful protest.

from:  Rksaren
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 21:15 IST

Whoever goes to the power acts in the same way as the present Govt is doing in west bengal. This Govt is fundamental is in's first place, always trying to please minority(in document)...

from:  Abhijit
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 19:52 IST

MEDIA - please , wake up ! Don't be sensitive to orthodox and superstitious and medieval ideologies behind the mask of secularism . Yes , I am talking of religion itself . Allowing people to practice their own faith - even if it asks the followers to make war with non-believers itself . We dont want our kids and their generation to suffer because of our indecisiveness today .Chose humanity and morality over religion . Allow your children to chose their own path ! You dont need to pray an all-knowing god to live and let live .

from:  Sagar Pattnaik
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 18:19 IST

As long as they protest peacefully then they should be allowed to do so.
They do not have to take your view and you should respect their views. Everybody knows
how much truth in media reports .

LTTE is classified as Terrorist organization and dont people support in Tamilnadu. They
have every right to do so.

from:  Manzil
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 18:16 IST

Let's put the records straight.Religious chauvinism will always survive if it has the backing of political patronism.The author's analysis of Blackmail,connivance or, say appeasement is in fact, manifestation of Political oppurtunism by means of promoting Religious chauvinism.Untill and Unless there will be space for political parties for using Religon for achieving legitimacy for their political standing and to muster votes,this marauding display of Religious Chauvinism will continue unabated.The only hope is in the intelligenstia,secular civil society groups,NGO's,Responsible judicial interventions to stop the fostering of this Religious chauvinism by persistent efforts.

from:  Nitin Chaturvedi
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 17:11 IST

For the writer to mention Taslima Nasreen and Salman Rushdie in the same
breath, in the context of this article, is wrong. Taslima Nasreen is a
"daughter of Bengal" for both Bangladesh and West Bengal, and will carry
her sorrow of being away from her "home" till she dies. Not so for
Salman Rushdie, who will care two hoots about not being allowed in West
Bengal or Bangladesh.

from:  Ganapati Krishnan
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 16:26 IST

Religious chauvinism is a communicable disease...
And Indian is surrounded by many patient..

from:  sudhendu ranjan
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 16:05 IST

Guys, Think about your family, think how you can give better tomorrow for your Kids. Please don't listen to the selfish people who play with your sentiments for their own selfish reasons!

from:  Srihari
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 15:46 IST

Already East Bengal became undeclared Islamic State & Weat Bengal heading towards this.In future bengali hindus in west bengal will have to live in mercy of bengali muslims like in east bengal or leave the Bengal like Kashmiri hindus and then no so called secular forces like Communist and Congress will come to rescue as they did in Kashmir.Intelactuls of West Bengal makes noise against hindu fundamenlist to show they are 'Badra Manus' only and in real sense they are coward and keep mum when it comes to oppose these muslim fundamental and support the cause of their encestral home land & bengali hindus.

from:  tsnaidu
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 15:09 IST

The very first thing to do if we are serious about communalism, is to
stop looking at others but wonder what have we done, each one of us,
practically, to protect Muslims from persecution in Gujarat, to
protect Taslima Nasreen when she was abducted by the government police
in West Bengal, to protect Adivasis from the Corporate-Maoist
collusion in terrorism in Chhattisgarh?

Even more practical, what are we doing to help the very few
individuals who stood for human dignity at times of terror and find
themselves much alone today? It cannot be the exclusive responsibility
of the government to protect, as if the public at large had no role to
play, as if its only legitimate natural actions was the promotion of
its private communal dreamy illusions.

The State alone is simply unable to protect the people, when the
people are not capable of protecting each other first. The on-going
international experiment in Syria is a tragic illustration of how
fragile our societies are.

from:  Laurent Fournier
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 14:26 IST

This is indeed alarming! thanks for bringing out these issues in your

While the author is more worried about the political class remaining
tactical spectators .. as a mulsim, i am more worried about how my
fellow muslims are being misguided. Muslims in the sub-continent need
to be more aware of the happenings around the world and how various
groups manipulate islam for their own un-islamic needs. Media being
biased against muslims doesnt help either, as this leads to many
muslims literally boycotting the media (even if the alleged bias
exists only in their minds)

from:  Sadhir Hussain
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 14:23 IST

West Bengal government is in silence mode. The government at the centre believes in sleeping over such issues, otherwise how come happenings in Bangladesh regarding war criminals have found sympathisers in India. If no action is taken because of vote bank politics, then this one sided secularism can lead to communalism of worst kind.

Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 14:17 IST

It took 7 days to report this news and that too by only one newspaper,leave aside whole electronic media.This shows our continual state of denial towards existance of any communalism among minority.But by merely closing our eyes the problem would not disappear,So better to deal with reality rather than moving along familiar conventional brotherhood utopia.

from:  Ashish
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 12:20 IST

Even though I am a Muslim , I would have to say with great sorrow that
some Muslims are always hypocrite when it comes to support something. I
think they have no problem to support a thief ( I mean Muslim thief )
even though he steals peoples stuff and causes problem to people. They
are too blind to see what is right or wrong, and too dumb to understand
that they are ruining Islam's image all over the world.

from:  Surma
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 12:00 IST

The article stands out for its bias and sweeping conclusions. The
author is painting all the anti shahbag protests as evil while the
truth is that hasina has unleashed a reign of terror on her opponents
islamists or otherwise in bangladesh and it is only natural for their
brethren here to speak for them. Secondly comparing Delawar Hussain
sayedee with holocaust is completely preposterous if not atrocious.
His trial and conviction has been flawed and has been called so by
major human rights organisations of the world comparing it with
holocaust speaks of how the author has let his biases hazify his sense
of fairness. Alas we are falling into liberal fascism now.

from:  salcy kahn
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 11:52 IST

Why only the political class is being blamed, someone should also point out the irrational attitude of the media. These facts hardly get aired in the 24x7 electronic media. People are starts believing a political clout as secular which is not at all reflected in their actions.

from:  Sumit Kumar Pramanick
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 11:17 IST

What is happening in Bangladesh is none of the business here in India. Despite protest over what is happening in Bangladesh,the Muslim should organise rallies to voice injustice happening to them in Bengal and elswhere in India. The current activities only spell a negative connotation.

from:  Kamath Kumar
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 10:43 IST

I got a taste for the left from reading the hindu in the early 2000s. However,i see the present West Bengal no different from what TH is today.What has Mamta Banerjee done except adopting the same strategies of winning elections that left ideologues did all along.The left believes there are no Bangladeshi muslims settled in large numbers in WB post 1971.Then where do the apologists of Bangladesh get their support from in a corner of India.The Islamic parties would finish the base of the left.Bengal is no Kerala and the day Kerala has a Mamata,that's it.However India needs a left that can talk truths without bias.

from:  abhishek kumar baranwal
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 10:34 IST

The so called secular forces of this country have caused more damage by tacitly supporting
communal forces instead of nipping them in the bud. For example congress party in my state
Andhra Pradesh was aligned with a known communal party MIM, when its leaders openly
supported terrorists in Assembly not one person spoke against them, this culminated in the
hate speeches on other religions. It is high time when all parties stand united in keeping
these communal parties and its leaders at bay.

from:  Vineeth
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 09:49 IST

Muslims of West Bengal should fight for justice, not for war criminals of Bangladesh.

from:  Syed
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 09:34 IST

Wonderful excerpt.
Bengal is going nowhere with the current UN-democratic political class.
Each and every political class has an eye for the vote politics but none care for poor,downtrodden and democratic polity.
On democratic grounds,if police security is provided for Anti-Shahbag then it should be for Pro-Shahbag also.
And the same should be followed in every facet.
Govt. is for all of Bengal not for some factions.

from:  Aditya Abhinav
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 09:05 IST

It is hardly surprising because the media has little time or inclination to cover and continually debate any issues of communal violence except Gujarat 2002 and Narendra Modi.

from:  luhar sen
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 09:02 IST

Both the two main political parties are to blame for this. Over 2 decades and more, the CPIM allowed massive illegal immigration. That plus a faster population growth rate has taken the Muslim population to 28% in Bengal. Virtually all existing mosques have got fresh coats of paint, and new ones have come up, thanks to both Gulf and local money. TMC also rode this bandwagon; its south Bengal and Kolkata units lean a lot upon strong arm men who control the docks, smuggling and retailing and hawkers in major parts of central and east Kolkata. Thanks to money power and Kolkata presence, the non- Bengali speaking Muslim leaders have assumed spokeman status for the community. Like land acquistion and winking at small-medium dadagiri, this Muslim appeasement will cost Mamata and Bengal dearly.

from:  P. Datta
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 08:22 IST

I do not know why the author is surprised by the silence of the secular parties like the Congress and the various dispensation of communists. For them the Muslim vote in West Bengal is much more important than what is good for the people of Bangaldesh. And this strategy of seeking the Muslim vote is authenticated by those occupying the intellectual space.

A greater tragedy is the silence of the 'intellectual' class. Why have they not come on on the streets?

from:  Ashok Chowgule
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 08:02 IST

If Islam is in danger in Bangladesh, why is it the business of muslims of West Bengal? Seculars in India have always been weak in confronting minority communalism. It may be good enough in a college debate to merely refute the self-serving Islam-in-danger line, point by point. In the political arena, a bold articulation of an alternative vision is necessary to supplant it. I'm not holding my breath. I'm sure they'll follow their instinct and bury their heads in the sand.

from:  Prashanth
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 07:10 IST

Excellent analysis.Political class should always have long time
perspective towards good of the nation alongwith vision for geopolitical
stability rather than narrow electoral intersts.

from:  rajendra rao
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 06:38 IST

The stark reality which many thinkers and researchers in political science does not want to understand that the alternate to marxism in a pluralistics country is only banal communalism.With the decay of communism it is taking roots.

from:  atis
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 06:34 IST

The intense vote bank politics embraced by politicians over the years has led to the current situation in W. Bengal as in other states. The media is also to blame for this state of affairs. In a supposedly secular country people being consistently being divided on the basis of caste and religion. The caste based reservation policy which perpetuates the caste system has led to demands, supported by politicians and the media, for similar quotas for religious minorities. Such reservations have been cornered by the well to do persons in those communities instead of helping the needy. If the intention is to help the needy why not use the economic criteria?

from:  krishna
Posted on: Apr 6, 2013 at 02:32 IST
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