Bengal after Jyoti Basu

Bengal after Basu

Bengal has lost it's brightest son, a leader who was stopped from becoming the Prime Minister of India in 1996 by his own party. But the billion dollar question now is, where does Bengal go from here? I myself have never supported Communism and I have strongly disliked Jyoti Basu but still I'll say CPI(M) has a long way to go, only if it drops communism from it's party's name.

Communism has no place in India and especially Bengal. For communism you need true leaders, patriots. One of the main reasons of China going on to become the second largest economy is because the fact that they truly had leaders like Deng Xiaoping who was determined to modernize China technologically, industrially, economically and militarily.

Jyoti Basu was a great man but not a leader. He achieved few things - Stable and a violence free state, upliftment of the poorer classes and rising the middle class. But just like the Labour Government in England lost support of the people, they couldn't live up to the vision of 'new era', CPI(M) under Jyoti Basu did also. The difference - Bengal didn't have a strong opposition like Conservative party in England and the middle-class mentality worked more here than the 1950s of England.

Bengalis have a mentality which Jyoti Basu had been, I believe, the instigator of - "Sobar upore party" & "Party ache na" which means "Above all there is party" & "There's party to help". Bengal probably would be never be able to come out of it's political mentality. And the person behind this is again Jyoti Basu himself. He politicized everything, even education, which is suppose to enrich our minds. Probably he did this to stop the people from knowing anything more than what they were seeing - Communism.

But as it goes, there is no place for communism in 21st century and there is no Deng Xiaoping to prove that communism is the key. Left won the last Vidhan Sabha elections because of the presence of the communist gurus like - Anil Biswas, Subhas Chakrabarty(more than a communist) and Jyoti Basu. Basu realised it was time for him to pass his seat to someone else because after this he can't achieve anything more and he might become the reason for CPI(M)'s downfall, for creating a motion-less Bengal.

Buddhadeb Bhattacharya was the perfect person for him, a man who rebelled against him, who said once under Jyoti Basu's regime that he won't be a part of ministry full of thieves. Surely this was the man who truly could have bought change into Bengal. But people see him as a Marxist only. No one sees him as simply Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya.

No matter how Mamata Banerjee calls him - 'Khooni Mukkhomantri', he tried what Jyoti Basu didn't. Under Buddhadeb, Bengal is seeing a series of development; his biggest achievement was when he declared Tata's entry in Singur, chemical hub in Nandigram and Nayachar project. But a power hungry 'netri', who has previously proved that she can leave her Railways for becoming Chief Minister of Bengal, wouldn't let Buddhadeb take away the credit. She is the main person, who is to be blamed for raising the mob in Nandigram rather than making them understand the serious need of the chemical hub; washing the Tatas out, the biggest blunder and now opposing Nayachar project with her latest favourite - Subhendu Adhikari.

But what is she trying to prove? A woman who is trying to simply prove her love for Bengal by opening and giving Bengal innumerable Railway gifts, is actually proving to India - I'm here for just for Bengal! She will now take credit for railway projects at Singur and many places, the perfect medal she needs to win the next Vidhan Sabha election and brain wash the people.

As Suhel Seth has correctly spoken - Buddhadeb is the unsung hero and will not be remembered ever. But the fact that he belonged to CPI(M), the fact that the urban Bengalis saw him as next Jyoti Basu and the rural people expected him to do exactly what Jyoti Basu did, was, is and will make him lose. Mind you, him and not CPI(M).

Bengal can only progress when we depoliticize ourselves, when we think selflessly, when we start saying - 'Party'r upare amra', whether the party is CPI(M), TMCP or INC! Bengal after Jyoti Basu will surely not be stagnant but a battlefield of political ideas. No matter how safe, how civilized , what a wonderful place Bengal might be to live in, Bengal after Jyoti Basu is a battlefield for political parties.


@Slaith said...

I've never been a great fan of Communnism myself. The whole society above self belief overrides the very concept that has made humans so unique: individuality. We are a mix of individualistic and social species. Supressing either trait,I feel is grotesque.

Communism sounds like an ant colony to me, where everyone is nothing but a worker drone for an ant Queen(the state in this case). Ya she feeds them and shelters them alright, beyond that, there is no individuality. The state often has a tendency to act as an elected dictator, as we have seen what happens to people who speak up against the government in China.

As for the "party is there" feeling, I agree Jyoti Basu has created a monster that will affect the state for years to come. It destroys the very basis of democratic election: educated voting. Instead people will vote on the basis of party affiliations.
ALthough I'll give him this: he was one tricky genius. Ruling a state for 30 years takes a lot of political skill. Although not all of this has been good for bengal

Saurangshu Kanunjna said...

With due respect to Jyoti Basu, and his achievement.. All one can hope and look forward to is a Bengal minus the whole communism. I hope we can look forward to a Bengal who is minus land trouble, industry walking out, typical laid back attitude.. Not sure how much a leader like Mamta di can help… but surely I am hopeful for a better Bengal… I can’t see a reason why Bengal like any other Metro or City can’t grow, even with all the corruption and babu giri, I am sure Bengal can grow much further and faster than what is the situation now.

Sau (@saurangshuk)

Sam said...

Nice write up. Jyoti Basu was wonderful politician, but as you said not a leader. To an extent I am clueless regarding his or for that matter CPI(M)'s overall contribution to Bengal's development. The Basu hangover impedes the growth of Bengal today, in the form of the work culture and Mamata Banerji. Much as she might rave and rant against CPI(M) she isn't proving to be any different than the very foes she swears against - as I heard some elder once say, she is imitating a past, the one she fought against.

Buddhadeb Bhattacharya was a breath of fresh air, and certainly has worked hard to make things happen for Bengal. Unsung hero is apt for him. I can only hope he still manages to stay in power in the next election.

christin mathew said...

jyothi basu was really a great man he is something diffrent from others.but h real situation in th outskirts of bengal is totally worst.still human rickshaws r tere.labour wages are less than 80 bucks.still most of the places r in under development .

Sudatta said...

Thank you all for your comments.

Shiv said...

Jyoti Basu was not a leader. He never allowed democracy to flourish whether in his own party or the state. You are absolutely right when you say that he politicized everything, right from education to culture and sports to agriculture. He was responsible for finishing industry in the state.

In fact under his 'leadership' whole state was taught how to kill time. Bengal's culture was wiped out by 'carromboard culture.'

The problem with Buddhdev babu is that he has to amend so many things and amend in a hurry.

But the problem is "one who rides a tiger can never get off it without being eaten by it."

And Buddhdev Babu is a victim of this tiger riding syndrome.

Aditya Marathe said...

Sudatta... This is one of the best articles I have read about CPM and the downfall of Bengal.

I definitely think Bengal could have been much ahead of all other states in India thanks to its natural resources, but bad government and politics, the leftist mindset has ruined it. Do you think there is still time for it to gather steam?

I was in Kharagpur for 4 years as a student and saw some really sad facets of attitudes of people.
Would you like to read a similar article I put on my blog?

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