Saturday, January 09, 2010

Destroyer of West Bengal


UPDATE:

[Jyoti Basu died on January 17, a week after the following article was written. Obituary writers waxed eloquent on his many achievements; invariably everybody made it a point to mention he enjoyed his whiskey, which, presumably, bore testimony to his sterling qualities. On January 19 Basu was given a state funeral, gun carriage et al. The crowds were truly impressive.

There was Basu draped in the National Tricolour with CPI(M) cadre singing the Internationale. As a fellow writer has pointed out, when he was Chief Minister, Basu would make it a point to return from his summer vacation in London only after August 15 -- the ceremonial flag-hoisting on Independence Day was done by a senior colleague.]

Had it been Jyoti Banerjee lying unattended in a filthy general ward of SSKM Hospital in Kolkata and not Jyoti Basu in the state-of-the-art ICCU of AMRI Hospital, among the swankiest and most expensive super-speciality healthcare facilities in West Bengal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would not have bothered to arrange for a video-conference for top doctors at AIIMS to compare notes with those attending on the former Chief Minister of West Bengal.

Jyoti Banerjee, like most of us, spent his working life paying taxes to the Government. Jyoti Basu spent the better part of his life living off tax-payers’ money — the conscience of the veteran Marxist was never pricked by the fact that he appropriated for himself a lifestyle shunned by his comrades and denied to the people of a State whose fate he presided over for a quarter century. Kalachand Roy laid what we know today as Odisha to waste in the 16th century; Jyoti Basu was the 20th century’s Kala Pahad who led West Bengal from despair to darkness, literally and metaphorically.

Uncharitable as it may sound, but there really is no reason to nurse fond memories of Jyoti Basu. In fact, there are no fond memories to recall of those days when hopelessness permeated the present and the future appeared bleak. Entire generations of educated middle-class Bengalis were forced to seek refuge in other States or migrate to America as Jyoti Basu worked overtime to first destroy West Bengal’s economy, chase out Bengali talent and then hand over a disinherited State to Burrabazar traders and wholesale merchants who overnight became ‘industrialists’ with a passion for asset-stripping and investing their ‘profits’ elsewhere. A State that was earlier referred to as ‘Sheffield of the East’ was rendered by Jyoti Basu into a vast stretch of wasteland; the Oxford English Dictionary would have been poorer by a word had he not made ‘gherao’ into an officially-sanctioned instrument of coercion; ‘load-shedding’ would have never entered into our popular lexicon had he not made it a part of daily life in West Bengal though he ensured Hindustan Park, where he stayed, was spared power cuts. It would have been churlish to grudge him the good life had he not exerted to deny it to others, except of course his son Chandan Basu who was last in the news for cheating on taxes that should have been paid on his imported fancy car.

Let it be said, and said bluntly, that Jyoti Basu’s record in office, first as Deputy Chief Minister in two successive United Front Governments beginning 1967 (for all practical purposes he was the de facto Chief Minister with a hapless Ajoy Mukherjee reduced to indulging in Gandhigiri to make his presence felt) and later as Chief Minister for nearly 25 years at the head of the Left Front Government which has been in power for 32 years now, the “longest elected Communist Government” as party commissars untiringly point out to the naïve and the novitiate, is a terrible tale of calculated destruction of West Bengal in the name of ideology. It’s easy to criticise the CPI(M) for politicising the police force and converting it into a goons brigade, but it was Jyoti Basu who initiated the process. It was he who instructed them, as Deputy Chief Minister during the disastrous UF regime, to play the role of foot soldiers of the CPI(M), first by not acting against party cadre on the rampage, and then by playing an unabashedly partisan role in industrial and agrarian disputes.

The fulsome praise that is heaped on Jyoti Basu today — he is variously described by party loyalists and those enamoured of bhadralok Marxists as a ‘humane administrator’ and ‘farsighted leader’ — is entirely misleading if not undeserving. Within the first seven months of the United Front coming to power, 43,947 workers were laid off and thousands more rendered jobless as factories were shut down following gheraos and strikes instigated and endorsed by him. The flight of capital in those initial days of emergent Marxist power amounted to Rs 2,500 million. In 1967, there were 438 ‘industrial disputes’ involving 165,000 workers and resulting in the loss of five million man hours. By 1969, there were 710 ‘industrial disputes’ involving 645,000 workers and a loss of 8.5 million man hours. That was a taste of things to come in the following decades. By the time Jyoti Basu demitted office, West Bengal had nothing to boast of except closed mills and shuttered factories; every institution and agency of the State had been subverted under his tutelage; and, the civil administration had been converted into an extension counter of the CPI(M) with babus happy to be used as doormats.

After every outrage, every criminal misdeed committed by Marxist goons or the police while he was Chief Minister, Jyoti Basu would crudely respond with a brusque “Emon to hoyei thaakey” (or, as Donald Rumsfeld would famously say, “Stuff happens!”). He did not brook any criticism of the Marich Jhapi massacre by his police in 1979 when refugees from erstwhile East Pakistan were shot dead in cold blood. Till date, nobody knows for sure how many died in that slaughter for Jyoti Basu never allowed an independent inquiry. Neither did the man whose heart bled so profusely for the lost souls of Nandigram hesitate to justify the butchery of April 30, 1982 when 16 monks and a nun of the Ananda Marg order were set ablaze in south Kolkata by a mob of Marxist thugs. The man who led that murderous lot was known for his proximity to Jyoti Basu, a fact that the CPI(M) would now hasten to deny. Nor did Jyoti Basu wince when the police shot dead 13 Congress activists a short distance from Writers’ Building on July 21, 1993; he later justified the police action, saying it was necessary to enforce the writ of the state. Yet, he wouldn’t allow the police to act every time Muslims ran riot, most infamously after Mohammedan Sporting Club lost a football match.

Did Jyoti Basu, who never smiled in public lest he was accused of displaying human emotions, ever spare a thought for those who suffered terribly during his rule? Was he sensitive to the plight of those who were robbed of their lives, limbs and dignity by the lumpen proletariat which kept him in power? Did his heart cry out when women health workers were gang-raped and then two of them murdered by his party cadre on May 17, 1990 at Bantala on the eastern margins of Kolkata? Or when office-bearers of the Kolkata Police Association, set up under his patronage, raped Nehar Banu, a poor pavement dweller, at Phulbagan police station in 1992? “Emon to hoyei thaakey,” the revered Marxist would say, and then go on to slyly insinuate that the victims deserved what they got.

As a Bengali, I grieve for the wasted decades but for which West Bengal, with its huge pool of talent, could have led India from the front. I feel nothing for Jyoti Basu.

[This article originally appeared as my Sunday column, Coffee Break, in The Pioneer.]

107 comments:

offstumped said...

Kanchan-da that was scathing indictment.

One aspect of Jyoti Basu's legacy that has always intrigued me was how he remained unchallenged in Bengal within the CPI-M.

It may be useful to highlight his political legacy in cuttind down or marginalizing challengers within his own party.

Arun said...

I am glad someone is depicting JB in his underwear before Indian historians make him Mahatma of Modern India.

uthamanarayanan said...

Oh my God, What a column with a speed of Rajdhani Express, tearing the veil of calmness which Jothi Basu seemingly projects , behind which many a record of misdeed and atrocious behaviour .Though I read widely , I never come across an article so widely throwing light on this man who occupied the chair for so long.But one thing I am certain , Bengalis despite being so intelligent ,could not achieve what could have been achieved owing to their political ideology like Kerala.In spite of the politics in any other place , we in Tamil Nadu are able to achieve owing to the fact that unless something is done to people, here change the govt very often.

Prem Piyush Goyal said...

I once read that Calcutta was The Best City of Asia .. way ahead of Singapore or Hong Kong. Shanghai was no where to be seen. Now no one knows about Calcutta, not because they renamed it to Kolkatta, but they killed the spirit of a great port city.

aagan said...

ditto my thoughts....congrats....u spoke for 1000s of bengalis

Anonymous said...

Jyoti Basu is the Ceaucescu of Bengal. The media's fawning over this man is sickening. If you think extolling him as "Marxist Patriarch" is bizarre enough, wait till you hear him described as "Living Legend", as one newspaper did today. Do any of Kolkata-based journos have the backbone to write stuff that's unflattering to the CPIM?

Charles said...

Whenever we stand up to those who deny or minimize genocide we send a critical message to the world. As we continue to live in an age of genocide and ethnic cleansing, we must repel the broken ethics of our ancestors, or risk a dreadful repeat of past transgressions. We know from captured German war records that millions of innocent Jews were systematically exterminated by Nazi Germany - most in gas chambers. These facts have been proven repeatedly through countless thesis and dissertation research papers. Virtually every PhD in the world will stake their career on the veracity of known Holocaust facts. Despite this knowledge, Holocaust deniers ply their mendacious poison everywhere, especially with young people on the Internet. Such deniers have only one agenda - to distort the truth in a way that promotes antagonism against the object of their hatred, or to deny the culpability of their ancestors and heroes.

Museums and mandatory public education are tools to dispel bigotry, especially racial and ethnic hatred. Books, films and presentations can reinforce the veracity of past and present genocides. They help to tell the true story of the perpetrators of genocide; and they reveal the abject terror, humiliation and degradation resulting from prejudice. It is therefore essential that we disclose the factual brutality and horror of genocide, combating the deniers’ virulent, inaccurate historical revision. We must protect vulnerable future generations from making the same mistakes.

A world that continues to allow genocide requires ethical remediation. We must show the world that religious, racial, ethnic, gender and orientation persecution is wrong; and that tolerance is our progeny's only hope. Only through such efforts can we reveal the true horror of genocide and promote the triumphant spirit of humankind.

Charles Weinblatt
Author, "Jacob's Courage"
http://jacobscourage.wordpress.com/

GOPAN said...

As a person from Bengal this stands out a different note. I like many others have to think why such a person stayed this long as a powerful CM? Why the Bengalis keep on voting this man to power? Does this mean that Bengalis were not free to think and act themselves? I have the highest respect to the people from Bengal, they are sincere straight and hard working, but then why, why they keep doing wrong thing?? is there any one who disagrees with this comment about Mr. Basu??

Anonymous said...

Brilliantly forthright assessment by Kanchan Gupta !

The much promising Jute Industry , (eco friendly etc) was irrevocably throttled by this andhakar basu.

Someone from Indian Institute of Science told me students from Jadavpur University invariably shine well in scientific research and that not a single person from local Karnataka even qualify in the basics.

I remain eternally grateful to my Bengali Professors for stimulating lateral , profound thinking. Who never emphasised percentages or good scores.

Much of it laid to waste due to terror unleashed by communists. And that andhakar basu once returned home pathetically clutching MOUs.

Anonymous said...

Be it this basu or lalloo mulayams it is the tendency of most wimpy writers to come out with treacly obituaries.

Let this basu have the pleasure of knowing what sane , non sycophants think of him. What an injustice we the people are denied the joy of spouting "we-condemn-the-dastardly....".

Ananthoo said...

Kanchan da!
thanks a ton..
oh man! i have been wanting someone to rip this man basu- aristocrat number 1 of WB! i wud have wished more light on Aristrocrat no.2 , his son- the biggest capitalist of WB. whAt a shame..
talking communism they ripped bengal and amassed wealth. to top it, lived in style that wud put the european royalty to shame.
BTW i have linked this too..

Vikas Argod said...

Kanchan da, great article.

I have been thinking of this lately. Left literally destroyed Bengal. If they were so bad, why are they getting elected again and again? What is the strong reason in people's mind to keep them in power for 32 years? Going by market rules, the general public should have revolted already. Can you please elaborate on facts lead to his stay of 25 years in that chair?

Anonymous said...

Jyoti Basu is a disgrace to the great legacy of revolutionary Bengal, with its great patriots Sri Aurobindo, Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay, Rash Bihari Bose, to name a few. It was this movement, based on the worship of India as a Divine Godhead, that provided such a force to the quest for indepedence.

Vikram Kumar said...

The average Bengali to my mind is the most vastly read,aware and opinionated than any other community. What bothers me is the fact that 25 years of such rule have made the Bengalis in Bengal either indifferent or immune to such misrule.
It may be that the establishment by suppressing independent inquiries and portraying a self righteous socialist caused have brainwashed those in the state.
Most of the native Bengalis who have moved out of the state have retained independent thought, a wider perspective and an open mind.
They have also been immensely successful as compared to those within the state.
When such large scale apathy and willing ignorance exists by re electing the same devils to power year after year it is a dangerous situation as we are talking about the most intelligent and analytical brains of our country to be influenced and rotted by megalomaniacs. Excellent read.

Anonymous said...

It is very simple. Like rest of India, muslims determine, who rules Bengal and more so because of their high percentage in Bengal. They don't care about development. Only thing they care about is appeasement of their community. Communists were able to hold on to power for 25 years by doing that. Now, they made a great mistake - Nandigram. Majority of the people killed were muslims. If they had been hindus, would have been no worries.

Anonymous said...

Lefty intellectualism:
One week ago,read what some white European wrote 15 days before, and mouth it off as yours, today.
Do they just read and read what others wrote or Do they have any single original thought of their own?

Anonymous said...

I am drawn back into rereading this piece Kanchan da...it rewinds those nightmarish years spent sans power , sans water. Your memory is phenomenal.

So much could have been accomplished. Not only " huge pool of talent ", its fertile soil & abundant water could have been harnessed to the fullest. Even today Homeopathy survives in its pristine form in Kolkata. Those being transferred temporarily from Chennai grew so emotionally attached to Bengalis for their inherent grace and warmth.

Crows , sparrows & mynahs almost extinct in Chennai still survive in Kolkata.

sini said...

gentlemen, this is democracy.. people elected him and his party for decades to rule the state. its people that counts and not your stupid observations. its very easy to point out flaws and criticise someone . and its your decision to publish readers comments on your blogs. pity on you kind of (so called)journos... the real curse of our country

Anonymous said...

sini

If votes are the only things which count (we know most of the people in india sell their votes for a bottle of liquor), then why blame Modi as communal. He is also voted by people.

I must say that before this article, I did not know much about Basu. It is surprising that our entire media for all these years created an image of statesman for Basu and they never fail to spit venom against modi who changed the face of gujarat. So much for fourth estate or a third rate estate.

Anonymous said...

" this is democracy.. people elected him and his party for decades to rule the state ".

Comment posted above. Obviously suffering from selective amnesia about massive rigging and booth capturing by bloodthirsty coomrades !

Anonymous said...

To the blogger who mentions democracy.

Define each & every word. Define democracy , statecraft , ethics etc. Equally important , what are the credentials of the person who undertakes an oath to serve the people yadayada ? How informed are the people about their rights ? Is there any provision to punish them for reneging on preelection promises ?

More imp. Read what Kanchan Gupta has written with attention. Ruminate before pounding away hasty anaemic defensive replies.

Sivaraman said...

This blogger slams Jyoti Basu for the atrocities that he instigated, endorsed and presided over. Ergo, is this blog as much a searing indictment of the electorate of West Bengal as the marquee Marxist? If yes, the blogger has been far too presumptuous to speak on behalf of all and sundry, which, of course, isn't his business, no matter he hails from West Bengal! And what is the guarantee that this blog isn't a garbled version of his living memory?

I guess this blogger and Narendra Modi are almost coeval with each other and assuming Narendra Modi predeceases him, would this blogger be as honest in his appraisal of Narendra Modi as he's in his denunciation of the moribund comrade? Or would he tediously bruit and bandy those action-reaction theories? By the way, history is likely to judge Modi by the riots rather than the development of Gujarat that he tomtoms.

I ain't a great admirer of Jyoti Basu simply because I live in faraway Chennai and my awareness of him doesn't extend beyond what I've read or seen in the media. But was this blogger brutally candid or disquietingly insensate about an ailing leader in his last days? I'm as befuddled as I'm kinda livid. Somebody, maybe the blogger himself, can shed light on this. If he harangues Modi for post-Godhra 2002, I'll panegyrise him for his even-handedness. Else he's no better than a tinpot freelance journo!

sunny said...

If it only were jyoti basu then why the people in Bengal are shifting loyaly to mamta banerjee who is anti progressive like jyoti basu...Fact is bengalis are over emotional people ...and i am sure they will drive out buddha babu for trying to get bengalis out of this rut by saying he is pro industrialists or works for traders of burra bazar!

BTW What do you know abt traders of burra bazar ??

And who was stopping traders of xyz or abc locality to grow their business!!

I have heard of complacency (e.g. afternoon nap habit) among rich bengali zamindars and traders of past ?!

Anonymous said...

"..my awareness of him doesn't extend beyond what I've read or seen in the media ".

Precisely. Am not surprised. Because the opinionmaker Cho Ramawamy had only nice things to say about him & marxixts of Kolkata.

Just because one grows decrepit with old age & nearing death don't expect everyone to be idiotised enough to come out with sugary tributes. It is Kanchan Gupta's blog. He is entitled to his opinion. No one is under any obligation to mollify every pesky questioner having the ultra audacity to seek moral equivalence where none exists.

No one curtails your freedom to mourn anyone's demise. " “Emon to hoyei thaakey".

Anonymous said...

sivaraman, please continue reading The Hindu.

Anonymous said...

" If it only were...then why the people in Bengal are shifting loyaly ..... anti progressive".

Comment posted above.

It is not THAT easy to undo the colossal damage done over a protracted period of time. Without ever pausing to verify the veracity behind certain stock statements made by media we were & are lulled into believing (sic) "people are very informed - politically conscious- largest democracy-greatest democracy.. emon to hoyei thaakey" & inebriate ourselves with cricket , movies etc.

Our very spirits were sapped yearning for water & electricity standing in serpentine queues before mother dairy or haringhata booth for hourss.....
The important newsflash was:-

"sabotage..conveyor belt carrying coal snapped...lockout...manager tossed live into the boiler by union.. , bandh...new born infant eaten live by bandicoot in RGKar/NilRatan Sircar hospital..emon to hoyei thaakey.. down down with anti peepulll policy of gorement, down down with imperialism...amarnaam tumarnaam vietnam... ".

YET , we paid our electricity bills. Had there been a single Harishchandra or Manuneedhichozhan we the people would have alacritously complained.

" Power flows from the barrel of a gun".

And these despots eclipsing Pinochets wielded all of it.

Anonymous said...

Division of India on linguistic basis is one colossal blunder. How can you forge solidarity??

Anonymous said...

"history is likely to judge Modi by the riots rather than the development of Gujarat that he tomtoms."

----------------------------

Absolute wrong. Indira Gandhi committed much bigger and unpardonable crime by imposing emergency and subverting democracy of this country than a Muslim-proved Hindu-Muslim riots. But still India remembers her for Bangladesh war, Banks privatization etc. In short she is being remembered in popular perception as a strongest and best PM by quite a large number of ppl. Take another example, when Narsimha Rao was PM he used to get blame for every wrong things happening in our country. But see how the nation and the History judge him after 15 years. He is seen as one of the best PM after Indira by middle class of this country in spite being held as responsible for Babri demolition by some Leftist intellectuals. So both these examples will hold true for Modi also. I'm ready to bet anybody on this. History will judge Modi in very very bright light, believe me.

Sivaraman said...

Anonymous

I haven't said Mr. Kanchan Gupta isn't entitled to his opinion. I have only said that he should be as honest and candid about Modi as he's about Jyoti Basu. Ain't I entitled to say that?

By the way, how can you ever arrogate to yourself my choice to read a newspaper? I can read any newspaper, be it scrummy or crummy

Sivaraman said...

Mr. Kanchan Gupta

Extremely grateful for carrying my response. You have truly lived up to your promise that this blog is about preserving liberty of thought and freedom of expression. Hats off to you.

Sivaraman said...

Anonymous

By the way, I haven't asked Mr. Kanchan Gupta to mollify me. Have I? In your lexicon, if clarification means mollification, so be it. Good for you.

Anonymous said...

Sitting in Chennai Sivaraman does not know that our dear comerade for years had a blatantly aristocratic lifestyle. The super premium whiskeys every evening at a businessman's house, regular holidays in Europe, a super capitalist son and the list can go on & on. The master of status quo. Highly rigged elections. Kanchan is absolutely correct.

Sivaraman said...

Where did I ever say Mr. Kanchan Gupta is wrong? You've really gone off the tangent. No use talking to you. Good Bye.

Sivaraman said...

Anonymous

Where did I ever say Mr.Kanchan Gupta is wrong? You've really gone off the tangent. No use talking to you. Good Bye.

Anonymous said...

Typo correction:

It intent to write "Muslim-provoked Hindu-Muslim riots" not "Muslim-proved". Regret for the typo.

Rakesh Singh - राकेश सिंह said...

Brillient article Kanchan da. A writer must have courage to write the true article like this.

GDP & industrial growth also tells story about WB. Before Communist took charge to destroy the rich cultural, intelectual heritage, WB was leader in many aspects. Now WB is in bottom 10 state of failure.

kp11 said...

Sivaraman, if a 'democratically elected leader' decides to take you to a private place and do things to you, will you applaud after the act?

Anonymous said...

Sivaraman,

"I live in faraway Chennai and my awareness of him doesn't extend beyond what I've read or seen in the media."

You are pompously commenting on a subject where you yourself admit that you do not know anything. When proved wrong you take your ball and go home like a thin skinned crybaby. On top of it you display large dollops of moral self righteousness.

Let me guess- you are a TamBrahm.

Anonymous said...

" Let me guess- you are a TamBrahm ".

I doubt it anon. Could be a pompous IITian like the hindunationalistblogger who I had crossed swords with once upon a time:))

Anonymous said...

Because it is quarterbaked IITians who pound away hatsofftoyou yourockman blahblahblah...

philoblog said...

It is in order that the concerned Govts.will come out with the details of public money spent on Basus, VPSinghs & MurusolaiMarans !

Anonymous said...

>>Ergo, is this blog as much a searing indictment of the electorate of West Bengal as the marquee Marxist?

But what is wrong with a searing indictment of West Bengal electorate, Comrade Sivaraman?

Sivaraman said...

kp11

Not sure what you mean?

Sivaraman said...

Anonymous

Why do you make communal insinuations? That shows you're not worth engaging with. I'm neither a Tamil Brahmin nor an IITian! How does it matter if I'm either or both?

I only said I didn't know much about Jyoti Basu! I didn't say I know nothing about Mr. Kanchan Gupta!

By the way, when the blogger himself was gracious to upload my comment without demmur, why're you so cussed and quibbling? You pretend to be omniscient. Your omniscience can expose your ignorance as well! Take care. Good Bye.

Sivaraman said...

Anonymous

I've only commented on Mr. Kanchan Gupta & his blog on Jyoti Basu! I haven't commented on Jyoti Basu as such! That vindicates I don't know much about Jyoti Basu

Sivaraman said...

Anonymous

By the way, Mr. Kanchan Gupta has said accolades for Jyoti Basu may be "misleading if not undeserving". Frankly, I don't see this blog as a blanket condemnation of Jyoti Basu as some do. I think Mr. Kanchan Gupta has pulled his punches there!!!

Sivaraman said...

Anonymous

OK. Only Anonymous has right views on everything under the sun. All others have only wrong views!!!!!

Anonymous said...

LOL...Wearisome deja vu ! Sophists are coming out with " last words spoken" by abadraandhakarbasu.

Have to share an unforgettable piece written by a Bengali many years ago. Unforgettable & hilarious because he wrote the unalloyed truth without making it up for effect. Short synopsis of his writeup:-

His grandfather after retiring , for timepass , was lurching from Gaudiyamath to Kali Temple to Ramakrishna Mission discourses etc but sighing discontentedly. Got a heart attack. The grandchildren were counselled by the doctor to always keep the grandpa in a cheerful mood.

Credit children with scintillating intellect:) They brought some video recordings of Madhuri Dixit & a remote. As soon as he saw stunning Madhuri , the old man perked up , purring joyfully.Doctor attributed the recovery to miracle of modern medicine.

You gotta go when you gotta go. His last words before dying was a fond , desire filled " MA...".

His erstwhile GaudiyaMath to Kali Upasakas shook their heads solemnly recalling "what a devout old man he was...in his deathbed also pined for Maa Kalee..."

The grandchildren alone knew what he salivated for!!

Anonymous said...

Sivaraman,

No wonder Emerson says " It is a luxury to be understood..".

Coldarin lee ??

Anonymous said...

ROTFL...don"t worry aam & angoor janata:)) As is the characteristic wont of politburo would come out after exactly 2 years with what-a-eemaalayanblunder-we-made....

Sivaraman said...

Anonymous

Indicting the entire electorate of West Bengal is sheer pesky insolence. Nothing more, nothing less.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sivaraman ,

Let me clarify. I mentioned tambram because you certainly don't come across as arrogant. Only as you yourself say not informed enough about state of affairs in West Bengal.

Fair enough. I hear you loud & clear. Once upon a time I also mulishly deluded myself all hindus are holy & all muslims are wicked.

Being a tambram myself I am too aware of their die hard arrogance. So it was actually a compliment.

Sorry , I could not resist that IIT quip as that knockout punch from me was long overdue from me to that incorrigibly conceited hindunationalistblogger. Not you Sivaraman.

Nothing personal. Truce ok:))

Anonymous said...

Hi Sivaraman ,

Let me clarify. I mentioned tambram because you certainly don't come across as arrogant. Only as you yourself say not informed enough about state of affairs in West Bengal.

Fair enough. I hear you loud & clear. Once upon a time I also mulishly deluded myself all hindus are holy & all muslims are wicked.

Being a tambram myself I am too aware of their die hard arrogance. So it was actually a compliment.

Sorry , I could not resist that IIT quip as that knockout punch from me was long overdue from me to that incorrigibly conceited hindunationalistblogger. Not you Sivaraman.

Nothing personal. Truce ok:))

Anonymous said...

It has become the nature of media & most Indians herdlike to come out with kitnaa mahaan thae blahblah as soon as any minister dies. Extremely cruel is the fact they die natural deaths.

If it is Sonia Gandhi & Rahul who have successfully disabled the amarnaam tumarnaam vietnam communist brigade as alleged by many I am extremely happy ! Because bjp also has no special ideology ; were not averse to allying with marxists.

Such is the deterioration in our expectations , the micromanager of opinions Cho Ramaswamy who many glorify often says :-

" We have no choice but to elect either a Rapist , Smuggler , Dacoit , Criminal Thug ".

And people laugh uproariously as if tickled((

Indisputable absolutely !! Point being , do we WANT this faux ethics , faux election , faux democracy ?? My personal opinion Indians need to be ruled over. By a Benevolent Dictator.

I am sick sick of our maladies being cossetted , cradled by citing past history alone. I want better quality of life. I am not exactly pining to live in a wigwam or communist vietnam. Americabashers among indians invariably gloat(sic)" America lost , vietnam won ". This comes from many pompous IITians IIMians (

Having stagnated in India watching my near & dear ones stagnating & prematurely wilting in merabarathvandemataram India & having a taste of life in Gulf ( thank God for American , Western influence ) the scales have dropped.

ALLAH & JESUS CHRIST also take very good care of us the hindus.

Dibyajyoti Guha said...

Kanchan da,
Very good points you have made. But you didn't include the murder of "Sain bari" Congress worker in Burdwan district in 1973-74. Till now Nirupam Sen and Binoy Konar is moving freely with warrant where the original chargesheet is missing from police station and Courts.

Anonymous said...

Was it an obituary written with an biased pen?An article written a decade late for lack of courage.

Anonymous said...

"... written a decade late for lack of courage "

WHAT?? Lack of "courage"??

Nope. Woefully lugubriously postponed belated death of coomrade punk.

What prevented plucky sabrerattlers like you from snatching Kanchan Gupta's thoughts deacdes earlier ?!?!

Tarun Mitra said...

Well Said Kanchan da.

At least some truth finally came out...why are we actually endearing a person who actually destroyed a state? That is Indian Democracy for you or mobocracy for that matter..I might link ur article with my blog...

protik said...

Thanks for your article. I lived in Kolkata from the late 60s to 1980. Jyoti Basu unleashed a reign of terror on the entreprenuerial classes, gherao after gherao, union members slapping and spitting on managers, in some cases killing them.

We all know the end result. West Bengal is an agricultural backwater with almost no industrial jobs. Presidency college is run by semi-literate marxists and does not rank in the top 10 indian colleges. I could go on and on, but I do appreciate your article.

himangshuj said...

wow!!I am not a bengali but as a very recent passout of iit kgp i felt his contributions first hand

himangshuj said...

m not a permanant resident of bengal but felt his contribution first hand as a student of IIT KGP from 04-09. He massacred development

subhro said...

what a timing!!!kudos to u whatever ur name(cuz by the time i completed reading ur bullshit i realy forgot ur name)...thats came to mind at the very beginning...this "self proclaimed" journalist cudnt just better his timing(maybe he shud try his luck at politics sumday)...

i wont go into dissecting his evry remarks cuz that would just glorify this asshole...just reading his first stanza where he effortlessly put the former CM and a commoner on a same platform underlines his poor choice of words and his worst try at gimmickry..pure jealousy oozes out of his evry words....even a tenth standard would write better if given the task to malign someone provided with sum tacky informations....

get a life dude!!!!thats what i can say...try to write on more pertinent things....

Linas said...

At a time when people are all talking about letting Jyoti Basu's soul rest in peace, you come up with this piece, that looks at his legacy squarely in the eye. Much of what you have written is true, I think. Unfortunately, your links with the BJP make me wonder about the bias in this account.

Linas said...

At a time when people are all talking about letting Jyoti Basu's soul rest in peace, you come up with this piece, that looks at his legacy squarely in the eye. Much of what you have written is true, I think. Unfortunately, your links with the BJP make me wonder about the bias in this account.

Linas said...

At a time when people are all talking about letting Jyoti Basu's soul rest in peace, you come up with this piece, that looks at his legacy squarely in the eye. Much of what you have written is true, I think. Unfortunately, your links with the BJP make me wonder about the bias in this account.

tomer said...

thanks for sharing other and very important side of Jyoti Basu

Anonymous said...

Bravo Mr. Gupta!

Sivaraman said...

Somebody on Twitter said that "if decency demands that you don't speak ill of the dead, honesty demands that you don't eulogise because the person has died"

My counter:

"If decency demands that you don't speak ill of the dead, gallantry demands that you speak out when the person is alive and kicking".

After all, silence is guilt where there's a duty to speak!

Defiling a dead person is much worse than attacking from behind. Candour after death is cowardice, not honesty!

Kanchan Gupta said...

Sivaraman: I usually do not comment on what readers have to say. But you are being needlessly pushy, or it could be because you are not aware of the fact that I have been a journalist since 1982, have worked for various newspapers and had a regular column with Rediff.com which are still hosted on my home page at the news portal. This article was written well before Jyoti Basu died. And this is not the first time that I have criticised his policies and politics. This article is an expansion of what I wrote three years ago. If you are ignorant of my writings, then there's little I can do to lessen your burden.

knockedout said...

Congratulations, Kanchan, for managing to tell the truth as it is. Jyoti Basu ruled for 23 years, and destroyed a state which was once considered a stalwart and second only to Maharashtra in those days. He systematically politicized and ruined every institution, be it education, healthcare, law & order, infrastructure or industry, to ensure destruction of the future of the state, so that the unemployed would join his party cadre. He was also a crook, who turned a blind eye as his son became a billionaire from a clerk, through shady deals under the auspices of the government. When Jatin Chakraborty, the then PWD minister challenged this, he was thrown to the wolves, all loyalties cast aside. His grand-children went to the best English medium schools in Calcutta, while he abolished English education to cripple the students of the state.
Congratulations, again, for calling a megalomaniac crook exactly that!

Kanchan Gupta said...

Hi Amit and Olive, I seem to have punched the wrong key. Awfully sorry. Could you please repost your messages? Would be most obliged.

Mind Without Fear said...

History will record that while he did a great job in land reform enforcements, he also led from the front on politicization of education and demolition of work ethics across the society thanks to agitation and disruption politics being the primary source of dealing with oppositions. Mamata Banerjee has learned well from him and his party. And what a shame that the lalgardh and the tribal areas were completely neglected in all those years so that its now communists vs. even bigger communists there. I am glad that he lived long to see the beginning of destruction of a shabby and unsound structure that he began to build. It is an uncharitable comment on someone who just died - but that is how I feel - hats off to a shrewd politician who was a friend of the proletariat but alas he only believed in handing out to them fish to eat and not how to fish so that they can eat even after he is gone. And like Indira Gandhi he may have done more bad than good

Dan said...

Outstanding article and the truth. Brilliant not just because of what you wrote but for your courage of conviction. Emon to hoyei thake. He said that to us, a bunch of boys at Presidency College, who went to him to appeal against Students Federation goondas brandishing knives in the college in the open. Emon to hoyei thake.
For a comrade, he had an interesting life style of Bally shoes from London, Black Label scotch, closeness to Jiten Sanyal of BM Khaitan Group, his holidays in London with Jiten in tow making arrangements for everything, closeness to Rama Goenka, gave him CESC, to BM Khaitan and why not, Harsh Newatia, come on guys, don't get carried away with death. He was what he was and the article is spot on.

Anonymous said...

He was the dirtiest Mafia Don, only comparable to or actually worse than Dawood Ibrahim. This Islamo Fascist ring leader's single most objective was to turn WB into an Islamic State and he has been successful in that. Every corner of Kolkata wakes up with Allah ho Akbar in the morning, the ranting goes on day long. He was the Idi Amin, the cannibal of Bengal. I spit on his face. May his soul burn in the hell.

Anonymous said...

I had misjudged this Sivaraman it looks like as being just not informed enough. He & many detractors of Kanchan Gupta bandy many virtuous words like candour , decency , honesty , courage.

This despite seeing the charade of Rathore with his wife tacitly approving him ?? Where is the outrage from sivaramans & cho ramaswamys??

That the overglorified Narasimha Rao (he only liberalised blahblah) was pretty aware of ND Tiwari's character. Hence had no qualms about writing a trashy titillating novel when he was presumed to have Sri Ram in his mind.....

The egregiously dubious character , the other side of these 'achievers' ' hiiigghhhly qualified' explains our besottment with rape scenes. Why we tolerate corruption wantonly.

Why India gets bomb blasts.Sanghis are anything but virtuous was known by Tarun Tejpal.

Our PM Manmohan Singh & P Chidambaram definitely stand in sharp relief from such raunchy poltroons.

Sivaraman said...

Mr. Kanchan Gupta

That comment wasn't directed at you or this blog. It was directed at that tweeter (I don't follow him and I don't want to)who, I hoped, would read this blog and the comments thereunder.

It was a very, very general comment and its connection to this blog was incidental and unintended.

I can say with a clear conscience that it wasn't directed at you or this blog. If you are offended, delete it immediately.

Sivaraman said...

Anonymous

You seem to get worked up quite easily. For your kind information, "Pioneer" published my letter expressing anger, outrage and odium at the ridiculous sentence and paltry fine imposed on Rathore!

By the way, do I have to tell you that this blogger is the Associate Editor of that newspaper?!

Go and check up your Blood Pressure from a good doctor immediately. Blood pressure can be fatal.

Anonymous said...

hypocrit............who s dat.....mr.kanchan...........

better say..he is a stranged bitch of the world....he needs _ _ _ _ing ass hole.by which he can emits a lots of drastic language against west bengal

Anonymous said...

The Goddamned andhakar coomrades' " loadshedding " ruined my life in many ways.

The congenitally lecherous gropers around (very much including close relatives in tandem with stranger pedestrians & commuters in crowded buses) turned riotous with glee and gusto.

Soon after my tragicomic charade called " wedding " , I would bathe on Wednesdays alone ( with water bought & stored ofcourse cockroaches to bandicoots scurrying about) before dawn to avail myself of a short bout of electricity.

This unleashed terror of a totally different kind from my inlaws eclipsing basus. They screamed , I was a witch/tantric to bathe before sunrise as it is allowed only on Deevali. Very much approved by my terrorist husband & tortured.

I had attempted to set myself on fire once. That is a different story.

Cherry said...

Kanchanda..More or less a correct picture of the history of decadence in WB..for us who have left Bengal a long time back (thankfully so), it is very sad that a State so rich in people skills is now grovelling as one of the poorest states in India. My late Grandfather Anathbandhu Sen who was a commercial artist and who worked for AmritaBazar Patrika, had translated in Bengali, the famous poem of Derozio's
To My Native Land which is equally applicable to Bengal....
My country! In thy days of glory past
A beauteous halo circled round thy brow
and worshipped as a deity thou wast—
Where is thy glory, where the reverence now?
Thy eagle pinion is chained down at last,
And grovelling in the lowly dust art thou,
Thy minstrel hath no wreath to weave for thee
Save the sad story of thy misery!
Well—let me dive into the depths of time
And bring from out the ages, that have rolled
A few small fragments of these wrecks sublime
Which human eye may never more behold
And let the guerdon of my labour be,
My fallen country! One kind wish for thee!

The painful part of the Bengali translation which I still remember is :"Kothai shei gourab,Kothai shei shomman...ekhon eagol pakhir pakhar moton dhuloi dichho hamagudi..."

satyam said...

Dear Mr. Kanchan I salute you for your fearless and defiant posting. I would also like to mention the incident of SaiBari Massacre during the United Front Govt. The Sai brothers were brutally murdered and the blood smeared on their mother's face, a pregnant lady was murdered and women of the Sai family were mistreated. How he sidelined Mr. Barun Sengupta when the latter wanted to create the news daily 'Bartaman' is well known. Now that this old man is gone, every one is praising him. I feel pity for those who praise a devil. Please continue with more fiery writings in the future :-)

ABIRA said...

Thank God...at least 01 indian has the courage to be forthright & honest....i dont know why we luv 2b hypocrites & praise the wrong guys for doing nothing ...irony is the deserving lot are the ignored ones :(

Nila-kantha-chandra said...

Thanks for your comment.

My response is at:

http://cuckooscall.blogspot.com/2010/01/jyoti-basus-bengal.html

Mrinal Bose said...

Jyoti Basu, a right revisionist, who bent Marxism to suit his own ends, had about five lakhs of people during his funeral while Karl Marx had only fourteen pall-bearers during his last journey. Could anybody explain it? Is the fake always more glamorous than the real?

Anonymous said...

Mrinal Bose ,

Interesting question !

My opinion in a tangential way by telling a story:-

There was this person with long beard & other tell tale signs of a guru with an idiotic smile & glazed look. Predictably , herdlike a lot of Indians followed him with offerings , prostrations , shouts of long livegurudev...They sat zombified for many years.

At last , some of them grew restless asking him questions that made him guffaw. He replied:

" The original Guru came & left long time back. I am just a decoy as He wanted to be undisturbed ".

Anonymous said...

Mrinal Bose ,

Borrowing an American's quote:-

" Then shit must be very good because trillions of flies like it ".

Anonymous said...

Mrinal Bose ,

Everyone knows the story of Buddha.

His face looks very serene & His very Name reminds us of Ahimsa.

Today the overhyped Dalai Lama when asked by Larry King the secret behind his " peaceful look" answered:-

" Good food and good sleep".

He eats fish , chicken , mutton everything. All the countries allegedly following Buddhism eat everything from birds' nests to shark fin , monkey's brains , grasshoppers etc.

My tambram relatives living abroad do pujas in the basement. And eat prawns to beef , pork etc in the top floor. Drink alcohol, smoke pipe.

When I expressed shock one of them told me:-

" If we don't eat mutton , how else to control sheep population"?

Achluophobia said...

A brilliant write, Kanchan-da. Truly, for the first time since the man died, have I seen a point-blank, accurate, true account of what the real common man thinks of "Jyoti" Basu. Take a bow!

Anonymous said...

You must have read it already as you are the one who gets quoted first kanchan-da. Nevertheless the link:-

http://www.newstodaynet.com/col.php?section=20&catid=30

Dead, yet not gone!

By: T R Jawahar

M. Karlekar said...

A necessary antidote to idolatry I guess. But give the devil his due. First, for even starting out on land reforms ahead of other states. The fact that the redistribution soured inevitably when jotedars were given their head, and now call the shots in rural WB.
Second, the quelling of communal riots by strong arm police tactics. Which of course should not be misread as communal harmony. But yes, minorities do apparently consider Kolkata a safer place to relocate to post Gujarat.

Anonymous said...

Am not surprised AT ALL by Cho ramaswamy's craftily worded edit cavilling RAPIST rathore is being subjected to witch hunting by media.
Read the following.

This was told by a boy student of a very 'reputed' residential school in tamilnadu. Whose management blahblah all in the hands of cho ramawamy & extended family members all (sic) Brahmins((

There was a Nepali girl student who committed suicide. Ofcourse , many knew a lecherous English teacher had raped her.
Yet , the management decided to come out with a dejavu report "Nepali girl was of loose morals; so committed suicide..."
The entire faculty comprising of (sic)pious , learned , teachers of both genders went along with the management.

That boy who saw all this charade literally jumped out of the heavily fenced , guarded hostel never returning. I met him in a Temple in tamilnadu , where he told me all this.
Nobody is going to believe this , as that school is one of a kind , giving free high quality food plus enviable facilities for the students. Including day scholars.
Hence Indians glibly blame everything on her 'karma/prabdham' shrug their shoulders , circumambulate , give lavish donations to orphanages.....

Incidentally that school was praised to the skies by another revered saffron clad Hindu monk very recently. Eloquent testimony of the chimerical omniscience of faux sannyasis/monks/pontificators.

hemantp said...

Kanchan Gupta's article "Relooking West Bengal" on Business Standard has be removed by the paper - perhaps to prove its 'secular' credentials...

Nandini said...

Interesting blog Mr Gupta - am a first time visitor but will keep reading your blog in future. My late father had a soft corner for West Bengal being a follower of Ramakrishna Math, his excuse for the lack of development there being step motherly treatment by central government for not having elected Congress party in the state!

avinaba said...

i am quite amazed to see this person's one sided version of history or may be his proximity to the trinamool congress....the person spoke about 1967 and 1977 after wards may be he forgot the period in between....may be he doesnt know about mashul samikaran....anyway one sided version always sounds more hair raising....so go ahead

Nakul said...

History has many examples of tragic end of communism in different countries.one days great communist got kicked at the first opportunity by people when they can't bear the torture any more. same thing is happening to CPM of West Bengal and only after few months their statues will be on dust to be used in many ways - nakul

criticpapa said...

This is another interesting blog post i've seen for the last few days!
why is so many blogger can't do this? i like your way of writing, its so simple yet impormative..
mind if I put a link back to you?
formal wear
anyway I'm william

Anonymous said...

Excellent writeup.

Jyoti Bose is simply the biggest Enemy of State. He should have been put behind bars for all the lives that he destroyed while himself leading a luxurious life. He is a traitor who cared about none. He got it easy by dying.

Anonymous said...

History of Bengal after independence is divided into two periods; period of famine (1947 - 1977) and the period of delayed success (1977 - till date). There was famine in 1959, 1966, and 1974. Famines were mainly due to non-cultivation of land under jotedar ownership. Agriculture is not much profitable for them. After 1977, due to land reform, food production is up and famine problem is solved. There was one potential famine in 1978 (due to big flood), but panchayat and co-ordination committee avoided a famine like situation. So the new period of delayed success started. Haldia is delayed by 12 yrs; Bakreswar by 8 yrs. Singur may come one day after some delay like Haldia. Delayed success is better than famine. However now, famine period may come back due to wrong choice of people in the last election. Irrationalism practiced by media and many people is to be paid by famine.

Asit Guin said...

History of Bengal after independence is divided into two periods; period of famine (1947 - 1977) and the period of delayed success (1977 - till date). There was famine in 1959, 1966, and 1974. Famines were mainly due to non-cultivation of land under jotedar ownership. Agriculture is not much profitable for them. After 1977, due to land reform, food production is up and famine problem is solved. There was one potential famine in 1978 (due to big flood), but panchayat and co-ordination committee avoided a famine like situation. So the new period of delayed success started. Haldia is delayed by 12 yrs; Bakreswar by 8 yrs. Singur may come one day after some delay like Haldia. Delayed success is better than famine. However now, famine period may come back due to wrong choice of people in the last election. Irrationalism practiced by media and many people is to be paid by famine.

Anonymous said...

Long live the legacy of JB. What are we in front of that giant of a man.

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Anonymous said...

History of Bengal after independence is divided into two periods; period of famine (1947 - 1977) and period of delayed success (1977 - till date). There were peak-famine years in 1959, 1966, and 1974. Famines were mainly due to non-cultivation of land under jotedar ownership. Agriculture is not much profitable for them. After 1977, due to land reform, food production is up and famine problem is solved. There was one potential famine in 1978 (due to big flood), but panchayat and co-ordination committee avoided a famine like situation. So, new period of delayed success started. Haldia is delayed by 12 yrs; Bakreswar by 8 yrs. Singur may come one day after delay like Haldia. Delayed success is better than famine. However now, famine period may come back due to wrong choice of people in MAY-2011 election. Irrationalism practiced by media and many people is to be paid by famine.

Anonymous said...

Jyoti Bash can not be judged on the basis of industrialisation of the state. He was a common man leader creating assets for common man. Today Bengal is self sufficient in food with the help of contribution from all courts. Bengal has been most populous state. The fact that only industrialisation can not serve the people in large. It needs capital, enterpreuner. He must be judged in that context. It can be said that he had not done what was expected after land reform & Panchati Raj. He neither be compared with laloo Yadav nor be said traitor as industry loving people are saying in their own hurry.

Anonymous said...

Kanchanda, do not shed crocodile tears for Bengal after death of Mr. Basu. Fight the election and industrialise the Bengal. Take care, no repeatation of Singure should occur. We, atleast know that most of the poor Bengali have asset in their hand now. They also have purchasing power, Bengal is better than many state even after dence population, however Bengal is now destroyed by 23 year of misrule by Jyoti Andhkar Basu.Pl. project the both side of the picture and not your hidden agenda. We all very well understand that no one can rule for 23 or more year if not resigned, without the support of people in general in west Bengal after all rigging and cruelty in democrecy.The fact is he was the leader of mass you people are apposing him for the sake of your own interest and not for Bengal.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen in my life appreciating Indira Gandhi. But it is true that no leader in centre after independence were close to her. Because she has the grit and determination to lift India from starvation fighting country to self relient India. Jyoti Basu has grit to make people strong and contribute the country. The critics may say that he destroyed the Bengal. But the the person who were benefited from land reforms and panchayati raj will vouch for him. Critics will say it rigging. After all a leader has to work for betterment of mass and certainly not for only industry. Much hyped jute industry is now out dated.

Anonymous said...

After reading the article too many question arises. 1. Why Jyoti Basu succeeded in coming to the power again and again. Due to rigging? Begali people are spectators only, they can't revolt? The population of Bengal had grown manifold and so called promising jute industry produce has no buyer, and not fetching enough employment. Repeated femine has disturbed the social/economic life of people in general. But, the fact was not accepted by the so called analyst that socio economic scenario is fast changing in bengal and to cope up with begal has to shift its strategies. If the above points are taken into consideration, it is clear that jyoti basu can well be said as great statesman, visionary, and administrator.

Anonymous said...

The blogger has not answered following questions. 1. Jyoti Basu success in continuous election is only due to rigging? Or it is also true like Bihar and UP that people verdict are divided. If it is true then we have to think on the socio economic condition of Bengal. The population was fast growing and much hyped jute industry which is out dated now was not able to fetch employment. Repeated famine has caused severe damage to society which the blogger had tried to hide to create an allusion of thinking. The operation Berga has given the mass the assets to live upon and contribute to GDP and discard femine. One can say that he should go forward with all the sector of society judiciously. But what we see in last sixty year of Indian democracy is all the pressure groups had tried to put his agenda ahead of any decision taken by the govt. Jyoti Basu had read the situations and fixed his parties priority which other pressure group did not like. Otherwise he was a great son of India. No doubt about his intention, calibre, and integrity.