Where politician’s selfishness and crooked dogmatism puts off industrialists!
Prakash Karat’s superficial concern and Das Munshi’s rather threatening tone!
West Bengal Governor speaks the truth but not the whole truth!
Mamata Banerjee’s adamancy only matched the Leftists’ dogmatic creed!
So, the story of the West Bengal’s industrialisation ends in a big fiasco? Yes, that is what has happened now with the Tatas’s moving out their heavy machinery in the dead of night!
What a shame for India and for the entire Bengal? Still no one is speaking out! Tatas don’t say they have given up this gamble! The West Bengal Government doesn’t say the story ended, though the much-harassed Chief Minister convened his Cabinet and though he says he would still plead with the Tatas, the government as such doesn’t say openly the whole story is over.
Much more damaging to the reputation of everybody in Bengal, to the intellectuals, the elite and the opinion makers is that no one speaks out and says what one feels about the whole project.
Even the great ones, in particular, Prof.Amartya Sen, the Nobel Laureate who won the Prize for truth and morality, doesn’t rise up to the occasion. He is supposed to have come up with theories for the empowerment of the weak and the vulnerable people doesn’t raise his voice, he is sitting away from the scene, in Harvard, and he could have at least come out with his own reactions. In fact, he must have displayed much courage and commitment and must speak out what he feels about the whole story. This he doesn’t do and it is a great pity and even we can say it is a great betrayal. At least he could have stood by the CM and must have boosted his spirits.
And much disappointing is the fact the Central government headed by none other than Amartya Sen’s supposedly best friend, Dr.Manmohan Singh hadn’t opened his mouth at all. He is away in the USA doing his own things and back at home we have such leaders like Pranab Mukerjee and Das Munshi, two Bengal Congress leaders. They too keep mum. This is really disgusting, to say the least.
Someone must speak out and someone must come up with solutions.
The poor state Governor, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, carrying the great legacy of the Mahatma is fighting hard to speak the truth. He spoke at the annual general meeting of the Bengal Chamber of Commerce the Governor had said that he held parleys and also came out with a formula that unfortunately didn’t work. However, the Governor said, significantly, that the small and marginal farmers faced problems, land was a sensitive issue to farmers and land can’t be taken away and there is a need for a development dialogue etc.
The point is that the Governor, true to his office, had kept up a fine balance and he of course said that land cant be taken away and in exchange shares cant be given. Land is a sort of fundamental right and a lifeline for the poor farmers. Fine sentiment.
But what the Governor failed to say and of course he cant talk on controversial issues is: how the land ownership in Bengal for the small and marginal farmers came about?
These marginal farmers said to be some 2,000 in just about 300 acres must not have been the original heriditary owners, they didn’t have the lands and they were made to occupy by the government under their so-called radical land reforms. They must be the bargadars, may be most of them still unregistered. Anyway, the point is it is these “forced” occupiers who are unwilling to part with these lands. But what about the original owners, the traditional owners who were deprived of their rights under one fine morning?
What is justice, natural rights or sensitivities for the landowners as the human beings? Better we have to call the moral philosopher, Prof.Amartya Sen, to pronounce a reasoned argument!
What is justice for the CPI (M) may not be right for the original owners, right?
There is hypocrisy here, and the guilty are not just the Mamata Banerjee but also the CPI (M).
So, we need a rather pragmatic policy, to take over lands in the larger public interest and of course with lot of compassion and fellow-feeling for the deprived lot.
The Leftists, the CPI (M) in particular is the original sinners. The CPI (M) in Bengal and even earlier in Kerala by one stroke of an ordinance or law suddenly, one fine morning dispossessed the landowners with their lands! Is this not the truth or not?
And you also put in possession the very labourers, as bargadars and also made them not to pay any rent. The previous landowners became paupers and in a twist of irony, the Kerala government is paying pension to the old landowners who are turned into paupers! By the very same state action!
So, you made the bargadars, registered or unregistered, owners in effective physical control.
The rural realities in Bengal no one talks about. Including the professor Amartya Sen.
All his investigations are about superficial issues like education, nutrition and health.
There are the gross social inequities in Bengal, of course as they are in other states also. But the peculiar inequities in Bengal, as in Kerala, is the sense of vengeance, a sort or revenge at the landowners, big and not so big and you went for a kill when you forcibly took over the land and handed over or invited the very same labour of the previous farm owners and put them in possession.
Now, you want to industrialise the state and you invite Tatas and others. What did you do?
You adopted the very same bourgeois methods; you went about acquiring the lands, used the same bourgeois laws, the very same bourgeois methods and “forcibly” took over the fertile lands and handed over to the Tatas, almost “free”!
So, when you do this and when you justify this method of depriving the very same poor farmers, you expect Mamata Banerjee to come and agree to your persuasion!
It is this, the height of irony.
Now as for Mamata Banerjee, where did she learn her adamancy?
One can disagree with her. But one can’t dispute her retortion as to your moral right to forcibly acquire the lands of the unwilling farmers.
So, the matter is not so simple and you can’t blame Mamata Banerjee and you can’t absolve the Marxists from their past sins.
Now, what to be done?
May be the state of Bengal might sink further into backwardness and much misery might be in store for the poor of the Bengal.
This is a pity indeed.
Is it now too late for reversing the tide? It looks like that at the moment.
But then there must be a solution for the people, as the Governor rightly says.
May be time is the best healer. We are not sure about the final outcome of the current stand of the Trinamul leader.
May be the ones in power might try many more times and might succeed.
But the whole debate must now at least lead to some sense of balance in the high talk and rhetoric of the Leftists.
Someone has written in the Business standard, blaming Prakash Karat for his rhetoric on the Indo-US nuclear deal, while he couldn’t even solve the party’s own problems in its backyard.
Certainly, the Central government can’t sit tight and remain silent.
Any Prime Minister might have expressed his dismay and might have also taken some corrective steps. But we have here a government and a batch of ministers who are behaving not like men of some fibre but of straw.
Certainly a senior leader like Pranab Mukerjee must be talking out and at least expressing concern for the loss of great many opportunities for the youth of Bengal. The youth of Bengal and the people in general deserve a piece of the cake in the development of the country, the emergence of the IT industry and now the Infosys also expressed it s dismay, other foreign investors have also shown reluctance to invest in the state, there must surely now be a wider debate in West Bengal as to how to break this deadlock.
But one thing is sure. An industry like the car factory can’t be established and run on politician’s whims and fancies. This Mamata Banerjee must be knowing. You have allowed the factory to come to this stage. Now, you want to held it to siege. You want farm lands within the integrated factory complex returned. This is unreasonable.
So a solution, if at all, must be found only outside the existing factory complex.
A government has to function only within an existing legal framework. So, you can come up with an ethically clean and a legally binding justice to all affected parties. This is plain commonsense! It is not about 300 acres within the factory complex and another 100 acres outside of it. It could still be 100 acres within and 300 acres outside!
Either you strike a balance between moral absolutism and practical existence or you just go to hell! That is all what life for most of us allows, isnt it so?