There is no reason to make things more complex than they are already. The heart of the matter is the red bastion is being stormed, stoned and pillaged by a different hue of the same red. The Maoists are storming the Red zones like Bastille. As the flames rise in Lalgarh and blood spill in Burdwan, one can’t help but look at the two people at the centre of it all.The two are on two poles and have two synergies. They can never be in sync, for they don’t even speak in the same tongue. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the quintessential Bhadrolok Bangali of Kobi Sukanta lineage and princely charm oozing from a blend of Cuban history and Gabriel Marquiez, is set against Mamata Banerjee, of rustic elegance, careless etiquette, rogue arrogance and spitfire lingo.
It’s a battle between a classy Communist Babu and a pauperish Bourgeoisie Didi.
But what is it that makes Didi so charismatic though every other person I meet says, “Does she have any stability? God knows what she will do next. But you have to agree to one thing she is more honest than most of the politicians.” So is it the last part that is pulling her through. The people will be in the best position to answer it. As for me she was a woman of substance, who is now a myth.
Mamata Banerjee is as austere in her lifestyle, as profligate she is in her speeches. The modest setting of Harish Mukherjee Road and the not exactly salubrious road that leads to her house are ample proof of her lack of want.
Set this against Brand Buddha. Brought up in a sober Bengali middleclass family and trained to develop a taste for literature, he was widely seen as the “Un-corruptible” …”Lets do it Chief Minister”.
And after some hard-selling of a ‘New and Improved CPIM’, Bhattacharjee roared to power with an overwhelming majority in the last assembly election. And it is here that he lost the plot. Mistakes piled up like files in Writers’ Buildings and blunders were shield with the ego politics of “Amader and Oder” (Ours and Theirs).
Where Brand Buddha was being missiled to pieces, like the statue of the Lord that was torn down by the Talibans, Tranamool was collecting the chips to build block by block. Talibanism of industrial development helped the germination at the grassroots for that is what Trinamool means.
Now she has single handedly fought her way back in the Lok Sabha polls despite being reduced to a laughing stock in the last general elections. A Communist graffiti had read, “Ami Mamata Banerjee. Amar Kono Sakha Nei”. (I am Mamata Banerjee. I have no branches. Obviously referring to the one seat that Trinamool Congress had won)
As Bhattacharjee degenerated into helpless scion of intellectual depravation, Mamata rose like the proverbial phoenix. When Buddhadeb hangs on to Writes’ like an ageless ghost and spends the evenings in the cultural hub at Nandan like a eerie soul seeing master directors like Roman Polanski, Mamata uses her vocal calisthenics to prune out “Karar oi Lohua Kopat” on the highways of Singur and paints “Kash Phool” like Nero as the state gets engulfed into further anarchy. But where there was no plan in the calm of Nandan, there is a definite strategy in the chaos of the highways.
Election results have come out. The Communists have been further cornered, Trinamool’s grass-flowers are the blossoms of the season. The white cotton saree and rubber chappals have become synonymous with her call of “Ma Mati Manush”. As the sickle and hammer erodes from rural Bengal like a folklore dying with time, Mamata’s choric charm, people-to-people contact and ability to blend with the mass build her into a myth.
As I came out of my house for office, I saw a ragged red flag hanging precariously for dear life from a wire with a dashing breeze determined to sweep it away. Well it’s not Aila. For we know not when the winds of change come out of the lurking forests in our mind. And when the dust settles, it’s time for harvesting a new crop.