Thursday, August 26, 2010

Why the travelling Bengalis failed to notice Bengal’s decline?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

In my childhood I was always told that a frog which stays in the well doesn’t realise how vast the ocean is. Most Bengalis would have heard this in their childhood. Bengalis are by no chance the frog whose habitat is his well. Ask any tour operator in India and he will vouch on the fact that this is one of the most travelling communities in India. The annual Puja vacation in autumn has thousands of Bengalis travelling all around the country visiting new places, learning new cultures and tasting new food.

What surprises me is the fact that despite this most of us failed to notice Bengal’s decline compared to growth across the country. A majority patronised the idealism preached by the Marxists who have been in power for a shade too long than it should be in an ideal democracy. Others seemed to have turned a complete blind eye on Bengal’s road to insignificance in context of the nation and its growth engine. But how is it that such a thing was allowed to happen when people from the state have been seeing the growth of other places in the country?

The staunch followers of Marxism would give many arguments of how Left’s rule has benefited the state, But there are enough counter theories to prove how the extended Left Hand Drive has had a catastrophic effect on not just the Bengal but on the Bengali society as a whole. Do we command the same respect that we did in a pre-independent India or years just following Independence? Are we giving leadership to the nation as we did in the past? Have we produced the same number of eminent politicians, scientists, poets and social reformers in our recent years? What has pushed us into this backwardness?

Famous freedom fighter Gopal Krishna Gokhle had once said “What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow.” Are we even a shade closer to this statement today? What has pushed Calcutta to become a declining metro? Although there are signs of change all around the city but we shouldn’t ignore decades of darkness that we have gone through. Do these idealist leaders who have ruled the sate for so long answer these questions? For them idealism is the best way perhaps to not answer the facts of actualism.

Most of our idealist leaders were beneficiary of our glorious past. They went to institutes like London School of Economics but the moment they came to power they closed such doors for their subjects in the state. Why has the traveller Bengali failed to see the signs of progress elsewhere and notice the decline at home? Why has the traveller Bengali failed to punish these people who have betrayed the Bengali society? The day perhaps we have answer to these questions we will see the change.


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