Saturday, December 08, 2007

Toni Morrison - Sula

Its haunting. The poetry of it (even though one doesnt get all of it, just as it should be for good poetry). The bit about the sadness that lurks behind laughter, just behind the eye-lids, behind the frayed collars, behind the curve of the spine.

There are so many such things. And I liked Sula. I have been in love with her for so long. And she went away. For she didn't want to take Jude away from Nell. But she took him away all the same.

And the technique of what I call 'reversing', that is, stating the opposite of what the character is feeling, of the feelings being reversed with time.

I dont know whether the keenness of liking fades with age. But I wonder, how would I rate it. Not better than '100 yrs'. 100 yrs is too big in canvass. As good as The Unbelievable Lightness of Being ? May be. It must be allowed to rest for sometime.

It has some draw-backs too. The deaths get a bit monotonous after sometime. A book should also have laughter, joy, love, the follies of life.

Exile

What's left ?

What's left is what has always been left.

The promised sex without guilt. Casual, easy, without commitments. Just as it is. It will never be.

And what else ?

Life. Easy. Without having to whore oneself for some unnecessary bull-shit money because wife wants something like a washing machine. Just creating. Just being. I have part of it now in my exile in that tree-lined campus. A house, where I have just furniture enough for one room. Not even that. I just have a bed. The table and chair that is there in my bedroom belongs to the company that has forgotten that it is there.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Suicide

The only thing that is serious in life is death.

Often, wondering why Hemmingway killed himself, I think that suicide isn't really wrong. Its that our society, the western educated one, I think, and others, excluding the Japanese tradition which includes harakiri, which is considered noble, is too scared of death to accept suicide seriously.

I have often thought about this topic. Suicides amongst authors, poets, etc. Hemmingway, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Wolf, etc. Then there was this article in the 8th Day Supplement of The Statesman which carried an article on the same topic. It covered the usual. But nothing new. I would have loved to know how Hemmingway's mind worked when he committed suicide.

I know he was a horrible alcoholic and being so would certainly be suffering from depression and suicide would be an alternative. But why is it not an alternative to the rest of humanity ?

But that is asking too much of a society that cannot accept euthanesia for terminally ill patients moving towards a horribly painful death.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Joy Goswami, Ananda Bazaar & Mr. Neotia

I hear that the great Bengali poet Joy Goswami is no more with Ananda Bazaar Patrika ? I would love to know more about it.

Ananda Bazar Patrika group has been enjoying near monopoly in the Bengali print media for the last fifty years. It is common knowledge that Ananda Bazar virtually controls Bengali literature and any poet or writer thrown out by Ananda Bazar is forgotten and lost. For example, the poet Mandrakanta Sen, who got publicity through the aegis of Ananda Bazar when she got the Ananda Puroshkar at quite a young age and is now no more seen or heard.

Now I also hear that a certain Mr. Neotia, a Marwari promoter/businessman, who made it with the help of the ruling CPI(M) party's assistance, has gained a toe-hold in the printing house. The Ananda Bazar Patrika and the Telegraph did not give any prominence to the news of Nandigram and the coverage by the news channel Star Ananda was ambivalent and from the point of view of the CPI(M). Readers may like to check the issues of 15th March, 2007. I hear that this is because of the influence of Mr. Neotia.

I would love to have anything on the above from anyone.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

In this village I have no home

'In this village I have no home.' Thus goes one line from a poem by Sunil Gangopadhyay. This line has haunted me since my early youth, when I first read it when I was posted at a colliery in the initial years of my career. Then too I had no home and wrote the poem 'Exile' in Bengali, which follows.



Exile



The lonely midnight wind brought the news

That the world had exiled me.

I prayed for forgiveness to the dawning sun.

Standing under the sky before dawn

I was granted audience with God.



Now I am calm

There is tranquility in my breath

My mind is still

like cold silent steel



Now I am much closer to earth.

In the coal dust lying on the ground

Between the twigs and yellow green leaves

Feathery shadows of the the spring sun.


I seek shelter in those shades.

I had got the news long before.

The day when Calcutta rejected me.



The state of no home goes farther back. To the day one leaves home to go to college. I wouldn't know about leaving home for a school hostel. That would be traumatic, I surmise, but the subjects would be much too young to understand and as they grew up they would accept it as normal but I think it would leave a deep imprint in those green lives. A psychologist could tell if a study has ever been conducted on the effect of leaving home for a school hostel compared to those who have had the benefit of being able to go to school while living with their families. My view is living with ones families is definitely better. Aren't people who lose a parent in childhood scarred emotionally for life. Here one is losing not only one but both parents and ones siblings and the love that one gets from them.



About going to college, I remember the initial exhilaration of freedom from parental supervision at the age of eighteen. But visiting my university later on and watching the students then, I understood that all our dissipation of energy on chat, grass and movies in our college days arose out of a deep loneliness that we didnt realise. One had a home back in ones home town. But one lived elsewhere in ones university town. Neither was home.



Ditto, in our initial working lives, till one got married. For me, the choice was made by my father and pleasant or not, it took care of loneliness.



Now I am back again to that state. For continuing to receive the dole that I am paid for my services rendered to the government owned company that I work for, I have been transferred to another location, where I cannot move my family. This came with a promotion and I would have been frowned upon had I not accepted it. I endured the frowns for sometime but ultimately surrendered to the will of my company. Its difficult to live on the wrong side of ones employer or the society however absurd both may be. Ironically (I have come to expect such ironies out of life) this came with a reduction in pay (they will not pay me House Rent Allowance as my flat is located at Calcutta, my previous posting, and not at my current posting) along with increase in expenses on account of having to maintain two establishments. But what irks me is what I call 'having no home', neither at Calcutta where my family lives and which I visit every Sunday nor at Dhanbad where I stay six days in the week.

This supposes home to be a house furnished by love. But such a house is also temporary as those that love one are also temporary. One has to endure separation from ones parents, siblings, children and ultimately, losing ones spouse to man made or natural causes.

So is the house where an old widower lives all by himself not his home ?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Nandigram and Brinda Karat

This is my reaction to the false propaganda being resorted to by the CPI(M) and especially Ms Brinda Karat in http://agrariancrisis.wordpress.com/2007/04/02/some-issues-on-nandigram/

I take your comments as coming from an indoctrinated apparatchik, who is in a pesudo-left party, not to do any good to the citizens of India, but to grab some personal benefits, initially to be in the limelight, and now to occupy a position of eminence, by shedding crocodile tears for the poor and appearing to be fighting for their cause.

The sights of the likes of you, your husband Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechuri, Md Selim, oozes falsehood; smart, cunning people that have taken on the role of champions of the cause of the poor and downtrodden just to occupy positions of eminence. None of you have done any real grassroots work. All of you are smart university outputs who have seized the CPI(M) as a vehicle for your personal ambitions. At least Mr. Buddhadeb Bhattacharya is sincere and genuine. Mr. Nirupom Sen does not pretend to be serving the cause of the poor and is very open about the fact that to him, as for all of you in the CPI(M), the party comes first, before the nation, before the people, before the poor, before everything but yourselves.

When you people cry about the fact that some 20-30 families of the CPI(M) have been successfully expelled from the village of Nandigram and that not all the kings men that are at your beck and call can put humpty dumpty back again, you do not seem to see that you are reaping what you have sown, at Keshpur, at Chhoto Angaria, and each and every village and at each street corner of each and every suburban town for 30 years. See what is happening at Jadavpur University.

You cannot tolerate the existence of opposition that does not have a party affiliation, myself included and must necessarily see them as Maoists/Naxals, just as in the late sixties and early seventies you saw the black hand of American imperialism in everything.

At least then the people in CPI(M) had a sincerity of purpose and believed in what they were doing. Today, truth and the right thing have no value whatsoever. The only thing that matters is political expediency.

Now let me tell you some truths that will shake you if you have any humanity left. The CPI(M) has been using the State machinery, the police, the people manning the elections, the government machinery, to serve to perpetuate its power for 30 years. At Nandigram it has come out in the open. You have used the police, which has been given to the State to govern, to KILL the opposition. That is a crime against democracy. And it has been exposed vividly by the media and has gained global attention. Logically, if the same thing were done to you when you were in the opposition, what would you do ?

You would demand that the Government be dismissed and the President's Rule imposed. For if the relevant article for imposition of Presidents rule cannot be applied in this instance I cannot see any situation where it should be used.

Also, a party that uses the Police force to establish its presence and eliminate the opposition should be banned from contesting elections for the next ten years. I have written to the President in these lines for all it is worth. I know Madam Gandhi is dependent on your support to sustain the strangle hold of power her lineage has to have over the Indian democracy. So it will come to nothing. But then we have faith in the nations credo, which I doubt you spare any thought to, "Satyameva Jayate'.

The truth will win, one day. And then you will all again rue your historic blunders.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Nandigram : Time for Meaningful Action

Much has been said about what happened at Nandigram on 14th March, 07. A number of rallies and dharnas have happened. A few intellectuals have returned the honours bestowed upon them by the State Government. However, in the high pitched, emotional and sometimes cerebral reactions to that ghastly incident, partly captured by news reporters at Nandigram, of which a part was shown, one major point was missed altogether.

That is this. That whereas the violence between the CPI-M cadre backed by the police on 7th January, 2007 might have been sparked off by ill concealed efforts at land acquisition by the State for industrialisation, the recent police and CPI-M firing at innocents at Nandigram on 14th March was not about that issue. The issue was re-establishing the CPI-M domination at Nandigram. Even though the CPI-M claims that the main opposition party Trinamool Congress and the Maoists are at work at Nandigram, these elements have no major presence at Nandigram.

The constituency was that of CPI, a partner of the Left-front that has been ruling the State of West Bengal for 30 years through so called democratic elections. The notification by Haldia Development authority which informed the people of Nandigram that it had been chosen as the site for the proposed chemical hub, sparked off an uprising amongst the people of Nandigram against the CPI-M and they severed ties with the Left-front and organised the Bhumi Uchhed Protirodh Committee. The CPI-M party members felt unsafe at Nandigram and moved to Khejuri. And ever since, have been trying to re-enter and occupy Nandigram under police protection. It may be recalled that this police protection was not afforded to Trinamool supporters evicted from Keshpur.

So as to protect themselves against the CPI-M the people of Nandigram cut-off roads preventing access by the police under whose cover the CPI-M goons would try to enter and capture the constituency by force. The CPI-M has previously done the this, that is recapture constituencies, from where the people have evicted them, under cover of police protection at Keshpur, Chhota Angaria etc. At Keshpur, the CPI-M unleashed such terror that even today people are absconding and dare not return to the village. Needless to say CPI-M won the State Assembly election from Keshpur in 2006.

At Nandigram the same thing was planned. Though the CPI-M leadership says that it cannot tolerate that a village should exist beyond the reach of the government, the fact is that its leadership is unable to digest the existence of a pocket to which their rule does not extend. Besides they had become the laughing stock of the opposition and opposition supporters when their men had been driven out of Nandigram on 7th January, even though they tried to re-enter under cover of police firing. What could they say to their armed goons whom it could not give police protection ? So a devious plot was hatched to recapture Nandigram by force on 14th March, 07.

That this was coming was apparent from the statements of Shri Benoy Konar, State Committee member of CPI-M and the Chief Minister in the rally organised by CPI-M on 11th March, 2007, where the Chief Minister even warned that the people of Nandigram were going too far and their actions would not be tolerated.

Thus the events of 14.1.07 at Nandigram are another blatant effort by the ruling CPI-M to cow down the people through the use of force and impose its rule using the State Police. Today's reports regarding the CBI finding arms and CPI-M leaflets, police helmets, and the arrest of 10 CPI-M cadres from the neighbouring Khejuri confirm what I am saying.

Now, to my mind using the police force, which has been given to the State for governance, to establish the presence of a political party or to cow down the opposition, which the CPI-M has been blatantly doing, is a crime against democracy. Would the CPI-M like it if a BJP Government did the same thing ?

So, in order that no political partly ever ventures to use the police force for political purposes, the CPI-M must be punished. The CPI-M has been trying to foist responsibility for Nandigram onto the shoulders of the present Chief Minister, who is a well intentioned man. Thus it hopes to escape blame. The partners of the Left Front have made appropriate noises and left. Jyoti Basu, the original criminal against democracy, now playing the part of the patriarch, has castigated Buddha. And soon it will be business as usual. This must not be allowed.

I urge all responsible citizens of India who have been moved by the events at Nandigram to do something effective. Something to protect the democratic nature of our Constitution. I urge all such people to call for the punishment of CPI-M as per the law of the land in the Supreme Court, which is the watch-dog of our Constitution. The punishment could be banning the party altogether. Or, the party could be banned from contesting any election in the next ten years. Such punishment is required as a deterrent to any party that might in future try to use the police force for political gain.

The events at Nandigram leave me with a deep sense of anguish and inadequacy. I wonder whether we shall be able to do anything meaningful at all ? I wonder whether the will of the people of Nandigram will emerge stronger than that of the evil machinery of the CPI-M or will it be Keshpur once again. But I have hope. That is all we can have at the moment.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Goldfish

Time
like a falling stone
through yellow green foliage
through sunlight of the liquor tea.
Feelings
half understood

After half a life
Sometimes
Pebbles on the stream bed.


Then
Life
is that Love
as the goldfish.