ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by AMSubscribe to AM

Calcutta Diary

 about its "achievements" that it fails to see the explosive character of the anger that is mounting. As an antidote, it talks about "bare-foot" doctors, managers, engineers and what have you. This "correctional thinking" is plagiaristic, too. The Indian imitator studies the fuss being made all over the world about Mao's China and feels he must react.

Calcutta Diary

 IF incantation were enough to exorcise the influence of the foreign oil companies from the country, the task would have been achieved long ago. There is no count of the number of times successive Petroleum Ministers have affirmed and reaffirmed the government's intentions towards these companies. On March 30 D K Barooah was telling Parliament that the government was committed to bringing the entire production, refining and distribution of petroleum under the public sector. Six weeks later, on May 7, he was once again assuring Parliament that it was the government's policy that the commanding heights of the country's oil economy should be controlled by the state.

Calcutta Diary

April 7, 1973 Calcutta Diary AM THE time has come, the Walrus said. Those, who ought to be in prison, are out; those who ought to be out, are in: would this not about sum up the situation around those parts even as summer, along with the lean season for foodgrains, ensues? Tucked away in remote corners of newspapers, you will find stories of murders, mayhems, assaults, raids by armed gangs. If it were two or three years ago, our conscientious, truth-serving newspapers would have provided those items with shrieking headlines: civilisation has reached the end of its tether: joyti Basu, assassin, to the gallows; enough is enough, we demand the restoration of the regime of law and order, productive economic activities have come to a halt in West Bengal: the polity must be saved from the marauding Left; the Centre must act and put an end to the gory events.

Calcutta Diary

 CERTAIN themes are conventionally popular, certain others are not. There is also the matter of the Defence of India Rules, anything and everything might come under whose purviewthe 1971 war lasted exactly fifteen days, but, so what, the D I Rules and the emergency would seem to go on for ever, for is not the nation riding from one crisis to the next? That apart, one must also be wary of not stoking parochial passions; already there is a sufficient stock of these to last, conceivably, for the next couple of generations.

Calcutta Diary

Calcutta Diary AM FAST falls the eventide. Another anniversary of the Republic came and went. How many amongst today's citizenry will either know, or care to remember, that this day was the same as the Independence Day of yore? Come January 26, the festoons would be out, the processions, the pledges, the unbounded enthusiasm of young hearts a-throb with passion. Patriotism was not then quite the resort of the shadier ones, out for making a fast buck. Not that the horizon of one's aspirations was ever altogether sharply etched out. You were supposed to drive the British out, and step into the wide, wide world, your head held high, the inheritor of a free nation. Beyond that benchmark of hope, everything else was a blur, an echo and a re-echo of haziness. Was it a fusion of ideologies, or a clash rather? You wanted to turn this way, your friend quite in the contrary direction: intense questionings, furious quarrels, unending polemics.

Calcutta Diary

Calcutta Diary AM IF you have the fortune or misfortune of having an encounter on the theme with New Delhi's officialdom, ruling politicians included, you cannot but come away with the impression that all trade union leaders are louts and deserve to be put away under the Defence of India Rules. The indignation keeps boiling over: if only organised labour were a little intransigent, if only it could be persuaded to restrain its unreasonableness while pressing for higher wages and bonus, milk and honey, you would be told, would start flowing in the country. There would then be more of surplus left with the government and the industrialists for additional capital formation leading to expansion of employment. The biggest enemies of the millions of unemployed in the country, you would be left with not the least doubt, are the irresponsible lot of left- lining labour leaders whose exclusive interest lies in pushing up, through foul means or other, the wage-level of those already employed. From there, the inference is only one hop away that the unemployed of the world ought to unite and bash the heads of the employees paying subscriptions to trade unions and those of their professional office-bearers.

Calcutta Diary

Calcutta Diary AM CAST your mind back, a couple of scores of years, to the slogans and manifestoes of left-leaning political parties. Slight variations in nuances notwithstanding, those were days of the great Indian non-divide. About everybody was for socialism. Therefore about everybody was for nationalisation. About everybody was for the State taking over this or that trade, this or that industrial activity. It was a world of plain thinking, the answers to issues were easy and converging to a common point. No need to go into details; there must be a willing suspension of residual doubts. You had read your socialist tracts. You knew how things happened in El Dorado countries. The antidote to each and all of the nefarious acts of monopolists and speculators and landlords was nationalisation. Let the government be forced to pass an executive order decreeing wholesale nationalisation; the universe would be immediately transformed. The composition of the bureaucracy, the modalities of operating the trade or industry taken over, and .similar mundane aspects must not detain you. Idem per idem: the rationale of nationalisation was nationalisation.

Calcutta Diary

 THIS is an ersatz season. Going by the grammar, the current week is to be set aside for festivities. Perhaps there was, and has always been, a differentiation by clashes in the matter of sharing the enjoyment which supposedly goes with the dusserah festival: the upper- caste, upper-class Hindu landlord used to collect the year's loot during this season and organised gala celebrations; the exploited, rack-rented peasantry, in rags and without food, watched from the sidelines; the gods and goddesses always belonged to the rich.

Calcutta Dairy

AM HOW they wail, the newspapers in Calcutta. Almost all the foreign airlines are shunning the city. This cannot be, they must be brought back. It was perhaps all right for the airlines to have deserted Calcutta a few years ago when the abominable communists were on the point of taking over. But, look, Calcutta is no longer the pestilential city; we have thrown out the communists; we are reviving the investment climate; big business has slowly started to trickle back; a massive urban renewal programme is under way: Haldia is round the corner, and the Calcutta port itself will once more hum with activity once the Centre sees reason and permits the unfettered flow of water downstream through the barrage a Farakka. The international airlines must therefore be made to come back.

Pages

Back to Top