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

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Calcutta Diary

January 11, 1975 Calcutta Diary A M CONVENTIONS must be adhered to. Pontificate in the New Year. Cultivate a little heartlessness. You have to if you want to survive. Ministers know that; which is why they keep saying there has been, this season, not a single death from starvation. You know otherwise, you can quote first-hand data, list names, recount the horrible sights you have yourself witnessed in Cooch Benar or Bankura. But it is no use getting worked up. Keep your cool, cultivate a little heartlessness. A few deaths, a few hundred deaths, even a few thousand deaths do not matter that much; those who died, you must admit, were sorrowful .specimens of humanity; read the history books, read stray chapters from classical political economy, pestilential deaths are not that unknown a category. Arrangements of civilisation do break down every now and then; when they do, unfortunate events take place. This is part of the historical process. It is not given to you and me to manoeuvre at will the course of history. Therefore do .simmer down, cultivate, if you like, a quasi-existentialist calm, and anyway, who does not know that we are way better off than, for instance, Bangladesh across the border, where this season's deaths from starvation and associated causes have to be counted not in genteel hundreds or thousands, but in hundreds of thousands?

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