“What’s the point, adding to the flurry of words? You better decide not to write on this.” This was but a rather reasonable response from a friend, when I called him up, some ten days back to know what led to Sudipto Gupta’s death, so that I could write on it.
Lots had indeed been said and written. All shed their share of tears.
News channels, both locals and national ones, have had their routine debates with loquacious panelists jabbering their insincere and predictable gibberish. TRP s had gone sky high. My liberal friends, who of late, have been taking fancy in ‘mourning’ deaths, found a variation from Mudassir Kamran, in this young Communist ‘martyr’ from Bengal; quite an issue, without a doubt, to ‘discourse’ about, over a lazy weekend. Social media was already set abuzz about the mishap. Our urbane, sensitive and politically correct poets had gone ahead to pen lines on the collective complacency, just before they had to get back to their pending assignments of writing mush ditties for the approaching Bengali New Year.
And we of course had taken much care to locate and ‘like’ all those status updates on Facebook that seemed to be such snappy expressions of rightful political angst. On the whole, each one of us, felt pretty smug, having done our bit to show how deeply concerned, we all are, about our social circumstances. Honestly, there wasn’t much left to write about and I wouldn’t have been writing this perhaps, if I had not come to my city for a visit,now.
I had been reading about the sporadic political scuffles, every now and then. But printed words turned dreadful with my mother’s frantic phone calls on that evening when I reached Kolkata. She was worried that I might get caught in some tussle while on my way to home. My town is tucked away, pretty far, from the din of the metropolis and is usually calm. Here, people still prioritise personal relationships over political colours and I have always felt at peace, amidst my rather naïve folks, but the “times they are a changing”!
My supposedly serene nook too was tense with a political brawl. Ever since the news of the manhandling of the chief minister and the finance minister of the state, by SFI and CPIM cadres, had reached the banks of the Hugli, CPIM party offices were being vandalized. One such office was wrecked in my neighbourhood as well. It was difficult to get hold of a cab, but I still could manage scuttling my way to home. All of us hoped that notwithstanding how outrageous, these were but skirmishes that would get better by the next day. I went off to sleep thinking of visiting my college to catch up with old friends the next day.
Who would have thought that a truckload of goons would arrive at Presidency College the next day, with gas cutters and spoil the Baker Laboratory while threatening the common students?
I wish I could jerk it all off as media’s exaggeration. I would have perhaps, if I were away. But since many of those students, whose interviews were featured in the newspapers, are personally known to me and one of the journalists, is a very close friend, I must accept that whatever came out in the media, no matter how contentious it seems, was but true.
Supporters of both CPIM and TMC have been doing their best in these past few days to prove their non-involvement in these fracases and hence establish their innocence by passing the blame on, to the other group. If Ritabrata Banerjee, the SFI general secretary has gone ahead to brief the press about how SFI had absolutely nothing do with the shameful act of beating up Ms. Mamata Banerjee and Mr. Amit Mitra at New Delhi; the TMC leadership have also made their best efforts to wash their hands off running havoc at Presidency.
It’s only an unbiased, investigative procedure that can reveal who the actual culprits were and I do not intend to make any conjectures, here. But the manner in which a death has been used to justify the infliction of recurring violence, is the most disgusting.
If Sudipto’s death was unfortunate, the manner in which, his memories have been mutilated to score political brownie points, is the most tragic. A prematurely lost life is always a matter of grief but it is far more disheartening to see, a dead boy becoming the winning card for political gamblers. His party has endowed him with the recognition of a ‘martyr’ not to exalt him in honour, but to murder him over and again. This titular ‘martyr’ is nothing but a pawn in the hands of the leaders, higher up on the party hierarchy. Once the purpose is met, he will be forgotten, just as we forgot Souvick Hazra, the student from Asutosh College, Kolkata, who lost his vision, in a similar broil, in 2010.
Overuse has ripped off the word ‘martyr’ of its significance. At the risk of being vehemently criticized, I would argue that Sudipto isn’t a martyr. Let us not glorify his death. He has achieved nothing by laying down his life. He was yet another victim of a reckless fanaticism called Communism.
The wearer knows, where the shoe pinches the most and one who has fallen into a pit, can best ascertain how bottomless and dark it is. I have myself been in students’ politics. I have seen, over and again, how purposeless these agitations are. From what I can gather, Sudipto and his ‘comrades’ must have provoked the police, which eventually resulted in a confrontation that claimed a young life, while another student almost lost his hand and an young home guard was severely injured.
Two young men crucially injured. One dead. Meaningless destruction. All for nothing as the leaders and the left liberal intellectuals are busy in omphaloskepsis… What has been happening in my state, over the last few weeks, seem like an act being performed out of the pages of an absurd play. I wish the curtain drops soon.