I hail from Medinipur, the very district that has a town called Nandigram within, in West Bengal. I am surprised that the nation, its intellectuals, bureaucracy and law makers shuddered at what happened in Nandigram. To me, Nandigram has been happening for the past three decades very overtly and smugly, aided and abetted by the chosen few of the ruling Left Front.
I shall present here a few truths that govern people of rural Bengal forever:
1. Land is still with a few and the others can till that land for money on daily or result basis. They are known as “Borgadaars”. This is a corrupt system and is malleable by the local CPM honcho.
2. All transactions are governed by the party and not by BDOs or Gram Panchayats. Other party or Govt. Machinery orders are ignored. People also adhere to the Party dictates because they are persecuted otherwise.
3. Party writs are final and anybody opposing have a “Life” problem.
4. Elections are rigged and steered. All know it and even if somebody opposes, he is hounded out of his abode into the jungles or out of that area itself. He cannot return to that area, no matter what happens!
5. Party controls all. SFI controls students. WBTA controls teachers. They supply posting lists and new recruitment lists. The Industry is controlled by CITU, the ghost behind Bengal’s Industrial downfall. At one time, they even governed officer postings!!
6. Party controls land. Party bids and party makes the contractual decisions. In Nandigram, party bosses and a few others have already made crores on Kickbacks and that is why they face such a dismal scenario.
7. Party controls all contractual work in the state. This is a big thorn as there are people who do want to make a decent living without bribes and they have to exit the state.
Bengal is now at a very crucial juncture as a polity or a society. After Nandigram, people have realized that all that the Party does even for its cadres is not good or right! This realization has made these people look upto the Naxalites, The Trinamool Congress (a rowdy community, If I may say here) and assorted disgruntled factions of other Left Front entities. They are not a solution. In the meanwhile, the social structures have gone from bad to worse. A raped woman told a friend of mine, “Whom do we go to and what good will happen…things like this shall keep on happening!”
People there do not know who Salim is or what “a chemical hub” is. They are scared as all they know is their land and that is being taken away. Actually, most of them are CPI-M fellas themselves!!
Development is needed. We know that. But where is the machinery that includes people in the decision making process???