Saturday, May 21, 2011

Winds of Change in West Bengal

Didi wins. I am here at the right time. To experience celebrations in green. Crowds on the road laughing, dancing... mikes roaring Ravindra Sangeeth all over the city, blasting eardrums- who needs the sound limit of 60 db prescribed by the Reds?! Traffic gets a new lease of life- autos standing in 3 lanes, taxis parked everywhere, who needs rules when Didi is on board.

As I walked the cobbled route on Red Square, yes, in the land of the communists, the red bastion bid goodbye to the West Bengal throne after decades of uninterrupted rule. Almost on the same day (13th May). There were SMSs hailing a change... finally, excitement, we can look forward to CHANGE.

Yesterday she was sworn in as Chief Minister of West Bengal. The occassion almost beautiful in its poetic justice. She had been thrown out, dragged out of the very rooms she now would sit in to govern a state she had been trying to supposedly "save". Her slogan, "Ma Maati Maanush" has touched a nerve in every brain.

Not that she was the choice of every one, but people were poised for a change of guard. Goonda politics had taken every person who came in touch with it, to the brink of desperation. Every institution was coloured red. Universities, the Police force, the Traffic system! If you did not have the right contacts at the right places then you would not get into the school service examination pass list. Or the college teching entrance. There were people who does not support anyone, but for the lack of a better alternative, she became the obvious choice.

When Buddhadev Bhattacharjee came into power a decade ago he was speaking the rhetoric of a chief minister who would take the state to new heights of technlogical advancement. We were passsing out of our MBA at that time and working in different cities, and the thought was uniform among us Bengalees in various cities in India and all over the world. Perhaps now we can come back. Perhaps the state would provide the opportunities to work, grow... much like Gujarat had done. And a lot of us did come back. But the dream did not last long. Soon we were looking for a path out, as we could just do this much in the state.

Maybe its time for the next wave of reverse brain drain. Brain regain.

At least the signs seem right. Sabeer Bhatia is her PR Manager. She is talking ethical land acquisition, not land grab. She is also talking industry ("We are not anti-industry").

The time of celebrations is over. Its time to get to work. Make it possible for us to come back again, Didi!


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  2. Thanks Kousalya. Do write to me about what you need more details about.

  3. Thanks Kousalya. Do write to me about what you need more details about.