I'm sure similar things have happened in history, but this is happening in the year 2012, in our city, Calcutta, where we otherwise show a lot of forbearance. And this is something that has seldom happened in India. First of all, that little thing at the heart of the controversy, it is not even a cartoon. It is an act of humour. A little piece of art. Popular art. You see such things regularly on the back of autorickshaws, buses, trucks. If you go to Bangladesh, you will see lots of them. In other states of India you will see them. Bhagat Singh with some Bombay matinee idol. It’s not that they are insulting Bhagat Singh or that there is some sort of innuendo. It’s just that people enjoy a piece of artful, apocryphal absurdity within the basic framework of reality. And it takes imagination to concoct such a thing.
Look at me. I faced it too. The moment I earned a little fame way back in 1992 and after a few people started to follow me as a songwriter, singer and musician, various cartoons made their inevitable appearance. Really well-known Bengali newspapers carried these cartoons. One pro-CPI(M) Bengali daily regularly printed cartoons of yours faithfully. And very vindictive ones too, those that belittled me. But it was, after all, a cartoon. In a world full of injustice that makes daily demands on our sense of outrage, it wouldn’t do to lose one’s shirt over such a thing. Where is our sense of humour? Why can’t we laugh at ourselves?
And consider this: there was not a single abusive word in that cartoon. So the mock-outraged reaction of the government, and that of the two cabinet ministers of West Bengal, who proclaimed that whatever the police had done was right, is totally unacceptable.
This, along with other acts of hauteur, like the case of the blacklisted newspapers and the banning of Marx in textbooks, reads like a script. And for what? For domination. The same authoritarianism against which we were fighting. Mamata Banerjee had been fighting a valiant war. And no doubt that she really sought the downfall of the CPI(M). And she always proclaimed her allegiance to democracy and freedom of speech. We became friends. We joined hands. And we started to fight shoulder to shoulder.
But that was a different Mamata. That was a Mamata with whom I could communicate. Who would give you a patient hearing sometimes. Though I saw even then that she was very impatient. Almost like me. And she also has something artistic about her. She is quite a good painter. I have observed Mamata closely; we have been very close, and both of us showed a lot of respect for each other. It’s not that I want her to vacate the chief minister’s post, like some people who are clamouring for her departure. But she should mend her ways.
I will now reveal something that I seldom speak of. She literally coaxed and cajoled me for over a year to agree to become a Trinamool Congress candidate in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. She said every booth in my constituency (Jadavpur, in Calcutta) would be manned by the CRPF. If it is manned by the crpf it’s one thing; if it’s manned by the home guards, under the CPI(M), it is quite another. Time and again she promised me, “Don’t worry, Kabirda, you will have crpf personnel in every booth.” But no, not a single crpf man was assigned to my constituency. Maybe they wanted to see me defeated. I won the Jadavpur seat without any help. I still wonder why Mamata was so insistent on my joining up. Just to show the world that she had Kabir Suman, the well-known musician, activist, journalist, in her entourage?
As told to Dola Mitra
Power corrupts and absolute power.... Mamata is no different (Fortress of Unreason, Apr 30). After all, she also would like to rule Bengal for 20 years, like Jyoti Basu. Still, it’s odd how little time it takes for power to go to your head.
N.K. Singhal, Rohtak
Admittedly, Kabir Suman is a good lyricist and singer. He cosied up to Mamata and won a parliamentary seat only by riding on her skirt-tails. To anyone familiar with Bengal politics, the mere suggestion that he won the seat by himself is laughable. And by all reports, he still enjoys the influence, powers and pelf of an MP. Let Suman resign and fight the bypoll on his own steam, and we’ll forgive him his foolish display of moral courage.
Why did the Police arrest Ambikesh mahapatra when mamata's nephew posted obscene caryoons about CPM leaders in his facebook account...much more obscene than the cartoon being discussed.
A few words about Kabir Suman must be known. Admittedly he is a good lyrisist & singer. He cosied up to Mamata Banerjee & won a parliamentary seat riding popularity wave for Mamata Banerjee & with help of Trinamul workers. Any body familiar with Bengal politics will laugh it out of court if he claims that he won this seat all by himself.
And why he continues to enjoy the powers , priviledges & the pelf of a TMC MP even now , if he feels Mamata has turned authoratarain ? Come on lets have some display of moral courage. Let him resign & get re-elected all by his own. Or is it that MP salary , allowances , almost unlimited first & business class travel , many other facilities an MP gets is too much to give up for foolish display of moral courage ?
This little story about Mamata promising him CRPF in his booths is total give away. Who was Mamata then to promise such things ? It was police under Budhadev Battacharjee & under direction EC which decided pariticular type of security at particular booths. In any case Mamata made sure he won. So what he is complaining about ?
The problem in this whole cartoon discourse is that the obscenity was not even a cartoon. Cutting real pictures of three persons from news papers & the mast head of a railways, paste them on a piece of paper is not cartoon. One would have appreciated if the professor had it in him to draw even a bad cartoon. This man's creativity was limited to suggesting in his 'cartoon' - actually a cut & paste job - that Mamata is coveting wealth from the railways. Mamata greedy , Mamata corrput is one charge that will not sell.
The professor is involved in a dispute between a private society & its suppliers. He thinks these are Mamata's men. Though he now adores the talk show of a particular news channels daily hours on end , so far he has not put forth a shard of evidence that they were Mamata's men & why he has not gone to the police when attcked as alleged. Many rats flee a sinking ship. They try to get board the floating one. It is in the realm of possibilty here actually some did . 9Only today's papers came up with the news that man who impersonated Mamata's brother & demanded facilities from government officials. He was promptly arrested.
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutelty. Mamta is no different. After all she also want to rule Bengal for 20 years like Jyoti Basu did. Hence she will have to follow thier ways. She really has gone berserk and is showing that power has indeed gone to her head.
Mani Shankar Iyer in his usual nasty way, once compared Jayalalthaaa to an elephant.Jaya waited till he left Tamil Nadu border,into Pondichery(now Puducherry),and then had Mani Shankar Iyer beaten black and blue,leaving him in a tattered Kurta on the road.Since then this Sonia loyalist has never dared make personal attack on Jayalalithaa.In our country,all these so called intellectuals attack people like Jaya or Mamatha but for ever remain servile to the white skinned family.
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT