Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has courted fresh controversy. What now? Well, she went off to Singapore on a purported ‘industrial’ visit with a goal to attract industry to the state. Nothing wrong with that (especially considering that industrialists at home are not exactly lining up to invest in the state) except that instead of taking her industry minister Amit Mitra along as protocol would suggest, she got actor Deb to accompany her on her trip. To quash the media uproar this decision caused—an uproar which centred around the question “What is the justification for letting a film star tag along?”— Mamata made it clear that she doesn’t like to limit the word “industry” to mean only “wood, steel and cement”. In fact, she pointed out, in Bengali the words for both “industry” and “art” are “shilpo” and since Deb is an artist— a film artist— he is perfectly justified in tagging along for the meet of “shilpo-potis” or industrialists.
Losing His Mind
Amit Mitra found himself in the middle of a different controversy altogether. When, on a visit to Calcutta, industrialist Ratan Tata, whose small car factory was driven out of Bengal by a Trinamool agitation during the CPIM rule, lamented the state of the industry in Bengal, Mitra retorted by accusing Tata of having “lost his mind.” The industry minister’s exact words for the industrialist was, in Bengali, “onar moti-bhrom hoyechey” The remark generated much media frenzy with one newspaper printing a caricature of Mitra wearing the psychiatrist’s white coat and a word bubble with the diagnosis “he’s lost his mind”. There was also a deluge of photographs splashed across newspaper front pages showing a large number of industries and factories lying ruined or in varying states of ruin across the landscape of the state, possibly to demonstrate how incorrect the diagnosis was.
Here Comes the Sun...
The CPIM is trying to make hay while Trinamool continues to spread its sunshine around. In fact, the CPIM is trying to do it quite literally. Insiders claim that the party has decided to promote Surya Kanta Mishra, whose name means the Sun, as the face of the party in the countdown to the Assembly Elections less than two years away. Mishra, who is currently the leader of the Opposition in the Bengal Assembly is considered decisive and articulate and commands the respect of his party.
No to No
The one glimmer of hope for Calcutta was when the state government clamped down on Taxi drivers who refused passengers. But cab drivers have decided to take to the streets demanding their right to say “No” and this week taxis went off the roads. But transport minister Madan Mitra who has embarked on a no holds-barred combat against the practice is unrelenting.
Written behind an auto: “aay tor bhaalo korii” (come let me do good to you)
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
Given that most of the state is full of illegal Bangladeshis or BD-sympathisizing Bongs, the state should be hived off to Bangladesh. These leech-like jokers are sucking the blood of the country.
Mamata Banerjee may not get much time to do whato she wwants.
The CBI probe into Saradha ponzi scam that ruined over two million people has gained momentum. One after another kingpins of the scamsters are going to jial. How long will the survive?
When the Indian industrialists are shying away from bengal, how on earth the investors from Singapore will line up in Bengal? This is a waste of money. But then who cares? Not the CM, and certainly not her party. But the ruling party will have their lesson in th enext election. If the elction is held properly, and people are allowed to vote, TMC will lose the election.
The trip was as useless as Mamata's paintings.
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