A City Rediscovering Its Joy
Is Calcutta really the city of “lost causes”, as novelist Amitav Ghosh labelled it recently? It is tempting to agree. But I have never found its people so suffused with hope and expectation as I have after Mamata Banerjee swept to power, decimating a sclerotic Communist regime which loved to call her “that woman”, among other things. Some years ago, during the high noon of the Buddhadeb Bhattacharya government—a time when he was being toasted by giddy businessmen and media folk alike—I was sitting with the venerable and sharp Ashok Mitra, who once famously said he was a “Communist, not a gentleman”. Dr Mitra revealed that he was worried about how the Left Front government was moving away from the values it once held dear. “But it has one insurance policy,” he said. “Mamata Banerjee. As long as she is around, they need not worry.” How the tables have turned.