Tuesday December 4, 2007
A week of regrets and clarifications for Buddha. After all round condemnation, largely from Leftist intellectuals and thinkers, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was in Delhi to seek LK Advani's help in the Gurkha Hill Council bill, and while talking to the press, he finally conceded: "I should not have said that. Now I want peace for all. We have to ensure that Nandigram does not repeat itself. We have learnt lessons from Nandigram that we have to take people into confidence... We have failed in Nandigram. It was an administrative and political failure". While the CM still dodged all queries on Taslima Nasrin, his comrade, Left Front Chairman Biman Bose was more direct and clearly wanted more concessions from Taslima Nasreen, after she withdrew the controversial passages from her autobiography: "It is for the people to decide but she has written not just one book. There are many books." Clearly, the comrades are serious about winning back the fundamentalist Muslim constituency. But then the Bengal CM got embroiled in one more controversy. He was widely reported as questioning the historical existence of Lord Rama. "Where is the historical proof of Ram's birth? If Ramayana is history and Ram is a historical figure then where is the proof," he was reported to have said while speaking in Kolkata to mark the 15th anniversary of the demolition of Babri Masjid. But then came the clarification: "I quoted the following lines from Rabindranath Tagore: ‘Kobi tobo monobhumi Ram er jonmosthan Ayodhya r theke satya jeno’ [the poet’s mind is the birth place of Ram, which is more real than Ayodhya]." Meanwhile, in Nandigram, dead bodies continue to be found in freshly discovered graves.