If you have a problem, fix it. But train yourself not to worry, worry fixes nothing. - Ernest Hemingway

Sunday, 25 June 2017

West Bengal and an award for helping girls?

There is little doubt that the queen of Bengal – who’s always dying to hear the next round of applause – is gloating over the award that her government has got from no less than an arm of the UN. There is little doubt that her fawning chamchas are now jostling to catch her eyes and show how god-damned delighted they are over HER success. As I write, I am sure that sweets are being distributed and gulal is being showered from her party offices infested with criminals, which often terrorize people of the locality. And millions of rupees will go down the drain in the months to come in endless newspaper adverts and hoardings with her smiling face telling the world what wonderful things SHE has done for girls!

Yes, the West Bengal government have distributed cycles and school books and school shoes and what-not to girls of her state. I do not question this fact. But will they get a job after they graduate under a collapsing education system with ever-falling standards?

Even the beggars on the streets of Kolkata know the answer.

The West Bengal government today presides over a crumbling economy inherited from their predecessors, and does nothing about it. In my childhood, lots of people came to Kolkata from the Punjab to Kerala in search of livelihood. In the Lake Market area near my house, there were more Tamilian and Malayali office employees than Bengalis. Today, people from West Bengal are seen washing dishes and carrying bricks from the Punjab to Kerala. You would have seen them even in the less developed sates like Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. I have.

No jobs are created here in Bengal; it is a fallow land where no industry grows. A small segment of the population blessed by the ruling party earn their living through extortion rackets in which the top leaders of the party are intimately involved, as the Narda sting operation has shown shown beyond a shred of doubt. But for the majority, opportunities are so insignificant that even a free cycle seems to be manna from heaven.

In West Bengal today, the entire state comes to a grinding halt the day exams are held for primary teachers’ positions because every young man and woman who hasn’t been fortunate to go to a handful of premiere institutes is unemployed. Come the day of the entrance test, millions of young men and women flood buses and trains, and thousands miss the test because they just cannot board one.

So, what is the big deal about giving pittances like bicycles to girls, Your Highness? Can they ride their bicycles after dusk? How safe are girls in your state with a dysfunctional police force?

Isn’t the state competing with Uttar Pradesh to be designated as the rape head quarters of the country? Haven’t luminaries of your party repeatedly tried to shame rape victims by calling them prostitutes? Haven’t you yourself tried to brush incidents of rape under the carpet by calling them “sajano ghotona” or concocted stories?

Isn’t it a fact that – a few hours after the sun has set – every dark alley hidden behind the garishly illuminated roads of the capital and small towns of your state comes under the control of drunken goons who are protected by your party and police?

Isn’t the state No.1 in trafficking in women? Aren’t Kolkata and other towns in the state, where my mother and aunts would happily return home after watching a late night film show close to midnight 50 years ago, a strict no-fly zone for women after 9 PM?

The UN hasn’t honoured the state government for helping girls, it has disgraced itself!

24 June 2017

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