25 June, 2021

We Don't Need No Lecture

The Left has always been brutal. Worse, its young cadre is uber-hip too.

illustration by Sorit
We Don't Need No Lecture
Step back from the Nandigram media maelstrom. Take a break from news channels showing wiry, lungi-clad gunmen stalking Bengal's lush farmlands, irate anchors shouting down stubborn Communist leaders and bhadralok intellectuals teetering on the edge of emotional collapse. Haven't you heard the question ad nauseam by now: how could this happen in Bengal?

Now jog your memory. Flip through some headlines from March 1972, five years before the Communists stormed into power in Bengal and went on to rule the state for the next three decades. The state elections are taking place, and there is absolute anarchy as the Congress rigs the polls. "Indira (Gandhi) calls on toughs to win back West Bengal," says a worried Economist magazine, before talking about how the police "even actively assisted" her party's youth wing leaders. The Economic and Political Weekly from the same month says in West Bengal "the CPI(M) has been subject to organised political terror with the connivance of a pliant governor's administration". Much later, the...

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