Around noon on 12th May 2019, when the 6th phase of Indian general elections was in full swing – a scene flashed on national television screens. A woman with short hair, dressed in deep orange salwar cordoned by her security was screaming. With a gaping mouth, she was not trying to say anything, just a deep unsettling screech was coming out of it. Though her outpour could not be heard on screen – the entire scene of the woman’s piercing cry, tears rolling out of insult and abuse, her broken car, howling mob and desperate hooligans attacking her – were just appalling. It had that perfect mix of elements which till date have successfully sent down cold shivers through the spine of voters. It was aimed to rattle those who in the past few months have stood in her favor.
The woman was Bharati Ghosh Ex IPS, former UN employee and now a candidate of BJP from Ghatal in West Bengal. She had an image of a strong upright modern woman and the attack on her was targeted to slander that image. The air was filled with fear, the general who took the baton in her hands with a vow to fight back the miscreants and the corrupt, had herself broken down. Being chased and left with no vehicle for her rescue she had no way but to hide in a temple. Her fault – she called a spade a spade and left the team of the ruling Chief Minister of West Bengal to challenge her candidate at Ghatal in the on-going Loksabha elections.
Yes, to challenge the present West Bengal CM and her candidates in an election is a crime. The legal state machinery and the parallel illegal syndicate (goonda) bahini will ensure that your endeavor is broken to pieces and your image is brought to the ground. All this is done to propagate just one thing – ‘Fear’. So that no true challenger ever comes up to unsettle the self-proclaimed protector of the Indian democratic and federal structure – Mamata Didi.
Fear of the people (frightened general voters), Fear by the people (syndicate bahini & party cadre) and Fear for the people (insecurity of the challengers) is what drives the political discourse of today’s Bengal. Ironically this is not Mamta Didi’s invention, it was first put to use by the Communist party and Mamata Banerjee risked her life to fight against this. But while doing so she has herself acquired that deadly habit of using violence to her end. Maybe just like the Communist Party once did, today she also thinks that fear is the only route that can consolidate voters in her favor.
But is the Fear Factor succeeding? Is it holding ground against the will of the general public? Look at Bharati Ghosh. Did she flee her ground after getting bashed up in the hands of the syndicate bahini? No. She risked everything – even her life, took shelter in a temple for a while and came up invigorated. She stood up, held her head high, faced the cameras and told the people what she has faced and assured that she is not the one who will get hit lying down. She is the one who will not leave her ground without a fight. And if the general is up again who will dare stop the invigorated army? Bharati Ghosh is just an example. Being a BJP candidate for Loksabha her story came on screen. There are thousands like her who are fighting against the Fear spread by these hooligans day in and day out. They are risking their properties, their near ones, their social image, and even their life. By doing so the message they are sending is clearly written on the wall – we will fight fear, will hit you where it hurts most – will put you out of power.
The en masse rise in fear threshold or Popular uprising is not new to Bengal, it has dethroned the 34-year-old left rule and Mamata Banerjee came to power riding on its wave. Today 8 years later that uprising is again happening, but the difference is that today it has craftily veiled itself under silence. There is no overt movement or struggle like erstwhile Singur and Nandigram. There is no cacophony of left slogans or theatrics of ultra-left anti-establishment hooligans. All of them have sidelined themselves. Today in Bengal’s political arena the grand old party – Congress is just a mere spectator and the Communist party is the skeleton of a gladiator. On the field, there are none except loud abuses and accusations by the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her party Trinamool Congress standing against a deafening silence shaped up by India’s Savior in Chief Narendra Modi and his party BJP.
When Bharati Ghosh was fighting to save her dignity against abuses and insults no one stood by her, no commission even took cognizance of her harassment, there was no outpouring of statements from eminent personalities – but on a closer look any sane person will say that Bharati Ghosh and the fighters like her are not alone – a resilient and silent army is following them. That army may not be present in rallies that army may not be found in streets carrying flags and pamphlets, but that army is doing its job – pressing the button where it matters the most, pressing the button for a fearless new era. With the dreams of ‘Yugantar‘ in their eyes, they are silently pressing the button on the Lotus. With a heart full-of-hope for a day when no one will dare abuse to intimidate anyone they are following the Prime Minister’s words “Chup chap Kamal chap”.