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In Calcutta. Or Kolkata. Whatevs. Came a couple of days back, genuine work reasons. Curious glances from the security people stationed here, near my house, due to the elections tomorrow. Am I one of those “outsiders” the communists bring for false voting? Am I a Maoist, planting bomb to derail voting process? Can’t deny after two days in train from Bombay to Calcutta, I kinda look like a man who stays in jungle…unshaved and unkempt…

This place has changed in the last 9 months I was in Bombay. The atmosphere is dead calm, and eerie. Almost a pall of gloom, with the heavy Bengal summer, the dirty mid day Sun scorching the place. Roads are empty, Shops closed, very less vehicles on the streets. Whether for the heat wave, or a fear of election street fights I don’t know. But it looks classical and apocalyptic. Surreal and claustrophobic.

The booze shops are closed, as usual. Couldn’t get a beer in this summer. The logic is booze can be used by hooligans, and biker gangs of the political parties for street fights. The fact that hooligans can even drink hooch and illicit liquor which is found in black market, and the biker gangs will fight regardless of booze or no booze if they come together face to face. But who cares for logic in Bengal anyways…

The parties, on one hand, giant, monolithic, Indian communists, fighting for their survival in the red bastion of India. (Yea, Kerala and Tripura are the other two states, other than Bengal, with red rule, but the intellectual support base of the Indian commies are mostly from Bengal. Arundhati Roy is also a Bong, though, she is an ultra leftist, who gets Booker prize.) The Indian communists, or the CPI(M) wrecked the state for the last 30 years, but during the last 5 years, tried to reform and change under Buddhadev Bhattacharya, a pretty pragmatic, though at times spineless Chief Minister of Bengal.

The other side, is basically not a party, but a platform, of any and everyone who is against this former monolith. The Indian National Congress, the Trinamool Fiefdom under its chief Mamata Bannerjee, the Maoists supporting Trinamool fiefdom, and the Jamaat-e-ulemay Hind e Islami. Yes. Fact.

The communists made shopping malls, multiplexes, discos, night clubs, overbridges, got new Volvo buses, and tried to open industries in the last five years, and the opposition to the communists, wanted taxes on the riches, wanted to scrap Haripur, Nayachar and other industrial belts for environment concerns, declined to do land acquisition for industries, and and won’t decrease subsidies and increases train and bus fares. Yea, role reversal. The person opposing commies, are redder than the red.

The history awaits. Only 24 hours more. If the commies win, there will be massive blood loss. If they lose, massive revenge killings. If the commies lose, then it is a cause to celebrate anyways, for all those who are traditionally anti-left, like me. But history is also proof to the fact that whenever the communists lose anywhere, an intense power vacuum is created, and anarchists, mafia, religious fanatics or the ultra-left take their place.

That is most likely to happen here too…

After any tectonic shift, comes a Tsunami. Dark days are coming.


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