[OPE-L] The Ghosts of Nandigram by Satya Sagar

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Thu Apr 26 2007 - 08:12:19 EDT

>The Ghosts of Nandigram
>by Satya Sagar
>There was panic at the CPM headquarters on
>Calcutta's Alimuddin Street as rumours spread
>like wildfire of a 'special' investigative team
>having arrived to do some fact-finding on the
>gory events of 14 March 2007 in Nandigram.
>The 'dream' team, spotted by party activists and
>corroborated by airport immigration staff, is
>said to have comprised of the founding fathers
>of the global communist movement - Karl Marx and
>Friedrich Engels themselves. As if their
>presence was not enough, accompanying them in
>tow were a certain Vladimir Illych Lenin and Mao Tse-Tung.
>Eyewitnesses reported seeing two white bearded
>men with prophetic looks asking for directions
>to get to Nandigram and expressing frustration
>at the fact that all official road signs in the
>city showed only turns to the right. Ordinary
>folk on the other hand were observed turning
>left even if this sometimes meant breaking
>through brick walls blocking their way.
>One person with a Lenin beard sitting inside the
>dark-windowed car was seen taking down notes
>under the heading 'What is to be done?' while
>the Chinese gentleman, with an enigmatic
>countenance, was overheard saying sceptically
>"Comrades, getting to Nandigram is not going to be a tea-party".
>This was the grim scenario the CPM top brass had
>been worried about for years together- the
>return of Marx, Engels, Lenin or Mao to West
>Bengal. As long as they dangled like dead
>corpses from party banners it was fine but now
>Nandigram had brought them back to life among
>the people and this was dangerous.
>"Why are you all looking so worried" said
>Buddhadeb Bhattacharya looking around at the
>glum and sullen faces of top party leaders
>urgently gathered to discuss this latest crisis
>hitting them. "And who are these four fellows
>anyway? Foreign investors looking for land to purchase?" he quipped.
>"Idiot! In all these years how many times have I
>told you to memorise their names and remember
>what they look like? And yet every time you open
>your mouth to say 'Marx' out comes the word
>'Market'" barked a voice across the table.
>"The photos, hanging in party offices all over
>the country - of Marx, Engels, Lenin - you have
>not observed them even once in all your life-
>have you Buddha?" the voice continued. "You just
>see your own reflection in the glass frame,
>adjust your kurta, comb your hair and wear that
>silly grin you got from the last corporate orgy you attended".
>It was Buddha's turn now to look glum and sullen
>for nothing he did these days seemed to please
>Jyoti Basu anymore. And imagine, to be scolded
>like this in public when he was only following
>in his mentor's footsteps and taking forward his legacy.
>"Yes, the photos. What will we do with them now?
>If these blokes, Marx, Engels, whoever…. write a
>report critical of our land grab operations in
>Nandigram, we will have to throw away all those
>expensive portraits? They cost a damn lot of
>money to make, and will all go waste now" whined Biman Bose.
>"Give them to the CPI" whispered someone (with a sense of humour) in the
>No one laughed of course and instead an ice-cold
>Brinda Karat, adjusting her red bindi, said "We
>give nothing to the CPI from now on, not even
>leftovers. The bloody backstabbers, bad-mouthing us in public!"
>The damp Calcutta air inside the party meeting
>room froze. Only someone with such cold-blooded
>clarity could induce this sudden drop in
>temperature so effortlessly (a clue to tackling
>global warming!). The mood among those gathered also changed abruptly now.
>"Ok, enough of lamenting the fact that these
>stalwarts of global communism are here to check
>out what really happened at Nandigram. The
>question is how do we get out of this mess now,
>for given their reputation they will surely get
>to the truth?" said Prakash Karat, grateful to
>Brinda for giving him a chance to break into the conversation.
>"Easy enough. Just discredit them thoroughly and
>make sure no one believes them at all," said
>Biman Bose. "After all that is what we have been
>doing to anyone criticizing us, even if it is
>those who have been with our own party all these years".
>"Brilliant! Biman da! You can start with the
>simple fact that all four of them - Marx,
>Engels, Lenin, Mao - are outsiders in Bengal.
>Obviously they are here to incite the peasants,
>join hands with Mamata and bring down the Left
>Front government" said Sitaram Yechuri,
>excitedly jumping from his seat and almost
>leaping onto the table like in the good old SFI days at some JNU canteen.
>"Not just that, they are all foreigners anyway
>so they must be surely foreign funded too
>otherwise how did they get here all the way to
>Calcutta? Who bought their plane tickets?" said
>Biman, warming up to his old passion for
>throwing mud and making it stick- anywhere - even on Marx or Engels.
>"They may have come by the sea-route, all
>subversives these days do that" said Brinda.
>"Foreigners causing trouble in Bengal? That
>sounds like the Salim group or Dow Chemicals"
>said someone at the back of the room in a soft
>voice. The time for hearing soft voices had
>however long passed and the discussion now was at a frenzied pitch.
>"I like your logic Biman da. Now that I
>remember, from all the reading I have done - all
>four of them can be shown to be anti-communist
>in general and anti-CPM in particular" said
>Prakash Karat trying to give a pretty
>theoretical cover to the ugly stuff flying around.
>"To begin with, Marx himself said at some point
>'I am not a Marxist', which can only mean he was
>anti-Marxist and automatically an enemy of ours.
>Engels' father owned a textile mill, so he was a
>bourgeois masquerading as a revolutionary. On
>top of this both of them have long beards like
>the Hindu or Muslim communalists. Lenin too came
>from an aristocratic background and Mao Tse-Tung
>is of course the biggest Naxalite in all of
>modern history" continued Prakash, leaning over
>to Brinda to see if she was taking notes to send to N Ram of The Hindu.
>"Bravo General Secretary! You have finally
>clinched the logic, now it is time for us to
>prevent these guys from reaching Nandigram and
>stopping West Bengal from becoming a global
>capitalist power. Call Laxman urgently to get
>the boys ready for action," shouted Biman.
>"Did anybody say action? I know what we should
>do - get our women cadre to show their backsides
>to this 'special' fact-finding team!" said an
>excited Benoy Konar, who despite his age still
>had the spring of a street urchin about him. He
>was famous for blowing hammer and sickle rings
>with his beedi smoke- a cool comrade at 75.
>"I run the women's wing, you get Laxman's goons
>to do whatever they want" hissed Brinda, the
>bindi now a fiery red. She didn't like this old fogy stepping on her turf.
>"Laxman's men had better watch out around
>Chairman Mao comrades! He still wears his spiked
>boots from the Long March", piped up someone in the room.
>At this point Buddhadeb woke up with a jolt on
>his bed. The mobile phone was ringing loudly. He
>was sweating all over. Phew! What a nightmare it
>had been! From Marx to Mao in Nandigram indeed!
>Buddha picked up the phone, "Salim, is that you?"
>"What's wrong with you babu moshai? You have
>been seeing the ghosts of Nandigram in your
>sleep again?' said the voice from Jakarta with a
>laugh. "I told you many times, we killed a
>million communists in Indonesia long ago and you
>are still spooked by a few dozen dead in your little province?"
>"Yes, I saw them again" said Buddha, wiping his
>brow. "Here I am looking for German, Russian and
>Chinese investors and all I get are Marx,
>Engels, Lenin and Mao giving me sleepless
>nights. Oh! Why on Earth do we still call
>ourselves a communist party and pretend to be Marxists?"
>"Good question, Buddha. Welcome to the Salim and
>Suharto neo-liberal fraternity"
>For the first time in an entire month Buddha Smiled.
>     *

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