Friday, July 20, 2018

Grand 21st July: Three narratives one journey

There are layers of remembrance. Sahid or Martyr has become a popular political projection in West Bengal during the three decades of left rule. In each of the CPIM led Left Front party offices you will encounter a raised plinth like structure constructed in the memory of party martyrs. There are popular slogans like "shata saheed er rakto hobe naa to byartho" meaning the blood of hundreds of martyrs will not go waste. Similarly "saheed tomay bhulini bhulchhinaa" - martyr, we have not forgotten and will not forget you. 

Each year the city's biggest ground used in organising the spectacle. The number of attendee is used as an impression of the popular support base of a particular political party. The left has used it during their tenure so does the trinamool.  

However, there are layers of understanding of the situation. I have tried to cover a few reflections of the same just to give you a hint of its significant. 

Context A Bangur Avenue

A gang of five young men seen asking all the vehicles to avail the main road and not the service road-cum-bus bay. The bay is reserved for 'storing' buses they have booked for the occasion. I could have a brief conversation.

'What happened?'

Don't you know tomorrow is brigade?

Yes,oh! so many buses!

Yes, you know we are so many, so we need buses.

We cant get any bus to go back home!

Yes, when a grand event such as this takes place a few inconvenience is inecutable. Tomorrow almost no buses will ply. No auto, nothing!

Takes a sip from the cocacola bottle kept in the hip pocket.

So what are you planning tonight?

We will celebrate!

What sort?

The sort we like! Winks and asks to leave as they were busy altering the usual traffic rules. 

Context B: The auto ride:

Looking at the number of people waiting at the bus stand i quickly took an auto knowing i have to get down again at baguihati. What about autowallah? Visibly disgusted with the traffic jam for about a three kilometers taking about one and a half hour to reach airport.

Tomorrow is sahid diwas, that is why? 
Aren't you going?

I have to, otherwise they will scold me?

What if you cannot go?

I will go.


Because otherwise party will not spare me.

What, you said they will scold you, you can always switchoff your ears and then pretend that you are sorry!

No, its not that. I might loose my permission to ply in this route.

I have seen so many buses?

Yes, we need busses to transport people to Brigade.

What? Are you implying they do not come by themselves? 

No! They might not, and you know there is a competition between leaders in showing who has greater support base! So they took out much more buses than might actually required. Tomorrow you people will be in great trouble.

A virtual Bandh!

No! A real Bandh, like that of CPIM and their organised Bandh.

Context C Baguihati - bikers:

Bikers happen to be one of the most integrated components of political rallies for quite some time now. A flag of ruling party is all you need to dodge traffic rules including the requirement of wearing a helmet.

How is it going?
Same as before. 

When will you people go tomorrow?

Who told you we are going tomorrow? We are already here. 

Why? its tomorrow isnt it?

Yes, but we need protection to give. Vroom! They disappeared!

I could reach home by 10:30 pm. Feeling the following dimensions of politics of the street and remembrances.

A. the layers of understanding and perception of the Saheed diwas happens to be fascinatingly diverse - which is quite obvious. However, the kind of cele

bratory mood indicates a Carnival night in the city organised by cadres.

B. The politics of street and rally includes transformation of streets, apart from showing the number of people taking streets, transformation of nature of transportation is another mechanism.

C. it becomes necessary to transform the city scape upside down - like that of festival  becomes necessary political weapon. 

AITC has its version of 21st july, click here 

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