“The situation in other parts of Bengal is extremely tense and in several places including Calcutta disturbances are also in progress….The Hindus must realise at this hour of peril that unless they organise themselves, their future is doomed. It is perhaps the will of Providence that their true awakening will come out of this chaos and disaster”
– Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Anand Bazar Patrika, Monday, October 28, 1946.
Whatever may be the loud claims of our ‘Eminent Historians’, the Mogul period is known for religion based discrimination, that also subject to whims and fancies of individual rulers. From Babur to Aurangzeb, everyone employed their own discriminatory rules to undermine culture and traditions of the indigenous people. The present rule in Bengal is showing the same traits. The recent incident of denial of permission to the Hindu Sammelan organised by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), addressed by Sarsanghachalak Mohan Bhagwat on January 14 in the city, is just another erratic decision by the Mamata government. A nationalist organisation had to knock the doors of High Court to Organise a function on Makar Sankranti, is discriminatory and dangerous on many counts.
Firstly, the RSS events, especially involving the Sarsanghachalak are planned well in advance. The official permission was sought to hold a Hindu Sammelan either at the Brigade Parade Grounds or at Bhukailash. For both the venues, the responses were flip-flop. After approaching the Court and getting direction from the Honourable High Court to take the decisions, the use of Brigade Parade Grounds was denied as it is too big and would be used for providing shelter to the Gangasagar pilgrims. While the ground at Bhukailash was denied as it is too small for the convention. For both the venues, the Kolkata Police had cited ‘law and order situation’ as the main. Previously, no other RSS programme has ever led to any law and order issue. This only underlines the failure of the government in maintaining law and order in the State. Recently, during Deepavali and after Milad-un-Nabi, the Hindu population faced the wrath of violent communal mobs in various parts of West Bengal, again a clear sign of crumbling law and order situation in the State.
On the other hand, the same West Bengal Government completely failed to stop conventions after conventions of the Islamic fundamentalists. The memories of deadly and anti-national Kaliachak incident in Malda in January 2016 are still fresh. In March last year, the same Kolkata witnessed a massive rally when sixteen Islamic organisations came together at the Maidan, the second largest public ground in the city, in protest against the ongoing war crime trials in Bangladesh, whom even common Bangladeshis consider as prime accused in the 1971
genocide. In October 2016, when 10,000 Muslim clerics hit the streets with members of around 40 organisations of imams and moizzins participating, the permission was not only granted despite the convention meant to be anti-government, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee herself attended the conference. This clearly, shows the bias and double standards of a whimsical government. Earlier on Durga Puja also, the same government got a tight slap from the Court over giving prominence to Muharram procession which was couple of days after Durga idol immersion.
The worst part is usual proponents of freedom of speech are either keeping tactical mum or trying to paint it as a BJP vs TMC spat. This defiance by Mamata Government is not only against the Constitution of Bharat but also against the cultural ethos. Sankranti is one of the important Bharatiya festival celebrated by RSS annually. Asking to change the date is like compelling to change our calendar.
When Hindus inevitably accepted the Partition of Bengal, it was expected that finally the region would see the end of communal rot sown by the British in 1905 and systematically used by the Muslim League till Partition. Unfortunately, the vote-bank politics of Congress, Communists and now Trinamool has given space to same mindset which is not only anti-Hindu but anti-national. If the State Government and Kolkata police do not take the immediate corrective measures, it may pave the way for another ‘Direct Action Day’ like riots. As the HC has finally intervened and gave permission to the Sammelan, there is a hope that ‘true awakening will come out of this chaos and disaster’ as desired by Dr Mookerjee.