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‘Times have changed, so have forms of protest’

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Prabir Roy, JU Professor at the rally
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By Roshni Chakrabarty and Arnab Mitra

Kolkata: Twenty three organisations of the West Bengal cultural forum took part in the first protest on intolerance organized in Kolkata, on November 7, in front of the Academy of Fine Arts, also called the Ranu Chhaya Mancha.

Organisations such as the West Bengal Ganatantric Lekhak Shilpi Shongo, Bharatiya Gonoshonskriti Shongo, and eminent personalities including advocate Bharati Mutsuddi, artist Samir Aich, former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee, Prabir Roy, and noted poet Mandakranta Sen took part in the protest rally.

NewsGram asked Samir Aich on his opinion regarding Shah Rukh Khan being termed a national threat. He said that those calling the Bollywood star a terrorist were themselves so. He commended the move undertaken by so many writers and scholars all over India in returning their awards as a protest against the rising intolerance in the country.

“A person is entitled to his own language and form for the protest. If one believes that returning his or her award is the way to protest, then the person has every right to do so! Why is this being questioned in the first place? India is walking towards a grave direction. This is nothing less than what the country saw in 1984,” said Aich.

Prabir Roy, Bengali professor from Jadavpur University, said that the issue was being taken in to a different direction by citing ‘international conspiracy’ and ‘foreign hands’. “This slant that is being given to the intolerant situation is diverting the common people and distracting us from the real issue. Certain groups, certain sections of the society are endorsing an autocratic regime. The way religion is being promoted right now has to stop. Otherwise, the demise of this nation is imminent.”

“I have never seen such a thing in my entire political career,” said former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee. “I am afraid Kolkata might go back to the dark times of the 1945-46 riots.”

“India is a secular country and people of different communities have lived together here for years, even long before the British came to India,” said advocate Bharati Mutsuddi to NewsGram. “In this aspect, India is different from most other countries in the world. The Hindutva ideals being promoted by BJP and RSS which project the country as a Hindu nation, where people are being killed for eating beef, is dangerous to India’s basic essence and might even lead us to civil war.”

On being asked why no such initiative was taken during the dire situation of the 1984 Sikh riots or the Babri Masjid issue, she said that several protests were carried out during the time as well. “A bandh was even called by the then ruling Left front government in Bengal as a protest against the riots embroiling the nation. But the times have changed now, and so has the form of protest,” said the advocate citing the growing awareness of the population due to the advent of social media.

Mutsuddi also spoke out against the political colour given to these protests by the media. “Every protestor is not affiliated to a political party just because they are speaking against an issue and carrying out a protest. The media has taken it on themselves to label protests as a Congress Movement or a BJP one. This is what they have always done!”

She further elaborated that individuals such as historian Irfan Habib and writer Arundhati Roy were not involved in any party activities, but the fact that they were returning their awards to protest against the intolerance issue should show what condition our country was in.

“People need to realise that everyone is entitled to a political thought process, even though they are not necessarily affiliated to any political party,” added Mudshuddi.

Bharati Mudshuddi (centre) with others at the rally
Advocate Bharati Mutsuddi (centre) with others at the rally

 

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Copyright 2015 NewsGram

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State Honor To Bollywood Stars May Take A Vulgar Turn

Are we not deeply concerned that this beautiful earth and its beautiful people are being ceaselessly troubled by evil acts of a few inhumane bigots?

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Sridevi's family along with the nation is distraught at her death.
Sridevi's family along with the nation is distraught at her death.

– SALIL GEWALI, Shillong

Obscenity and immorality will have the last laugh

What if a mother continuously makes her child eat more and more pudding only? Will he not vomit? This might even make the child suffer from dysentery and other sicknesses? Exactly the same was done to us by the media for 4/5 days immediately after the sudden demise of the Bollywood film star Sridevi in a Dubai Hotel room. The TV audience has been forced to shed tears on and on for the actress. Many have felt it intensely irritating. There was practically minuscule coverage on the election in Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura by the media. I guess the gossip of a film star is more important than the citizens exercising the democratic right and other major events across the country.

Is it right to cover the death of a Bollywood star this much?

                      What is not less disgusting is the mindset and the taste of the media these days.  It literally does not let an individual gaze “upwards” and think higher. Thoughts, opinions and commendation expressed about the departed soul may sound poetic but they all border on the “frivolity and actress’s titbits. One fails to understand what good it does to us by knowing the idle gossip of a film actor whose lives are less inspirational. I’m afraid, to the media and its type, the film stars are the “only” inspirational, and all others’ controversial, lol! It seems the Maharashtra government has gone overboard by arranging the cremation of the Bollywood star with the full state honour. Is it wanting to swim with the media tide? Phew, this unprecedented trend might take a very vulgar turn. Obscenity and immorality will have the last laugh!

Also Read: State Honours For Sridevi’s Funeral, Procession Is Among Largest Recorded In Mumbai

Is the death of  Jagadguru Jayendra Saraswathi not a great loss for the nation who passed away in the same period? His demise did not merit a mention even as a news. Is this not the dangerous trend being set in which even the government is hand in gloves with the media?

               Well, no media brings to light how some female actors lead the life after a certain age. Mostly, their later lives are less enviable. With the waning of the youthful glamour, the media ignores them. During the heyday, many of the single actresses usually get heavily drunk in the glitz of materialism which later makes them stagger and subsequently fall into the sea of frustration and aloofness. In their twilight years, they just struggle hard to make peace with the chaotic thought and unfulfilled expectations.

                        One of my witty nieces yesterday remarked, ‘the media usually wastes the precious time of the people who themselves cannot decide how to be more productive in life. They usually end up looking upon the wrong people as their role models and consequently take the wrong steps. This is very disastrous to the individual and also to the society at large’.  I am sure my niece is cent percent correct.

Sridevi was a legend who deserves our respects and her own privacy.

                      Of course, such occurrence of death of a celebrity could be widely used as a means to inform and wise up the people about how inescapable the death is. This death at any moment can devour each of us. Our mission, our ambition, our vanity and our entire materialistic possessions just fall to pieces when the death snatches our precious body. Before the jaws of death, a successful celebrity and a street bigger are same. It is the biggest leveller. Why does our media not use such facts of the life sensibly and put a little effort to make the citizen more enlightened and more “humane”? This can be done very easily.

Also Read: India Stunned By The Death Of Veteran Actress Sridevi

                       Are we not deeply concerned that this beautiful earth and its beautiful people are being ceaselessly troubled by evil acts of a few inhumane bigots? If ever the knowledge of the “impermanence” of the life and the inevitability of death was harped on and instilled into everyone’s mind, as the entertainment items, the major problem on this earth would have been just solved. People would not have gone mindlessly berserk being the cause of anxiety to others. Most of the problems, difficulties and worries that we have now are only because of the total “ignorance” of the hard facts about the life and death which might attack any of us at any time. Every moment we rejoice and every moment we grieve only pushes us towards the graveyard. I believe, this clear knowledge of “graveyard” and the unpredictably temporary nature of life on earth itself can effectively guard us against a host of wrong thoughts and a host of wrong acts.