Dear Mamata Di
This is not an open letter. It has pieces of advice for you.
Soon you will be completing one year as the chief minister of West Bengal. Congratulations to you and best wishes for the next four years.
You did not receive the post of chief minister on a silver platter. The commies came to power in the state in 1977 and ruled without any break for 34 years till 2011.
A brand of plywood is advertised on the television with the punch line ‘chalta rahe, chalta rahe.’ The punch line was more apt for the rule of the leftists’ in West Bengal. (I was wrong in thinking that the punch line was of a condom.)
You had to toil for years against the left rule in the state. Had it not been for your indomitable spirit and never-say-die attitude, the communists may have ruled for another 34 years.
The defeat of the CPI (M) and its allies in the assembly elections held last year in West Bengal was not an ordinary or marginal one. It was a crushing defeat.
Now that you are in complete power in the state, you must stifle every voice of dissent. I am happy that you have taken some steps in this direction. It is good that you have already barred all but 13 newspapers from libraries which are approved and aided by the government you head.
I appreciate your decision to launch a newspaper and news channel so that the people of your state are not misguided and get the correct information about the policies of your government.
According to the New York Times, on March 29 you gave a statement - Aamra ekhon-o boli ni kon kagoj porte hobe, agami dine kintu setao bole debo. (Till now, we haven’t told which newspapers must be read, but in the future, we will do that as well.)
A good step; according to me. You had promised ‘poriborton’ (change) in case you had won the assembly elections. I can see the change.
Once you have your own newspaper, you must prohibit all other newspapers in West Bengal.
First you must try to tame the press like your Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar (http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/nation/editor-in-chief-of-bihar). If you fail to do so, you must gag the press.
At least 175 people, including some teenagers, reportedly died after consuming moonshine in your state in December, 2011.
Till date, I have not heard or read 175 people dying after consuming hooch anywhere in India. The figure must have been exaggerated by the newspapers that are against you. Or it is more likely that leftists mixed some poisonous substance to the hooch, resulting in the large number of deaths, to malign your image.
In case you had your own newspaper; you could have kept the figure at 17. You could have claimed that the figure of 175 in other newspapers was a typo.
Now let us take up the Park Street rape case. Why did press create such a hullaballoo over the rape? Women had also been raped in Katwa, Malda and Polba in West Bengal recently. You were right in saying that the Park Street rape case was ‘cooked up to malign the government.’
Had you had tamed or stifled the press a year back, you could not have checked the incidents of rape but they would have never made headlines.
The Internet is another platform where you may face criticism. I was pleased when Ambikesh Mahapatra, a chemistry professor of the Jadavpur University, was arrested for circulating your so-called harmless cartoon on the Internet.
Cartoons are not harmless. Their message carries a lot of weight and can harm the image. It is good that the members of your party are busy surfing the Internet and looking for any matter that can hurt your ‘modesty, spread ill-will and threaten social harmony.’
You must take action against wikepedia.org because it describes you as "megalomaniac, eccentric and populist politician".
Didi, apart from the media and the Internet, you also face a big threat from the Kolkata Coffee House.
I have lived for six years in Bhopal. I would spend at least four hours every day in the coffee house there. I used to think that the coffee house culture was grooming my personality. Today, I realise it has only spoiled what all little I had in the name of personality.
I have realised that the Coffee House is a place not for the intelligentsia but for those who have failed in their lives and are useless for society, lazy and good-for-nothing.
People in coffee house smoke endless number of cigarettes, drink endless cups of coffee and discuss every useless topic under the sun for endless hours. The pseudo-intellectuals spend and waste so much time in the coffee house that you can see the impression of the chairs of the place on their bums. They leave the coffee house and disseminate information. That useless information can be harmful to you, your party and your government.
I have not visited the Coffee House of Kolkata but I can imagine the gatherings there and its discussions.
Do not use your iron fist immediately. Get some flyers printed with the message ‘Only apolitical discussions’ and ask your party workers to leave them on the tables in the coffee house.
On the walls of the Kolkata Coffee House, below the portraits of the great Bengalis, you can get the message painted.
Your party workers can always teach a lesson to those who try to defy your diktat.
You can also get the coffee house bugged and CCTV cameras installed in it. You can set up the control room in the Writer’s Building – any sign of defiance and you can always rush your TMC workers to the coffee house.
If nothing works, then simply demolish the coffee house.
With warm regards
PS: Being a Bengali, my friends think I know by heart each and every slogan of the TMC. A journalist friend, also a leftist, asked me once whether I knew the latest slogan of the party. I replied in the negative. He recited the slogan – Sobarir haathe kaaj, sobarir pete bhaat, aar sobarir ponde baans (Every man will have work, every man will have bread and every man will have a bamboo pole up in his ass). I hope the slogan turns true.