Hindutva Threat, TMC's Mistakes: Mamata's Former MP Lists Out Things That Went Wrong in Bengal
Kolkata: Former Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP and Gardiner Professor of History at Harvard University, Sugata Bose, said that there is a need to revive the political traditions of West Bengal which are under threat.
“We haven’t seen this degree of religious polarisation in Bengal since 1947 and you know the bigotry of that period led to a huge human tragedy. So we have to avoid that kind of attitude. We must stress equality and unity at this point,” he said.
On the context of BJP’s major political success in Bengal after winning 18 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal, he said, “I do believe that the forces of Hindutva pose a major threat even if Trinamool has made mistakes which need to be corrected.”
“I personally feel that the Bengal government should not have given the allowance to Muslims. Rather they should have given equality, housing and credit banking. I do believe that something needed to be done for the Muslims in Bengal who have been left behind as shown in the Sachar Committee report but I would have wanted the government to concentrate on equality of opportunity in education and the employment and also making sure that there was fair access to housing and bank credit. That is what should have been done,” he added.
Once again hinting at allowance to Muslims by Mamata Banerjee led government in Bengal, he said, “There is no reason to accept religious leaders as representatives of an entire community. This is my view.”
On Ram Navami controversy, he said, “First of all Bengal has its own cultural tradition and secondly you know.. you don’t fight the force of Hindutva on their own terrain. We have a long cultural tradition flowing down from Tagore and Nazrul and we have a political tradition which we have inherited from Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose which has been based on Hindu-Muslim unity and equality. If someone is celebrating Ram Navami, it’s not necessary you have to follow that too. Gandhi ji had said — Ishwar allah tere naam, sab ko sanmati de bhagwaan. I hope good sense will prevail and peace will return to Bengal”.
“In fact, I have been speaking quite a lot in Bengal and I have been preaching the ideal of what is called in Bengali is ‘Samya’. Poet Nazrul has a famous poem (Samyabad). That should be the ideal and I basically feel that if we follow the ideal of ‘Samyabad’ then all the other ‘Sankirnabad’ (the Narrowism) that has now suddenly sprung up in Bengal can be defeated,” he added.