West Bengal politics is again charged up (indeed negatively as West Bengal has long forgotten positive politics) with different slogans. While West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is hypersensitised by ‘Jai Shree Ram’ slogan, she and her followers’ have been sloganeering ‘Jai Bangla’ despite ‘Jai Bangla’ being the National Slogan of Bangladesh. West Bengal CM hailed Bangladesh even at the Netaji Jayanti Celebration at Victoria Memorial, Kolkata, on January 23. While it is true that Netaji worked for Undivided India and Netaji's Bengal was Undivided Bengal, Bangladesh has not kept Netaji as one of her National Heroes. On the other hand, Mamata Banerjee tries every possible way to communicate her will to associate West Bengal more with Bangladesh than with the rest of ‘Bharatvarsha’.
Allergic to Shri Ram
The news that created nationwide sensation is—West Bengal CM refused to deliver a speech on Netaji Jayanti Celebration at Victoria Memorial. While a section of people marked her behaviour as an insult to the immortal legend, she refused to admit such charge. Banerjee defended her side, claiming that before attending Netaji Jayanti Celebration, she had already paid her tributes to Netaji on behalf of West Bengal Government. She blamed BJP saying the partys’ political slogans were raised at a Government program that disturbed her.
Of three different slogans raised at Victoria Memorial, ‘Jai Shri Ram’ was the only one that could be marked by her as a ‘BJP slogan’, the other two being ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Jai Hind’. Why does Mamata Banerjee feel so allergic about Ram Naam is a question that intrigues many. ‘Jai Shri Ram’ has been the slogan for Indians irrespective of religion. However, why some are perceiving it as BJP's political slogan is a different issue. Prabhu Shri Ramchandra is not only Religion in India, He is also the Symbol of the socio-political identity of every Indian. Ram and Bharatvarsha are inseparably linked. Then why should ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan haunt Mamata Banerjee so acutely? We’d try to derive the real probable reason.
Misinterpreting His Name
There exists consistent effort to belittle Shri Ram in West Bengal for decades. Trend thereof got set by Communists and continued more vigorously in the Banerjee era. In the last ten years, Raghuveer Shri Ramchandra has been described as a nomadic character in Class VI text book of West Bengal Government Schools. The book describes the word ‘Ram’ in Sanskrit to mean ‘roaming’ and falsely claims that the Sanskrit word ‘Ram’ has evolved from the English word 'Roaming' since both mean the same— wandering. Thus, the book manipulatively tried to establish a false narrative that Ram was a wanderer, a Nomadic who entered our land and gradually defeated the original inhabitants of this land. The History text book of Class VI, titled “Otit O Oitihyo” (Past and Heritage) vilifies Ram without mentioning any scholarly reference of “Valmiki Ramayan”. But why the vituperation of Shri Ram in West Bengal? The answer lies in the history of the State.
Why some are perceiving it as BJP's political slogan is a different issue. Prabhu Shri Ramchandra is not only Religion in India, he is the Symbol of the socio-political identity of Indian Man. Ram and Bharatvarsha are inseparably synonymous. Then why should ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan haunt Mamata Banerjee so acutely?
The historical perspective of West Bengal's creation lies in the original plan of Muslim League to include Undivided Bengal Province in East Pakistan during Partition of Undivided India in 1947. Undivided Bengal was an interesting place with 41.20% Hindus and 55.65% Muslims during the 1941 Census and 42.38% Hindus and 56.48% Muslims during the 1951 Census. A concerted effort of Dr Syamaprasad Mookerjee and other eminent personalities of Bengal created West Bengal as a state of India for Hindus of Bengal. WB was included in India as Hindu Bengalis couldn't exist as a clan and retain its culture in an Islamic land. However, the Muslim League was politically furious to lose a part of Undivided Bengal. Capturing Kolkata was its prime target. Muhammad Ali Jinnah desired to include the second most prosperous city of the then British Empire in Pakistan.
In an interview to a private channel Mamata Bannerjee has
said that her slogan is Jai Hind and Vande Mataram not Jai Shri Ram
Moreover, Jawaharlal Nehru too didn’t mind to hand the whole of Bengal over to Pakistan and so wanted the Britishers. (Why Nehru and Britishers wanted so are two separate issues.) Hence, though West Bengal was created as a Hindu homeland for Hindu Bengalis, Muslim League always had an eye on this State. As they lost the battle of grabbing Undivided Bengal under Islamic Rule in 1947, the war continued. They kept on dreaming of capturing West Bengal any time later ‘by hook or crook’.
Muslim League descendants set vicious pact with West Bengal's State Legislature. Pact-setting was hassle-free as West Bengal got infested by Communism from the early 1960s’. Communist Party of India vociferously argued in favour of Islamic Pakistan's creation as a prerequisite for India's Freedom. Indian Communists’ for Muslim League, is no fiction. Islamists entered West Bengal from Bangladesh through 2216.7 Km long West Bengal-Bangladesh border and Communists in West Bengal turned a blind eye towards that. They indirectly facilitated the silent demographic change of Hindu homeland of West Bengal. Steady infiltration of Islamists across Indo-Bangladesh border was a part of guerrilla tactics of Muslim Leagues descendants to capture West Bengal ‘by crook’. These Islamists are the influential force that works behind vituperation of Shri Ram. Why would Islamists care to denigrate Shri Ram? Why not? Shri Ram is an antidote of radical Islamic monoculture.
Jawaharlal Nehru too didn't mind to hand the whole of Bengal over to Pakistan & so wanted the Britishers. (Why Nehru & Britishers wanted so are two separate issues.) Hence, though West Bengal was created as a Hindu Homeland for Hindu Bengalis, Muslim League always had an eye on this State
Maryada Purushottam Bhagwan Shri Ram is worshipped as the ideological icon of Bharatiya Purush. Shree Ram is able, gallant, strong, strategic, inclusive, disciplined and socially responsible. He is poised to dedicate everything personal for collective social wellbeing. Shree Ram is one who committed a number of mistakes, but never disowned the charges Maryada Purushottam is the very basis of masculine Hindu society. “Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare” chants common man of Bengal. Many of them received Ram Mantra as their Diksha Mantra too. With such an icon, the ideological paradigm shift of common Bengali society towards Islam would be impossible. Hence, in West Bengal, both Communists and their successor Mamata Banerjee have displayed strong apathy towards Shri Ram. Shri Ram appeared as an ideological obstacle for their consorted Islamisation agenda.
Not only spiritual strength, but Lord Ram also iconises immense physical strength, heroism and gallantry. If a common man tries to possess these qualities, it would not be favourable for radical Islamists. Physically strong men would not easily be subjugated and indoctrinated, nor would it be a cakewalk to launch an Islamic-style genocide against them. Hence, in February 2018, West Bengal's Education Minister Partha Chatterjee stated that Lathikhela as Physical Education wouldn't be allowed in schools. He termed Lathi Khela as ‘Religious Fanaticism’. Communists too discouraged Bengali tradition of Kushti, Lathikhela and physical fitness. Why? Perhaps to make common Bengali men necessarily feeble and timid. The same tradition is repeated by Mamata Banerjee’s legislatures too.
Muslim League descendants who are still poised to capture West Bengal are radical. Shri Ram is a perceived threat to them. While Communists paved the path of their entry into the State, Mamata Banerjee took the dangerous route of directly appeasing this set of people who helped her win elections
Muslim League descendants who are still poised to capture West Bengal are radical. Shri Ram is a perceived threat to them. While Communists paved the path of their entry into the State, Mamata Banerjee took the dangerous route of directly appeasing this set of people who helped her win elections. They provided illegal infiltrators into West Bengal who constituted her vote bank. In lieu of that, they wanted gradual socio-politico-cultural Islamisation of West Bengal to continue their original plan of grabbing Undivided Bengal Province. Politically motivated Communist grooming for the last six decades hypnotised Bangali Bhadrolok against their core religio-cultural identity as Hindus. As a result, they either turned dwarf-enough to have failed to identify the imminent danger of radical Islam in the State or ignored it instead of silver tonic. While Communists appeased Islamist lobby subtly and prepared the ground fertile for them, Mamata Banerjee turned unapologetically aggressive in appeasement. In her regime, the Bengali language got aesthetically disfigured by reckless insertion of Arabic and Urdu words in Bengali vocabulary. The Govt of West Bengal officially endorsed phonetic, spiritual and qualitative distortion of Bangla Bhasha by including the language's distorted format in school syllabus. Islamists and Mamata Banerjee formed a symbiotic coherence. It would be relevant to remind readers about the recent event of October 2018 where Imams' Association of West Bengal wanted a Muslim Police Commissioner in Kolkata and a 100% rise in Imams' Allowances. During Covid-19 pandemic, Imams suggested lockdown might continue during Eid-ul-Fitr and also demanded to celebrate Bakra Eid unhindered despite the pandemic. For each such demand, the tried to dictate terms by writing letters to the CM, prompting her to incorporate their views. In practice, West Bengal thus turned into a Clergy-controlled State in the Banerjee era. Imams dared as they complemented Banerjee by creating a winning vote bank for her. Hence, Banerjee's accountability to this patron lobby compels her to display irritability towards ‘Jai Shri Ram’.
(The writer is a Kolkata-based columnist)