December 3, 2008



SINGUR, 3rd December,2008: The morning haze still hangs in shreds – the fertile rural earth is just being warmed up by the somewhat weak and yellow sunlight, and it is 3 December. We move around the villages in and out of the vicinity of Singur, and beyond, in the Anandanagar Gram Panchayat, and speak to the rural folk.

The CPI (M) activists and mass frontal workers-- plus their family members – even the kids had joined in, a typical Hooghly tradition – were in the midst of preparing to be in their best turn outs for the early afternoon pro-industrialisation rally of the Left mass organisations opposite the motor car factory, now dusted over, and with a somewhat forlorn look.

Red Flags and banners are being pressed carefully with hot iron with great care and then neatly folded. The flag poles and the thinner flag staffs are oiled and then wiped clean. Fresh coats of cheap paint are brushed on the letterings that the buntings, the flags, and the banners carry, words that have the equally cheap whitish-coloured ‘undercoat’ the last evening.

The banners simply call for industrialisation, and for a stronger unity of the kisans with all other sections of the working masses. Men, women, children—all are hard at work and perhaps all of them found my urbane, inquisitive-to the-point-of-being-dilettante approach somewhat irksome.

Nonetheless, they do bother to respond to my prying queries. After all, this is a known old face they see. ‘What is the rally for, comrades and brothers? Is it a paalta (reaction and response) to the rally of the Trinamulis the day earlier?’ The response border on anger – indeed, I find anger to be the sentiment of the hour in the villages I walk around – ‘no. it is not.’

‘We have not done right’, they say, in unison in most instances, ‘by voting in the Trinamulis, at the last Panchayat polls a few months back. They do not want us to have a life that is better. We shall call for development – both in our green fields and in the yards of the large factory grounds that resembled a kabristan. We shall make it come alive, we shall ask the Left Front government and the Party to start industrial ventures there and beyond, and we shall not rest till we have these done -- and now please go, and leave us be.’ We leave and the ageing heart is now pleasantly warm.

No wonder the rally called under the aegis of the CITU, the AIKS, the AIDWA, the DYFI, and the SFI on a large stretch of cropped land opposite the small motor car factory yard, draw more than thirty thousand people who lustily roar out when the speakers talk boldly about re-starting, if necessary from scratch, and making the Singur factory yards hum again with the whirr of the machines-- and the people do derisively hoot when the leaders recall the Trinamuli chief’s ‘homely tale’ about ‘uprooting the factory premises’ and ‘making it a cabbage-and-potato patch.’ The mood has turned.

The speakers included central committee members of the CPI (M) Benoy Konar (who presided) and Shyamali Gupta, and state secretariat member Subhas Chakraborty along with Kali Ghosh (CITU), Samar Baora (AIKS), Minati Ghosh (AIDWA), Avas Roychaudhury (DYFI), and Dhruvajyoti Chakraborty (SFI).


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