April 25, 2009


KOLKATA: Qutub-ud din Ansari is known in India and indeed around a great part of the world as the terrorised face of the Gujarat carnage as the sena ran riot, killing, molesting, maiming, all over the state, especially in areas inhabited in numbers by the minorities.

An ostagar from the Bapunagar colony in Ahmadabad, Qutub-ud din had been cornered by a possé of armed goons and he asked them with folded hands and conjoined palms, tears streaming down his frightened eyes, to spare his life for he had a family to feed. The arrival of the police (a rarity) spared the young man of a horrible death by being burnt alive. His photo made international headlines and was one more blow to the ‘this-is-a-natural-reaction’ calm façade of the Gujarat chief minister.

For a brief period of time, later, Qutub-ud din spent months in Kolkata to get over his trauma along with his family members as his face, having been headlined and focussed upon countless times, has made him a potential target for his enemies and there were plenty of those where he came from.

Young Qutub-ud din would have been terribly surprised, even not-a-little-angry, at seeing that photo of his being used by Mamata Banerjee’s chiefs on Trinamuli election hoardings with the catch line ‘an example of CPI (M) terror on people.’ Disraeli, 19th century British prime minister, exasperated with manipulated figures, had once come up with an aphorism that has become a classic of sorts, that there were three kinds of lies: ‘lies-damned lies-and-statistics.’ We could well add the Trinamuli head honcho’s name, as a fourth example, and nobody should protest if she / he is in a healthy frame of mind.

Especially so, when one looks at another poster the Trinamulis have put up all over Kolkata and Bengal. It shows a cover image from the daily Ganashakti (6 February 2007) with Abu Hossein Mullick’s house was set on fire by the Trinamulis at Khejuri – those were the stormy times for the people of Nandigram - as Abu sits desolate before the ruins. Shamelessly, the Trinamulis have used the same Ganashakti photo and underlined it with the profanely lying and somewhat pointlessly obscene caption of ‘nakedness at Nandigram.’

We have nothing to comment on the cultural fastidiousness or the lack there of, of didi’s goons. They could have at least paid Ganashakti the royalty necessary and sought permission before running the photo in the distorted manner, the loathsome ‘art’ of which is so well versed in them. We rest our case.

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