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CALCUTTA DIARY-Come November Or Don t

CALCUTTA DIARY Come November: Or Don't Flibbertigibbet BENGALI intellectuals have long prided themselves, with only limited factual basis, that their city, Calcutta, resembles Paris in its argumentative fervour and artistic vigour. Then came the recent student and workers' riots in Paris and other French cities. A Bengali intellectual happened to be in London at the time; and he lost no time at all in suggesting that students in Paris were only emulating the students of Calcutta. Another writer in Calcutta gave the palm to the students of Djakarta. "Sir", as Dr Johnson said, "there is no point of precedency between a louse and a flea". While in West Bengal today, in spite of the imminence of the November midterm poll, that about sums up the electorate's attitude towards the Congress and the United Front, the two main contestants, if the United Front does not disintegrate and the Congress maintains its facade of unity, there are many other straws in the wind which resemble conditions in Paris in the last few gasping months of the Fourth Republic

CALCUTTA DIARY- Seven Days That Didn t Shake Calcutta

marcate himself then, it is said, his Ministry would be quite safe. Added to this pressure is the constant counsel of Rajagopalachari urging Annadurai to be moderate, to keep things on an even keel and not to be lured away by the Communists. The struggle in Tamilnad, thus, is largely a struggle for the alignment of the DMK, for adoption by it of a clear-cut position one way or another.

CALCUTTA DIARY-The Long Harm of the Law

CALCUTTA DIARY The Long Harm of the Law Flibbertigibbet ITS all over. Or, has it just begun? On November 29 the West Bengal Assembly met

CALCUTTA DIARY-Nanda s Waterloo

United Nations and what Prime Minister Indira Gandhi said in Delhi and also quoted Swaran Singh's explanation of this alleged difference. Sagar's reportage was unbiassed, balanced and gave the Indian side the benefit of doubt and withal it was more dignified. As Sagar reported the event, the U S Government was "sceptical" of Hanoi's willingness to negotiate, which it was entitled to be, considering that Washington had no wish to stop bombing anyway.

CALCUTTA DIARY-The Nanda of Notting Hill

CALCUTTA DIARY The Nanda of Notting Hill Flibbertigibbet RECENTLY I spoke of Edward VII as not being the ruler of West Bengal todayThis week a newspaper has brought in Shakespeare's 'Henry V without quoting this marvellous piece:

CALCUTTA DIARY- The Cottage Revolution and After

the prevailing political balance provides little scope for dramatic moves. The current passion is for answers which will lessen tensions and keep various trends in a workable rapport for the day when it will be possible to start pushing. Another year of marking time is envisaged. But, will we get this year of grace

CALCUTTA DIARY- A Show, A Visits An Assault

A Show, A Visits An Assault Flibbertigibbet ON SEPTEMBER 18 the West Ben. gal Congress took out its first procession against the United Front Government; and an impressive show it was. Some 25,000 people participated in it; the crowd was fairly well disciplined, despite provocations; and the party seems pleased as Punch, A notable absentee among the leaders was Atulya Ghosh; another, Prafulia Sen, the former Chief Minister. And thereby hang several tales. It is said that Atulya Ghosh and Prafulia Sen are not quite getting on. That attempts are afoot to remove Ghosh and his friends from the leadership of the State Congress is a secret no more. Whether these efforts enjoy the support of Prafulia Sen seems less clear; and the descent of Gulzarilal Nanda from Delhi makes the picture clear as mud.

CALCUTTA DIARY-Splittism, Bengali Style

CALCUTTA DIARY Splittism, Bengali Style Flibbertigibbet POLITICS in Bengal have rarely been united even when confined to the province; intrusion of India has always made things worse, not better. The latest split in the Bangla Congress, itself an assortment of ex-Congressmen, can be understood only if it is set in its historical perspective. Recent history. The row between J M Sen Gupta and Subhas Bose is not all that ancient. The row between Jugantar and Anushilan, both terrorist organisations, is unknown only to the very young Bengalis. Sarat Bose and Nalini Sarker quarrelled at the slightest provocation. Prafulla Ghosh, the present Food Minister, once presided over an ad hoc Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee with all-India support, while the Bose Brothers ruled over the elected body. The row between Ajoy Mukherjee and Atulya Ghosh also had all-India overtones. The former had local support; the latter wore an all-India halo until humbled somewhat by the general election. The general thesis will be discussed later. First the details of the most recent political developments in what remains of Bengal.

A CALCUTTA DIARY-Going, Going

September 16, 1967 with Hindi? This, too, is shortsighted. It can be justified only if English is to be the sole link language of the Indian Union. If there is to be an indefinite co-existence of two link languages, then every Indian who wishes to go places in India will have to have a smattering at least of both these languages. It is just good luck for the Hindi-speaking peoples that their mother-tongue happens to be one of these languages. They might be compelled to learn some other modern Indian language but they need not. But the non-Hindi peoples have to learn the necessary amount of Hindi for comprehension and limited communication. This is not much of a burden. Indeed, the many Tamilians outside Tamilnad have easily taken it in their stride. It is certainly wrong of the Hindi chauvinists to go about attempting to compel a rapid transition to Hindi as the sole link language. But an anti-Hindi backlash will not help either. Hindi is far easier for the Indian peoples to learn than English, even for the vast majority of the Tamils.

Sikh, Sikh, Sikh

What happened in Calcutta last week when a part of the city lost its head? Whether or not there is a judicial inquiry, we may never know the whole truth which was either knocked down by a bus, cut through with a kirpan or, shot down by police bullets. The fact is that at least 11 people died and about 300 people were injured as a result of troubles that lasted no more than a warm morning and were restricted to only one area, between Harrison Road and Sealdah Station. Not in living memory had Hindus and Sikhs clashed in Calcutta. After a couple of days of uncertainty, the private buses and Sikh-owned taxis are back on the road. It will be a long time before suspicions fully disappear.

Laying on a Conspiracy of Lay-off

The industrial scene in West Bengal today seems the murkier for affected understatements by both the Government and the industrialists. On his return from Delhi the Chief Minister, Ajoy Mukherjee, has delivered himself of the profundity that retrenchment is an all-India phenomenon. Some spokesmen of the chambers of commerce, after their talks with the labour Minister, Subodh Banerjee, have said that they are all with the Government on the policy of no retrenchment and no lay-off without prior consultations with the Government.

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