ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Calcutta Diary

precedent: the taking over of the Congress party in this state by the youth in the course of the past two years. Of course, Subhas Bose was well below thirty when he shot into prominence in provincial, and national, politics in the 1930s, But, then, he belonged to a unique genre: the offspring of a rich family, one who had voluntarily resigned from the Indian Civil Service when the charisma that service commanded was still all-pervading, one who had also been to Cambridge and had stunningly good looks. In a milieu where political leadership, almost as a matter of prerogative, belonged to the upper class quasi- feudal quasi-professional categories, the dazzling rise of Subhas Bose was almost inevitable, very nearly an act of nature. Even so, his ascendancy in the Congress was not coterminous with the capture of the party machinery by the general mass of youth. By and large, gerontocracy continued to be the rule in the Congress hierarchy. Subhas Bose, being Subhas Bose, was of course accommodated; otherwise, the Congress, till very recently was firmly under the control of wily veterans; young men and women were always found useful, as much by Atulya Ghosh as by B C Roy, but only as volunteers and cheer-leaders. Come the season for elections, in the campaigning for votes and in the performance of other essential chores, young brats were much in demand. Even so, social distance was social distance; the services rendered by the young enthusiasts were duly appreciated' and all that; politics however was serious business. The functioning of the party was directed by the old stalwarts; the young ones, who would flock in whenever the call went out from the party, would be offered recompense so that they could have games and fun; they were not supposed to ask any questions After all, it was the landlords

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