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

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Calcutta Diary

AM THERE is an old Maurice Chevalier song which serenades little girls in terms of a basic hometruth: 'If there were no little girls, what will little boys do'. Can the analogy be more apt? If there were no Left Front government in West Bengal, what will our far out radicals do? This government, let us admit, has umpteen faults and deficiencies. It has fallen short of the promise of nine years ago; in many areas of activity, it has been sloppy and slipshod; it has yielded, a little too easily, to the pull of economism; even where it has succeeded, its public relations have been awfully poor, so much so that its adversaries have succeeded in distorting its achievements beyond measure; its weakness for carnivals devoid of political content is frustrating even for its strongest supporters; in its recent confrontations with the union government, it has often appeared as having done not enough home work; on the Gorkhaland affair, its polemics have been so wayward that its principled fight for the cause of secular Nepalis, who are flesh of the flesh of the united working class movement in the plantation areas, has been misinterpreted a$ manifestation of Bengali chauvinism. Far out radicals are also having a gala time in tearing to pieces its industrial policy, which basically does not say much more than simply that the monopoly houses and the multinational corporations must not be permitted to walk away elsewhere with the surplus they have squeezed out of the state's resident population, but should be coaxed into re-investing it within the state itself along socially approved directions. The supposed radicals have distinctly other views in the matter, and the Left Front government is lovely fodder for them. If perchance Jyoti Basu and his government would disappear from the scene, a major tragedy, there is no question, would befall the radicals suddenly deprived of their profession; it would be crisis time for their vacuous libidoes.

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