Sunday, May 15, 2011

Virgins don't (always) wear bras !!


My friend an cuz-in-law Aakar calls Advani the 'worst kind of extremist' because - he lacks sense of proportion and use the extreme end of language (Read Aakar's Column in Mint) By that token - Bengalis are congenitally extremists. See the euphoria after the Trinamool victory. There were similar jubilation in 1977 - when the Left Front came back to power and again 5 years back when Buddha was annointed as the new messiah of Bengal. Why do we have to always swing between 2 extremes ? Even if the Left had to be taught a lesson - did we have to decimate them so totally ? A little moderation would have been good for everyone. Perhaps, even the CPM wouldn't have gone so much off the handle - if they had a strong opposition in the assembly. We now run the same risk with Trinamool. But, then we have never been good at treading the middle-ground.

The front page of yesterday's The Telegraph, Calcutta's (still) leading English daily - is a symbol of such kind of 'extremism'. The same newspaper group had gone ga-ga over Buddha earlier (to the extent that, people started joking that their flagship iconic publication should be re-christened "Ananda-shakti" - a la Ganashakti - the official mouthpiece of CPM) and had backed him to the hilt on the Singur and Nano. (They have a history of 'extremism' tho' - one remembers the photograph of Sanjay Gandhi vertically straddling half of the ABP's front-page during the Emergency). But, yesterday's paper took the cake. Even the mast-head was relegated to the bottom of the page. All the inside pages were separately numbered in roman numerals and captioned "Green Revolution" with the Trinamool emblem embedded in it. To me, it looked almost like a paid advertorial supplement of Trinamool. (See The Telegraph - epaper)

I couldn't resist sending in my tuppence worth of reader feedback per SMS to my Oxford educated editor friend of the paper and , taking the liberty of, also marking a copy to his boss - the Editor-in-Chief. The friend was dismissive - he wrote back "Your opinion to which you are welcome". But, his boss - who always loves a good argument - was more indulgent. He replied that - even respected UK newspapers are known to do this if the occasion so demanded. He cited 9/11 and major royal events (death of Lady Di ?) and asked me to judge the paper by it's content (as to whether it read like a 'paid supplement' ) rather than go by the looks. I tried to stump him by asking - if pushing the mast-head down to the bottom of the page didn't tantamount to violating the "virginity" of the front-page of which I have known him to be fiercely protective. He was quick to retort - "agree it should be rare and far between but virginity doesn't mean one always has to wear a bra ". Touche !!

But, what I didn't persist in asking him is - if likening Mamata's ascendancy with 9/11 and Lady Di's demise - would augur well for the state.

Like someone tweeted : Mamata is West Bengal's punishment for the sins of CPM.

(Read my earlier post on Mamata and Trinamool - apropos Singur : Nano Vision by clicking here)