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Thursday, May 16, 2019

SHAME! ....?

Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar’s statue has been contemptuously demolished – again, fifty years on.

The last time it was ultra-left ‘intellectual idealists’ who did it; this time the blame has been pinned on ultra-right lumpens, no doubt egged on by their masters who incidentally lay no claim to either knowledge or wisdom of any kind beyond blind worship of what they call ‘tradition’, and are actually motivated by the only thing that has ever motivated rightwingers: naked lust for unbridled power.

Apparently the ageing ‘naxalites’ who perpetrated the horror fifty years ago are deeply ashamed now, (same day, same newspaper) as their inheritors today just might be, fifty years later. Thank God the sublime greatness of someone like Vidyasagar does not depend one whit on what they think and value.

But – a little, shameful reminder. Have average Bengalis (even the formally educated among them) ever really known and respected Vidyasagar? Remember how he who struggled to enlighten and succour them for most of his life ultimately gave up in disgust and despair, turned his back on them and went off to vegetate in his old age among Santhal villagers far away from the big ‘happening’ city? Yes, too shameful to remember, perhaps. Having been a teacher myself all my life, having worshipped Vidyasagar in the same breath with the likes of Socrates and Confucius, and having found out exactly how much we (including the teachers among us) respect this profession, I don’t think what has happened really matters. We couldn’t show more disrespect to a man like that merely by smashing a statue of his. Who are we, obsessed with Messi and Deepika and Virat, and GoT and PubG, and Amazon and Zomato and Apple and Uber, to either respect or disrespect someone like him? Do candles matter to the sun?

P.S., June 12: Look up this link in today's newspaper. As I was saying.


Tanmoy said...

Dear Suvroda

After years, I ended up following the general elections and I wonder why did I do that? It is appalling to say the least. It appears that the country has reached a new low in the language used and the actions taken. At times I feel perhaps it is for the better that selfless contributions of social reformers like Vidyasagar remain confined to the pages of books written on him than their legacy be brought to disrepute like this!

It makes me frustrated that this is a country that tries to censor art but cannot control the way its representatives, media speak or act.

Although, I am not sure whether the artist envisioned this sculpture for such a day, but Bengal’s events reminded me of a sculpture I saw in Sydney called ‘Almost Once’, where an unburnt matchstick is standing next to a burnt one facing the city.

I posted the photo on my blog - https://tanmoy.wordpress.com/

Take care Suvroda and be safe in the environment.


Payel Banerjee said...

Dear sir,
This is a big shock for all "Indians". I have used the inverted commas to denote the true citizens of this country. They are the ones who respect their own culture and have true regard for those who had sacrificed for the sake of the country. We should remenber that respecting a tradition, practice or culture does not mean that they should be followed blindly. We should use our own intellect to judge the benefits and flaws of a practice. If a practice turns the society unhealthy , it should be stopped. This does not mean that the people are neglecting their own culture. This missunderstanding creates these political issues which bare no meaning at all.
I was shocked that even Raja Rammohan Roy was not spared from such abuses. Interestingly, he is abused by a few women of the ultra-modern society who claim to be true "Indians".