“Smile in the face of adversity” seems to be the message of singer-turned-rebel Trinamool Congress MP Kabir Suman, who has penned a song mocking the West Bengal government after a Jadavpur University professor was arrested for group mailing a cartoon featuring chief minister Mamata Banerjee, railway minister Mukul Roy and Trinamool MP Dinesh Trivedi.
Suman (62) asks the people of Bengal to smile even in pain: “Haashi niye thako/Haashi mukhe thako/ Bongo rango hok, sob lok heshe nik jantranateo (Live with a smile/ live with a smiling face. Even in pain, the people of Bengal should smile). The song is titled, Haashi Niye Thako (Live with a smile).
Taking further potshots at Mamata who is trying to clamp down on Facebook, Suman said, “I am there on Facebook and happy with my smile. I sing with a smile. My day will come, too. Let me sharpen my smile now.”
Suman urges introspection, “Aainay mukh dekho ektu, haashte shekho swabhabik haashi/ Khoncha dewa haashi noy, tate shandeho hoy bujhi debe phaansi (See your face in the mirror and learn to laugh normally/ No oblique smile, that arouses suspicion that you may be hanged).”
JU professor Ambikesh Mahapatra’s arrest has unsettled a large section of intellectuals and common people who say they are “scared” by the state government’s moves.
Suman also wrote a song on the “volte-face” of his party that fought against eviction of small farmers in Singur while in the opposition, but used the police to uproot settlers at Nonadanga without rehabilitating them. The song, Singur theke Nonadanga (From Singur to Nonadanga), was written after the police attacked a peaceful rally by Nonadanga settlers protesting against their forced eviction.
“After the police attacked a peaceful rally, the police minister (read Mamata Banerjee) stopped a peaceful demonstration and arrested agitators. I feel her own creation Ma-Maati-Manush is under siege,” said Suman.
Trinamool has also drawn all-round condemnation for “social ostracisation” advisory by food minister Jyotipriya Mullick. The Left, Congress and intellectuals who had supported Mamata in her fight to oust the Left Front government slammed Trinamool after Mullick told people at a meeting not to marry into CPM families.
“I requested our workers to boycott the CPM personally. I told my party workers not to mingle with CPM cadre, not to chat with them at tea stalls or attend social gatherings organised by them,” Mullick had told TOI. On Tuesday, he said his statements were “distorted”.
CPM leader Mohammad Salim said the comments were “atrocious and ridiculous” and attempted to promote enmity. “This was expected from a party like the Trinamool because it is not an ideology driven party. It is based on personality cult,” said Salim.
CPM leader Manab Mukherjee said Mullick’s fatwa was the height of intolerance. “Such comment goes against the culture of tolerance in the argumentative Bengali society. People discuss politics, football or films at local tea stalls. The minister wants this tradition of debate to end,” Mukherjee said.
Dramatist Kaushik Sen, who supported Mamata’s fight for Left’s ouster, said “What annoys me is the silence of intellectuals who have stopped raising their voice in protest.”