17 Nov 2005

jhanda unchaa rahey hamara...

Returned last week from a short trip to one of the last “Red” bastions in the world - West Bengal !
It is almost a year since i last visited Cal (oh uh, Kolkata…). The change was very visible, actually hurt the eye. Huge billboards have sprung up all over the city, shining brightly into the night, highlighting beautiful people and wonderful things. Some even powered from their own generator, purring away on the sidewalk. btw, Cal experiences very little powercuts. The Reds have obliterated all industries, consequentially very few power-hogging machinery and plenty of floodlit billboards and malls. Jai Baba Marwariji !
Add a few flyovers and a bumper harvest in real estate development and you have the complete picture of the burgeoning Bengal.

High-rises have sprung up in every other nook and cranny. Including the wasteland that is metamorphing into the Rajarhat township. Acres after acres of paddy fields land-filled with soil from “bheris” (shallow lakes traditionally used to rear fish for the bangali platter) in the eastern edges of the metropolis. Spanking new high-rise clusters dot this desolate landscape. Attempts for a brave new facelift for a Bengal festering and crumbling from inside. The “maantey hawbey” brand of militant trade-unionism and the general apathy to labour for a living, die hard.

“The Party” has, in the meantime, taken up the cause of the down-trodden IT professional. Adjudging the IT industry to be in dire needs of unionization. What of all rampant exploitation – more than 8-hour workdays and no “overtime” payments. And no unions equate to no enhancements to Party funds…

A brave new vision of the proletariat world… Narayana Murthy’s campus gates barricaded by red banners and “maantey hawbey” chanting Java developers !

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