“Once made equal to man, woman becomes his superior,” said Socrates who was born about 2500 years before Mamta di blossomed into a dictator in the state which espoused the dictatorship of the proletariat for quite a few decades. The proletarian attributes of Mamta di may be limited to the sari she dons, but her dictatorial character is unfolding more quickly than we would have expected.
Last month she banned most mainstream English and vernacular newspapers from the state-funded libraries under the pretext of encouraging “free thinking.” Free thinking seems to mean thinking like Mamta di, or at least having thoughts favourable to her.
Recently she had a Jadavpur University professor arrested for circulating a picture spoof on the Trivedi – Mukul Roy exchange offer in the Ministry of Indian Railways. Now she is after the blood of more academicians. She has ordered an academic scrutiny of teachers in colleges and universities. And the scrutiny will begin with – what else – the Jadavpur University. Moreover, the scrutiny will be carried out by “external officials” – a euphemism for Didi’s own personnel?
Are we reminded of Stalin, the dictator of Russia, who would not tolerate any kind of opposition, even the mildest of the sort?
Let us not forget the case of scientist Partho Sarathi Ray who was arrested by Didi’s order for protesting against the evictions of people from a slum.
Let us also not forget how Didi donned the mantle of the Judge when a woman was raped in February. She said the charge was fabricated. She went on to ask what a married woman had got to do with a nightclub? Did she not know that the Indian Penal Code does not prohibit married women from working in a nightclub or seeking employment there? Or, what if a woman visited a nightclub for her own personal reasons? Should the Chief Minister of the state don the mantle of the moralist instead of trying to secure the safety of her citizens?
Commenting on the philosophy of Socrates, with whose words this blog began, eminent writer Will Durant said: “… if the government itself is a chaos and an absurdity, if it rules without helping, and commands without leading, how can we persuade the individual, in such a state, to obey the laws and confine his self-seeking within the circle of the total good?”
Ruling without helping and commanding without leading – that’s more of a dictator than an administrator. Such politicians are becoming too common in Indian politics. Didi is just a glaring example. There are far too many of them in almost every state of the country as well as at the Centre.
Is that why “self-seeking” by individuals has increased disproportionately in the last few years?