Ruling Nexus Fails the Communal Acid Test, Ismail’s Sewing Machine Endeavours

May 23rd, 2019 [IST]

Muhammad Ismail Ansari, owner of a small tailoring shop was robbed of all the seven sewing machines he had. Just about a 100 metres away from thereDilip Shaw’s grocery shop was set afire and burnt to ashes. The same happened to the shops of Akhter Hussain and Sirajuddin Ansari.  Gita Devi’s home was ransacked and adjacent to it Mani Jaisawal’s shopalso got robbed off. The vicinity of Hajinagar market in Naihati had all the charecteristic wounds and bruises of a communal riot.

Dilip Ghosh, state BJP leader posted in his social media page that he had done his duty which was bestowed upon him. Notifications of a video message containing a violent speech of a “muslim” youth have been flashing on various mobile phones throughout the state. Then surfaced another message of a “hindu” boy screaming for protection from “muslim” goons. Apparently the synthesis of such polarisation was the ‘duty bestowed upon’ the state BJP leader. There is nothing new in this set-piece politics of BJP. What is new is where their set-piece is gaining ground.

Hajinagar is located in the North 24 Parganas district in West Bengal. It now comes within the same bracket as Chandannagar and Mohammed bazar, names to be uttered in undertones, a bracket distinguished by nothing else except their common incidence of communal tensions within the geographical boundaries of West Bengal, a terrain which was until now wholly alien to the forces driving this polarisation, to the likes of the BJP and its allies.

The state administration, corporate media and the ruling party TMC who have consistently worked hand in hand to ensure no ground to the Left for the last few years have knowingly or unknowingly created vaccums for communal forces to breed in. Incident like Hajinagar is of utmost importance as it stands as the acid test of the ruling nexus. But the role played by them is nothing but frustrating.

On the 16th of October when the delegation of opposition legislators led by Abdul Mannan of Congress and Sujan Chakraborty of the Left Front went to visit Hajinagar the police administration had barred them from entering  the affected areas. But they permitted TMC leaders such as Mukul Ray, Jyotipriyo Mullick to roam the affected areas and even to organise rallies. TMC leaders were often seen in the company of people raising ‘Jai Sriram’ slogan. The stance of the administration leads to ensure breather for the communal forces and intensifies the contradictions. There is no hiding the fact that both the groups of so called ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ rioters were led by the goons who are allegedly attached to the TMC. The police administration tried hard to cover up but failed and had to arrest the goons and even the local councillor of TMC. This is nothing but the back to back failure of Mamata Banerjee, her party and her government. She and her party have spared the communal forces, allowing them to gain ground in the vaccum created by resisting the left from organising. Then, when the communal forces started unleashing attacks by promotingcommunal tension, and this led to communal riots, Mamata Banerjee’s administration is not even letting the left and other oppositions visit the riot hit areas as proactive measures to ensure ‘communal harmony’. These failures have actually multiplied the risk of communal clashes throughout the state. Not a single day passes without a new message containing either a ‘Hindu’ or a ‘Muslim’ voice calling for any form of violence or revenge being circulated throughout the state. Social media platforms are flooded with content of the same attitude.

The left front has called upon the people to defend unity and to defeat the designs of communal forces. Every effort is being made to reach out to the affected people. A deputation has been submitted to the CP of Barrackpore Commissionarate. The left has demanded compensation for all the affected people in the riot hit area. 

The attack on democracy in the state has facilitated the growth of communal forces. The aggressive attack on the Left has become a common agenda of RSS-BJP and TMC. The TMC had been out and out intolerant to the opposition voices since they have taken office. And given the attitude of the state administration and the ruling party even after a communal break out, there is increasing reason to apprehend that communal forces will continue to target West Bengal, once a fortress unexplored by the communal forces.

Now coming back to Muhammad Ismail Ansari. He stands as the reason why this communal set-piece of BJP and their allies fail time and again in this country. The only son of Ismail Ansari is in the Indian Army and right now is posted in Kashmir.  BJP, now busy in playing the cards of communalism and their very own ‘Hindu Rashtra’ in the name of ‘patriotism’,often ignores facts like this one. In Hajinagar, Ismail’s shop was robbed of all the seven sewing machines it had - that is where the communal screams fail. They fail while confronting the sewing machines of Ismail’s shop, bottles full of pulses in Dilip Shaw’s store and the walls of Gita Devi’s home.The next day dawns with people trying to gather the scraps of their life and start all over in the endless battle for bread, butter and human dignity – a battle more fierce than any that can be forged by dividing people in the name of religion. And that is why even when the ruling nexus fails, the people and their common humanity resist and survive.