It runs to a pattern. When under attack, the Pavlovian response of many politicians is to hit out at the media. And leading the charge once again is our beloved Mamatadi. Faced with criticism of her government, at the launch of a weekly which has become a daily, the intrepid Ms Banerjee accused the media of blackmail, yellow journalism, instigating riots among Hindus and Muslims and setting houses on fire. “Whatever is written in certain newspapers is a lie,” she thundered. Was she trying to impose some sort of censorship on the Press? Well, if you think so, you’d better keep your thoughts to yourself. For, as she enlightens us, efforts to compare her government’s decision to produce a list of newspapers suitable to be read in libraries to censorship are akin to crying wolf. In case you did not get the message, she elaborates, “Haven’t they heard about what happened to the boy who cried wolf? On day, the beast will come for real.”
This has left us frozen with terror. And we fear things could get worse. We might wake up one fine day after having fired off an editorial about West Bengal and find Didi herself at our doorstep. It’s enough to make us head for the hills. But the very prospect has led us to try and mend our ways.
We are now compiling a list of things that we will try to avoid writing about when it comes to Mamatadi. Infant deaths, farmers’ suicides, rapes and incendiary relations between the state and the Centre and Didi’s unique methods of attracting investment to the state are just a few. But we cannot resist imparting a bit of information to you on Didi’s latest well-thought-out move — let’s be careful with our words. Students in higher secondary State-run schools in West Bengal may no longer be able to study in their textbooks the works of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and the Bolshevik revolution. Instead they will get to learn of the Chinese revolution and Nelson Mandela’s struggle. We look forward to the day when students can also learn of Didi’s struggle to oust the Left and her sterling record as chief minister. We’re not taking any chances here.