In an open letter to the people of West Bengal, Ratan Tata has asked whether they want a prosperous, industrialised state under the leadership of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee or a ‘state consumed by a destructive political environment of confrontation, agitation, violence and lawlessness’. Here are some alleged reactions to his letter — completely imaginary, but perhaps not entirely absurd.
Alleged letter from Mamata Banerjee:
Dear Ratan Tata,
How many votes do you have?
Purported letter from Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee:
Dear Comrade Tata,
I am delighted to inform you that we have decided to induct you into the politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Lal salaam.
Ostensible letter from Narendra Modi:
I suggest that your next target should be ITC Ltd. True, the ITC head office is located in the heart of Kolkata, but even Chowringhee was once farmland and deserves to be given back to farmers. For your sterling efforts in single-handedly sending the Nano our way, you have already bagged the Gujarati of the year award. If you can do the same to ITC, I will personally erect your statue in Ahmedabad.
Suspected letter from Raj Thackeray:
Dear Mr Tata,
Your criticism of Mamata Banerjee is uncalled for. She has taught us many things. We in Mumbai have so far been woefully backward when it comes to bandhs, morchas, street violence, blockading roads etc, although we are proving to be very good learners. Many of our recent successes are the result of closely following her techniques. So don’t bug the lady, OK? You live in Mumbai, don’t you?
So-called letter from Vilasrao Deshmukh:
Wah, Buddhadeb, wah. I bow to your superior political intelligence. You not only managed to thrust all the blame for losing the Nano on Mamata, but you’ve also got an endorsement from Ratan Tata. Compared to that, our little political game of splitting the Sena vote by boosting Raj is child’s play. Keep up the good work.
Supposed letter from The Singur Youth Club:
Dear Mr Tata,
Re: your open letter
With reference to the above see our below:
We are confused by your letter because you use a lot of long words. For example, what is the meaning of ‘confrontative actions’? We find it difficult to understand because your beloved Left Front government had removed English from the school syllabus for many years. Could you provide us a Bengali translation?
Professed letter from the West Bengal government:
We acknowledge the receipt of your open letter and will be posting you a reply as soon as we have perused it. Unfortunately, as you are aware, your letter arrived in the middle of the Puja holidays, during which all offices are closed. As you know, the Puja vacations are a big thing in West Bengal. At present, Durga Puja is over and so is Lakshmi Puja, but we still have Kali Puja to look forward to, which we celebrate on Diwali. True, offices will open after Kali Puja, but then we only have a short time left before the Christmas season. We are all staunch secularists and always celebrate Christmas, many of us buying cakes from Flurys on Park Street for the occasion.
And after Christmas, there’s Netaji’s birthday on 23 January and then of course there’s Saraswati Puja in February. We may not therefore be in a position to attend office before March, by which time it gets infernally hot in Kolkata and nothing gets done because of the heat, the humidity and the Bengali New Year celebrations in April. And after the boiling summer the rains start in June and it’s very difficult to get to the office because half the city is flooded. You can hardly expect us to work during the monsoons. Perhaps we’ll be able to read your letter after the rains, but then it’s time for Viswakarma Puja and then Durga Puja again, so you really never know.
(Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint)