It’s like having a stomachache because of rage. I think I can’t express it with any better idiom. I’m virtually at a loss of words after hearing the news of Ambikesh Mahapatra’s arrest this morning. It has left a bad taste in my mouth.
What is this? Shame on the state government, I’m aghast. Not even in my wildest fantasy could I imagine such a situation. Even an innocent joke is not being allowed.
At times, I feel upset about joining her on the dais of her hunger strike against the forcible land acquisition in Singur. At that time, we became close and fought together. I wish I had not gone there. But unfortunately, the past cannot be undone.
The picture that has suddenly created a huge controversy is not even a cartoon. It’s an allution to Satyajit Ray’s Sonarkella. There is not even the slightest of revolt anywhere. Not a single dirty word. There is nothing obscene in it.
Yes, it’s political. But that’s what it’s supposed to be. Our existence is political. I’ve been lampooning the system through my songs for several years. But is that a crime? Then I could also be arrested for the songs I wrote.
And this is no cyber crime. If the government thinks that they can do anything, that’s wrong. I feel so sad to see that the government is pushing the people, the same people who voted them to power, to think otherwise. There is something very risky about the human nature, if people are pushed too far.
I can refer to at least one television show caricaturing political personalities being run on a pro-government channel, for almost a couple of years. Now, they mostly caricature opposition leaders. But that’s no crime. It’s their freedom of expression. But what the government did now was uncivilised and primitive. Every other day, sharp cartoons, even on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, are published in different media and journals. They are real cartoons. But no one takes offence. The entire art of cartooning would be banned if everyone goes the way the West Bengal government did.
I think it’s time when we should court arrest. If Professor Mahapatra has done any crime, we are all criminals. And we should all be arrested. We should gather in front of the police headquarters and ask them to arrest us. Many are now comparing such acts with that of the Taliban. But I don’t agree. Taliban do not quote Rabindranath Tagore or Kazi Nazrul Islam. I suggest the government now dig Nazrul’s body out of his grave and book him for composing the number Karar oi Louho Kapat. That would make some sense I think.
Suman is a singer and rebel Trinamool MP