Scarred, 'Maoist' student pens open letter to Mamata
Hours after being branded a "Maoist" by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee for asking uncomfortable questions, Taniya Bhardwaj, student of Presidency University, retaliated with an open letter to the CM in The Telegraph.kolkata Updated: May 21, 2012 01:20 IST
Hours after being branded a "Maoist" by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee for asking uncomfortable questions, Taniya Bhardwaj, student of Presidency University, retaliated with an open letter to the CM in The Telegraph.
But the young woman who wrote with such gusto - "In Bengal today, asking a question can be equivalent to a Maoist act" - said the chain of events had left her scarred. "I do want to be dragged into any further controversy," Bharadwaj said on Sunday.
On Friday, during an interactive programme in Kolkata, Banerjee had hurled the Maoist tag and walked off in a huff when Bhardwaj questioned the behaviour of Trinamool ministers. Later, the police had asked CNN-IBN, which organised the programme, to furnish phone numbers of the students involved.
In her letter, Bhardwaj, a topper and master debater, questioned whether the essence of democracy, freedom of expression, still prevails in Bengal. Countering Banerjee's epithet, she wrote, "Just like I won't become a Maoist simply because you called me one, the state too won't epitomise democracy unless it is truly democratic in all spheres.
Bhardwaj said she had felt glad when the chief minister spurned the dais and sat with the students. "But what happened later was really disappointing," she said. "I did not instigate her, I did not behave rudely. But she was in a position where she could walk out and she did exactly that".
Asked if the fear factor would prompt her to leave Kolkata for good, Bhardwaj said, "I am yet to decide on that. I have offers from London, but I really love Kolkata," she said.
In her letter, referring to Banerjee's frequent regrets at being unable to stop the brain drain from Bengal, Bhardwaj had written, "I too will probably leave and now you know the reason why."
Banerjee's remarks had left a mark on the rest of the audience too, who were heard muttering that though the government has changed, the system has not.
The harbinger of "Poriborton", is open to praise but not to criticism, said others.