The horror of evil is not the commission of it but the acceptance of such evil by the society. The state that had been resting in the folds of lethargy and under development until a few years back has been thrust to the fore front for all the wrong reasons. West Bengal has proved to be a petri-dish for all that can go wrong with politics and the people who practice it. The people of the state were subjected to 30 years of communist regime, and when they finally chose a new government the spirit of the common man soar. He wanted the “parivartan” that the party went around preaching through its slogans. He wanted English education, work opportunities, industrialization, he wanted West Bengal to rise out of the pit of despondence and coagulation that it had fallen into. Regrettably, the elation of having won over a force that once seemed unbeatable has led to a much dreaded “parivartan”.
The amalgamation of filmy bravado and political arrogance has cleanly filtered out every drop of austerity and dignity that a politician should ordinarily possess. In an obnoxious and execrable speech, actor turned politician, Tapas Pal spewed venom against the CPI(M). The “dada” arrived at the small village of Choumaha in Nadia on 30th of June, 2014, and post felicitation, he climbed on stage to deliver what can safely be said to be his most unforgivable speech. A village which has witnessed enough bloodshed and political vendetta, which now requires a few schools, better roads, good irrigation, trade and business got no such promises, instead it was incited to indulge in mindless violence and atrocity. Like a fanatic Pal urged the people of the village to kill, plunder and rape, and like devotees the audience stood enraptured by their hero who asked them to spare no CPI(M) follower who caused them even the slightest inconvenience.
He went on to goad the villagers to pump bullets into the CPI(M) workers and their family members and assured them that they would walk away unharmed and unpunished. He goes on to demonstrate his prowess by declaring that he would send his boys into the houses of the members of the rival party and ask them to rape their women. There was an air of untamed, ungoverned ruthlessness in his demeanor. His self assuming arrogance was rewarded with a rain of applauses and he was cheered on by the crowd. Therefore, the real horror of it does not lie in the words that the MP uttered but instead it lies in the appreciation and encouragement that the audience provided to supplement his call for unbridled violence.
The speech exploded on social forums and was debated upon to great lengths. The National Commission for Women and the CPI(M) demanded an immediate disqualification of the MP, and also wanted the state government to file an FIR against Pal.. But today, two weeks later the black and white pages of the newspapers, the vibrant television screens, the buzzing coffee houses have conveniently moved on to newer and more outrageous issues.
The misery of the society today is acceptance. The frequency of events alarm people in the initial phases but as the frequency increases the outrage decreases. Some accept out of their free will and some are subjugated to accept. Corruption is a glaring example of such acceptance.
The country witnessed such elaborate campaigns against corruption over the stretch of the last five years. The nation seemed to have united as a common front against corruption and was pulsating with regular allegations and investigations against political and industrial supremos. What followed was the formation of a political front by overzealous members of the campaign and a consequential mockery of the ideologies that the leaders claimed to profess. Rape and violence seem to be rapidly edging closer to a similar fate. It can be easily inferred from comments made by certain members of the political class. It is difficult to forget the incident in which the youngest Chief Minister of the country asked a journalist to refrain from asking pertinent questions regarding the violence at Badaun as long as he has not faced any danger.
The instance mentioned above shows a politician defending his failure to protect the citizens through unfounded retorts and excuses, but the speech at Chowmaha was made by a representative of the people, a lawmaker, shamelessly professing the commission of rape and murder. The phenomenon of idol worshipping is not alien to the Indian crowd. When such speeches are made by Tapas Pal, a famous Bengali actor, one can only begin to imagine the impact the views he indoctrinates has on the malleable minds of the youth.
The party that had vehemently agitated for the removal of Justice Ganguly from the post of the chair of WBHRC in view of allegations of sexual abuse by a law intern against him and had brought up issues like public propriety, sanctity of the office, and decency, stood red faced and conveniently distanced themselves from their rogue party member. Justice Dipankar Dutta rejected the “apology” tendered by Pal and asked his counsel to prove that the right to life of people was not in jeopardy. The public prosecutor was questioned about not invoking section 153 of the IPC- wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot against Pal. He also added that the orator was not a mere loafer but a responsible lawmaker of the country.
Sadly, the party that never shied away from blaring its trumpets when it came to declaring its zero tolerance policy regarding the safety and dignity of women let Pal off the hook with a public apology. It only shall be remembered to garnish finely crafted speeches by political rivals and the rest shall be tucked away into the folds of oblivion. The words of the speech shall be subdued by heroic dialogues and filmy songs, while we simply move on to a higher level of acceptance.
About the Author
Sneha is an aspiring lawyer studying at Symbiosis Law School, Pune. She is a cinephile who also loves to read, even if it’s a manual of a device.
 153. Wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot—if rioting be committed—if not committed.—Whoever malignantly, or wantonly, by doing anything which is illegal, gives provocation to any person intending or knowing it to be likely that such provocation will cause the offence of rioting to be committed, shall, if the offence of rioting be committed in consequence of such provocation, be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both; and if the offence of rioting be not committed, with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.