Kolkata: After a few seasons of rising acrimony and abuses, here comes a dose of the subtle in Bengal politics.
“Dekho o deewano tum ye kaam na karo, Ram ka naam badnam na karo” this super hit song from the 1971 film starring Dev Anand, Mumtaz and Zeenat Aman is the Trinamool Congress’ new weapon to take on the BJP upsurge in Bengal.
Banners and hoardings with the words ‘Ram ka naam badnam na karo’ (Don’t malign the name of Ram) written in Bengali and Hindi have come up at different places in Kolkata and beyond.
The saffron-coloured poster features a picture of Hanuman on top and chief minister Mamata Banerjee at the bottom. The words are written prominently in the middle.
“This is our way to counter BJP in the intellectual way. BJP is trying to induct some alien culture in West Bengal, which the people of the state never witnessed before. But we want to counter it in a manner that suits the Bengal culture. Ram ka nam badnam na koro, is the beginning and more such innovations will come in the coming days,” agriculture minister Purnendu Bose said.
More such banners will be put up, say Trinamool leaders. Some point out the song has more potent lines that could not be displayed for the sake of brevity.
Please recall the next lines, said former minister Madan Mitra, an once-trusted lieutenant of chief minister Mamata Banerjee who is a prominent face of Bhawanipore that is her home turf too.
“Ram ko samjho, Krishna ko jano, nind se jago, o mastano,” (Understand Ram, know Krishna, wake up from your slumber, o vagabond) is what can deliver our message more cogently, he says with a smile.
The lyrics penned by Anand Bakshi was put to music by Rahul Dev Burman. Along with Dum Maro Dum, the song became a chart buster. Trinamool leaders in Bengal feel 46 years later the line will become a political super hit too.
Ram is at the centre of an intense political tug of war in Bengal with the Sangh parivar organising Ram Navami on an unprecedented scale this year. Hitherto confined to small-scale celebrations, the day was observed with numerous public functions and processions with swords and other weapons in different towns and even in the chief minister’s constituency of Bhawanipore in south Kolkata.
Trinamool has responded by intellectuals projecting how Lord Ram has never been a prominent religious figure in Bengal. With this banner Trinamool leaders have inaugurated a different chapter of political attack.
Who thought of the campaign? Trinamool leaders did not have a ready answer, but they swore on its effectiveness.
“BJP is indeed giving Lord Ram a bad name. What other way to say it loud and clear than to remind the people of a hit number they used to hum once,” remarked urban development minister Firhad Hakim.
The BJP has hit back, saying that Bengal’s ruling party is afraid of them.
“In fact, there is no Ram here. Some persons have emerged as Ravanas and they are reacting accordingly. But the lyricist has also written Ram ne haskar sabkuch tyage, tu sab dukh se kyun dar ke bhage (Ram has happily given everything up, why do you run away in fear?),” said BJP leader Samik Bhattacharya.