history : Where did West Bengal go wrong?
West Bengal had some of the brightest and creative minds in India/world such as Tagore, Aurobindo, Vivekanand to CV Raman and Satyajit Ray, Jagdish Bose etc.
But last time I visited this state I was appalled by poverty in the state. Everything that could go wrong seems to have gone wrong with this state. Why is that?
Some people might put the blame on Communism but people could have voted them out.
Answer by Amit Banerjee:
If you look at the track record of this state, you will see the footprints of how and why this disaster happened.
There were a series of disastrous incidents which broke the backbone of Bengal, over a period of 100 years.
1905: "Bang Bhang" movement was initiated by British government. At that time, West Bengal was a very active state with regard to Indian freedom struggle. Notable politicians, lawyers, philosophers and freedom fighters Zeroed into Calcutta, the capital of India.
Marked region is the map of greater Bengal pre 1905 partition.
It was becoming impossible for the British to control this and hence they divided Bengal under two different administrative blocks, thereby creating a natural blockade between its own people.
1943: Bengal famine.
Hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives because of malnutrition and the sudden disappearance of Food. Britain was fighting a terrible war and they paid no attention the people who produced most of the food for their army. Most of the supplies came from Burma and Bengal and when these people needed food, no external supplies were given.
It is said that nursing mothers didn't had enough milk to feed new born babies, forget feeding themselves.
The Holocaust of Bengal – A 300% increase in economic deterioration and 1200% increase in the rate of destitution (with young women affected the most) during the famine even as Britain appeared to stockpile food for itself. Bengal was a victim ofof the worst kind
1947: Partition, the formation of East Pakistan
As soon as Partition was announced, communal riots were staged by the politicians to enforce their power propaganda. Calcutta was burned in communal riots.
Millions of refugees came over from East Pakistan and started living in West Bengal as Refugees. My grandfather was a doctor at that time, serving the British and he said that there were insurmountable number of deaths his unit could not handle on any given day. They were ordered not to treat people who won't make it and save medicines and resources for those who had chances of survival.
1971: The liberation of Bangladesh
And then, this is what will hurt Bengal forever – the liberation of Bangladesh.
Prior to the war, there were millions of refugees who came to Bengal in search of hope, to save their lives. West Pakistani army was brutally killing the people of East Pakistan. Women were raped and murdered and men were killed in broad daylight. Men who could fight joined the "Mukti Bahini" and the women fled East Pakistan with their children and came over to West Bengal as "Refugees"
Women would just flee from their house with Nothing but their kids and head towards Calcutta, Murshidabad, Bangaon, Ranaghat and other nearby cities in India
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi did not stop this huge influx of Refugees, she knew that this is going to ruin Bengal's situation but this will improve India's diplomatic state, cutting down Pakistan's right wing once and for all. She allowed the Influx of Refugees into West Bengal, although India was housing more than 12 Million refugees before the war even begun. India was not in a position to spend so much money for foreigners but prime minister succumbed this temporary loss for winning a bigger "benefit"
West Bengal could not bear this huge migration of Refugees history has witnessed. Camps were setup in Bihar, Orissa, Assam and Refugees were transferred to different states, since West Bengal's food supply was just not enough to meet the demands.
The war between India and Pakistan was inevitable and India had to do something to stop the exodus and explosion of Refugees towards India. This was followed by a
- Total Naval and Air blockade of West Pakistan from East Pakistan to ensure no resource can come to East Pakistan through air or sea.
- Provoking Pakistan to assault and start the war on 3rd Dec 1971, so that this mess can be cleaned once and for all. Pakistan bombed 12 air bases in Northern India.
- India took on the aggression and marched onto Dhaka, destroying every single Army garrison of East Bengal and cutting down the Military battery once and for all.
This was the only way left for India to stop the influx of Refugees who were hurting India's economy.
The birth of "Economic Migrants"
So what happened? By the time the war finished, these people scattered across and made their depots in West Bengal. They continued to live here which ruined the local economy to a large extent.
To this day, there is this continuous flow of 'economic migrants' / 'refugees' / 'infiltrators' / 'illegal immigrants' who cross over the border and pan out across the sub-continent, looking for work and a new home, setting in metropolitan centres as far off as Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai. These people are not Bengali's, these are Bangladeshis.
The final nail in the coffin: Communism
To recover from this loss, the state needed rapid industrialization, trade and commerce.
But the active politicians took the route of communism, thereby preventing any further development and causing a severe damage to the local economy. Trading, growing or developing was no longer a principle. The principle shifted towards preserving the "Labor" group, since most of the refugees were laborers and politicians were more concerned of their "Vote Bank". Hence they adopted Communist principles and further curbed the growth of the state, so that they remain in power.
This philosophy is still very active in West Bengal. Anybody can create nuisance through "Strikes" and "Lobbying" is at its peak. They do not realize that by not encouraging industries and trade, they are digging their own graves.
Watch this documentary, the inhuman genocide of Bengal by West Pakistanis