Updated: Jun 7, 2021
This past week has held immense pain for the people of the state due to violence stemming from post-poll tensions.
Amongst many atrocities committed, multiple political activists and workers were murdered in post-poll violence. Party offices were burnt down, businesses burnt down, people were lynched brutally on public roads, and many other such occurrences took place early this week. The state of violence prompted media outlets and party officials to name Monday as a ‘black day for the state, owing to most of the violence being committed then. There has been a constant blame game and back and forth between the two parties with deaths being claimed on each side and each using the crisis as a political tool.
Although each party blames the other, there is no conclusive evidence to prove either of their claims and although the political angle seems to be the major reason for the violence, it seems that the deeper problem lies in the state, its history and its people. West Bengal has been the historical centre for many conflicts, bloodbaths, and past political clashes, including during independence. The root causes of these conflicts can be traced to many paths and decisions - with the biggest, and probably most influential cause being the change in post-independence policies in the state of West Bengal. Because of many policies and economic changes being made by the central governments of the decades past, West Bengal has remained, as it was before independence, a labour-heavy and development stunted state. The story of how this came to be is complicated with many unclear aspects, but the result has been the same, no matter how it is viewed - the state suffered years of unfair taxations and a lack of economic prosperity that could be invested back into development; as a result of this, villages in West Bengal have not changed in decades, it remains a labour capital, and it still houses millions dependent on daily wages and gruelling labour work.
The process of stunted development has brought about a stagnant situation where politics has reigned supreme - political parties have for decades used the power gaps and slow process of development in the state for their benefit, and as a result of this, thousands have become overly dependent both mentally and financially on their political parties and officers.
The state of West Bengal has much to give - but has been effectively pushed to a corner by many political propagandas and parties. The current rage of violence has set West Bengal back at least 10 years in human rights - and it is not going anywhere, only remaining dormant till the next big happening, until proper change is not planned and executed. We can only hope that its political leaders will learn to do more for the people of the state and focus on development rather than the power play because that is the only way such a diverse yet dangerous state can move forward.