Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mamata Banerjee’s Mission Tripura 2013

After the historic win in West Bengal, Mamata is now eyeing on Tripura and Tripura as it seems is also ready to accept Mamata’s ideology of “Maa Maati Maanush”. Tripura shares close proximity with Bengal, culturally and emotionally too, as Bengali population in Tripura and a section of West Bengal where once a part of Bangladesh or Bongo Desh.

At the same time Left ideology after getting blows from recent verdict of people in Kerala and West Bengal has their hope now remained in Tripura, as the state is successfully governed by Left Front government for last 18years.

After the Parivartan in Bengal, the coming assembly election in Tripura in the year 2013 is going to be crucial for the left front government there. The situation in Tripura is same as that was in Bengal few months back. The Congress party, main opposition party in Tripura has a weak base, that’s why after 13th May, the opposition force in Tripura under of banner of Trinmool Congress is trying to start their movement with the slogan of “Maa Maati Maanush”.

Mamata Banerjee has entrusted the responsibility of her party in Tripura to Prof Manik Deb, a learned man with pure image like her. Manik Deb is organizing a mass rally in the heart of the Agartala city on 20th August 2011, which is regarded as the formal start of Trinmool Congress campaign for election in the state after two years.

According to Manik Deb, Tripura is now fully ready to accept the ideology of “Maa Maati Maanush” and whole of Tripura is now “Mamata Moy”. The people of the state too want to be relieved from the corrupt misrule of present Left Front government in the once princely state of Tripura…

On the other hand after Mamata Banerjee’s glorious victory in the major state of eastern India, she wants to expand her party’s fold around. Geographically if we go upwards towards north Jharkhand, Orissa and Bihar is already rooted with major political parties and it’ll take time to include Mamata’s ideology. In the south Orissa,Andhra,Kerela already have there fold therefore the only option that remains with Mamata Banerjee is to expand her party fold in North East, she already has her elected representatives in Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh and now with the grand rally in Agartala in August, Mamata Banerjee is expecting to score more.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Overpower the Corruption Within

Corruption or say corrupt society is what, any citizen of any civilized society did not want but sometimes the consequences and with the series of events we find ourselves in the midst of such corruption. Corruption shakes the foundation of any civilized society and that’s why we do not accept it in any form. The year 2010 we has witnessed so many corruptions within our country.

All the three pillars of democracy whether it is Legislature, Executive and Judiciary were all found to be involved in corruption, even some Journalist too are in the lap of corruption.

Although our performance in Comman Wealth Games was good which now had hide the misdeeds of many big shots in the government and administration.

Several concerns were raised over the preparations of the Games and these included excessive budget overruns, likelihood of floods in Delhi due to heavy monsoon rains, infrastructural compromise, poor living conditions at the Commonwealth Games Village, delays in construction of the main Games’ venues, the withdrawal of prominent athletes, widespread corruption by officials of the Games' Organizing Committee.
Miloon Kothari, leading Indian expert on socio-economic development, questioned the justification of spending billions of dollars on a 12-day sports event "when 46% of India's children and 55% of women are malnourished".
The Indian media also alleged that Games' Organizing Committee officials were involved in serious corruption and these allegations included acceptance of bribe during the process of awarding construction contracts for the Games' venues. The Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee on 5 August 2010 suspended T S Darbari (joint director in the organizing committee) and Sanjay Mahendroo (deputy director general in the organizing committee) following the report of the three-member panel which was probing the financial irregularities related to the Queen's Baton Relay.Organising Committee treasurer Anil Khanna resigned from the post in the wake of allegations that his son's firm had secured a contract for laying synthetic courts at a tennis stadium. There were also multiple cases of items being rented for the 45 days for more money than it would cost to actually buy the item. In one such case, 72 golf carts were hired for 4.23 lakh each, when they could have been purchased for 1.84 lakh each.
Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), an apex Government of India anti-corruption agency, released a report highlighting financial irregularities in up to fourteen Games projects. As per CVC report, in total 129 works in 71 organizations have been inspected. The preliminary findings include — complete lack of involvement of the city and the community at large, award of work contracts at higher prices, poor quality assurance and management, and award of work contracts to ineligible agencies.
Although now the Central Vigilance Commissioner PJ Thomas himself is now facing charges about his illegal recruitment, he has been in this special position even while facing criminal charges against him. The trail is on in Supreme Court.
Apart from this Rajya Sabha this year again found Calcutta High Court Judge Soumitra Sen guilty of misappropriations of Public Money.
The arrest of senior IAS officer Ravi Inder Singh, a director of Internal Security division of Union Home Minister in connection with the leaking of important information from the Ministry in exchange of money and call girls has proved the bureaucracy’s involvement in corruption.
This all went on, many in the government are directly and indirectly involved in the connection of Common Wealth Games big scam, again after the CWG, 2G Spectrum corruption involving the Telecom Ministry and the Minister A. Raja directly, after about a month the minister reluctantly gave his resignation, such is the lust for power. This again brings a shameful chapter in the history of Indian Media, some big Journalists of the country are found lobbying of a certain Minister.
All the three pillars of Democracy, whether it be Legislature, Executive and Judiciary and unfortunately the fourth pillar or estate Media too is bungling under the grip of corruption with money and lust all around.
We can now well guess where our country is floating over corruption we had given the responsibility to run our country to the people, who are much interested in their own welfare rather then the welfare of the nation or society at large.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


We came across many ordinary people in our life who some way or other inspires us with their extraordinary life, which enable us to fight our lives battle bravely and boldly. They are unknown and unsung heroes of our individual life, they may be you they may be I, each and everyone can be an inspiration for others. Here the story is of a friend of mine whose ordinary and simple life became an inspiration for me as how to face life’s cruel battle with smile on face.

Chetanbir Singh is just like any other ordinary individual for me. He does not have any attractive face. He looks like a typical sardar with pagri on head, grey hair and beard, bulky body with good height, he was a warm and jolly person in his late 50’s and he for me is a mast - jinda dil insaan.

My first meeting with this important character of my life was in our office canteen. Unfortunately I was in a table next to which Chetanbir was sitting, he came near me and asked me many questions, I replied what he asked me, although I had kept my distance to this stranger friend of mine, he end up paying the food bill giving the justification that he is senior to me in this office and it is the way to welcome a younger colleague in a new office.

From then on whenever I use to be in the Canteen I try to avoid Chetanbir Singh, as he use to pay the bill always giving justification in someway or other, at times this made me a little embarrassed. Therefore I choose better to avoid him if he is in the Canteen, but for Chetanbir he wants to be with his friends or people, which I may not be able to understand during that time.

But gradually I was attracted towards Chetanbir, as his characteristics always arises queries in my mind as to what kind of person he is although people in Media are rough and being a Sardar he is not expected to be so cool and jolly, rather he is much engrossed in building relationship, friendship and wanted to be with people around him.

As usual one evening being a news producer of my TV News Channel when I was in hurry to complete my programme I was giving final touch to my programme segments which needs full concentration and I was doing my work, just a desk before my desk Chetanbir Singh, was engrossed in a TV programme and was laughing loudly, which annoyed me very much and I went straight to him although being junior in age I told him to keep quiet, he agreed immediately saying Sorry! Sorry! Sorry! He became serious and left the place immediately as he felt that his behaviour had disturbed my work and me too much.

Even though I avoided him he came closer day by day because there is nothing in his mind although I was somehow polluted in mind. He wanted friends in his life but I had kept a fatwa for myself in choosing friends.

Inspite of the gap of age in between Chetanbir Singh and me was much, but his continuous efforts, finally born fruit and he was successful in making me one of his good friend.

He had a great respect for me although being younger to him, he use to call me Dada and I use to call him Baba.Anytime for any kind of help or suggestion he came straight to me or call me and I am also always there for him, I was actually attracted towards his sincerity and kindheartedness, and his interest in learning new things and reading books. I was the one who always suggested him good books on Media and which he religiously followed and whenever there is any query, I was there to solve them. His love, respect and faith in me developed with the course of time.

In the TV News Channel, for which we were working Chetan Bir Singh was a Cameraperson and his responsibility was floor or handling studio camera’s, being in the studio he was always to be found in the newsroom cracking jocks and laughing among the serious desk editors and producers in the Newsroom but was a dedicated worker, for which he was popular among all his colleagues.

Colorful turban with grey and black beard face with a powerful specs old designed soiled frames over his brightening eyes…also was his shirts and pants always remain untidy over his bulky body.

One day one of my colleague in the newsroom told me about Chetanbir Singh that although he looks jolly but there is a great pain in his life, although always busy with loads of works I hardly found any time to understand or feel what the pain in his life Chetanbir is carrying and never dare to ask him if he has any problem in his life.

If I get him somewhere near Canteen I use to avoid him, as by now he also knows that I don’t like his habit of paying the food bills always.

Whenever he was near me his presence made me feel him like the senior journalist Khushwant Singh, always khush in his own way but always there was query in my mind what pain he is carrying with a beautiful and brightening smile in his face. This continued and our friendship turned into a bonding.

I left Delhi for Kolkata leaving behind everything that I had acquired in 5 long years in Delhi. It was decided by my office administration in a single day that I’m going to Kolkata for an assignment but the assignment continued for six months and finally they ordered me to report my Kolkata Bureau office rather than my Delhi office.

One fine morning after probably three months Chetanbir Singh gave me a call from our Noida office and started fighting,that how come I had left Delhi without even informing him and even after passing away of so many days I had not called anybody and passed my new number to him.

As he cares for me, I found myself guilty, really it was my fault I had left Delhi, although I didn’t bother to inform my near and dear ones. But why he was so much bothered about my well being, the question was again raised by my polluted mind.

Although after a long talk we put our phone with a promise to keep continuing our good friendship, he repeatedly asked me if I need anything to be sent from Delhi…any help any favor he is there for me in Delhi…He was jindadil as always.

Again after a month I gave him a call to know about his whereabouts he was a little low, which is just opposite of his real nature, with suspicion I asked him is anything wrong in his life…He was silent…The company has sacked him for becoming old enough to work in 24/7 working environment, he told me, but saying this he kept on consoling me “don’t worry Dada I am a struggler and I’ll easily find something to carry on with my life” – he said hiding his pain. I encouraged him saying you are a knowledgeable person and any TV Channel can pick you up anytime. He found what he wanted from me after a long time, he was so happy that his joy found no words, he said to me.

As I am in Kolkata, he started sharing his happy days in Kolkata, one day he started his story of his association with Kolkata city. I was astonished to see his information about the city of joy. He said at a very early age he come down to Kolkata to stay with his childless maternal uncle and aunty in Behala near Behala Gurudwara, he has many Bengali friends and his craze for football in Maidan was still fresh in his mind. He was an average student in school, as most of the time he is busy playing football; he was the goalkeeper of his team “Behala Club”.

After completing his school in Behala he enrolled himself for a degree course with the Ashutosh College in Bhowanipur area of Kolkata. He completed his Graduation with flying colors and later joined a Multinational company in an executive position and within a short span of time young Chetan earning was good enough and he bought two flats in the heart of the city, one in Camac Street and another one at Russell Street with his good income and has put the flats on hire and earning from the flats goes to his old maternal uncle and his father. His jolly ness bought many people closer to him and for which he has many friends. Apart from many Sikh friends he had many Bengali friends and that’s why he is very well versed with the Bengali language. He exposed me that from the day one of our friendship, he while talking to me can visualize his memories and association with the Kolkata city and that’s why wanted to be with me maximum time in office.

Although his maternal uncle brought him up, his parents were in Delhi. His parents migrated from Pakistan during partition and had settled down in the Trilokpuri locality of Delhi with others refugees of the time. Apart from his parents, Chetanbir has an elder sister Kanwaljit Kaur, at an early age Kanwaljit was married of in Punjab, his elderly parents where lonely in their Delhi home, which was always a matter of concern for Chetanbir.

Therefore after establishing himself and settling down in Kolkata he went to Delhi in the year 1981 and marries a beautiful girl Manpreet Kaur, from Chandigarh and after a month stay in Delhi he left for Kolkata, keeping his wife with his elderly parents in Delhi to look after them. Just after a year of his marriage in the year 1982 Chetanbir was blessed with a beautiful baby girl. He was on the top of his world and he was so happy that he immediately travels to Delhi and throws a grand party.

It was the last big gathering of his life wherein his in laws his all relatives and each and every person of the Trilokpuri area was invited for the feast and with the beat of drums all young Sikh munda’s Chetanbir to have Bhangra.

After staying three happiest days in Delhi he comes back to Kolkata but for lonely Chetan in Kolkata, his life was full of life with the thought of the young one, with the passing of time Chetan is the happiest man in his own universe with the thought of his family and lovely daughter.

But history takes its turn and the ill fated day of his life came on October 31st, 1984 when the then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her sikh bodyguards in the early hours of the Wednesday and the bloodshed followed from 1st of November.

On the third day of the famous Sikh riots, among the 3,000 Sikhs killed in the capital city only, were Chetanbir’s old father Sukhwinder Singh, who was butchered cold-bloodedly, along with his father his aged mother Harjeet Kaur’s throat slashed and his wife Manpreet was raped and killed later and the whereabouts of his little daughter is still unknown.

The ill fated news of his life Chetanbir got through a sardar friend who fled Delhi…Chetanbir’s happiness came to an end he left his job in Kolkata and immediately rushed to Delhi to find his world ransacked…the kind hearted sardar was almost mad, all the members of his family were dead, his home burned, seeing all this he decided to end his life, as nothing is left in his life, he made his way towards the bank of river yamuna, continuous flow of tears from the tall sardar’s eyes, he was determined to end his life, but with the hope of getting back his little daughter he give up this gravest idea of his life with the thought if show how his little daughter survives riot, as she is missing there is still some hope of her returning to him and in that case who will take care of her and for this he starts his search for her starts in Delhi. Delhi became cool day after day after 4 days of bloodshed. For the search of his daughter he decides to stay back in Delhi and for this reason he rented a room near Uttamnagar much safer place for Sikh’s in Delhi as his property in Trilokpuri lost and were already in the hands of local goons and hooligans and takes up some odd jobs for his survival, first he takes up a job with a vehicle workshop as mechanic attendant and then because of his education he gets into a a TV serial production house as camera attendant and then with the news channel as Cameraman, with his rich experience in the field.

He starts a new life with the hope of getting his beautiful baby daughter back, even after passing away of 25 long years he is still waiting for his daughter in the hope of getting a new life after finding her. He lives his life lively making friends and relations to be away from the devilish thought of his life. Although he lives his life lively although his heart is weeping somewhere and search for his daughter continues.


Breaking News!!! Flashed in on 15th February 2010, Maoists attacked Eastern Frontier Rifles Camp at Silda in Paschim Medinipur killing 24 jawans in the camp including a civilian.This made headlines and all media house carried the story as the biggest ever Maoist attack in Bengal.

The attack in the Silda camp brought fresh memories in my mind,just 2 months before that is on 15th December 2009 I visted Silda.I had the opportunity to visit the Maoist torn areas of West Medinipur in West Bengal.I along with my Cameraperson Felix made our way in the evening from Kolkata for Medinipur…at about 23.00 hrs we reached empty city of Medinipur,district headquarter of Paschim Medinipur district.As the hotel was already booked we had our dinner and slept almost immediately.As suggested by the District Magistrate of West Medinipur district not to travel at night, that’s why we stayed in Medinipur.

In the morning about 8.00am we made our way for Silda under Belpahari block of West Medinipur.It took another 3 hours to reach the place,we touched all the main places always in headlines for Maoist attacks Jhargram, Dahijuri and Belpahari.Though the places were lively with people but most of the way we had to be through jungles which are known as the hideouts for the Maoists.

The sad plight of the people,who lives there are they are both way harassed by the Maoist and at the same time the security forces…For them as they don’t have any way out therefore are staying in terror from both ends.

As we were doing a profile video shoot of a family,whose only son was a victim of a Maoist attack in the Lok Sabha Election 2009.Saugata Karmakar was 28 years old when he was killed he was the only son of a farming parents Pratik Pawan Karmakar and Gayatri Karmakar anyway after completing his matriculation he joined the local Panchayat office as panchayat assistant and soon got married to Madhumita,from nearby district of Bankura.

The life of this simple family was going smoothly,but in the recent past Maoist attacks in the region was creating a atmosphere and ambience of terror in the region and the Karmakar family was no exceptional.After the Maoist attack on 2nd November 2008 on West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and the then Union Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan’s convoy the situation in the area took a violent turn,then Lalgarh in Paschim Medinipur was captured by the Maoists and thereafter rapid development of events.

People Committee Against Police Atrocities PCPA was formed by Chatradhar Mahato…It again became violent with an extremist organ called Gana Militia,In the centrestage politics to was played by Mamata Banerjee, Railway Minister started accusing Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya of sheltering Maoist in the state as both CPI {Marxist} and CPI {Maoist} shares same ideological interest. Politics in the state over the issue of Maoists is in its form and the 15th Loksabha Election was conducted.

The Red letter day of Karmakar family came on 30th April 2009 the day when after completion of Election duty in Dahijuri, Saugoto along with his senior Prasad Banerjee and Driver Sanjay Das was on his way back to his house in Silda under Belpahari Block of Paschim Medinipur as he had promised his beloved wife Madhumita that after reaching home only he’ll have his dinner.

But he never reached his home lively he was killed midway near Binpur…the vehicle was blown by Maoists at 6.30pm,but the news of the blast reached the Karmakar’s family through a private TV News Channel at 10.00pm later it was confirmed that one of the victim is their only son Saugoto,they also became the victim of Maoist mayhem in the area,as for last two years they had been seeing bloodshed around but had never thought of becaming the victim one day…But it finally happened to them.

The incident erased the vermilion from the forehead of young Madhumita,who has seen a long dream of happy life together with Saugoto but a single blast has changed everything the life of Madhumita,their son and Saugoto’s parents.

We reached the house of Saugoto as Naveen Chawla,the then Chief Election Commissioner of India has recommended Saugoto Karmakar for an Award of National repute as he had died in line of duty,and we reached the house to video shoot the family profile and we are being welcomed by the family we took the needed shots and interview of father mother and Madhumita, the widow of Saugoto.

After completing we hurriedly made our way for Kolkata as it was suggested that before the sun sets we should reach the national highway-6, as after Sunset the road connecting the National Highway is surrounded both the side with thick jungles,making the transit and training ground for the Maoist during night and as their son was chosen for Ananya Samman I was told to convince the family to take them to Delhi,wherein the Home Minister P.Chidambaram, was to award the family with the Ananya Samman. I convinced them and they were anyway reluctantly ready to go to Delhi for the prize and accordingly we reached Kolkata late at night.Next morning again at 8am in the morning I started my journey for Silda,I reached at about 12 noon and immediately I went to Karmakar family’s house,I was stunned to see the family almost immediately changed,theyare not ready to come with me as again fear of becoming the target of Maoists are taking over the positive and optimistic part of their life,when I asked young widow of Saugoto,Madhumita,She replied I am glad to receive the award in Delhi, but am I safe to return to this place, will my in-laws will be able to survive. We had seen so much bloodshed around us in past two years, do you think Maoists will forbid us.

No we will not go, we don’t want any award or reward. Once our life is lost we are anyway not going to regain it.Will you be able to return the life of my husband?

I was really very much stunned to see the changes in them, just in 24 hours they had changed like anything, I was stranger to them and they seem to be stranger to me,as they had turned hostile to award or outsider. They now cannot believe in others, they only understand now Maoists and the terror of pro poor Maoists are taking over their minds.I just said them, your late son would have been very proud if his widow
had received the glory of him, when the whole nation will celebrate his martyrdom.

By then sun was setting, something clicked their mind and Madhumita came and said to me she is ready to come with me but as her father in law is away she cannot go without his permission, we tried to contact her father in law which finally proved futile.

I bid adieu to the land of poor, which is already taken over by the Maoists.They had conquered their lands and also their minds. The sun was setting,birds returning to their nests and my self in the vehicle towards Kolkata both side thick forests, but during the whole journey, tones of questions were captured my mind.

We as a nation had failed to reach the people and because of which their mind in enslaved by terror. They love their life but cannot be able to come out of their boundaries and each day they experience terror in the form of Maoists on the other hand the Maoists speak of their representation exploits them in all possible way, physically mentally and emotionally.

The common people of the Maoist torn area are becoming the victim of oppression both from Maoists and Forces. The system is still unable to solve the problem and thevested interest are taking advantage of the situation.

I was engrossed in all this thoughts and my failure to convince the family was pinching me like anything. I was sorry for the family and the people there, for the condition.

I reached home late at night two days after the Award was announced in Delhi and later it reached Medinipur and was given to the family by the DM Narayan Swarup to the family, but unfortunately their mind was already conquered not by the courage and bravery of their son but by the fear of death in the hands of Maoists.


It was somewhere in the middle of August 2009,a person called me in my mobile saying his son is in his death bed and that he needs help of media to raise money and help for the treatment of the young boy, at the first instance, as I am frequented by such calls so I had taken the matter a bit lightly saying I am saving your mobile number and as and when I can arrange to do I’ll contact you. The man turned back the next morning again finally I thought to give it some thought and to do the story I went to their house, from the beginning all I thought of it was the matter is somewhat dicey, the person as he introduced himself was a businessman and of course a marwari businessman are known to be well enough to bear the treatment of his second son.

Anyway I listened to the story of their 21 years old son Abhisekh Bansal and the condition as he was suffering from a rare phenomenon called “Visceral Myopathy” Intestine disorder and it finally urged me to do at least a story to highlight the plight of the youth and the family. I gave the news idea to my editor and move forward with doing the story, it was on 28th August 2009 I reached the house of Abhisekh Bansal in Kolkata’s Kakurgachi area, the house was full of people, but I just wanted to meet the boy, I enquired for him and move towards his room, the skinny boy was laying on the bed with numerous tubes poured inside his body from almost all parts of his skinny body, the Television was on and the remote was in his hand he hardly has energy to push the buttons, seeing me he turned towards me. I asked him “How are you Abhisekh”, he said he’s well but is full of afraid of his own condition. For last two years he was suffering from the disease unknown to the family and it was recently detected that Abhisekh is suffering from Visceral Myopathy or Small Bowl Intestine Damage, the intestine inside him is damaged and the food cannot be passed inside through the mouth so he was given food in the form of saline. Abhisekh’s younger sister Neha came to me and just said Joydeep Bhaiyaa mere bhaiyaa ko bacha lo…I said to her pray to almighty and your strong brother will anyway brave enough to fight the disease. I can just report the condition of Abhisekh in the media and accordingly it was made a emotional story, Abhisekh’s intestines needs to be transplanted and for the success of Intestine transplant, the treatment can be only done in St Petersburg in USA and the total cost will cost at around 10 Crore Indian currency.

After the disease was detected family had already spent what they have and their only source of income their small grocery shop was on the verge of close.

Finally my story on the condition of Abhisekh Bansal was aired in 24Ghanta, 24 hrs Bengali News Channel, Sister Channel of Zee News on 29th August 2009 and it worked wonder. The assignment desk of the channel was flooded with phone calls of generous people around Bengal offering help. Immediately the Kolkata Police Chief, Commissioner Gautam Mohan Chakraborty reached the family to offer all help both in cash and kind and thereby started the series of continuous flow of generous peoples help to the family, FIITJEE, Ratan Tata Trust and generous Individual came to the family and flow of money started coming for the operation of young Abhisekh. The money reached nearly 50 lakh. Then came a phone call from renowned Intestine Transplant Surgeon Dr A.Soin from Delhi’s Sir Gangaram Hospital, took up the challenge to operate Abhisekh and give a new ray of life challenging the treatment in St Petersburg. The operation was successful and it creates a medical history most important of all, It gives a new life to Abhisekh Bansal and a great satisfaction to myself that through my work I had at least help fulfill the wishes of younger sister Neha, to save her brother Abhisekh.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Bengal has always been prone to cyclone’s as it is situated just above the Bay of Bengal…Flood plays havoc every year in the districts of East Medinipur, West Medinapur and Bankura most…Even the city Kolkata witnesses water during monsoon due to heavy water logging in almost all parts of the city mostly Behala and Baguihati…But this year was something different…Moonsoon arrived 15 days before…and its entrance was so devastating making it a most dreaded cyclone in recent past…and was named Aila…
As always I was doing a story on the arrival of Monsoon, I went to Weather Department for the Directors Byte…there he declared that by 5pm evening Aila may hit the city and therefore fisherman are alerted and the cyclone is moving at the speed of 80 Km per hour…while returning office I had my first encounter with Aila…at about 1pm I saw the abysmal cyclone as it has playing the game of destruction even before its appearance in the city…Tree’s started falling from one side of the road to another even the iron electric post were unearth by the powerful wind that are blowing accompanied by heavy rainfall…I informed my Delhi office about this tandav but unable to reach my bureau office as the road was already blocked…My Driver alerted us anytime two trees that are standing beside the car can fall on us…as the wind is blowing heavily…through the window I with my handkerchief alerted the vehicle just behind us and slowly our vehicle went backyard…and both the trees fall as predicted by our forecaster driver but fortunately not on us…as the municipal corporation cleared the road at his work on war front we reached office safely…and provided the office with the devastating visuals of tree falling in the city and made my way along with my cameraman towards howrah bridge…and one cannot believe the sight the waves down the howrah bridge rises like anything…I had never expected Holy river Ganga in such a violent form…It was like covering Tsunami for me…by that time my beloved beautiful city Kolkata was already turned into a war torn city…buildings, boards, trees, electric post everything spread over the busy roads just before few hours…
As the Weather Department Director G.C Debnath declared, the cyclone will hit West Bengal near Sagar island and will gradually move towards the north of it effecting everyone coming its way and it is moving at the speed of 110Kmph…In the north the city Kolkata was shivering as it was to hit by the deadly cyclone by 5pm…All offices government and private were declared off…Schools, Colleges were closed early so that everyone could reach home early and safely to be with the family…but for we News people…It became battleground for every Journalists to grab every movement frame by frame to give news with visual to the people…that’s why like brave soldiers we were in front…I made a call to the State Home Secretary office to find the effect of Aila in the state, I was astonished to know that within just 2 hrs Aila has gulped 4 people in the city itself accompanied by 6 people in Howrah and Hoogly…That followed I was unable to trace the worst effected districts of South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas by then because of the disruption of telephone connectivity…The number flashed in the TV channels showed 27 then 38 then 45 then 58 then 68 and by now it had reached 137 officially…
As the clock was counting every minute and we started our countdown for 5pm…the city by 4.30pm seem dead without a single creature and vehicle on road… we all were in the office…I called up the Weather Director to find to my relief that the cyclone had diverted its route towards North west and the severe storm with a wind speed of 110 kmph, accompanied by heavy rainfall, preceded the cyclone touching Kolkata, North and South 24 Parganas Howrah, Hooghly, Burdwan and East Midnapore districts at 110 kmph. We all in the office took a deep breath…and after having live bulletin till 9pm I made my way towards home I really cannot recognize this lively city…Aila had tortured her in every possible way…all the roads were full of trees…no lights in the city…the city was partially dark…In all possible lane and roads my vehicle reach my flat and I thanked my driver because of his courage in taking and distributing the news to the people… I personally had experienced this plight and I slept with the memories of my dream girl Aila…to wake up early as I had to go for coverage in the South 24 Parganas district where the Aila originated and played with the life of the people most…
We reached Kakdweep by train from there to Namkhana the last part of land before Bay of Bengal…by launch we reach the Sagar island where Aila originated from there we made our way towards north to find carcasses flowing both of human beings and animals…People are expecting relief but the state government seemed a bit slow in this worse affected area…people with whatever leftover they had standing on some highlands or island…I found myself helpless…as I had nothing to give to them in this ocean of need…I had with me only the visuals of their condition…by showing which I can do a little bit of justice in getting a little relief from state or central government…
After covering dead,cries,hunger and all that one cannot believe I reached office at 10pm and after sending my script and visuals I made my way towards home thinking of Aila…what this Aila is why this is named Aila…It seems Aila means coming but what does it really mean…after having reached my home I search for the world Aila,there was no any specific meaning found but just the name was proposed by Maldives…but really just not name but it had done all that one may not have believe just a day before…It had come and had gone leaving behind the cries of people…I prayed to god please never play such game with the innocent people unaware of such a natural calamity.

Joydeep Dasgupta

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Meeting the writer of “City of Joy” and “Freedom at midnight” was really a great experience for me.I had always heard of this generous writer from the time I was a student, but my profession as TV Journalist finally made it possible to meet Dominique Lappiere personally and to do an one on one interview in his room in Asha Bhavan Centre, Uluberia, Howrah.

Dominique Lappiere laid the foundation stone for a special school for physically disabled children at Asha Bhavan Centre, Uluberia in Howrah.

To cover the event I had started from my Kolkata office at 9am to catch him early,we reach Uluberia at 11.45am,He came at 1pm.I was moved by the assemblence of near about thousand disable children from the districts of Bengal and saluted the great human being Dominique Lappiere from whose “City of Joy Foundation” funds flows to run this organization and numerous alike organizations in the districts of Bengal and other state of India.Each and every child with their eyes of hope,welcomed their messiah with garlands and flower petals,the moment was really touching,most of the children are under five years and were on the lap of their mothers or either on the wheel chair.
Asha Bhavan Centre also provides artificial limbs to the children with polio and other limbs related diseases.As they shower flower petals on Dominique Lappiere and his wife Dominique Conchon Lappiere also an epitome of compassion hugging every single child with motherly compassion,it was really a great touching sequence of selfless service for the people of the unknown world.

After having a light Lunch he came straightly to the adjacent room as I and my cameraman where waiting for his appearance, as soon as he set and made himself comfortable opposite me the first question that I asked him was what has attracted him to India and in particular Kolkata (Bengal)? He replied graciously that it was during his research while writing “Freedom at Midnight” he stayed two years in the city and even after while writing “City of Joy” he was here.It was a great experience for him that the Kolkata city he says has magnetic power to make every stranger her own.when “City of Joy” was became an instant success after its publication and when he got his first royalty as the writer of the book he came straight in his city of joy and donated the entire amount to an Social Service Organization “Udayan”and that was the start of his generousity from then he continuously and religiously contributing for various organizations in Bengal and rest of India from the royalty that he gets after writing each books.I said sir it is really a noble task that you are doing since 1982 through the City of Joy Foundation. His answer was, his work is “Just a few drops of hope in the ocean of need” and nothing more then that,at the sametime he adds that once Mother Teresa said to him that this tiny drops are also important and every individual has something to contribute for the society and people.

Rural Bengal has many problems starting from proper nutrition, vaccinations, to education which the children are deprived of but centers like Asha Bhavan are playing their part to provide this deprived children with food, medicine, education and all to keep the disabled children going and to overcome their disability to prove their ability through education and obviously Dominique Lappiere remains the backbone of all the children for whom he is nothing more than their beloved Dominique Dada.

Joydeep Dasgupta / Kolkata