As soon as I entered Kolkata, crossing Howrah bridge, I saw the reality unfolding before my eyes. The streets were crowded with workers.I never saw such a large number of workers revealing their miserable condition in those worn out clothes.I was petrified to see a man searching for the food in the dustbin where so-called rich people empty their boxes.Is this the city of joy that I heard about?
One picture was clear that it is a big city with a large number of people below poverty line. The famous Durga Puja for which the city is known for, when the divine spark that flows through the Bengalis, could not enlighten me. What I saw was crores of money being spent on pandals. I could realise that the festival here meant for the upper class only. Durga puja for the beggars, filling their empty stomach was still the same. Does flooding money in pujas when 30% of our brothers and sisters are lying on the street without having “roti, kapda and makaan.” rather than flooding money in the puja. Should not be the joy spread amongst all the class of society?
Look into the eyes of those poor, you will know how much a penny is worth of. Does flooding money during Durga Puja make goddess Durga happy and give us blessings?Look at the people sleeping in sealdah station with malnourished children crying and asking their fathers and mothers for food.Does joy in this city of joy exists for higher society only?
The condition of sex workers is worsening day by day. The occupation that started during the Mughal era as a prestigious thing, now sees its downfall. Ever since the “Tawaifs” who were appointed earlier to teach the Mughal princess about their cultures are spending life in red light areas selling away the most priced gift of nature, only with the hope to give their children a healthy future, so that her daughter does not have to face the ordeals she faced. But her age fades away, and she suffers from the dreadful disease and dreams are crushed, and her daughter too is forced again to that cycle.
The city of joy as it was once, is now a city of terror. Crime ranging from pickpockets to gang rapes have been increasingly tremendously. Be it the famous Jadavpur University where a student was gang-raped by her batch mates or the park street case.Girls are not safe anymore. She knows that in a place where she can have a threat of rape, she is no more safe where the one was meant to be the savior in our enemy.
All I could see was fear and hatred and in some corner of child’s eye a dream to live, a dream to come out of all this and become a big man some day. Is it not our duty to help that child? I can feel the fear rising and city of joy losing its joy and fear digging a hole in the hearts of people.