The Indian porn industry seems to be facing competition from an unlikely quarter. Mamata Banerjee, the garrulous Chief Minster of West Bengal who is known to blame everything from bad weather to potholes in south Kolkata roads on CPI(M) and its perceived comrades, the Naxalites, seems to have found a new target to vent her ire upon. This time the unfortunate victims of her frequent and high pitched wrath are the social workers and activists who appear as guests on certain local TV channels to discuss the rise in instances of rape in the state.
“Every evening, these people have juicy discussions about one or two incidents (of rape)…Children are getting to know about things they should not know about. Who are being called to the channels? Many of them are involved in pornography. They claim to be social workers but they are actually money workers,”.
Soon after she made these comments in a public rally in Burdwan, she faced severe criticism from all sections of the society, including from the ones she had just given a new career in the porn industry. What was startlingly evident to all was the fact that the esteemed Chief Minister seemed more interested in finding conspiracy theories everywhere than actually acknowledging that there was a problem in the state which needed attention.
The latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics attest the magnitude of the problem. With 30,942 cases of crimes against women reported in West Bengal in 2012, the state tops the list, closely followed by Andhra Pradesh (28,171) and Uttar Pradesh (23,569). With 2,000 cases of rapes registered in 2012 alone, West Bengal accounts for 12.67 percent of total crimes committed against women. Kolkata, the erstwhile “City of Joy” now holds the notorious distinction of being the third most unsafe city for women in the country, behind Delhi and Bangalore.
Mamata Banerjee however, seems barely perturbed by these disturbing figures. She seems to have ascended (or descended) into a realm where facts and figures count for nothing. They are but a blip in her radar, to be dismissed either as a conspiracy by CPI(M) or a story made up to malign her administration. If that doesn’t work, she pulls out the ace in her sleeve alleging that there is a conspiracy being hatched to kill her. The last point has nothing to do with rape but that’s how her mind seems to work- tell people someone is trying to kill you and people would be shocked into silence, refraining from making any more comments. She has done it once, she has done it twice and there is no reason why she won’t do it again.
There are certain people who, by virtue of their intelligence, have established such a place in the society that it’s hard to imagine them ever saying anything even remotely stupid. Like Stephen Hawking. And then there are others, those who are infamous for shooting their mouths off, dropping one ludicrous inanity after the other. Mamata Banerjee seems set to establish herself as the queen of the second group, becoming, in the process, a female version of Lalu Prasad Yadav, equally infamous for his idiocy riddled gaffes. If only people found it funny.