In a conversation with NDTV, Trinamool Congress parliamentarian Mahua Moitra likened Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a street-side fellow of Bengal, locally termed as rock’er chhele.
Offended at the PM’s addressing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as didi during his election rallies in the state, Moitra complains, “There is something we have in Bengal called ‘rock-er chhele’, which means a street-side fellow who sits on a wall and who basically calls out to every lady walking past, saying ‘Diddi, ei diddi’. This is Prime Minister doing this.”
The people of Bengal have been addressing the Chief Minister as ‘didi’ since the days of her struggle against the Communist parties. The supporters of Banerjee in the state still address her as didi while claiming “didi e thakchhe” meaning ‘didi will stay (in power)’. Translating as ‘elder sister’, the word has become synonymous with the TMC supremo’s personality in Bengal. Hence, it was only obvious and given that the PM, while rallying in the state, would use the very term for the lady in power that the people of the state identify her with.
Hence, we are quite taken aback at Mahua Moitra’s statement denigrating the elected Prime Minister as a road-side eve teaser, only because he referred to Mamata Banerjee, a Bengali lady, as ‘didi…o didi.”
Didi is a respectful salutation used by Bengalis not only in West Bengal but also by those spread across continents to address ladies of the community irrespective of status or age. In several instances we have witnessed BJP candidate from Nandigram, Suvendu Adhikari referring to fellow party leader Smriti Irani as didi, despite the latter being about 5 years younger than him. The word is a popular part of a Bengali’s vocabulary denoting nothing but respect for the woman being addressed. Hence there is nothing objectionable in the PM’s conduct.
While we are discussing “objectionable” terms, let’s talk about how Mamata Banerjee repeatedly uses the word “Sala” for PM Modi and Suvendu Adhikari during her public meetings and election campaigns. It needs no explanation that the word “Sala” is a cuss word, both in Hindi, Bengali and many other Bharatiya languages.
This abusive word finds no place in the rich vocabulary of a Bengali bhadralok (gentle man) or bhadramahila (gentle lady). A Bengali woman is raised with values and brought up in a cultural environment. She grows up learning about Ishwar Chandra Vidya Sagar, Swami Vikekanand, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. A Bengali may use slurs when with close friends like everyone else does, but he fails to recall a motherly figure uttering this word even under her breath inside the privacy of her home, let alone publicly, for that goes against the rich culture a Bengali woman is raised in.
And here we have an elected state leader, a supposed bhadramahila, using her unspeakable expletives for the Prime Minister of the country and other senior politicians, believing that just by the virtue of being her political opponent, these leaders become deserving of such uncouth vulgarities.
Disregarding all boundaries of basic courtesy and mannerism, Mamata Banerjee has run the entire election campaign of 2021 on slurs, epithets and abuses. An election campaign that the TMC matriarch could have used to highlight her 10 years of achievement, was, shamefully, based on abuses accompanied by her physical hysterics on full display.
Lakhs and lakhs of Bengali youth who are earning a livelihood in cities like Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai were embarrassed to see their Chief Minister insult the chief of the opposition party by distorting his surname and go ranting ‘Chaddha, Nadda, Fadda, Bhaddha’.
It was humiliating to see her, in lack of a stable rebuttal for her political opponents, mock the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister over their looks. She dug out the choicest invectives from Bengali dictionary to body shame Narendra Modi and Amit Shan “hodol-kutkut”, “nadush-nudush”, “futush-fatush”and then resorting to adolescent name-calling like “Dwaityo-Danob” (demon-monster).
The state head didn’t limit her abuses to her political opponents but also dragged the people of Uttar Pradesh into her speeches and spewed venom on them, calling them goons repeatedly.
Slandering national leaders and pitting people of one state against another couldn’t bring Mamata Banerjee the desired response and that is when she took to question the integrity of the voters of Bengal. Seeing mammoth crowds heading for Amit Shah and Modi’s rallies, the state chief accused the people of Bengal of taking 500 rupees from the BJP party, “Chii chhi chhi chhi ! What Bengal am I seeing now? I am ashamed,” said Banerjee is a recent public meet.
Further, in what could be classified as dangerous incitement, Mamata Banerjee shamed a man after his video confession of having voted for the BJP went viral and asked him to ‘commit suicide by hanging himself’. This is the sitting Chief Minister of a state pushing a citizen of her state towards suicide because he exercised his democratic right and voted a political party of his choice. No achievements to boast of. No development in the state. No job opportunities. After reigning for 10 years, Trinamool supremo has no valid means to woo her audience.
Struggling to win the public she had disregarded for a decade, once a national-level politician, Mamata Banerjee has now been reduced to incoherent ranting, abusing, and encouraging people to commit suicide. Led by this loutish leadership, it is indeed amusing to see parliamentarian Mahua Moitra likening Prime Minister Modi to a street-side miscreant.
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