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    It is curious that in the age of the cyberspace, innocuous images in print, with arguably difficult to decipher messages, can create political storms. The cover of Economist Magazine purportedly depicting a bleak future for an Independent Scotland raised political temper, with its regional leader Alex Salmond warning:
    “Economist Magazine Will 'Rue The Day' It Mocked Scotland”


    There are some parallels in the resurgence of nationalist feelings in the British Isles and the Indiansubcontinent, which has seen recent electoral victories of regional parties, which is questioning the unity and integrity of the nations, which is being seriously flagged by the media.
    While such expose by the media result in venting of emotions by political leaders like Alex Salmond in Europe, In India it is turning more sinister with the media choosing to be a silent observer and taking a subservient role.
    Recently Mamta Banerjee, the regional leader of India's West Bengal, has gone totally bizerk by ordering and later defending the arrest of a professor of the prestigious Jadavpur University merely for circulating a collage of images poking some innocent fun at her autocratic handling of the nation's Railway Ministry.
    The allusion is Mamta colluded in a 'cloak and dagger' plot with a subservient political colleague to sack an able and US educated administrator who wanted to seriously salvage the biggest employer in India facing financial melt down.
    In fact the whole episode is funnier than the collage which is being described by the media as a 'cartoon' for some strange reason. A professor of Chemistry found some innocent distraction by putting together a collage of pictures of the three politicians with some captions, comparing the episode as reminiscent of a forgotten movie by the famous Bengalee director Satyajit Ray.
    However when he merely circulated his artistic creation to his neighbours by E mail, it took a serious turn and became a cyber crime in the fiefdom of Mamta Banerjee, leading to the political harassment and torture of the professor by her supporters and his arrest by police on dubious charges of cyber crime.
    The action of Mamta and her coterie smacks of the Cultural Revolution in China and the rule by the "Gang Of Four" during which several such 'purging' incidents were reported on a daily basis.
    It is not the first time Mamta Banerjee has ridden rough should over freedom of expression. A few weeks back her government banned some prominent English Language news papers for being critical of her government.
    The event caused uproar in the country about her autocratic behaviour, but surprisingly several news papers came out with editorials which gave up the fight fearing litigation with a mercurial and unpredictable female leader.
    Though the media by and large reported the "cartoon" event, none of them has dared to put the controversial cartoon itself on their pages, fearing political and financial repercussions to their publications.
    The very fact that an e mail message circulated only to one's neighbours should be reported to the police and the ruling government smacks of political snooping reminiscent of Hitler's Gestapo and Stalin's Gulag.
    For West Bengal, the land of India's only Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and for its capital Kolkota, which prides as the political and cultural capital of India, these recent actions of the government of Mamta Banerjee, India's Giant Communist Killer, pose the question if they like to be a new island in the Archipelago of suppression of freedom of expression and democracy.


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