Social Scientist. v 15, no. 164 (Jan 1987) p. 60.

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Age of Endeavour !

NATIONAL rhetorics being what they are, it is best to eschew use of the expression 'crisis'. Even without recourse to hyperbole, the fact however is glaringly evident: Bengali literature is facing a difficult time. A large part of literary terrain has been taken over by journalism of a particularly vicious species. Despite its frivolity, it cannot be ignored, for it is playing a major role on behalf of emerging capitalism. Moneybags in this part of the country became aware of significance of a class front in literature much ahead of those in the other parts and they have rendered the Bengali middle class mind into a battlefield. The capitalist press can make and unmake literary reputations, or so it thinks. Tycoons hire by the dozens journalists aspiring to be literary figures. They are put to slave labour in newspaper offices, converted into factories churning out supposedly creative work. They produce grisly specimens of decadent output; they pour scorn on the working class and ridicule the concept of collective mass action ; they exhibit a crusading zeal in running down the socialist ideal and achievements of the socialist world. During the past decade, they have concentrated the overwhelming part of their time and energy to vilify the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Left Front governments in West Bengal and Tripura.

It will be a mistake to underestimate the strong pull of this pseudo literature. The majesty of a global socialist movement is a past event; the forces of socialism are fractured on an international scale. For whatever reasons domestic developments have prevented any substantial spread of the working class movement away and beyond its entrenched bases. Younger generations are under immense pressure to succumb to the allures which predatory capitalism dangles before them Economic stagnation and pervasive worklessness should have helped to mobilise the exploited and deprived sections against those responsible for their plight. It has not quite worked out that way ; many shadows have intervened. A certain disquiet is abroad. Taking advantage of it, ersatz literature is being used as a decoy to entice the youth into the shady by-lanes of cynicism and nihilism. The milieu is rent with confusion ; the ruling classes are seeking to use this confusion to plant the seeds of further confusion. The literature of slander they have launched is an integral part of the total combat on all fronts.

To counter this massive aggression, you of course need faith, commitment and dedlCflfinn hnf" vrm alcn n

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