Asad Ali (for Info only, not official)

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Asad Ali

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    ... The moment he said, “Sheta theek, kintu (That’s true, but…”), I knew it wasn’t over yet. I had just tottered inside a taxi off Park Street in Kolkata, clutching my egg chicken roll tightly. The minute the driver heard I was a journalist, his interest heightened. Things got interesting when he started talking about the BJP. To counter him, I suggested that the BJP might bring in development. Minority appeasement would stop. Incidents like the Basirhat riots would not happen, I ventured. Now, when I look back at that conversation, especially in the context of Mamata Banerjee’s restrictions on Durga idol immersion timings (kept in abeyance by the high court), two issues come into better focus. The complex question of Bengal and the Bengali Muslim’s identity; and, how the intimacy the state enjoys with its shared culture can still manage to repel divisive forces. The explanation for both lies ensconced somewhere between that egg roll and the man’s answer. An attempt at exaggerated extrapolation? Well, not really. ...

    Indian Express on Sept. 29, 2017, 12:10 a.m.