September 11.

911 anniversary WTAP dot comToday is September 11. A day to mourn. And a day to reflect.

Seventeen years ago, on this day, we went through one of the most horrible terrorist acts in the history of human civilization. My family and I went through the experience, where we were disconnected for a long time: none of us knew where the others were. Our high-school-going child saw the twin towers collapsing, and hapless people jumping to their deaths. We lost countless innocent people — of all races and religions. Windows of the World, the restaurant at the top of the tower, had a number of Muslim workers who all perished with the others.

But then, we saw how the ruling class took advantage of the terror that they could not prevent (and many say it was insider job, hushed up), and unleashed global terror. New York Times and other media with their fake WMD in Iraq stories legitimized genocide, and Bush and Cheney with complete disregard for the American and international people, wreaked havoc. Countless people were killed, and the destruction of Iraq de-stabilized Middle East. More terrorist groups were born, with alleged help from CIA and U.S. government. Bush, Obama, and Trump have all continued the bombing and killing ever since.

Fanaticism, hate, bigotry and violence-based politics have risen their ugly heads — in an unprecedented way that we have not seen since the demise of Hitler and Nazi Germany. People who supported Hitler and genocide of the Jews are now in power — both in the U.S. and in India. Trump’s father was a white supremacist, and Trump himself is openly supported by hate groups in America. In India, those who eulogized Hitler and killed Gandhi are now ruling the land of Tagore, Kabir and Sri Chaitanya.

The world order of peace and harmony that human civilization aspired for and nearly reached — is now a dream of the past. The international Doomsday Clock is now put at the closest hour to midnight, by scientists. As Noam Chomsky, whom New York Times ostracized repeated, climate catastrophe on one hand and threat of nuclear bombs on the other have brought us and our children on the brink of destruction.

I mourn the lost lives on 9/11. I pray for their souls. I condemn any variety of terrorism. And I mourn the loss of humanity, equality, peace and justice — because of the aftermath and politics of hate and violence, following 9/11.

Sincerely Yours,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Photo courtesy (for one-time, nonprofit, educational use): WTAP.com

My Wife Said, “Let’s Have Some Indian Music.”

Ravi ShankarIs that a good title for today’s blog? Well, I believe it is. I’ll tell you why.

So, yesterday, Park Slope Food Coop — a member-run not-for-profit specializing on healthy foods — put her in charge of preparing meals for some of the longtime staff at the coop. Obviously, because of her new reputation with Mukti’s Kitchen, they asked her to cook Indian dishes.

She found a number of volunteers to sous-chef, and I volunteered as one too (!).

It’s a two-day process. The first day, yesterday, five or six coop members helped her to cut vegetables, boil and peel eggs, grind spices, and then cook some of the dishes. The second day, today, they are going to finish it all — to cap with a sumptuous lunch. They’re all looking forward to it.

So, a half hour into the preparation early in the morning, Mukti said, “Why don’t we play some Indian music?” I said to myself, “Why couldn’t I think of it first? It’s natural today.”

On my iPhone, I began playing a Ravi Shankar sitar. He is a legend I spoke and wrote about many times. Here’s a CNN story after his passing. Moni Basu quoted me in it.

Ravi Shankar’s sitar was the first thing that came to my mind. Salute to the great maestro, who along with Ali Akbar Khan had thought about bringing Indian music to America long time ago, back in the sixties, when the Beatles became his fans, and George Harrison took sitar lessons after the phenomenal concert in California.

Then, Nicholas took over. He was one of the sous-chefs.

Nicholas turned on the coop kitchen computer, and put on an incredible sitar off YouTube. I don’t know who the artist was: could be Ravi Shankar, Vilayet Khan, or Budhaditya Mukherjee — one of the new maestros. I am not exactly sure.

But it was absolutely beautiful. I could use other terms to describe it: magical, spiritual, divine. But I would leave it up to you to decide. Meditative and relaxing, for sure. The entire environment in the kitchen lit up. He left the music on for the entire day — it played from 8 A.M. to 1.30 P.M., when we adjourned.

Today, August 14, is the day when I left my beloved India, Bengal and Calcutta — out of emotional and political desperation — to come to USA. It was extremely difficult.

Looking back, I am deeply sad that I could not stay back in a place that I care for so much. Its people, its love, its poetry. Looking back, I am extremely happy that along with my wife, I built a life from zero in an alien land, and gained knowledge, critical thinking, and reputation. (Oh yes, I couldn’t speak a full sentence in English before; now I can — a little bit.)

Both countries have given me so much. I owe so much to both places. In our small ways, we are giving back to both of them.

My wife is giving back through teaching Indian cooking secrets to her American students — literally hundreds of them. I am giving back through teaching my labor union worker students — literally thousands of them. Writing and translating 24/7 about our culture.

Ravi Shankar did it in his magnanimous way. He brought the treasures of the Indian civilization to America. And Americans — like Nicholas — are still in love with it.

We are doing it in our little ways.

I’m glad she was the one who thought of playing Indian music in the kitchen, and we all loved to help her cook Indian food, for the enlightened and embracing American friends.

Today, August 14, is a good day for us — to celebrate.

Sincerely, in love and gratitude,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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MK foods
Courtesy: Mukti’s Kitchen, Brooklyn, New York.

Football, Cricket, or Politics: Why I’m Never Going to Support England

Bengal Famine 1943It is the biggest lie that England invented football. Or, soccer.

I mean, do you believe that in five thousand years of glorious history of China, Egypt, India, Inca, Maya, Aztec, Arabia or Africa, nobody ever knew that playing a ball with feet was possible? With a set of rules?

Like in Bengali we say, “Shala, what garbage!” This white supremacist violent axis of evil killed us in the stomach, looted our countries, made us poor, and put our brains to sleep too. And we praise them!

***

A labor union leader here in New York whom I respect a lot just told me he read about the British-created famine in Ireland, driving mass exodus of Irish immigrants, who were treated in USA like animals.

So, I told him how we read about the biological aspects of the Irish famine back in Calcutta: the fungus causing Late Blight of Potato, etc. But we didn’t know the political history then. They never told us.

We thought maybe, it happened out of thin air. Actually, we didn’t think anything. Thinking was not a part of our education. That is, the education British shoved down our throats. Or, down other body parts.

What we knew though is that British powers violently colonized India in 1757, and in ten years, we saw a historic, unthinkable famine that killed millions. And five years before they left India in 1947 after sucking our blood, we saw another Great Famine caused by Churchill that killed three million people only in Bengal.

Bengal and India never knew what hunger and death out of starvation was. British powers in two hundred years transformed one of the richest countries into one of the poorest. They never apologized for their tyranny. There was never any demand of reparation the South Africa way.

Our “independent” rulers sucked up to them, and later, to American powers.

FOOTNOTE: Shashi Tharoor’s book Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India says that in 1703 (before their violent occupation), India was 24% of the world economy. One and a half centuries of occupation, 1903, India was reduced to only 4% of the world economy. The British plunder was unprecedented in history. But Indian history books don’t discuss simple arithmetics.

If you are even thinking of supporting the British supremacist, violent, looting, lying hegemony, please, you are not my friend. I shall never support any British hogwash.

Is it important to talk politics during the 24/7 World Cup fun? You bet it is. This is the best time to do it. Especially when Indians and Americans are going gaga with British football.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Women and Immigrants Rising in America. Can India Learn?

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A new social revolution is happening in the United States of America. It is exciting, and I hope you notice. I hope you participate. This is history in the making.
Minority and immigrant women are winning in mainstream elections. Yet, this is not news in India or countries that copycat USA. People in India, in particular, are totally uninformed about this new nonviolent revolution. Media never highlight them.
The people of power never allows them to discuss about women’s empowerment, and they use corporate media as a brainwashing machine. They never inform people about how middle-class, working-class women are fighting back in America — how they are rising at home, on the streets, at schools and colleges.
Big media never tell us especially in a country like India how these brave women are fighting elections from city councils to congress — against all odds. Why? Because it may be dangerous for the ruling class.
Of course, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh all have had women prime ministers, but these are three countries I know that have fallen way behind the rest of the world, when it comes to overall empowerment of women. The situation is pathetic, with the rape epidemic, acid throwing, bride burning and dowry deaths, and massive domestic violence — major and minor.
Yet, even Muslim countries like Morocco, Tunisia, Indonesia, Malaysia, or even Saddam Hussain’s Iraq, and Latin American countries like Uruguay, Columbia, Brazil have better social and economic situation for women. We are never told that in these countries, women have more economic freedom and equality than what we have in India.
We have  a strange misconception that only Muslims are responsible for the population explosion in India. Our social leaders have told us that Muslims have four wives, wearing hijab, and they have too many children. And we have always blamed Muslims, without any reality checks.
I have hundreds of Muslims friends. As a rights activist and labor educator, I have attached with hundreds of Muslims — both men and women — from Bangladesh to Bolivia, Iran to Indonesia, Pakistan to Peru. That “four wives, countless children” propaganda is bogus. I am sure some backward places, they still practice it, but so do orthodox Hindus, Christians and Jews. In many areas here in the U.S., ultraconservative Christians are against any scientific family planning.
But many of us fall for propaganda and rumor, and they are brainwashed by media talks and newspapers and social media. Over time, many people have completely lost their ability of thinking rationally.
America is changing at the grassroots level. On one hand, ordinary people are standing up against Trump, his white supremacist administration, and their corporate power.
On the other hand, a revolutionary change is happening in the world of women and immigrants. Black leader Stacey Abrams is a strong candidate for the governor of Maryland. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28 year-old young Latina, defeated big Democratic party congressman Joseph Crowley, here in New York City. She is a Democratic Socialist from Barney Sanders’ camp. I have worked with Pramila Jayapal, recently-elected Congresswoman from Washington state. A young Muslim woman Ilhan Omar defeated another Democratic Party big boss in the state of Minnesota. These are the bright faces of hope and modernism. They help us believe in a progressive, revolutionary change unfolding on the ground.
True, fascism, hate politics, gun violence and such extremism are overwhelming us. At the same time, bright young women and immigrants are rising up, assuming political power.
I keep my torch of optimism aflame.
Sincerely,
Partha Banerjee
Brooklyn, New York
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The Legal vs. Illegal Immigrant Debate

TEASER-no-blacks-no-irish-no-dogs

Let’s have some fact checking on the “Illegal vs Legal” Immigration debate. That is, let those of us who want to check facts, and not go by hearsay and propaganda.
Trump is using his white supremacist, racist violent politics against immigrants, and even some of our union members are falling for it. Here’ss some quick points for those who care to read and think.

(1) Immigration does not happen overnight; nobody wants to leave their country unless they are desperate. I wouldn’t have left India to come to America, had I not been desperate.

(2) Find out what our ruling class has done in Mexico and across the world to drive this exodus from Mexico. Check out what Clinton’s NAFTA did to destroy Mexico’s economy.

(3) Illegal or paperless immigrants do not fit in one box: for example there are 185 types of visa to enter and remain in USA, and countless people are trying for 10, 20 or 30 years to get papers. Their children were born and grew up here.

(4) Even today, crossing the U.S. border without papers is not a criminal offense. It is a civil offense. There is no criminality involved.

(5) It’s not the poor immigrants that you should go after; catch the real criminals who are forcing these people to come, and then exploiting them as slaves. Private prison industry is making billions in profit by jailing poor blacks and undocumented immigrants.

(6) All immigrants pay taxes: sales taxes, and even pay income taxes and Social Security deductions (literally billions of dollars each year). In many cases, these income taxes are stolen by their unscrupulous American employers using forged IDs.

(7) About the history of immigration in America (in case anybody is interested to know history), check out this short video. Quickly, you’ll find out how “illegal” most of American ancestors were with no English speaking abilities.

(8) Trump and his white supremacist, racist people in power are using the immigrants as scapegoats to cover up their own evil acts.

(9) All the anti-union people have joined hands on this game including Koch Brothers, Heritage Foundation, NRA, KKK, and more.

Etc. Etc. Etc. All fact, and no hearsay or rumor.

At the end of the day, if you are afraid that immigrants take away your jobs, don’t worry, White America was built on genocide, war, violence, slavery, and racism. They even had publicly posted signs such as “No Dogs or Irish or blacks Allowed.”

Let alone signs such as “Whites Only. No Spanish or Mexican.”

Look, you’re not reading or learning: you are just falling for the traps the 1 percent created for you, to keep us divided and hateful. It serves their purpose, and not yours or mine. What is the difference between what your ancestors faced and what these immigrants are facing now?

Thank you for thinking.

The vast country of America is falling apart, and just like India, hate, bigotry and violence have taken over.

Extremism on one hand, and deliberate ignorance on the other have conquered America and India — the two countries I know.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Whites only sign

Flip-Flop Trump Stops Separation of Children, for Now. Media Never Discusses Why Undocumented Immigrants Come to America.

CNN children separated

CNN photo courtesy: for non-profit, educational use.

Trump now signs an executive order to stop separation of immigrant children from their parents. In a day, he changed his position 180 degrees! Even his own Republican Party (the so-called moderates) imploded.

This is not law and order. This is outrageous dictatorship, however way big media spins it. And many Americans (including many union workers) are viciously against “illegal aliens” because “they broke the law and must be deported, period.” Or, they are equally confused about the issue of immigration and immigrants, and believe there must be a way to keep “check and balance on the out of control” border crossing.

Why is there so much opposition and confusion by Republicans and Democrats alike? Because media and politicians — CNN, Fox, NYTimes or whatever — practically never discusses the reasons behind such a massive migration.

They never talk about U.S.-inflicted wars across the globe (Vietnam to Angola to Bangladesh to Salvador), and CIA-Kissinger’s support of tyrant dictators (Suharto, Pinochet, Marcos, the Shah of Iran…) that made millions flee.

Who destroyed stability in Iraq, Iran, Syria, and to keep in power which power…we all know who. Who helped to create Taliban, IS. They never talk about corporate America’s war on food, water, agriculture, small businesses, and environment. They hardly ever talk about Clinton’s NAFTA that destroyed Mexico’s economy.

Bill Clinton’s repressive anti-immigrant law passed in 1996 never features on media discussion, even today!

Without any knowledge about what American rulers have done for decades, the ordinary American people must remain opposed or confused. Media and politicians from the two parties would not talk about the above, because their hands are bloody.

Check out the facts before you start another meaningless conversation.

New York Times published a good report on the immigration scenario. You can get the numbers from the study. But this day and age, nobody cares to read anything serious. People are driven by hate, rumors, fear, and yes, media lies and half truths.

You decide what you want to do.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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NYTimes immigration map

New York Times map on immigration around the world. Read the article to know the numbers of immigrants in various countries. USA has a much lower percent than some other countries. But people do not know.

Satyajit Ray’s Genius

Satyajit w Suhasini Mulay shooting
May 2 is Satyajit Ray’s birthday.

Most people outside of Calcutta or Bengal do not know much about this legend, this genius. Those who do know in India, America or Europe know him as a master movie director, who got an Oscar award for his lifetime achievement. Movie buffs may find out that major international film scholars and critics have included him as one of the top ten or twenty genius film directors, ever!

Great.

Yet, he was so much more than that. Not only he was also a bestseller writer, artist, and a master musician who had major expertise in both Western and Indian music, he along with some other legendary movie makers and storytellers changed the way people thought about film as an art form. We can perhaps put Kurosawa, Godard, Antonioni, Truffaut, Bergman, Di Sica, and so on.

Kurosawa RayKurosawa said this famously about Ray: “Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon.”

Satyajit Ray was a major, very powerful departure from Bollywood. And he accomplished this great revolution with shoestring budgets, and often in dire financial predicaments. Especially his watershed movie “Pather Panchali” (Song of the Road, 1955) almost collapsed because of lack of funding. He sold his wife’s jewelry to continue.

Ray’s movies and his entire life’s work were symbols of progressive thinking, racial, caste and gender equality, rejecting hate, bigotry, fanaticism, and religious superstitions. He carried forward what we call “Bengal Renaissance” that challenged religious and social orthodoxy in India.

Three DaughtersIf Rabindranath Tagore was a most important lightening rod during the British Indian period, I believe Satyajit Ray played that role in modern India’s post-British era.

A comparison with Charlie Chaplin comes to mind, where they were both absolute masters in all areas of the art of film making, and combined entertainment and social education — with total, amazing ease.

Of course, his Apu Trilogy is much celebrated in the West, but if you asked me, my two other favorites were his Calcutta Trilogy, and later his anti-war, anti-fascism triology also known as the Gupi and Bagha trilogy

Today, when India, America and many parts of the world are going through a massive, scary surge of fanaticism, hate and bigotry, Satyajit Ray’s creations help us to rekindle faith in modern thinking, scientific reasoning, and employment of art as powerful social education.

Let us remember this Bengali Indian maestro.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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The Adversary

May Day: More Important Than Ever (and no, I am not a communist)

may-day-rally1
Today is May Day — International Labor Day.
Even though this special day began here in the U.S., in Chicago, corporate powers and their politicians and media have made us forget that glorious history.

And they have created this notion that celebrating the globally recognized workers’ day would automatically mean you are a communist. Celebrating together with the world community automatically would mean you are for a violent overthrow of the government. And most people have bought into that propaganda.

No, I am not a communist, but I believe May Day is very special, as it created for the first time in modern history a new consciousness for the working men and women — not just in America, but around the world. It gave working people hope and strength.

I grew up in Calcutta, and we saw May Day celebrated in a big way. All over India: but with the rise of a Trump-like, race- and religion-bashing government, it has dwindled. In the most advanced and equalized countries in Europe and Latin America, May 1 is still a very special day. People celebrate it with much fanfare, parades, music, and yes, reading books, and watching pro-people movies and theaters.

People here do not know much about the history of the labor movement — either from a global, or an American point of view. People who blast unions ALL benefit from the long and hard struggles our brothers and sisters have took on for many years: 8-hour workday, overtime, weekends off, family leave, sick day…you name it.

The one percent is now 0.0001 percent (as calculated by some of our union brothers and sisters on the last weekend’s class I teach on Long Island) — roughly a few hundred, extremely rich, powerful and violent rulers have taken the country of 330 million over. Labor union here is only 8-10%.

The calculation was like this:

(1) 330 to 3,300 people — extremely rich — have influence the election system in America with their millions of dollar, under the leadership of Koch Brothers.

(2) 330 million people live in America.

Therefore, 330 or 3,300, divided by 330 million = 0.0001 to 0.00001 percent.

(Q.E.D.)

That is the ruling class — horrific, violent, cruel, anti-worker, anti-poor, and extremely rich and powerful.

Today, to be organized with new knowledge, education, and insight, it’s even more important to celebrate May Day — to feel solidarity with the labor movement worldwide. If the corporate powers and their media can unleash their global reign of terror, we can fight back together — globally — and nonviolently.

May Dr. King and Gandhi be our guiding lights.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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May Day Protestors March For Immigration Reform

Korea’s Choose Peace. Why Can’t India and Pakistan?

Korea peaceIt’s mighty good news for people around the world who reject war and violence, and demand coexistence and peace. The Korea’s — North and South — decided to end their seventy-year-old war.

So, American propaganda to demonize North Korea did not work. Just the other day, U.S. media corporations and their mouthpiece politicians — Trump and all — declared North Korea was a demon, a major threat for world peace, and it must be destroyed. In fact, Republican and Democratic administrations for decades have told us that.

Suddenly, the two Koreas met at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, and American media and their Trumps began scratching their heads. War industries were terribly upset at the prospect of peace between the two countries.

Not only the two Koreas declared peace, but according to New York Times today, Korean Leaders Meet, Eyeing a Peace Free of Nuclear Arms!!!

Of course, war industries would be terribly upset, but let them be more upset.
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India Pakistan peace
Now, if only India and Pakistan could learn how to make peace! Their 24/7 media propaganda and political parties would be bankrupt, if the two countries with thousands of years of common history could realize it! Only if the people realized how their ruling class has cheated us, based on lies and concocted violence!

Yet, the situation is so strikingly similar. Just like South Korea and North Korea, India and Pakistan have been at war and major armed conflicts since the British left the subcontinent after two hundreds years of looting and ravaging one of the most peaceful and prosperous places on earth, and then cutting up the country in three different parts — causing incredibly misery and bloodshed.

Just like the Koreas, or like places in the Middle East, partitions and artificial boundaries were imposed by the occupying forces. In case of India and Pakistan, the line of partition often went through a piece of land, where the kitchen and bedroom of the same houses fell in two different countries!

All the rulers — democratically elected rulers in India and mostly military regimes in Pakistan along with a couple of elected leaders — kept the violence and armed conflicts alive. Indian and Pakistani rulers greatly benefited from this long, bloody, cruel wars and hostility that killed and impoverished millions of Hindus and Muslims.

Every time the government is in trouble, a cooked-up war would break out!

And USA powers and corporations are now deep inside India, in an unprecedented, disastrous way. American corporations have practically taken over the Indian economy. I have never seen such a complete takeover of India’s economy by foreign forces. This is neo-colonization at its peak!

American rulers have supported Pakistan for decades with arms, and they have supported military dictators in Pakistan. In 1971, with active support from Kissinger and U.S. government, Pakistani military caused havoc in Bangladesh (which was East Pakistan at that time), killing and raping hundreds of thousands of ordinary innocent men and women. They had extremist Muslims helping them on the ground.

But that’s another story. For now, if India and Pakistan take note of this peace declaration and de-nuclearization of the two Koreas, and find a way to emulate them, it would bring a very long-overdue peace in the land of Gandhi and Tagore.

We have had enough! We do not want another war. And do not war any N-bombs! 

Hands off, America! Hands off, Trump! Hands off, British and European powers!

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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tagore-gandhi

America’s New War, and Our New Year.

air-force-usa-bombing
Trump’s new war on Syria is immoral and illegal.

USA is not the world’s police, and nobody attacked USA. Trump wants to distract people from his imminent filthy problems, and that’s why the new war. And even if the bombing stops, that is no reason to believe U.S. has the right to invade and bomb other countries, whenever they like. They have been doing it for ages, since WWII — on various excuses. It’s outrageous. And as always, they have U.K. and France on their side. ONLY THEM.
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With that strong note of resistance, I’m writing about something totally different.
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April 14, and sometimes April 15 — based on the lunar calendar — is New Year’s Day in many parts of India — in various, spectacular forms. I am not an expert, but I know it’s celebrated in Bengal, Orissa, Assam and Punjab — under various names. We Bengalis call it Pahela Baisakh (the first day of Baisakh). Baisakh is the first summer month.

Our Old World New Year’s Day used to be celebrated with much fanfare — some places with flying kites, wearing new ethnic dresses (saris and kurtas in West Bengal and Bangladesh), fantastic masks and colorful costumes, AND social and religious gatherings around small sweet and samosa shops, garment tailoring shops, hair styling saloons, Indian-Chinese restaurants…or tiny goldsmith garages — you can imagine the rest…in a hugely crowded city like Calcutta, or Dhaka. People laugh unnecessarily this day, and they do it a lot. Believe it or not, they also hug each other.

Music and poetry is big — last time I checked — in both Bengals. In Bangladesh, the precious, silvery Hilsa (“Ilish”) fish features any menus, in major delight of the revelers.
Hilsa

These are places where new accounts would be officially inaugurated with sweets and fruits (ras gollas, mangoes and bananas in particular), and old accounts would be closed: all borrowed money paid up and off today (hopefully). Of course, thanks to corporate capitalism Wall Street and Wal-Mart style, they drove most small shops out of business, and those still in business would be out of business very soon. And India doesn’t have banks in most places, but its government has forced everybody to go plastic instead of cash, and it has caused havoc, beyond belief. But that’s another story.

Haalkhata

Of course in the Western world, thanks to what I call “Journalism of Exclusion,”
hardly anybody knows what we the “under-civilized” do, eat, wear, worship, or celebrate. We never existed in human civilization, and we still don’t, unless we are rich, white’ish, snob’ish, and famous — enough to donate enough to big politics, media, or both. Indian civilization to American media means new Wal-Marts, multiplexes, Pizza Huts, KFC’s, Coke, and fancy cars. Well, I believe a vast majority of Indians today think that way too.

(Human rights for the untouchables, the 24/7 rapes and murders of young women and girls, Hindu fanatics killing Muslims in India, and Muslim fanatics killing Hindus in other places — really, these are not fun stories for media or the mass: so, why bother? They tell us to be happy, and never question.)

But this Old World, forgotten civilization with its “Journalism of Exclusion” celebrations of its New Year’s Day — in some disorganized, unrehearsed, sometimes hilariously chaotic ways, keeps celebrating its history, language and cultural traditions — with absolute disregard and disrespect for the corporate media’s lack of inclusion. In fact, the people — more than one-sixth of human population — all know very well that an American-variety corporate capitalism and its sold-out politicians and media are slowly but surely crushing them to death. Some know it directly — for example the small sweet shop that ran its business for four generations, and now is about to be extinct because a big chain Reliance supermarket is selling fancier cakes and chocolates that younger people like a lot (and nobody questions what kind of sugar or preservatives were used, or how some child slaves harvested the chocolate — it’s not a part of human consciousness anymore).

But, still, ordinary people — with or without the knowledge of this new, crushing-them-to-death global corporate economy — keep celebrating their colorful, musical, food-and fun-filled social and religious celebration of their own New Year’s Day, the way many generations before them did it.

A story that I told you just now — would NOT be featured on tomorrow’s CNN, NBC, New York Times, or Wall Street Journal.

We don’t wish a Happy New Year, in case you want to know. It’s Naba Barsha in Bengal, Baisakhi in Punjab, Bisuba in Orissa, Bihu in Assam, and so on. We refuse to be a part of a media-dictated global cultural conformity.

I don’t know about you, but I am very, enormously happy to be that way.

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Bangladesh celebrates New Year