Poll result the best birthday tribute to Satyajit Ray, say Bengalis

Bengalis took to social media on Sunday to recall the uncanny resemblance between Ray’s 1980 film Hirak Rajar Deshe and the authoritarian regime of Narendra Modi

Poll result the best birthday tribute to Satyajit Ray, say Bengalis

NH Web Desk

Bharatiya Janata Party was so confident of its victory in West Bengal that the party had set up a media centre for the polling day, spread over four floors of a ten-storeyed building in Hastings locality of Kolkata. Because of Covid restrictions cabins were prepared for different media houses and channels along with offices of party leaders.

But the consensus among many Bengalis on Sunday was that the state could not have paid a better tribute to one of its best known icons Satyajit Ray (1921-1992), a liberal humanist, than the decisive mandate it delivered against BJP and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They gleefully recalled dialogues from Ray’s film, ‘Hirak Rajar Deshe’ released in 1980 to show similarities between the King in the film and Prime Minister Modi.

Marvelling at Ray’s genius in portraying an authoritarian and arrogant ruler, relevant in India four decades after the film was made, they pointed out the uncanny resemblance between the film and the political situation in the country today.

“Era joto beshi porey, toto beshi jaane, toto kom maane

(The more they learn, the more they know, the less they obey),” the tyrant Hirak Raja (played by Utpal Dutt) tells his education minister as he orders him to shut down the only school in his kingdom. People drew a parallel with Modi Government cracking down on universities like JNU, AMU and Jamia Milia and on student leaders like Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid.

Ministers in Hirak Raja's court sit, stand and do only as the king indicates. They nod in practised agreement to everything he says by repeating – Thik, thik (Right, right). Modi’s ministers, they declared, do the same.

In the film, the royal astrologer asks the king – “Groho, nokkhotro kichu muche phelte hobey ki? (Do any stars and planets need to be wiped off the almanac?)” – and the ruler replies that all ages preceding his own, should be wiped off history. The history of Hirak Raja's kingdom would begin and end with him. It echoes the madness, narcissism and megalomania that many countries including India is witnessing.

In the film Ray equipped the king with a Jantarmantar, a machine to brainwash people with mantras for different sections.

The farmer:

· Baaki rakha khajna, motey bhalo kaj na (Unpaid taxes are not good)

· Bhor pet nao khai, raj kor dewa chai (Even if you don't eat enough, taxes must be paid)

· Jai jodi jak pran, Hiroker Raja bhogoban (Even if you lose your life, Hirak Raja is god).

The labourer:

· Je kore khoni te shrom, jeno taare dore jom (The devil fears those who work in the mines)

· Onahare nahin khed, beshi khele bare maed (Nothing wrong in starving, you grow fat with too much food)

· Dhonno shromiker daan, Hiroker Raja bhogoban (Blessed is the labour and Hirak Raja is god)

The teacher:

· Lekha pora kore jei, onahare more shei (The ones who study die of starvation)

· Janaar kono shesh nai, janaar cheshta britha tai (There's no end to learning so it is pointless to try)

· Bidya labhe lokshan, nai ortho, nai maan (There's no profit in learning, no meaning and no respect)

· Hirak Raja buddhiman, kore shobe tar joyo gaan (Hirak Raja is the intelligent one, sing his praises)

The film ends with a revolt led by teachers and students, which is joined by labourers and farmers. The last scene shows people toppling the statue of the King with slogans rending the air:



Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines