Open letter to Suman Chatterjee aka Kabir Suman

I was sixteen when I first heard your song. It was, ironically in a CPIM’s meeting at Brigade Parade Ground. I have always been politically conscious, but never involved in active politics. The only reason me and my friend went to the Brigade, was to watch Utpal Dutt’s play (most probably ‘Tiner Taloar’). It was getting late, and as usual, the play was delayed. We decided to abandon the plan and go home. We had to pass through the front of the podium to go out. Then suddenly one guy with a guitar, started a song – ‘Haal cherona bondhu…” (don’t give up my friend…). We stopped…and keep on listening to your songs, one after another…for another hour.

I am still standing there.

Correction, I was still standing there, until recently, when you decided to run for the election as a Trinamul candidate!

I have all the songs sung by you. From ‘92 to 98, I went to at least 50 of your live performances. Anywhere you performed, from Kalamandir to Girish Mancha, I was there. In fact, one of the main reason I started this blog, bigbangbong, is to translate your songs for one of my non-bengali friends.

I never judged you by the context of your personal life, only formed your image in my mind by your songs. Turmoils in your personal life never touched me. Neither I was surprised when CPIM (and their nasty sidekicks) tried to run the dirty character assassination campaign against you. Given their track record, it was bound to happen sooner or later. I never met you personally either. There were many opportunities, I never wanted to. Near Asuthosh college, we were returning from tuition – I saw you at the sweet shop. All my friends rushed to get your autograph. I didn’t. Years later, you were waiting at Dumdum Airport, for a Biman Bangadesh flight to Dhaka, I was waiting there for my flight to Singapore. I felt like going in front of you and say ‘do you know that, whatever I am today, my sense, my soul, you have a huge contribution to that’. I couldn’t. I was scared, what if Suman in person change my perspective of of Suman the singer and one of the building blocks of my life?

And now, you are running for a political chair, as a Trinamul Congress candidate, shoulder to shoulder with Mamta Banerjee! With one statement, with one news – you just massacred one part of my identity. Your political viewpoint and actions are not a matter of your personal choice only, they are the foundations of your songs.

Don’t get me wrong here, I would’ve been same way disappointed, if you decided to run for CPIM. Also, I strongly believe that mass de-politicalization of youth is one big reason of the political downfall of India. But, Trinamul Congress? Why Sumon, why? ‘Enemy of my enemy is my friend’ – is such a medieval sentiment!

I am deleting all your songs from my music library. Thank goodness I don’t have the disks and cassettes here with me – I would’ve shattered them in thousand pieces by now. Thanks for destroying one huge portion of my identity. One thing at least I learned in my 33 years of lifeform – everything changes, still somehow having problems internalizing this!

Dekhte dekhte shaab palte jai

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