Getting Ready for the Rally, Shantipara, 2 December 2007
This morning Tanika, Prasanta's wife, appears busier than usual. Tanika is in her late twenties and had studied to become a nurse, but she left her job when she married Prasanta. ‘Excuse me, but I have to prepare the lunch straight away,’ she says as she starts to sweep the courtyard hurriedly. Soon after, the sound of the jhanta gives way to the sound of vegetables being chopped on the boti, the long, curved blade mounted on a platform and held down by foot that allows Tanika to use both her hands to chop away. In the distance one can hear a man's voice over a loudspeaker. The voice gradually moves closer and grows in strength until we can clearly hear that it is Dipak Koley's voice being broadcast across Shantipara. ‘He is announcing today's rally,’ Tanika explains. ‘That is why I am preparing the lunch already now.’
As she speaks, an auto equipped with two large speakers and a couple of tricolour TMC- flags – orange, white and green, with a tiny ghas phool, or grass flower, in the middle – passes by. Seated behind the driver is Dipak Koley, microphone in hand, announcing the details of the rally that will take place in the afternoon. ‘There will be a big meeting on the Highway with many important leaders attending and speaking,’ Dipak declares:
Leaders from the TMC, SUCI and other political parties will come along with prominent intellectuals and artists to speak and support our movement. It is important that we make this rally a success so we must all attend. Women, you should also attend – try to do your cooking and cleaning early and quickly and come to the rally! We leave from the bazaar at 2 p.m. There will be lorries to transport you to the highway and back again after the meeting. Our leader Mamata Banerjee will […]
Dipak's voice trails off into the distance as the auto progresses through Shantipara. Tanika, who is still busy with the vegetables, tells me again that she is going to join the rally: ‘I will attend this rally so I am getting the food ready in advance. My mother- in- law and sisters- in- law will also come.