Category: Opinion

The miraculous story of Ronu Mandal


Ronu Mandal. The story of this latest internet sensation has all the exiting elements of a fairy tale. Her journey from an obscure railway station in West Bengal to the glittering platform of a singing reality show in Mumbai seems like an incredibly thrilling rag-to-rich story. It sounds like a miracle that a 59 year old woman, abandoned by her people and left homeless and poverty stricken, should become so popular and garner so much support for her singing all of a sudden, though she must had been signing to earn her bread (biscuit) for quite long. And who doesn’t like miracles?

The long and short of her story goes like this: A 26-year-old engineer, Atindra Chakrborthy, was hanging out at a tea shop in Ranaghat railway station, as a number from Mohammad Rafi’s album was playing out. When the song ended, Atindra and friends heard someone humming it. They were surprised to note that the person was an old woman, looking emaciated and dishevelled. Impressed by the humming, they asked if she would sing a song for them, which she readily did.

Atindra recorded it and posted it on FaceBook July 23. And the video went viral within no time garnering millions of views. It also drew the attention of the organisers of Sony TV singing reality show Super Star Singer. And Ronu appeared and sang in the show in the last week of August. In the process, moved by her rendition, Himesh Reshammiya, who was a judge of the reality show, announced that he would get songs sung by Ronu for his upcoming bollywood movie, Happy Hardy and Heer. Accordingly, in September she recorded two songs for the film.

Today Ronu is no more a pitiable picture with sunken eyes and dishevelled gray hair and costume. She sports jet black hair with a made-up style, and her face, with hint of makeup, is lit with an effervescent, yet innocent, smile. She appears on every possible TV channel across the languages, and cheerfully answers all kinds of appreciating, yet probing, questions.

Now her past life is tumbling out in bits and pieces, though she seems reluctant to divulge much about it. It may be assumed from what has appeared in the media so far that she had faced grievous twists and turns in life, which eventually pushed her onto the platform of a railway station. She said she was born into a well-to do family, which makes her story that more poignant.

Currently, Ronu is enjoying the lime light. But the people who are supporting her should ensure that her story will not turn into that of a shooting star. She should be able to spend het twilight years in comfort, with her head held high.

Lok Sabha polls 2019: As countdown begins for D-day this is how political leaders prepping up


An EVM and politicians complaining against the device

As the result day (May 23) of Lok Sabha Elections 2019 is nearing, political parties, some of whom had bitterly fought with one another, are coalescing into two major groups. But the behaviour of the two groups looks like an essay in contrast. While the first group is rallying around one figure, the second appears all over with no central point. Similarly, the first exudes confidence and (reportedly) is deliberating on action plans in the immediate aftermath of the results, the second comes out as jittery and frustrated, afraid of facing the results.

The optics presented by these two groups post the Exit Polls tell it all. The members of outgoing Union Ministry sit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an informal meeting at the BJP head quarters in Delhi. And all the key leaders of NDA alliance dine with BJP president Amit Shah.

On the other hand, leaders of 21 Opposition parties approach the Election Commission with complaints on Electronic Voting Machine. They continue to cast aspersion on the device, and appear determined to reject the outcome it throws up, if it goes against them. Apparently, no amount of explanation can satisfy them. After suspecting EVM hacking and tampering, now their grouse seems to be around some “conspiracy theory” about EVM swapping.

Not that they are not aware that such things cannot happen. When the EC had thrown an open challenge to hack or tamper EVM, none came forward. And every party knows that swapping of machine is impossible as they are sealed and opened in the presence of the party agents, which gets video-graphed. However, these parties seem to be using EVM for ulterior motives. May be they are creating doubts about the legitimacy of the poll process in common people. May be they are preparing the ground to disrupt and create chaos during counting. May be they hope to edge out EVM with their complaints and see the return of ballot papers, which are easier to manipulate with rigging and booth capturing.

The irony is sections of media too contributing to muddy the water over EVM as shown by the following tweet.

In fact, a neta from Bihar, Upendra Kushwaha has actually warned of bloodshed on the street. He called upon the workers of Bihar Grand alliance (comprising the Congress, RJD, RSLP and HAM) to take up arms if EVM are found tampered.

Fortunately, barring West Bengal, polling was by and large peaceful through stretched over 38 days unlike in the era of ballot paper. Will peace prevail on the counting day as well?