‘My Conscience Won’t Allow Me To Abandon Lalgarh’

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Trinamool MP Kabir Suman, who recently resigned from his party, tells Arup Chakraborty that he is an activist and not meant for politics

Photo: Pintu Pradhan

What prompted this eight-song album that caused the furore?
It is called Chatradharer Gaan, and is all about the government-sponsored terror in Lalgarh and Chhatradhar Mahato; and it stands as tall as Birsa Munda. The songs come despite the feeling that the end is near. My song talks about an issue that we are all familiar with: Whom does the forest belong to? Does it belong to the government, the Home Ministry, the party leaders or the revolutionaries?

My voice still belongs to me. I am in the habit of speaking the truth and I never shy away from the reality. I failed to express my feelings in Parliament, but I will never compromise with my songs. I do not care what happens. I will speak for freedom.

So have you quit the TMC?
The time to answer this question has still not arrived.

What made you step down?
My tongue is mine, my voice only mine. I didn’t gift these to anyone. I am used to speaking about the reality. I couldn’t speak about anything in Parliament, but while sitting with the UPA members I saw very clearly how the parliamentary system functions. The winners of elections take all, while the vote bank is left hungry as before. My conscience will not allow me to abandon Lalgarh. The political bosses make empty promises.

You had decided to resign from the party in November 2009. Why did you wait till January 2010?
I wanted to give it a last try.

You had alleged that your party is full of “petty and corrupt leaders at the local level”. Do you still stand by that statement?
I am not interested in answering this one. Really, I am not interested in talking about them.

Were your grievances redressed?
I don’t care about that either.

What did your party chief Mamata Banerjee have to say about the corruption?
She did not respond. She just wants me to sing.

She had also roped in writer and social worker Mahasweta Devi to bring you back into the party. Didn’t that work?
That’s for you to find out.

You had once said that you are more Marxist than anyone around, and that you had never thought you would walk alongside Mamata Banerjee. What made you associate with her?
I still believe in Maoism and Marxism. I believe in revolution. I look for change. I urge the downtrodden people to fight for it. I had thought she would bring about the change.

What is it like to work with Mamata Banerjee?
I would like to avoid answering this one.

Aren’t you afraid that your resignation will prompt the Left to criticise the TMC?
I don’t care if there are any tussles for the top political seat.

‘I failed to express my feelings in Parliament, but I will never compromise with my songs’

Does Kabir Suman have a political future?
Politics is not my cup of tea. I am an activist.

Do you support armed revolution?
Armed revolution is born of hunger. It comes only after years of deprivation. The Jangalmahal people have remained deprived right since 1947. If they won’t revolt, who will?

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