Of course Abesh Dasgupta has been murdered in cold blood and in a planned manner whether the police finds evidence or not. Kishore Bhimani and his gang will tend to turn the episode into one of an accidental death, an act of horse play gone horribly out of hand. Abesh fought with Rishabh over a girl called Prerana, who was not a part of the party. During the brawl, both the boys had been drinking because Rishabh punched Abesh hard with a broken booze bottle. The case has some very interesting details, of course culled out from whatever I could catch in the television fleetingly. Fleeting because I watch Mahanayak and Goyenda Ginni and then the programmes on the Epic channel. The facts of the case from whatever I catch are as follows.
The venue of the murder were the lawns of Sunny Park, an apartment house in one of who’s resided the host of the party, Aruna, the daughter of the celebrated author, Amit Chaudhuri. Aruna says that her family is a teetotaler and there is no way in which alcohol could have made its way into her house. The alcohol of course was found in the lawns and not the house. It is also clear that Aruna knew neither Rishabh nor Abesh; then how is it that these two found their way into this party? For this we must understand how such parties work.
In the common Bengali parlance there are two very distinct terms; one is called nematanna and the other is a party. A nematanna is a gathering of a closed group, of people who are especially invited for the occasion and who sit together, talk together, eat together and at the same time and constitute what one calls in sociology a group. A party is a loser idea, here there is a host but one who has an explicit intent of entertaining the guests; the guests are not especially invited but are informed of the intention of the host and a venue is often specified with a broad range of time. Some guests are closer to the host and they are informed first hand by the host and these guests then inform others and who then inform many more. The guests land up on circulated information, some kind of by word of mouth. Despite such looseness there are strong entry barriers to parties; and which is that a guest must at least know another guest very well. Every guest is a personal contact of some other guest at the party. This is why despite the utter looseness of a party, parties can very well be crashed into. Hence when Aruna says that she knows neither Rishabh nor Abesh, it makes sense. Then there must be somebody who knows Rishabh because Abesh was Rishabh’s contact.
Yet another aspect of the party is that the guests often bring their own drinks and sometimes even food; most parties have hawkeyed observers to track contributions. You can also make a money contribution and this is why Abesh took Rs 1100 from his mother to attend the party.
Why attend parties if you do not have any closeness to the host? Parties are like that; they are mostly hang out places for people to be in. Unlike the nematanna which is a private affair, a party is a public sphere though it is conducted indoors. Here people go to be in public circulation and this becomes very crucial in understanding the party’s victim, Abesh.
I went to an expensive school in Kolkata which had a significant proportion of the rich class; we were from the middle class and almost wholly removed from party scenes. We did go for nematannas though at friend’s places for birthdays and they came for ours as well. But parties were for the rich girls; many of those girls are on the face book but they refuse to recognize us. This is the quintessential class war. Alcohol and tobacco and boys were very much part of such parties but we were exiled from such worlds. We did not bother at the fact that our parents did not wish to spare the money to fund our parties for that was a world that was not for us. Ours was a world of work; futures lay clearly in pursuing professions, careers and employment. And in that we were contended and confident; because in our times, our social class, produced social leaders. The leader class, the opinion makers, the moral pursuers, the ones who made laws, who defined ethics, who laid down the rules of conduct and behavior were drawn from the middle class; this is why the upper class mores and values could were indeed not ours.
When the middle class was the leader class, middle class invested everything they could to help children maintain themselves within their social class and hence studies, accomplishments, sports and other activities like drawing and painting, sewing and knitting, swimming and cycling were pursued with ardour and compulsion. But today’s leader class is the rich class; celebrities and Page 3 persons are the opinion makers, they determine our values and mores, they chart out our ethics and rules, they set the codes of conduct and thought. This is why we need to invest in activities which will help us enter this rich class. Which are the activities of the rich class which we must cultivate? These are socializations, social contacts, networking, knowing a lot of people, the ability to drink at parties. Abesh’s family background shows that they belonged to the middle class which was on the anvil of a crossing over in terms of their contacts among the whos who of the society. It is likely that it was the family that encouraged Abesh to lead what the middle class mentality would call as the “fast life”. Abesh’s family cultivated such a lifestyle for Abesh and no wonder when Rishabh threw the lolly of attending the birthday party of a celebrity, Abesh agreed immediately for the lure of being with the high society. At this party then Rishabh bought alcohol, though they were under age with Abesh’s money and punched him with the broken rim of the bottle which he bought with Abesh’s money. Were Rishabh to buy his own bottle, going by the mindsets of such boys, he would not have jabbed Abesh with what “was” his, bought with his money.
Abesh and Rishabh fought over Prerana. In her interview, Prerana clearly said that she had no clue to what the two boys were up to. Yes, she did talk to Abesh for she liked him but nothing much. Yet, when she became friendly with Abesh, Rishabh’s father threw a fit calling Abesh names in front of Prerana, calling up her parents to say that she better be away from Abesh. He also called up Abesh’s mother to bad mouth Prerana. Prerana, on the other hand looked upon Rishabh only as a little brother, almost chaperoning and bossing him like an older sister would. Yet, Rishabh’s father was the one who behaved more like the jealous boyfriend. This is the crux of the case.
Did then Rishabh’s father craft this murder by provoking Rishabh into a murderous rage against Abesh? If so, then why? Is it a case of ethnic hate? I have felt this hate of non-Bengalis against Bengalis in Kolkata many times. This is a strange hate of the colonizer of the native. Colonialism is a syndrome by which the immigrant is not a slave or a refugee as of the NRI in America, but a British or a Dutch who assumes to emerge as the ruling class. Bengalis in other provinces are culprits of a great measure of such hate. I have seen Bengalis hate native Odiyas in Odisha, detest the local Tamils in Chennai or have only contempt for the Marathis in Nagpur? Is this also part of the famous Bahari-Bihari syndrome, or the conflict between the Brexit and Bremain? Does the outsider take the insider to be a loser? Does the immigrant consider herself as the superior colonizer against the local who is the poor subject? This mentality is real though almost never documented academically. Such contempt of the colonizer may have considered Abesh’s claims to belong to the high society of the host, remember that Aruna is a Bengali too and her father Amit Chaudhuri is gunning to save Kolkata in its pristineness and which is before the non-Bengalis had run it over. It is a wealth worth robbing; murder was a mean