I have been born and brought up in Kolkata, West Bengal (or is it "Waste" Bengal??). To the initiated, Bengal is another tract of land in India, inhabited by some of the laziest and most self-fulfilling souls on earth. But, despite my contempt for the state, its backwardness still hurts - may be, I have an electron-sized soft corner for it.
Anyway, here are some reasons why Bangal bhill nebhar recobhar.....
To begin with, I apologize in advance to the hyper-sensitive breed, who may take offense at the content or context, or at the temerity to ridicule God's own comrades. Legend has it that for every creature (animal, bird, human, hobbit, elf etc. etc.) that God creates, he throws the three dices. Those getting a combination of 1-1-1, are cursed to a birth in Bengal.
Reason 1: Workophobia
The creatures in Bhengal have a radically different work-culture. They join a company not because they need to earn (Bengal can run pretty well on barter economy, you see!!), but because they need to be married. But, despite their laziness and hip lifestyle, they are all office-going denizens.
At work, the Bangal-ites are usually found doing personal errands during office hours. Lunch hours are meant for political rallies. On the salary-days, they would throw a perspective diatribe on American capitalism, preferably in front of Nike outlets. The lectures - delivered in crude Bengali - is also interspersed with peppy poetries and revolutionary snippets to add that ZING. In fact, getting a work done in this state is only marginally easier that bear-hugging a Sumo wrestler. Oh yes, bribes don't work in this part of the world - Bengal has transcended beyond materialism. Barter offers are a better option.
Reason 2: Pre-historic anatomy
All in all.... Bengal-ites are a different beast. Some wonder if they belong to this planet - but they are everywhere. The Bengal-ite blabbers perpetually - he has an opinion on everything, from giraffe's mating calls to masala kulchas. The best way to deal with him is to let him talk. He is usually found with his kids hanging around his belly. He - in turn - hangs by Tagore's beard. Some of them have managed to discard dhotis and jholas in favour of chequered 'pants' and rexin briefcases (of course, padlocked on three ends!!). The middle-class Bengal-ites wear their 'pants' all the way up to the arm-pits. The older ones wear the pants with zippers on the backside, "No.2 aash-le subhida hobe..". Nowadays, zipped dhotis are also becoming a fashion statement. I wouldn't talk about the umbrella, as it is now pretty much a part of the Bengalite's anatomy.
Reason 3: Societal-deficiency syndrome
Waste Bengal is a state where socio-cultural evolution has not progressed beyond Rabindra Sangeet and Vivekananda. Nothing symbolises Bengal's psyche better than the trams - old, empty, slow, and above all, inability to move away from tracks. No wonder, they still have them running in Kolkata. Some American scowl aptly named it "Shitty of Joy". In Bengal, nothing happens without a 100% 'theek aachhe'. Nothing reflects this better than the buses in Kolkata - they have seats built on conference room arrangements!!
Reason 4: Evolutionary deficiency
It is only recently that the Bengal urbanites (that implies people living within the 5.76 sqkms area around Ballygunge, the only posh area in the state) have realized that they a way behind other states on every desirable parameter. The rest still need to be awakened to the fact that most other human beings in the Milky Way are living a life that's miles better than those of Orangutans.
Reason 5: Lost-in-the-outside-World syndrome
As a semi-annual ritual, our Bengal-ite ventures out beyond 10 miles from his home. The rich ones actually take a train to venture OUT OF Bengal. Since, he is barely in the 18th century, he is clueless in the new environs. In fact, he would roam around like zombie, not knowing which end of banana needs to be peeled off. "I am pheeling so shad here - theese peepul cook in bhegitebul oil, and no phish also... o re maaa, aama-ke baachhao ", he would mumble. All confused, he would start looking crookedly at the small photo of his great-grandfather, stuck to inside of his multi-purpose bag with a safety-pin. Then, someone needs to hold his index finger and chant "Ekla cholo.." three times. That brings him back to the monolithic state.
Reason 6: Reverse Capitalism
Let me borrow (without permission!!)the lines of one of my college-mates - "Human stupidity is infinite and against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain. People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid." (credits: Deepak Goyal).
Bengal's demographics are rapidly changing - Nandigram is attracting lot of footfalls for Naxal tourism; Singur is the most happening place today. I need not repeat the sequence of events at Singur - the interesting part is what happened thereafter. Gujarat bagged the project, clearing all logistics in a matter of three days!! Bengal "exported" the Nano opportunity to Gujarat. In Gujarat, the villagers welcomed the move, emphasizing that they will provide more land, if needed. The TV channels showed tiled videos of celebrations in Gujarat and Bengal. These are once-in-a-decade situations when both the winner and the loser celebrates!!
That summarizes the trajectory Bengal has chosen to follow - from Naxalism to Socialism to Anti-socialism to Pseudo-socialism to (now) Reverse-capitalism. Bengal's approach to human evolution is very simple: First, they ignore it; then they ridicule it; then oppose it; and if even that doesn't work, they simply export the opportunity to lesser mortals sitting in non-descript places like Gujarat, Orissa, Karnataka and occasionally, even China.
Coming round to the original thought "Bengal will never recover!!".... Just when you thought Jyoti Basu was the worst thing to happen to the state, Mamata emerged... It is like the Olympics torch, that keeps burning - only the hands change. To say that Bangal will finally catch up with other states is like expecting the No. 11 batsman to score a century in a T20 game - theoretically possible. And.... ...if it does happen, "Ripley's Believe it or Not" will be season's best-seller.