Alleging that violence and corruption have become a part of the governance in West Bengal, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar hit out at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's dispensation with a reference to Satyajit Ray's political satire "Hirak Rajar Deshe" as he completed a year in office.
Mr Dhankhar, whose first year in office has been marked by frequent face-offs between Raj Bhavan and state secretariat ''Nabanna'', said Mr Ray would never have imagined that similar state of affairs would prevail in his own state West Bengal as is evident now.
"Violence, corruption and hegemony goondaism under police protection have become a part of the governance; what do we call it, Hirak Rajar Deshe?" Mr Dhankhar said.
"Hirak Rajar Deshe" (In The Land of Diamond King), which is a part of the popular ''Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne'' trilogy, is a 1980 Ray classic on the decaying state of the administration and public welfare that is relevant even in the present times.
Stating that there have been memorable and inspiring experiences during the one year as the governor of West Bengal, Mr Dhankhar held that there also have been painful aberrations.
"There is a very serious dilution of democratic values... Human rights compromise is virtually wholesale," he said in a video message on completion of a year in office on Thursday, adding that "freedom that goes with democracy is missing".
Corruption has marred and tainted the democratic fabric, he said, holding that all these have led to a steep decline in growth, be it in trade or industry.
The governor held that free and fair elections are key to a healthy democracy, which he said is not possible if voting does not take place fairly and with the police playing a partisan role.
Mr Dhankhar said that he expects the present government to follow the Constitution, restore rule of law, end police raj, make governance accountable and transparent, avoid constitutional distancing from the governor and end corruption.
Emphatic in his praise for the state over the simplicity of its people, rich culture, heritage, he said that Kolkata is a unique city in the world for having given several Nobel laureates.
He said the present government has distanced itself from what Rabindranath Tagore had written -- "Where the head is held high and the mind is without fear."
Mr Dhankhar, who has had several political tussles with the Trinamool Congress government, had recently accused the ruling party of corruption in cyclone Amphan relief distribution and mismanagement in tackling the COVID-19 outbreak.