Crocodile on water, tiger on land — jawle kumeer, dangaye baagh — is one of those peculiarly Bengali sayings, rooted in the geography of the land. As tourists within a certain spending bracket have been informed by agents of wildlife tourism, eco-tourism, and other exotic tourisms, the Sunderbans in West Bengal and Bangladesh boast mangroves, rippling silver streams, wild honey-bees, a gallery of fauna, restful cruises with singing boatmen, and the twin cherries on top: Royal Bengal tigers on land, and saltwater crocodiles in water.
However, when rural folk hereabouts — who actually have to live with said tiger and crocodiles — use the term, they don’t index a lush, tropical vacation. They mean a situation so dire and so utterly without hope, that it is the equivalent of having a tiger stalking you on land, and a crocodile snapping its jaws in water, just waiting for you to jump into the river out of sheer tiger-terror.
Happy history, eh?
A group of local graphic artists and political commentators have therefore chosen this idiom for their comic-commentary on Indian politics and populist trends. They summarise themselves as:
a non-profit equal opportunity collection of below-the-belt cheap shots in comic form. Look for updates every Monday morning, the best time of the week for insults.
Today isn’t Monday, but it IS my first working day this week, so my friend Soumik sent me this week’s comic as a treat. Thank you, Soumik. Nothing cheers me more than the proof of minorities being massacred by the state, and then being forced to shut up about it. For those who need context, please google ‘Godhra riots Gujarat’. Even if you’re not familiar with this specific case, I am certain — unfortunately — that you will be familiar with the pattern.
[Click on comic to enlarge]