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‘Epang, Opang, Jhapang… Bang!’ The portrait of CM Mamata as a prolific artist

MAMATA Banerjee the politician has few parallels: the lady who just about single-handedly shaped a celebration, took on the Left behemoth in West Bengal, rode to energy, and final yr, handed the Modi-Shah-led BJP a crushing defeat.

Mamata Banerjee the artist just about stands alone too: tons of of books, numerous work, state logos, Durga Puja track information, no less than one sculpture, and hundreds of poems, over 900 of those in a single ebook alone. All this whereas charting the course of Bengal’s historical past.

It is the ebook with 900 or so poems, Kabita Bitan, by the Trinamool Congress Chief Minister that’s within the information at present. After the Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi introduced the ‘Annada Shankar Smarak Samman’ award for Mamata for the ebook, Bengali author Ratna Rashid Banerjee said she would return the award that she had acquired in 2019, saying she felt “insulted”. A member of the Sahitya Akademi’s (Eastern Region) General Council, Anadiranjan Biswas, resigned from the establishment’s Bengali advisory board in protest. Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen mentioned the award to Mamata confirmed that “Kolkata’s writers, artists and intellectuals are all sold out”.

Other writers too criticised the award for the CM by the Akademi, which is a wing of the West Bengal authorities’s Information and Cultural Affairs Department. The not too long ago constituted award, honouring “relentless literary pursuit” by individuals who write literature whereas working in different fields, was conferred on the delivery anniversary celebrations of Rabindranath Tagore. Mamata was current however the award was acquired on her behalf by State Education Minister Bratya Basu, who by the way is the chairperson of the Akademi.

While Kabita Bitan, the ebook in query, was launched on the 2020 International Kolkata Book Fair, Mamata has been fairly prolific earlier than and since. Her books and “thousands of poems” cowl topics as diverse as her struggles as an Opposition chief, the actions led by her in Singur and Nandigram that powered her to the CM’s chair in 2011, the Centre’s insurance policies resembling demonetisation, GST, CAA and NRC, and violence.

Kabita Bitan wasn’t her first ebook on the Kolkata honest both. Every yr, a publication by her options there and turns into a bestseller.

A sculpture was arrange at Saltlake Stadium’s major entrance earlier than the FIFA U-17 world cup. The sculpture was conceptualised and designed by CM Mamata Banerjee (Express photograph by Partha Paul)

Painting is one other artwork that Mamata continuously dabbles in, with auctions of the identical fodder for information. One such portray, after she had come to energy, was bought for Rs 1.8 crore. The purchaser was allegedly Sudipto Sen, chairman of the Saradha Group who has been in police custody since April 2013 for the Saradha chit fund rip-off. The Opposition had a area day with experiences of that supposed deal.

Mamata has typically mentioned that proceeds from her portray exhibitions go to TMC coffers or the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. She additionally offers away a few of the work as presents to dignitaries, resembling President Ram Nath Kovind. During the Assembly polls final yr, she turned out two work in the midst of one dharna in opposition to the Election Commission.

Then there are logos, such because the Biswa Bangla one (the Emblem of West Bengal), or logos for presidency schemes resembling her Kanyashree Prakalpa for women. As she factors out, she fees no cash for a similar.

Ahead of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2017, Mamata designed a sculpture to mark the event, that was later put in outdoors Salt Lake Stadium or Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan.

Come Durga Puja, songs recorded by the CM are performed in pandals; in actual fact, notable Community Durga Puja Committees are recognized to line as much as request her to write down songs for them. On some events, she has additionally composed the music for her songs, with movies on social media of her making an attempt her hand on the synthesiser. Maa Go Tumi Sarbojanin, sung by playback singer Shreya Ghoshal, is one in every of her hottest songs.

While anybody else could be exhausted by the pure breadth and depth of her ventures, Mamata says all she wants for writing, portray and the like is a while from her busy schedule.

Slamming the award to Mamata, Leader of Opposition within the Assembly Suvendu Adhikari mentioned: “It is an insult to the culture and heritage of Bengal to confer such an award on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Tagore. Using her power, she could have received this award on some other day. Besides she has written poems such as Epang, Opang, Jhapang, which have no meaning.”
That poem revolved round soil as motherland, and the title was a tackle a Horlicks advert.

In a letter to Education Minister Bratya Basu, returning her award, Ratna Banerjee mentioned after Mamata had obtained one, it had develop into a “crown of thorns” for her. “As a writer, I feel insulted by the move… The Akademi… praising the so-called relentless literary pursuit of the Chief Minister is a travesty of truth,” she mentioned.

Asked about her determination, Ratna Banerjee, a write of over 30 books of quick tales and compiled articles, instructed The Indian Express: “There is no politics behind my move. I have said whatever I had to say.”

Bengali poet and a member of the Bangabandhu Bangla Akademi, Subodh Sarkar, nevertheless, says criticism over the Akademi’s award to Mamata is unwarranted, and directed by these “who malign her throughout the year”. Nobody was speaking concerning the ebook for which she was given the honour, he says, including: “This award is to be given every three years to someone who is relentless in their work for the betterment of society and is a catalyst for change. A writer of about 113 books, Mamata Banerjee’s name was at the top of the list of probable winners. The jury members took a unanimous decision.”

Sarkar provides that the award was given to the TMC chief for her contribution to literature. “This has been given for her body of work. If Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Winston Churchill can get such awards, then why not Mamata Banerjee?”

Minister Bratya Basu says: “Only Bengalis have the ability to protest against fellow Bengalis. It is very unfortunate. Non-Bengalis would never have done such a thing.”

Famous painter Suvaprassana additionally sees nothing improper. Rather, he says, “If Rabindranath Tagore had been alive, then he would have himself given the award to Mamata Banerjee.”

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