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Book by Finland Foreign Minister released in India

books Updated: May 07, 2013 17:05 IST

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Alleged to be a Soviet spy of the 1920s and considered the 'brain' behind founding of the Communist Party in Britain, the story of Salme Dutt, along-with her sister Hella Wuolijoki written by Finland's Foreign Minister, showcases an intriguing Indian connection.

A historical biography titled "A Delicate Shade of Pink" revolves around the life and times of the sisters - Hella Wuolijoki an author and playwright who was considered to be a "spy" of the Soviet Union along with her sister Salme, who came to Britain as a representative of the Communist International Party.

Salme married Rajani Palme Dutt, a very affluent, Oxford educated, writer and thinker and member of the Communist Party of Britain. Dutt, whose father was an Indian had founded in 1921 a monthly magazine "Labour Monthly", a publication which he edited until his death. He frequently used to write about India and issues related to India.

The book by Erkki Tuomioja was first published in Finnish even though it was originally written in English.

"I am genuinely delighted to have the opportunity to release the book by the minister who has already authored 19 books already.... A significant figure in the European and international affairs, he has honoured us with a very special intriguing Indian connection in this book," said Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor after releasing the English version of book here last evening.

The English rights of the book, which was first published in Finnish in the 2006, have been bought by Delhi-based publisher Wisdom Tree, which is beginning a new imprint 'Wisdom Tree Bridging Roots', focused on inter-cultural literature. The book, has been based on real accounts from the archives of British Secret Service that Tuomioja says has been accessed by former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and Soviet accounts through Former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.

"It gives an interesting exploration of European History through the two World Wars, with an intriguing Indian connection," said Tharoor.

"Hella Wuolijoki is incidentally the grandmother of the author but nonetheless, the story of the sisters is compelling.

Rajani Palme Dutt is better known in India than he deserves to be. He was perhaps the most well known of those who write about India," said Tharoor.