Playwright Saoli Mitra, ustad Rashid Khan and poet Joy Goswami supported Trinamool Congress chief and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee’s pre-poll struggles at Singur, Nandigram and Lalgarh. It is time for the reward.
Banerjee has included the Kolkata-based trio on a new committee being set up to promote the heritage and culture of the Indian Railways. The 10-member committee will archive the railway heritage and draw up templates that will employ railways motifs to promote nationalism.
Mitra, who will head the committee, recently staged Pasukhamar – the Bengali play based on British author George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm, which was a critique of Stalinism. Mitra’s adaptation is said to be directed at West Bengal’s communist government, Banerjee’s arch rival in the state.
“As this committee will function out of Kolkata, majority of members will be from here and these will include academics, historians, researchers, writers and others,” Mitra told HT.
Since taking charge as the Railways Minister, Banerjee has shown special favor to artistes of her home state.
Scores of them have been accommodated in two catering-related committees set up by her. At the same time they have been given lifelong railway passes called the golden passes that provide for free travel in the First AC with one companion.
Besides well-known writer Mahashweta Devi, those accorded such privileges include filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh, painter Shuva Prasanna, dancer Amala Shankar and theatre personality Bibhas Chakraborty.
The golden pass was awarded selectively in the past. Its recipients have been Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, Bharat Ratna awardee Ustad Bismillah Khan and Olympian gold medallist Abhinav Bindra.
Mitra said the long-term plans of the committee include setting up of cultural institutes, including film academies, organising plays and provide creative interface to cultural groups of various regions of the country.