Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee may be locked in a fierce battle with the Modi government, but that isn’t keeping her from staying up all night to finish writing her magnum opus in time for the Kolkata International Book Fair.
The book focuses on the Singur land agitation, an event that earned her a place in history and contributed to ending the Left parties’ sway over Bengal in the 2011 assembly elections. “We are ready work on a war footing once she sends us the final version,” Sudhanshu Sekhar Dey, proprietor of Dey’s Publishers, told HT.
Dey is also the director of the book fair, scheduled to be held between January 25 and February 5. The world’s largest event of the kind in terms of footfalls, it provides authors with the single-biggest opportunity to reach thousands of readers.
A party leader said the book – the title of which is yet to be finalised – will contain a number of images depicting the struggle that occurred between 2006 and 2008, culminating in Tata Motors’ exit from the Singur project. “She started writing the book in September,” he added.
Dey said the Trinamool Congress chief had submitted the manuscript a few days ago, only to take it back again for reworking.
While the book is being written in Bengali, it will be translated in English and Hindi to cater to a wider audience. Trinamool leaders plan to circulate it in Tripura, where the party desperately wants to topple the CPI(M)-led Manik Sarkar government.
The fallout of the Singur land agitation and the subsequent Supreme Court verdict on August 31, 2016 – where it ordered that 997.11 acres of land acquired from farmers in Singur be returned to their original owners – make it a case of unprecedented importance. Located in the lower Gangetic plains, Singur lies in the heart of one of the most fertile tracts of India – allowing over three harvests annually. Understandably, the farmers were fiercely opposed to handing over the land for setting up an automobile plant.
In that sense, Banerjee’s struggle – which began in 2006 – culminated in an all-round victory at both political and legal levels. Now, she plans on using it to project herself as well as her party as champions of farmer rights.
The Trinamool chief has authored nearly five dozen books over the last three decades, a number of which were published by Dey’s Publishers. These include memoirs, political documentation works, poems, rhymes and even stories for children.
Ten titles were launched by Banerjee in the 2016 book fair, a record even by her standards. This year, however, the number will be fewer. Besides the book on Singur, Dey’s will publish a collection of poems by the Trinamool chief. Jago Bangla, the party’s own publication, will release two other books.