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Snippets of a CM’s life

Agartala, Dec. 20: Communist leaders are barred by their ideological conviction from creating and promoting a cult of the personality, which possibly explains the absence of autobiographical works by Indian communist leaders.

Though Muzaffar Ahmed, the late secretary of the Bengal unit of the undivided communist party, had authored an autobiographical work, Aamar Jibon O Bharater Communist Party, and late Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu had authored an autobiographical sketch Janaganer Sange, Marxists are not known for writing autobiographies.

Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar has proved to be an exception in this regard by penning an autobiographical work, Atit Diner Smriti (Reminiscences of the past). This short 104-page book will be released on January 2 at the Ananda auditorium in Nazrul Kalakshetra.

Debananda Daam, the proprietor of Tripura’s leading publishing house, Gyan Vichitra, is bringing out the book, divided into 21 chapters. While this is the first autobiographical work by a communist leader of Tripura, Daam said the book is “not strictly an autobiography.”

“It is, as the name suggests, the reminiscences of his life. How his schooling began, how his college was and how he joined politics as a student by taking part in the food movement of the late sixties, all these facts find mention in the book,” said Daam.

What, however, is more important is the context in which the book has been written than the content. Sarkar’s wife, Panchali Bhattacharjee, had been urging him to pen his memories of the past but the chief minister hardly had the time.

In the preface to the book entitled Kichhu Katha (A few words), Sarkar has disclosed, “I never had any intention of writing such a book but whenever I recounted my past, Panchali used to urge me to pen them down. She would even say that if I reminisced my past she would write them down but I still did not agree.”

But he changed his mind when Panchali fell seriously ill because of a heart ailment last year. The chief minister, presumably as a gesture of respect for her desire, slowly started penning down his memoirs.

with chapters titled Amar Pratham School (My first school), Umakanta School, Ramesh School, Food Movement, Ramthakur College, Repression of Levy, Natak, Naxal and Jail Khana.

“I did not know anything about this until the day Panchalidi called me and told me everything. I received the manuscript in the last week of November and worked on it in secret as I am expected to. The book will be formally published on January 2,” said publisher Daam.

The chief minister, in his debut writer avatar, remains true to his humble self, stating in the preface to the book, “I do not know how it will help anyone or whether it will help at all, but I will naturally feel happy if readers like it.”

Sarkar’s autobiographical sketch has a special chapter titled Sir. It is based on his reminiscences of his favourite teacher at Ramesh School in Udaipur, Dhirendra Chandra Acharjee, who helped and inspired him a lot. It is octogenarian Acharjee, who as the guest of honour, will unveil the book.

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