The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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English season for Mamata

Calcutta, Dec. 2: The poet in politician Mamata Banerjee is going English.

Poems, some from her earlier collections and some recent, and Ashubho Sanket, her book of essays on the state of affairs in Bengal, have been translated and are ready for release.

In its new avatar, Ashubho Sanket is Dark Horizons. The collection of poems, though, is a departure from her concern for the ills plaguing the state. It is called Smile.

Within days of banning Taslima Nasreen’s Dwikhandita (Split in Two), which could allegedly trigger communal unrest, the government may be faced with a publication that could to put it in unrest. It is unlikely that Mamata will come under the axe for disturbing the “communal balance”.

Writing, it may seem, comes naturally to the Trinamul Congress chief. She has more than a dozen titles to her credit and is planning to publish her verses in Hindi as well.

Smile contains about 150 poems. “This book contains the English translations of some of my poems in Bengali. Flooded by requests from friends, colleagues and well-wishers to bring out an English version for non-Bengali readers, I have tried to do justice,” Mamata said. The author herself has written the preface to the new books.

But these won’t be her first works in English. Struggle for Existence was her first effort in the Queen’s language.

Subrata Mukherjee, the mayor of Calcutta, whom Mamata recently asked to quit if he did not follow her policies in the civic body, will formally release his leader’s books.

“It is a wonder,” said a Trinamul leader, “how Mamata, a very busy leader, finds time to write.”

When Mamata refused to become a minister at the Centre in July, she had taken to sketching and painting images of Ganesh, the deity of success. She is now a minister in Delhi but without an office.

In Dark Horizon, Mamata tells the youth to think positively. “A bouquet of reforms are necessary to drive away the dark cloud of corruption and vitiation that shrouds the land. Let us heed the warnings and usher in the purification,” she writes in the preface.

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