West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who on Wednesday returned land to Singur farmers, recalled late Bengali writer and social activist Mahasweta Devi’s unwavering support to the land movement and said she would have been the “happiest” to see the peasants get their land back.
“I remembered ‘Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa’ by Mahasweta Devi when the hunger strike was on (during the movement). I started writing a book yesterday (on Tuesday) and I have begun it with Mahasweta Devi. Had Mahasweta di been alive, she would have been the happiest.
“Today she is no more. We pay our respects to her. We seek her blessings, for victory for Ma, Mati, Manush (mother, soil, man),” Banerjee said here during the Singur festival. The book will be published in January.
Banerjee returned 9,117 land records to farmers and compensated 800 peasants from whom land had been taken against their will for the Tata Motors’ Nano project following Supreme Court verdict striking down the land acquisition made by the erstwhile Left Front government and ordered the land be returned to the cultivators.
Reminiscing on the author’s contribution to the Singur land movement, Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress supremo, asserted it was Mahasweta Devi who believed in the struggle when others were skeptical.
Watch What Else Is Making News
“When people were skeptical, whether the struggle would gather steam, I remember after ten days… we were afraid that the police would be sent to break the stage and disrupt our hunger strike… then (singer) Kabir Suman came to us accompanied by Mahasweta Devi. From that day, I got her constant love,” said Banerjee.