Nobody knows when she learnt Urdu but not a single question was raised when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s book Tamanna, (Voice of Heart) — an anthology of 109 Urdu shayaris — was on Tuesday launched at the 39th Kolkata Book Fair that was inaugurated by the CM at the Milan Mela Complex here.
In the book, the couplets, which dwell on various aspects of life, are also written in English alphabet to facilitate reading among the non-Urdu-speaking people.
Besides Tamanna, five other books penned by Mamata, among which include collections of poems, essays, and her Baanis (wise sayings), were also published in the presence of British writer and journalist Anita Anand, the chief guest this year.
Significantly, the launch could be seen as Mamata keeping the promise that she had made in a close circle of Muslim clerics and party leaders on the occasion of Eid in Kolkata last year,when she had reportedly told the group about the shayaris she has been writing
But the ambiguity over her possible learning of Urdu language remained, which even her brother could not dispel. “As far as I know, she studied in a Bengali-medium school. I don’t know when she had learnt it,” Ajit Banerjee, Mamata’s brother and the president of Bengal Olympic Association, told The Indian Express.
The launch became a sniggering point among leaders from opposition parties, even as some declined to comment, calling it “too personal”.
Congress’s state president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, however, wasn’t one among the latter. “Let her deliver a short speech in Urdu and then we will be convinced. It is an age of plagiarism and who knows what she has done,” he said.
BJP took a leap. “We are lucky that Bengal has got such a talented Chief Minister. When did she learn Urdu and become a master of the language that she could write poems and couplets… we can’t understand. But we suggest she stick to her literary activities and keep away from governance because that is not her cup of tea,” BJP’s state president Rahul Sinha said.
CPM politburo member Surya Kanta Mishra, however, took a different cue. “It’s too personal so I will not make any comment,” he said.
In her address, Mamata only spoke on this year’s Focal Theme Country, Great Britain. “Rabindranath Tagore went to England. Bengal and UK had a great cultural relationship,” the CM said