15 May, 2021

Storm In An Old Tea Cup

She’s impetuous, honest, a gadfly. But for all her courage, Mamata’s change is painted in borrowed Red.

Storm In An Old Tea Cup

In her My Unforgettable Memories, a disparate collection, the one description Mamata Banerjee gives of herself is as a person incapable of lying and dissimulation. She knows the truth can sometimes hurt; but even in those circumstances she is incapable of being economical with the truth. But having said that, she goes on to describe an occasion where, on a foreign visit, she did not have the heart to tell an orthodox vegetarian, when asked, that he had just been served and was eating non-vegetarian food. When the colleague asks why she did not tell him the truth, she says: “I did not want you to go hungry. This is not my kitchen, and I would have been unable to arrange something for you.”

It would take a lot to decode this form of transparency, but two traits stand out: she had decided what was good for the colleague (irrespective of the colleague’s point of view) and was willing to say it openly. Is this the secret to Didi? Her message, as that of Monobina Gupta’s breezy biography Didi, is that...

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