Mamata warns against efforts to distort history and science
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called upon the intellectuals to be alert against any effort to distort history and science at the inaugural programme of the 42nd International Kolkata Book Fair at Salt Lake's Central Park on Tuesday.
"I urge the authors and writers of the country to remain alert so that the distorted version of history is not published in books," she said.
Without mentioning BJP, she trained her guns at the Centre against which she had been quite vocal on previous occasions.
Banerjee had earlier alleged that the BJP was trying to present a distorted version of Indian history. Here, at the inauguration of the Kolkata International Book Fair, she once again reminded the scholars to thwart any such attempt. The venue of the event this year has shifted to Central Park as renovation works are on at the Milan Mela ground.
During the inauguration of the event, Banerjee also felicitated veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee with CESC Srishti Samman for his outstanding contribution to Indian cinema.
The actor was conferred the "Legion of Honour", the highest civilian award of France.
About three decades after the then French President Francois Mitterrand awarded the Legion of Honour to film maestro Satyajit Ray in 1987, his favourite actor got the honour here.
"I wish he (Ray) could be present here to see you, Soumitra Chatterjee, getting the highest French Civilian Honour," French Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler said while conferring the honour on Chatterjee who had acted in 14 of Ray's films.
Describing the Dadasaheb Phalke winner as "the very prototype of Bengali gentleman", the envoy said though Chatterjee is 83 years old, he looked like just 50.
"France loves him as much as he loves France and there was a retrospective of his representative films in France in 2016," he added.
"We are honoured that our legendary actor Chatterjee has been conferred with the highest civilian honour of France for his enormous contribution to Indian films over the past three decades. We have a good relation with France. Kolkata is the cultural capital of India just like France which is the world's capital for its cultural heritage," she maintained.
While inaugurating the event, comparing books with the third eye, Banerjee said: "Books serve as the third eye without which learning cannot be done or creation cannot happen. People can gather knowledge and come to know the rich cultural heritage of the country through books."
The Chief Minister also inaugurated a calendar of the Publishers and Booksellers Guild that organises the Kolkata International Book Fair every year.
As many as nine books authored by the Chief Minister were published from the inauguration programme on Tuesday. Among them are Maa, Mati, Manush, a collection of her poems published in Hindi by Rajkamal Prakashan, another book written in Ol-Chiki script published by the Paschim Banga Santali Academy. The other books of the Chief Minister were published by Dey Publishing.
The other book penned by the Chief Minister was Savera which is written in Urdu. My Journey is an English book written by the Chief Minister depicting the days of her struggle. The rest five are in Bengali — Sishu Bela, a book for children, Asahishnuta, Rudraksha, a collection of her poems, Amar Naba Prajanma and Banglar Kanyashree Aaj Viswajaye, which depicts how school students have benefitted from the Kanyashree scheme, a brainchild of the Chief Minister.