Social Empowerment

Mamata Banerjee’s photo in ‘famous Bengali legends’

Mamta Banerjee

A photograph of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee alongside stalwarts of Bengal, including revolutionary hero Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Nobel laureate poet Rabindra Nath Tagore, on a giant flex at the heart of the city’s information technology hub, has created a stir among the netizens as well as the commuters here.

The blue flex has gone viral with a large number of social media users commenting on platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

The flex bearing the headline “Famous Bengali legends’ near a busy crossing at Sector 5 in Salt Lake contains pictures in two rows of 13 eminent persons from the 19th and 20th century-spanning almost all fields such as literature, the country’s freedom struggle, social and religious reform movements, science and politics. The 14th and last photo in the lower row are that of a smiling Banerjee.

Among those whose photos appear in the flex are Bengali socio-religious reformer Ram Mohan Roy, Bengali polymath and introducer of widow remarriage in Bengal Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, author of India’s national anthem Vande Mataram Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, legendary Bengali poets Tagore, Michael Madhusudan Dutt and Kazi Najrul Islam, famous Bengali physicist Satyendra Nath Bose and versatile scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose.

Nineteenth century ascetic Ramakrishna Paramhansa, his disciple and founder of Ramakrishna Mission Swami Vivekananda, freedom fighter Chittaranjan Das, and former state chief minister Bidhan Chandra Roy also feature in the flex.

The Chief Minister’s photograph finding its place beside such colossal figures, and that too under the caption “Famous Bengali Legends” has triggered howls of protest and sarcastic references.

“This is too much. Mamata Banerjee may be the most popular leader in West Bengal now, but to include her in the same bracket as such legends, isn’t that too much?” asked Sudhirti Chowdhury, a college student.

IANS tried to get in touch with several Trinamool leaders.

Bidhannagar municipality chairperson Krishna Chakraborty parried the question saying the area where the flex appears was outside the purview of the civic body.

State Fire Services Minister Sujit Bose denied the existence of the flex. “I don’t know any such flex has been put up. I have no idea about its existence. How can I comment on something unless I can confirm that it exists?” Bose replied when IANS pointed out to him that it has the photo of the flex.

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