Demand for former West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu’s “Memoirs, A Political Autobiography” has shot up dramatically following the Marxist icon’s death, booksellers said Wednesday.
The 397-page autobiography, translated into English from the original Bengali, had seen a surge in demand even in the run up to his hospitalisation in Kolkata Jan 1. Basu died Jan 17.
“We don’t have a single English copy now. There is a huge demand for it. People are coming and asking for it. I’m tired giving them the same reply,” Vandana Sharma at the bookstall at the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) headquarters here said.
She said the book was in demand even before Basu fell sick, but its sales began to rise subsequently.
Published by the National Book Agency of Kolkata in 1999, the paperback edition costs Rs.150.
“I am placing orders for it regularly. Now the demand has increased. People want to know more about him,” Sharma told IANS.
Sushanta Dutta of the Muktadhara Book Gallery, a book store owned by the West Bengal government and located close to the CPI-M office, also said that the autobiography had gone out of stock.
“We are waiting for fresh books from Kolkata. We don’t know when it will reach,” he said.
“There is also a huge demand for ‘Jyoti Basu’, a book compiled by Sarala Maheshwari,” Dutta said. Maheshwari is a former CPI-MP.
“This is an old Hindi book. We have 10 to 12 copies. No one was aware of this book earlier,” he said.
The book has articles on Basu written by former CPI-M general secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet, former prime minister V.P. Singh, fomer Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee and Communist leaders including A.B. Bardhan, Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury.
Basu, who almost became India’s prime minister in 1996, was the country’s longest serving chief minister. He presided over West Bengal from 1977 till to 2000.
–Indo-Asian News Service
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