Mamata Banerjee’s penchant for painting is well-known. Her closeness to Kolkata’s cultural circuit is also no secret.But no one would have imagined that power would have the effect of turning Bengal’s Didi – known more for her rabble- rousing skills before she wrested Writers’ Buildings from the Left – into a singer as well.Or that her new-found love for art and culture would turn the corridors of power into a virtual theatre.Governance, of course, takes a back seat whenever the chief minister is in a mood to celebrate.And there’s no dearth of occasions to celebrate – Bengal has produced enough eminent persons whose birth and death anniversaries are on Mamata’s ‘must’ list.In August alone, at least five such ‘prides of Bengal’ – singer Kishore Kumar, theatre personality Shambhu Mitra, legendary Rabindra Sangeet singer Debabrata Biswas, Nobel laureate Mother Teresa and poet Kazi Nazrul Islam – had their anniversaries celebrated at the state secretariat.On these occasions, Mamata and her cabinet colleagues were seen singing songs along with artists at the rotunda – the main corridor in front of the CM’s chamber.On Monday, the CM, ministers and government secretaries celebrated Nazrul’s death anniversary at Writers’ Buildings, ignoring the workload on the first day of the week.Singer-turned Trinamool Congress MLA from Uttarpara, Anup Ghosal, sang Nazrul’s songs on the occasion, regaling everyone.Ghosal, incidentally, has not bothered to visit his constituency even once after the assembly elections.On August 26, a cultural performance by nuns of the Missionaries of Charity and others was organised at Writers’ Building to mark Mother Teresa’s 101st birthday.advertisementWith precious work hours wasted on such occasions, questions are being raised whether the government can organise such events at the secretariat building, ignoring important works.According to sources, the information and cultural affairs department should pass a government order before organising such programmes.”There has to be a yearly calendar for these occasions. But the Trinamool government has not prepared any such calendar so far. They are organising these programmes according to the chief minister’s desire,” an official, who did not want to be named, said.He said during the previous Left Front government, such events used to be held at the state- run Nandan cultural complex.The Opposition Left parties have, predictably, lashed out at the CM. “No one can organise such programmes at Writers’ premises whimsically without proper notice and government order. It’s illegal and a sheer waste of precious working hours on busy week days. It never happened earlier,” former state sports minister Kanti Ganguly said.During her stint as Union railway minister, too, Mamata used to organise cultural programmes to mark Indian Railway’s landmark journey. Popular Bengali singer Nachiketa, Pallab Kirtaniya and others, who rallied for her during the Nandigram anti- land acquisition movement in 2007- 08, had become familiar faces at such railway-sponsored programmes.It’s not just the Left that is making a song and dance about the issue. Mamata’s love for music earlier also shattered the peace of Kolkata residents.The CM had asked the state administration to play Rabindranath Tagore’s songs at every major traffic signal across the city. It became a nightmare for the residents of those areas, with Rabindra Sangeet playing at high decibel throughout the day.
Ace Indian cueist Pankaj Advani won his 11th World Billiards (150-Up format) Championships title by beating Peter Gilchrist of Singapore in the summit clash on Monday.Advani beat multiple world champion Gilchrist by six games to three in a gripping final contest to wrap up his 16th world title overall.Coming into the finals with right frame of mind after defeating Myanmar’s Aung Htay in the semifinals in the morning, Advani scripted a convincing victory over his Singapore-based British opponent.The Indian champion beat Gilchrist 151 (98)-33, 150 (97)-95, 124-150, 101 (98)-150 (89), 150 (87)-50, 152-37, 86 (86)-150, 151 (110)-104, 150 (88)-15.In contrast to his semifinal match, where he posted century break points in all the games, Advani was satisfied with going for short break points to put pressure on his rival.Advani posted his only century break of 110 in the eighth game of the match, which almost dashed the hopes of Gilchrist to win the title as he trailed 3-5 against the Indian cueist.Advani began on a strong note by pocketing the first two games, 150 points against 33 and 150 against 95.