Monday, April 13, 2009

Book to help Bahadur Shah Zafar’s kin

All the past Prime Ministers of the country and Manmohan Singh, will in a way contribute to help the surviving kin of Bahadur Shah Zafar, India’s last Emperor. Proceeds from the sale of Prime Ministers of India: Bharat Bhagya Vidhata, a coffee table book on the 14 Prime Ministers, will go to rehabilitate Sultana Begum, Bahadur Shah’s great granddaughter-in-law who currently ekes out a living selling tea on the streets of Kolkata, says a PTI report.

The 534-page hard bound 12x12 illustrated book, scheduled for release at the end of this month, details the performance of the leaders as well as their achievements and the controversies they survived, starting from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to Dr. Singh.

Compiled by journalist Shivnath Jha and his wife Neena, it is the fourth book in the Andolan Ek Pustak Se movement, which was launched by the duo in 2007, to publish one book a year to honour and help “those who have brought laurels to the country.”

“Sultana Begum runs a tea stall in the Cowies Ghat slum in Howrah district. She lives in squalid conditions and earns a living to support her family. We hope we can help her through the royalty we earn from the book,” Jha told PTI. The “Andolan Ek ...” series was begun with a Monograph on Ustad Bismillah Khan to draw attention to the plight of the ailing shehnai maestro. Other books in the series include Lalu Prasad: India’s Miracle, and India calling — to commemorate India entering 60th year of Independence.

“It was 28 years ago that Sultana’s husband died and she approached the West Bengal government for help. The State government gave her a flat, but she was forced to move out by local goons. She is now living a life of penury,” said Jha.

“Earlier, we used the sale proceeds from the book on Bismillah Khan to rehabilitate Vinayak Rao Tope, the great grandson of Tantya Tope, a frontline leader of the 1857 uprising,” says the journalist.

The book, which is priced at Rs 8,000, includes writings by eminent personalities. It incorporates Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s lecture “Living Politics: What India has taught me.” While historian Bipin Chandra has contributed a piece on Pandit Nehru, Hashmukh Shah, who was personal secretary to Morarji Desai, has given a detailed account of the late Prime Minister in his article.

The former Union Minister, Yashwant Sinha, has written a piece on the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, while Sunil Shastri has written on his father, the late Lal Bahadur Shastri.
Rashtriya Lok Dal president Ajit Singh has contributed an article on his father, the late Chaudhary Charan Singh. Several journalists have wielded their pen with pieces on Chandra Shekhar, HD Deve Gowda, VP Singh and IK Gujral.

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