Sundeep Bhutoria

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Truly a Bengali bhadralok



Today morning read in the newspapers that our ex Lok Sabha Speaker, Somnath Chatterjee, could not hold his tears and wept at the Indira Bhawan at a function to mark Jyoti Basu’s birth anniversary.
Though I wasn’t there at the Indira Bhawan yesterday, I had witnessed the strong emotional attachment between them during Jyoti babu’s last days when Somnath da used to visit him at the hospital regularly.
I saw the doctors advise Somnath da to take rest but he was always the first one to arrive as soon as then news of Jyoti babu’s deteriorating health got around.
It wasn’t a one-sided affection. I remember when I had organised a function to felicitate and honour Sri Somnath Chatterjee for becoming the Lok Sabha Speaker, Jyoti babu had presided that function. When I was about to garland Jyoti babu, he took the garland of flowers from my hand and put it around Somnath da’s neck and whispered, “Today he deserves it first”.
Like theirs’, some relations are hard to define. It wasn’t just political or years of party bonding, but something that went beyond all that. After Jyoti babu’s demise when Somnath da came to pay his last respects at the state assembly, he was seen wiping his eyes most of the time.
It is said that in politics you cannot achieve anything if you are emotional. But Somnath da is not only an emotional person but also by nature a very friendly, warm and affectionate.
Yesterday, while entering Speaker Halim’s room at the State Assembly, the moment Somnath
da saw me he held my hands and said that it was good to see me and that he was planning to write a letter to me tomorrow. A thorough gentleman, well read and travelled, humorous, lover of good food – he is a true Bengali bhadrolok.
Somnath da always replied by writing letters to the people he knew. Once, when he was the Speaker and was at the Kolkata Raj Bhawan office, I had faxed him a letter and got a signed reply faxed to me within six hours.
Somnath da has attended several programmes of mine (pictures) from donation of ambulance to book releases. Soon after his retirement as the Lok Sabha Speaker he had inaugurated the photo exhibition organised by Prabha Khaitan Foundation at Nandan (picture: Gautam Lewis, Somnath Chatterjee, Wasim Kapoor and Swastika)
Everyone knows that he has given the post of the Speaker and the country’s Parliamentary system much respect and honour through his exemplary service and by upholding the lofty principles of good governance, good office and conduct.
I am not exactly the right person to comment on his dismissal from the CPI(M) party but I know for sure that he still remains the same person full of grace and dignity. I wish we had more Parliamentarians like him.
ess bee

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