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Did CM's family blow the conchshell? - The Pioneer

Abhijit Dasgupta ()
24 January 1997

Title : Did CM's family blow the conchshell?
Author : Abhijit Dasgupta
Publication : The Pioneer
Date : January 24, 1997

Chief Minister Jyoti Basu might have exhorted all "right thinking
citizens" of Calcutta to blow conchshells for a minute from 12.15
pm on Thursday to commemorate Netaji's birth centenary, but his son
Chandan's household seemed wary of answering a simple question: Was
the request followed in his own backward.

This correspondent called up a few residences at random to check
whether Mr Basu's request had been kept by the citizens. When the
phone at Mr Chandan Basu's residence rang at 5 pm, a young girl
("My name is Juthika Basu") picked up the phone. Asked if
conchshells had been blown at home, she dithered for a while and
then hung up abruptly, seemingly on someone's instruction.

Calling up again immediately ,, this correspondent gave his name
and designation and asked for Mr Jyoti Basu's daughter-in-law Dolly
Basu. This time, too, Juthika picked up the phone, but could not
give a categorical answer.

It was obvious -- and one could faintly overhear -- that she was
seeking instructions from someone. After some time, she abruptly
said: "Please call up later." The phone went dead.

However, the rest of the city seemed divided over the conchshell.
Mr Debashis Chakraborty of the posh New Alipore area said he was
"not even aware of the advertisement" in which the Chief Minister
had made his appeal.

Ms Tirtha Roy, a housewife who had earlier worked as the general
manager of a national English daily, also said she was "not aware
of the appeal." However, she said she had heard neighbours blowing
conchshells at the appointed hour. "Frankly, I did not bother," Ms
Boy said.

Ms Jaya Banerjee, a house wife, and Mr Sreenath Basak, a chef in a
restaurant, said the appeal had been followed in their houses,
Councillor Dibyendu Biswas was not at home, but his son,
Dibyojyoti, said his father had heard of the appeal through "his
secretary" and the appeal had been followed.

Writer Armada Shankar Roy, over 90 years of age, sounded sleepy and
said; "Please call me after an hour. Sorry."

The phone went on ringing at cricketer Sourav Ganguly's residence.
Obviously, the family had taken a day off only to return later in
the evening and watch the man in the family play in South Africa.

Ms Bipasha Mukherjee, a career woman and wife of a top marketing
whizkid in the publishing world, said: "We were not even home at
that time. But yes, I was aware of the appeal."

Danseuse Amala Shankar, widow of Uday Shankar, was not home, but
noted singer Ajoy Chakraborty said his wife had done the needful.

All in all, it was almost like a Sunday in Calcutta on Thursday,
albeit a busy Sunday. The Victoria Memorial grounds as well as the
Maidan were full. Actor Mithun Chakraborty was in town at the
behest of his mentor, Sports Minister Subhas Chakraborty, to
perform at a function at the Indoor Stadium.

Mithun said: "I will mingle with children and form a human boat and
receive the Tricolour from a kid dressed as Bharat Mata. It will
be in the form of a musical ballet. It is scheduled for late

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