Mamata Banerjee’s Musical Brush In Germany Leaves Some On A Sour Note

Mamata Banerjee played “We Shall Overcome” on the accordion with a busker in Germany


A video of Mamata Banerjee playing the accordion along with a busker dressed as Mickey Mouse on a street in Frankfurt has gone viral. The West Bengal Chief Minister, on a visit to Germany to invite investments to the state, stood with the busker for several minutes and played the tune “We shall overcome” on it, drawing quite a crowd of passers-by who had possibly never seen someone in a saree playing an accordion on a street corner before.

But back home, the video drew sharp criticism from the opposition. CPM legislator Sujan Chakraborty did not spell it out but suggested similarities to Nero fiddling as Rome burned.

In one of his tweets, Mr Chakraborty posted still photos of Bagri¬†Market – the one that went up in flames early on Sunday, of Ms Banerjee playing the accordion and a poster that read “Majerhat Bridge had a fitness certificate, Bagri Market had a No Objection Certificate, who gave these certificates and in return of what?”

And in his tweet, the CPM MLA wrote “State #WB is burning #BagreeMarketFire & she is playing music #Piano at abroad #EnoughIsEnough”

Mamata Banerjee is tagged in the tweet. That was not the only one.

Among potential German investors Ms Banerjee met were Dr Jurgen Ratzinger, managing director, International Business IHK Frankfurt, Dirk Matter, Director IGCC Dusseldorf, Oliver Wack, area manager, Foreign Trade Department, East and South Asia Trade Policy/WTP VDMA .

Originally a gospel song that became a civil rights anthem in 1950s onwards, We Shall Overcome was sung by greats including Pete Seeger, Joan Baez and Bruce Springsteen.

In India, poet Girija Kumar Mathur composed its literal translation in Hindi “Hum Honge Kaamyab”, which became a popular patriotic song during the 1970s and 80s.

In Bengal and Bangladesh, there are two popular versions. One is “Amra Korbo Joy” translated by the Bengali folk singer Hemanga Biswas and re-recorded by Bhupen Hazarika.

Another, translated by Shibdas Bandyopadhyay, “Ek Din Shurjer Bhor” means “One Day The Sun Will Rise”. It was recorded by the Calcutta Youth Choir led by Ruma Guha Thakurta during the 1971 Bangladesh War of Independence and became one of the largest selling Bengali records ever.

In Kerala, the song became popular on college campuses during the late 1970s. It was the struggle song of the CPM’s student wing, the Students Federation of India SFI.


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