Pinarayi launches KK Shailaja's book, says politicians' memoirs narrative of country's history


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Pinarayi Vijayan, KK Shailaja, Justice Kurian Joseph, KV Thomas and others with the book | Photo: Facebook/KKShailaja

New Delhi: Politicians' memoirs are not just a collection of their personal memories but also a narrative of the country's history, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said here on Friday as he released former minister K K Shailaja's book.

He also lauded Shailaja's efforts to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic during her tenure as the health minister of Kerala.

Shailaja's book -- "My Life as a Comrade: The Story of an Extraordinary Politician and the World That Shaped Her" -- is peppered with interesting anecdotes from different stages of her life that shaped her as a politician.

Published by the Delhi-based Juggernaut Books and co-authored by Manju Sara Rajan, the book also talks about the former minister's handling of the Covid situation in Kerala, which won her international recognition, and her role as a CPI(M) worker and leader.

It also offers a glimpse into Shailaja's childhood, her life in an all-woman household, and her career as a teacher and a politician.

Speaking at the launch of the first part of the book, Vijayan said, "When politicians write their memoirs, it is not just a collection of their personal memories but also a narrative of the country's history."

"The book has a touching description of her grandmother M K Kalyani who, disregarding her own health, worked during the plague when many had abandoned their family members fearing the disease. It is only apt that her grandchild led the fight against another pandemic of a similar scale," he said.

Vijayan also lauded his government's performance during the pandemic, saying that it was not a mere health issue but a larger community challenge and the government was able to fix the systemic deficiencies.

"The world took notice of the work done by the Left Democratic Front cabinet, which is a matter of pride for all of us, including Ms Shailaja," he said.

Shailaja was the face of Kerala's fight against COVID-19 during the initial months of the pandemic.

She was hailed as the "rockstar health minister" by the global media for her effective crisis management and mature intervention in arresting the first wave of the pandemic in the state.

She was also considered for the prestigious Magsaysay Award last year but she declined to accept it.

CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat, who also attended the book launch, said, "When a communist writes about her life, she isn't talking about (one's) individual journey but the social situations she has to fight against."

"We communists see ourselves as a collective with a collective desire for social change. But along with this collective, in the times of crises, every individual role matters because each individual either adds to the collective or weakens it," she said.

"I think we all recognise that (in) the collective under Pinarayi Vijayan... Shailaja had a very significant individual contribution. This book reflects on both her collective and her individual experience," she said.

PTI

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