The Left Has The Last Word

The Left Has The Last Word

Shobita Dhar
Expressindia 04-02-2002

New Delhi, February 3: What we know is that at the fifteenth World Book Fair, spiritual books, self-help books and Lagaan stationery have been selling before you can say Book Fair. But interestingly, of those 800 plus book stalls, there’s one stall — Left Word Books — where instead of books, it’s t-shirts which are selling more. And so you have not Lagaan t-shirts, but leftist ones — talk about Socialism meeting Capitalism — bearing slogans and pictures of leaders like Karl Marx, Che Guvera and Bhagat Singh that are being picked up by the dozens. Of the three, Marx has sold the most, followed by Guvera and then Singh. Says Anil Koli of the publishing house, ‘‘We just had 100 t-shirts of Marx and all of them have been sold out. Of the 200 shirts of Guvera, around 100 have been sold.’’ In the last two days of the fair, Left Word expects the number to increase, even surpassing the number of books that have been purchased from their stall. ‘‘We never expected the t-shirts to sell that well,’’ admits Shayoni Mitra, an employee of the publishing house. Predictably enough, say socialist and the first image that creeps up in the mind of any Dilliwallah is that of JNU. Mitra is quick to clarify: ‘‘Our publishing house and the University do have a a symbiotic relationship, but we’ve been getting students from Delhi University, and also a number of teachers who’re buying the stuff.’’ Priced at Rs 100, there are just three kinds of t-shirts available. The Karl Marx one has the symbols of socialism — sickle and hammer — replaced by a question mark and an exclamation mark and slogan — ‘Doubt Everything’— printed on it. In red of course. The Che Guvera has the leader’s picture and ‘long live the revolution’ printed in Spanish and the Bhagat Singh one has four lines of revolutionist poetry by Urdu poet Pash with Singh’s picture on it.


Reproduced from


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