When the state captures the tools of democracy and curbs freedom of expression, it calls for alarm, and the same is getting true of West Bengal. Well-known novelist and thinker Tina Biswas expressed anguish, while saying this at the launch of her third book The Antagonists on Tuesday at the Kolkata Press Club. “I have used fiction to unravel what may be ailing West Bengal politics in modern times. There was a time when we all looked at the change in Government here with hope, but unfortunately this hope was short-lived,” said Biswas, who was born to Bengali parents and read Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University. The Antagonists, her third book, in the words of MP Shashi Tharoor, is “An intriguing and inventive political tale, vivid. accessible, brisk and a highly original novel” The Asian Review of Books recently wrote, and that SUMS the book, ‘Fans of political skulduggery will appreciate the satirical talc of dealing, media manipulation and murder among the ruling classes West Bengal. A representative from the publishers Fingerprint summarized the content of the book thus: “Seamlessly melding the political with the personal, and fusing imagination with reality, The Antagonists reveals the dark, absurd head of modem politics.”
“Despite being born and brought up in United Kingdom. Bengali culture has a special place in my heart and little wonder my three novels have strong connections to West Bengal. As an ardent believer in freedom of expression, and the virtues of democracy, it pains me to hear of the kind of curbs that we are seeing these days – from bans on cinema to muzzling voices of dissent – and I have used my writing to register my protest against this usurping of the public sphere by the state,” added Tina, whom The Guardian called “a natural writer’. Seasoned political commentator and writer Matthew d’Ancona has proclaimed The Antagonists as “A sparkling social satire, its sheer pace, rapid-fire dialogue and brilliant observation evoking the magic of early Evelyn Waugh.” Tina is traveling Kolkata and Delhi to promote her novel. “I think it’s my duty to stand for what is right and what better way to do this than to write about it,” Biswas said referring to curb on freedom of expression in West Bengal and deteriorating political discourse. Earlier on Monday Biswas conducted a dialogue with students at Amity University.