Age has not mellowed him. At 64, Kabir Suman, the musician-turned-politician, is his rebellious self and do not mince words as he attacks his political mentor, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. In a freewheeling interview with THE WEEK, the Trinamool Congress MP from Jadavpur, in Kolkata, discusses among other things, why he is quitting stage shows after 22 years. Excerpts:
You joined politics and quickly won an election. How is your political life taking shape now?
I have no political aspirations anymore. I believe my political life has ended.
Why are you so disillusioned with politics?
I have lost all hope in politics. Today’s politics is not about doing good for the people. I will never contest elections.
Mamata Banerjee inspired you to join politics. But, now you have distanced yourself from her…
She is the worst politician I have ever met. She lied to the people. She failed to deliver the promises she had made. Far from fulfilling the promises, Mamata has not even made any attempt to work towards delivering them. Her administration is a nightmare for the people of Bengal.
Earlier, you had said that she was one of the greatest persons you had met.
That was my most incorrect assessment. I never imagined then that she would turn out to be what she is today.
When CPM leader Abdur Rezzak Mollah was beaten up, you visited him in the hospital. Doesn’t it have any political ramification?
There is no politics in it. I went there as he was beaten up in my constituency. Also, I respect Rezzakda a lot. He is genuine and close to people. In today’s environment, he is a rare politician.
Will Kabir Suman support the Left in the near future?
If they come out with good programmes, why not? I was a Left-minded person in my youth. But I opposed the CPI(M) and joined Mamata when they began oppressing the people. Today, I find her government has beaten all the previous governments in terms of failure.
What about your musical career? You have been doing less number of stage shows these days.
Yes. Soon, I will stop doing stage shows. Stage does not attract me, as I don’t get mature audience anymore. Also, I don’t like to sing old songs. My health is not good either.
So will the people of Bengal be deprived of Kabir Suman’s music?
No. They can find my songs online. I cannot live without music. Today, I think it’s better to give time to music rather than politics. Today’s politics does not deserve my valuable time.
Why are you saying stage does not attract you any more? Is there a change in the Bengali’s taste for music?
I will not generalise. But there is a sharp decrease in the number of music lovers who understand quality music. Stage performers always search for true music lovers, who are intellectual and mature. But sorry to say that I hardly find such an audience anymore. Also, I am getting old. I am 64.
So are you going to bid farewell to your fans?
Yes, at least to the stage. But, I will continue with my classical music, which I learnt in childhood. If people want me to sing classical music and Kheyal, I will try not to disappoint them. But I will slowly quit the Bengali modern music scene.