Mum’s the word

New book brings a collection of letters penned by eminent personalities to their mothers
Biocon MD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw ( File Photo | EPS)
Biocon MD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw ( File Photo | EPS)

BENGALURU: Billionaires, spiritual gurus, members of the British House of Lords, political leaders, members of royal families, actors, entrepreneurs, doctors... Their one common link is their rapport with their mother. In Dear Mama, which was released recently by Cherie Blair, British barrister, writer and wife of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, they open up and share some personal letters have been written to their mothers.

The book by Mohini Kent also includes excerpts by Bengaluru-based Biocon CMD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw. The 155-page book, published by Mothers Ink Publishers in London, includes 150 one-page letters from prominent personalities from across the world.

The online launch, which was organised by Prabha Khaitan Foundation, Kolkata, saw Blair sharing stories about her mother.

“When I was called to the Bar in 1976, you were the only parent entitled to be part of my achievement. I wanted you to be acknowledged,” she said.

For Mazumdar-Shaw, the independent streak of her mother (Yamini Mazumdar) has been her inspiration, she shares in the book.

“Not many daughters can boast of the fact that their mother is a successful entrepreneur at the age of 87. This fiery independent streak is what I have inherited from you. You have been a pillar of great strength and inspiration to me,” she says.

Photographer Raghu Rai recalls how his mother kept the family together during the Partition. “When the Partition took place, I was just five. Little did I understand what it meant for my mother to look after ten children without any help. My mother wove a magic thread to keep a large family happy and united at low cost.” Similar is track and field athlete Milkha Singh’s memory.

“Our home was in Multan. Then we heard India was going to be partitioned. A Muslim mob came for us with their guns. Father shouted: ‘Bhaag Milkha! Don’t look back!’ When it was quiet, I went back, but they had killed you, everyone. My last memory of you is lying on your body and weeping.”

“Dear Mama is a stupendous collection of letters to one’s mother and which evokes deep feelings of love, emotion, compassion and inspiration. The formal launch was slated for March 2020 at an event in London but it had to be postponed due to the Covid pandemic. It was a touching experience for me to write a letter to my late mother for the book,” said Sundeep Bhutoria, trustee, Prabha Khaitan Foundation.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi: “Mother is the ever-flourishing spring of inspiration and our strength to overcome all the challenges.”

Sharmila Tagore: “I have taken you for granted. I never told you how much I appreciated your cooking (and) your talent with jokes.”

Arshad Warsi: “The first thing I need to do, in fact every son and daughter needs to do, is apologise for not being able to match up to the unconditional love mothers have  for their children.”

Shonali Bose: “All of my films -- Amu, Margarita with a Straw, The Sky is Pink -- have been about the mother-daughter relationship and death. That’s because you were so central to my life till your shocking 
death when I was 21.”

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The New Indian Express