First Person Singular is a collection of essays, opinion articles, reminiscences, and obituaries, written by Ashok Mitra, most of these originally appearing in The Telegraph daily published out of Kolkata as part of a regular column which lends its name to this book.
The collection includes articles that appeared in the Economic and Political Weekly, the (now defunct) Illustrated Weekly of India among other periodicals, and consists of obituaries of Mitra’s comrades as well as public figures like former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, P.N. Haksar, Kitty Boomla Menon and Nilima Devi. The author’s remarks and observations on a diverse range of political, cultural and social issues are interwoven with anecdotes, memoirs and experiences to provide a rich slice of contemporary Indian history and sharp insights into policy-making.
Ashok Mitra is an academic, administrator, economist, politician, author and activist, and is proficient in both English and Bengali. After teaching at several institutions of higher learning in India and abroad, he headed the Agricultural Prices Commission and subsequently, became Chief Economic Adviser to the Union government in New Delhi. He is a former finance minister of West Bengal and a former member of the Rajya Sabha. He is 88 years old and resides in Kolkata.