Chief Minister for the Indian state of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee has been honored with the Bangla Academy Award for her "relentless literary pursuit".
Mamata received the award for her book "Kabita Bitan", which pays tribute to the best writers of West Bengal, reports The Telegraph.
She was given the award, which has been introduced this year by Sahitya Academy, at the "Ravi Pranam" function organised by the government's information and culture department on the occassion of Rabindranath Tagore's birth anniversary.
Despite being on the stage, Mamata Banerjee did not accept the award on her own and it was received by state Education Minister Bratya Basu on her behalf. Bratya Basu said Mamata Banerjee's name was chosen for the award by a panel of some of the best writers of Bengal.
Speaking from the stage, Education Minister and President of Bangla Academy, Bratya Basu said, "Bangla Academy has decided to reward those who are working tirelessly for the betterment of literature as well as other sectors of the society." In the first year, it has been decided to give this award to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her opinion on the best writer of Bengal. The award is being given for his literary achievements in general keeping in mind his book of poems 'Kavita Bittan'.
The award will be given to those who constantly pursue literature even after working tirelessly in various other fields.
Mamata Banerjee's 'Kabita Bitan' was launched at the 2020 Kolkata Book Fair. The book contains 946 poems written by the TMC supremo.
Taking a dig at the CM over the award, BJP leader Anupam Hazra tweeted, "The poet may not be with us today, but he has left Mamata Banerjee. After Rabindranath Tagore, the only Bengali who is raising hopes of a second Nobel for literature. Note: Sometimes, she rewards herself for her own poems."
Failure to crack Nobel theft case big insult for people of Bengal, says Mamata
Paying homage to Rabindranath Tagore on his 161st birth anniversary, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday lamented that the bard's Nobel Prize, which was stolen 18 years ago, is yet to be found.
She maintained that this "failure" on the part of CBI is a "big insult" for the people of Bengal.
Expressing apprehension that the CBI might have closed the probe by now, she said, "It pains me to think that the Nobel could not be traced even after so many years. This (theft) happened during the Left Front regime. I do not know if any evidence still exists," Banerjee said during her address at a state government programme.
"It was the first Nobel we had received. And someone snatched it away from us. This is a big insult for us," she said.
Tagore was in 1913 awarded Nobel Prize in Literature for 'Gitanjali', a collection of poems.
On March 25 2004, the medal and citation were found stolen from the safety vault of Visva Bharati museum.
Banerjee said the great poet will live on through his work.
"Do remember that Rabindranath Tagore can never be forgotten. The Nobel Prize that got lost is inscribed in our hearts. There can be only one Kabiguru," Banerjee said.
Earlier in the day, TMC MLA Mangobindho Adhikari ruffled feathers when he said "boys of Bengal" had stolen the Nobel to avenge the humiliation meted out to the bard.
The legislator, however, did not explain the rationale behind the statement.
Adhikari, later in the day, said that it was a "slip of the tongue".
Taking a dig at the CBI, he also claimed that the state police would have cracked the Nobel theft case by now.
Senior BJP leader Rahul Sinha said that the TMC government's "non-cooperation" with the central agency was to blame for the delay in investigation.
"The CBI would have completed its job by now. It was due to non-cooperation of the TMC government, the probe got delayed," he said.
Sinha also alleged that TMC leaders were involved in the theft, an allegation that was rubbished as "baseless" by the ruling camp.
"In none of the reports, the CBI ever claimed that there was any non-cooperation by the state government. The allegations are baseless and politically motivated," TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh said.