Saturday, April 13, 2024

Insulted, says a Bengali writer after Mamata gets literary award

A Bengali writer and folk culture researcher on Tuesday returned an award given to her by the Paschimbanga Bangla Academy to protest against its decision to confer a special award on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her contribution to the cause of literature.

Ratna Rashid Banerjee returned the ‘Annada Shankar Smarak Samman’ with which she was honoured by the Academy in 2019.

In a letter to the Academy Chairman Bratya Basu who is also the education minister, Banerjee claimed that the award has become a “crown of thorns” for her in the wake of its decision to confer a new literary award to the CM on the birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore.

“In the letter, I have informed them about my decision to return the award with immediate effect.

“As a writer, I feel insulted by the move to give a literary award to the CM. It will set a bad precedent. The statement of the Academy praising the relentless literary pursuit of the honourable chief minister is a travesty of truth,” Rashid Banerjee told PTI.

The award, introduced this year, was announced for the chief minister’s book, ‘Kabita Bitan’ a collection of over 900 poems, at the state government organised programme to celebrate the birth anniversary of Tagore on Monday. Though the CM was present at the event, the award was handed over to Basu on her behalf.

Ms Banerjee has penned over 30 books of articles and short stories. 

She has also done research work on folk culture, including those of the marginalised sections of society. 

The CM’s book, ‘Kabita Bitan’, was released at the 2020 International Kolkata Book Fair.

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