Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday received an award from Paschimbanga Bangla Academy for her collection of 900 poems’ book – “Kavita Bitan”.
In response to this, Bengali author Ratna Rasheed Banerjee, who has penned over 30 books, returned her award referring it to be an “insult”.
Returning her 2019 ‘Annada Shankar Smarak Samman’ Award, she said, “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.”
In a letter addressed to the Chairman of the Academy and the education minister of Bengal, Bratya Basu, Ratna Banerjee wrote that she is returning her award in protest of the academy’s decision to confer an award to CM Mamata Banerjee for her contribution to the field of literature. After its decision her award became a “crown of thorns” for her, she added.
Ratna Banerjee said that “We admire and respect the CM for her political battle…but I cannot equate her contribution to politics with the claim that she worked for the cause of literature. I am not aware of,” adding that the CM herself could have shown some maturity by not accepting the award.
However, Bratya Basu on Monday had said, “The Bangla Academy has decided to reward those who are working tirelessly for the betterment of literature as well as other sectors of society.”
Mamata Banerjee’s book – ‘Kabita Bitan’ was released at the 2020 International Kolkata Book Fair and she was conferred with the Academy’s award on the birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore.