Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee honoured a host of eminent personalities from the fields of art,culture,cinema and music by awarding them Bangabibhusan the highest state award and Bangabhusan at a ceremony at Netaji Indoor stadium on Sunday evening.
The Bangabibhusan awardees includes Leslie Claudius (Olympic hockey player); Rudraprasad Sengupta,Bibhas Chakraborty and Saoli Mitra (theatre personalities); Sanjib Chattipadhyay and Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay (litterateurs); Jogen Chowdhury (painter); Ustad Ali Ahmed Hossain (shehnai player); Gautam Ghosh (filmmaker); Joy Goswami (poet) and Ranjit Mullick (actor).
Renowned sitar player Pandit Ravi Shankar,who was selected for Bangabibhusan,did not turn up to receive the award.
No one from his family came either.
Mamata,during her 30-minute long emotional speech,did not mention Ravi Shankar at all. A state minister said,Ravi Shankar,who is now in the US,was informed that the state government had selected him for the award. But no reply came from his end.
Actress Suchitra Sen and classical singer Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty,who were selected for Bangabibhusan,were absent too. Daughter Moon Moon Sen and granddaughter Raima Sen received the award on behalf of Suchitra while the award for Chakraborty was handed over to his wife.
Bangabhusan awards were also given to singer Nachiketa Chakraborty,table player Bikram Ghosh and classical singer Ustad Rashid Khan.
Mamata,while honoring the awardees,remembered those who made West Bengal the cultural capital of the country. She pointed out that following the regime change in Bengal last year,her government had taken up a slew of measures to scout talents in the cultural field.
This day (May 20) is a special day to me and I shall keep on conferring this highest award of the state government to such eminent personalities in the cultural world every year. They are our inspiration, she said.
Instituted last year to honour eminent people from different walks of life,Bangabibhusan includes a citation and award money of Rs 2 lakh.
With PTI inputs