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Pandit Ravi Shankar refused to accept Bangabhibushan

News Helpline | January, 01 2012

Pandit Ravi Shankar has graciously declined the Banga Bibhushan honour that was conferred on a large group of individuals by chief minister Mamata Banerjee on the first anniversary of her government. At first Pandit ji was eager to be bracketed with Bengali film legend Suchitra Sen, even though he was unwell and in the US, lately the sitar legend decided not to accept it after being included with young and less acclaimed artistes. The award was initiated last year with people like Rabindrasangeet singer Dwijen Mukherjee and football player Sailen Manna being conferred the award. This year the names listed were those of Ravi Shankar, actress Suchitra Sen, hockey legend Leslie Claudius, writers Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay and Sanjib Chattopadhyay, theatre veterans Rudraprasad Sengupta, Bibhash Chakraborty and Shaoli Mitra, painter Jogen Chowdhury, shehnai exponent Ustad Ali,Ahmed Hussain Khan, actor Ranjit Mallick, film director Goutam Ghose, poet Joy Goswami and vocalist Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty. A possible explanation for the long list came from Mamata herself. “Bengal is the cultural capital of the world. Be it cinema or theatre or literature or jatra or painting, Bengal has an unlimited resource of talented personalities in every field,” the chief minister said. “The Banga Bibhushan and the Banga Bhushan Shamman are part of the state government’s effort at honouring those who have made Bengal proud by way of their immense contribution in their profession. Every year the state government will felicitate such personalities at this event,” she added. For the artist’s community in Bengal, it was highly regrettable that the chief minister did not consider Ravi Shankar while giving the award for the first time.The classical musicians of the present generation who have worked with Ravi Shankar have come out in support of the living legend. “This is absolutely right. How can a guru and his disciple is honoured with the same award?” asked santoor player Tarun Bhattacharya, who worked with Ravi Shankar on many occasions. It can be said, that the government's casual approach towards the affair also led to the legend's decision.

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