Shankha Ghosh, renowned Bengali poet and Padma Bhushan awardee, passes away at 89 due to COVID-19 complications

Ghosh, known for being vocal on various social and political issues, was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2011 and conferred the prestigious Jnanpith Award in 2016.

FP Staff April 21, 2021 12:48:12 IST
Shankha Ghosh, renowned Bengali poet and Padma Bhushan awardee, passes away at 89 due to COVID-19 complications

Shankha Ghosh. Image via Twitter

Noted Bengali poet Shankha Ghosh died on Wednesday morning while he was in isolation at his residence after testing positive for COVID-19 , his family said. Ghosh, 89, was found to be COVID-positive on 14 April.

He was in home isolation on the advice of doctors, according to Health Department sources. Ghosh, who suffered from several comorbidities, was hospitalised a few months ago due to deterioration of his health condition. Considered to be having authority on Rabindranath Tagore, Ghosh is known for Adim Lata – Gulmomay and Murkha Baro Samajik Nay, among other books.

Ghosh is survived by his daughters Semanti and Srabanti, and wife Pratima. He was born on 6 February, 1932, at Chandpur in present-day Bangladesh.

Known for being vocal on various social and political issues, Ghosh was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2011 and conferred the prestigious Jnanpith Award in 2016. He received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1977 for his book Babarer Prarthana.

His works have been translated into several languages, including English and Hindi. Ghosh is survived by his daughters Semanti and Srabanti, and wife Pratima.

Subodh Sarkar said COVID-19 snatched away Ghosh when he was needed the most as “the state was faced with the threat of fascism”. “He was soft-spoken but his pen was razor-sharp, always speaking against intolerance. He used to be a participant in all conventions and movements for free and liberal thinking,” Sarkar said.

PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah took to Twitter to express their condolences on Ghosh's demise:

In her condolence message to Ghosh's family West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said, "I am deeply mourned at the death of noted poet, literary critic and an authority in Rabindranath Tagore, Shankha Ghosh. ‘Shankha Babu’ has taught in universities like Jadavpur, Delhi and Viswa Bharati. I had a very good relationship with ‘Shankha Babu’. His death is a huge loss in the world of literature. I express my heartfelt condolences to his family members," as reported by the Indo-Asian News Service.

Banerjee also added that she has directed the administration that Ghosh's final rites be performed with full State honours, however, there won't be any gun salute in the ceremony since the poet "would not have liked it."

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said Ghosh's death is an "irreparable loss for Bengali literature."

— With inputs from the Press Trust of India

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