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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Biplab Deb’s latest gaffe: Tagore rejected Nobel Prize to protest British atrocities

Biplab Deb’s gaffe on Rabindranath Tagore was denounced by the Opposition, which said that the Tripura CM should do basic homework before delivering lectures.

india Updated: May 11, 2018 23:22 IST
Priyanka Deb Barman
Priyanka Deb Barman
Hindustan Times, Agartala
Tripura CM Biplab Kumar Deb interacting with the media at Tripura Bhawan in New Delhi.
Tripura CM Biplab Kumar Deb interacting with the media at Tripura Bhawan in New Delhi.(Sushil Kumar/HT File Photo)

Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Wednesday said that famous Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore refused the Nobel Prize in protest against the British, inviting controversy through contentious statements for probably the fifth time since he assumed charge of the state two months ago.

In reality, Tagore had rejected the knighthood conferred on him by the British after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. The Nobel Prize for Literature – awarded to the poet in 1913 – remained with him until his death on August 7, 1941.

Speaking at the inauguration of the three-day-long Rajarshi festival at the Bhubaneswari temple in Udaipur, Deb said: “Besides being a world-famous poet, Rabindranath Tagore is also known for rejecting the Nobel Prize in protest against the British government.”

Highlighting the works penned by Tagore, Deb said Tripura could reach great heights if his ideals and thoughts were followed. “Tagore enjoyed an intimate relationship with the state’s royal family. His works bagged worldwide praise. So, I appeal to all that we follow his ideals and thoughts to make our state the greatest in the country,” he added.

The opposition was quick to pounce on Deb’s gaffe, criticising him for not doing “basic homework” before delivering lectures. “Our chief minister has crossed every limit of idiocy. We even don’t feel like commenting on the issue,” said Communist Party of India (Marxist) central committee leader Goutam Das.

The Congress, for its part, dubbed the chief minister’s statement as “unfortunate”.

“It’s a request from our side that he (Deb) do a deep study on subjects he would like to speak on before an audience. Confusing the knighthood with the Nobel Prize is not expected of a chief minister,” said Tapas Dey, vice-president of the party’s state unit.

Deb has been in the news for his views on various subjects – including the existence of the Internet during the Mahabharata war, whether 1994 Miss World Diana Hayden can be considered an “Indian beauty”, the questionability of mechanical engineers joining the civil services, and raising cattle instead of approaching politicians for government jobs – over the last few weeks.

First Published: May 11, 2018 09:21 IST