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Sankha Ghosh, Noted Bengali Poet, Dies of Covid-19

Photo Credit - Shankha Ghosh's Facebook account

Sankha Ghosh, the noted Bengali poet and writer, died of Covid-19 complications in Kolkata on Wednesday.

He was 89.

According to a report in Ananda Bazar Patrika, he tested positive for Covid-19 on April 14 and had been in isolation in his residence according to the doctor’s advice. However, on Tuesday night when his health deteriorated, he was put on a ventilator after he refused treatment at a hospital. When he showed no signs of improvement, the ventilator was switched off at 11:30 am on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah expressed their condolences on Twitter.

Condoling Ghosh’s demise, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said in a statement, “I have instructed the chief secretary to conduct his funeral with state honours. However, Shankha da did not like the gun salute. I am leaving that out.”

Actor-director Parambrata Chatterjee expressed his grief on Twitter and wrote that Ghosh’s death was an “unimaginable and irreparable loss” in Bengali.

Bengali actor Abir Chatterjee condoled Ghosh’s death and said that all “guardians” and “teachers” were departing. Prosenjit Chatterjee, too, expressed his sadness and offered his condolences to Ghosh’s family.

Born on February 6, 1932, at Chandpur in present-day Bangladesh, Ghosh did his BA degree in Bengali from Presidency College, Kolkata, in 1951. He received his Master’s degree from the University of Calcutta in 1954. He spent several years teaching at Delhi University, University of Iowa, and Visva Bharati, Santiniketan, West Bengal. His works have been translated into several languages, including English and Hindi.

Ghosh was conferred with the 52nd Jnanpith Award by former president Pranab Mukherjee in 2017. The veteran poet was awarded the Sahitya Akademi in 1977 for his work Babarer Prarthana and again in 1999, for translating Kannada play Taledanda into Bengali as Raktakalyan. He was also decorated with the Padma Bhushan in 2011.

He was widely considered to be an authority on Rabindranath Tagore. Some of his famous books include Adim Lata-Gulmomay, Murkha Baro, Samajik Nay, Kabir Abhipray, and Babarer Prarthana.

Ghosh is survived by his wife Pratima and daughters Semanti and Srabanti.

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