Sitar maestro Pundit Ravi Shankar, 92, whom George Harrison attributed the rare honour of ‘Godfather of World Music’, has refused ‘Bangabibhusan’ award from West Bengal government.
Apparently Pundit Ravi Shankar was upset with the state government clubbing him with “junior personalities” with less contribution. His wife Sukanya Shankar had informed the government in advance about his inability to accept the Award.
According to reports, Punditji’s family is also disappointed with the government over publishing his name in the list of awardees in newspaper advertisements despite him informing about his absence from the award ceremony.
Ravi Shankar's wife Sukanya Shankar in e-mail informed the state government that he was informed about this Award by someone Kamalakanta Majumder.
An officer in the Information and Cultural Affairs department disclosed, “In that e-mail, Ravi Shankar wrote about the relevance of seniority in Indian culture. He also noted that Awards are usually given on the basis of seniority with special emphasis on experience and contribution. He told, ‘I am happy to note that some tall personalities are being awarded who are like my children or grand-children. I extend my congratulation and blessings for them.’ But I will not be able to receive this award.”
Sukanya has reportedly said that Punditji has already received ‘Bharat Ratna’-the highest civilian Award of India - and don’t need another award from the state government.
Interestingly, though the advertisements published on Sunday newspapers were having Ravi Shankar's name as recipient, but Chief Minister didn’t utter his name for once during the ceremony. Neither it was announced why he was not present during the award ceremony.
The government is yet to come out with any statement about his absence on Award ceremony.
Winner of Bharat Ratna and three Granny Awards, Ravi Shankar was also honoured with the ‘Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony,’ instituted by the Union Government to commemorate 150th birth anniversary of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. This award was handed over to Punditji on Tagore’s birthday on May 8.
The awards were also conferred to other recipients, which includes Lesley Claudius (Hockey), Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay (Novelist), Sanjiv Chattopadhyay (Author), Rudraprasad Sengupta, Bibhas Chakraborty, Shaonli Mitra (Theatre), Jogen Chowdhury (Painter), Ustad Ali Ahmed Hussain Khan (Sehnai), Ranjit Mallick (Matinee idol), Gautam Ghosh (Film Director), Joy Goswamy (Poet), Pundit Ajay Chakraborty, Ustad Rashid Khan (Vocalist), Bikram Ghosh (Tabla) and Nachiketa Chakraborty (Popular Singer).
The same award was also given to legendary actress Suchitra Sen. Reportedly, Sen refused the cash reward of Rs 2 lakh and offer to donate the same to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.