Veteran Bengali poet Shankha Ghosh has been selected for this year’s Jnanpith Award – India’s highest literary award. The decision was announced by the Jnanpith Board in New Delhi on December 23. Ghosh is the sixth Bengali author to win India’s highest literary award after the likes of Mahasweta Devi, Tarashankar Bandopadhyay, Ashapurna Devi, Subhash Mukhopadhyay and Bishnu Dey.
Shri Ghosh is considered to be a stalwart in modern Bengali literature and a leading authority on Rabindranath Tagore. A graduate in Bengali literature from Kolkata’s Presidency College, Ghosh began his career as a teacher, first at the Calcutta University and later at Jadavpur and Viswa Bharati University. He was born in 1932 in Chandpur, now in Bangladesh. The 84-year-old author was conferred the Padma Bhushan in 2011 and the Sahitya Academi award in 1999. While choosing Ghosh for the 52nd Jnanpith Award, the selection board noted that his “poetic idiom and experiments with various poetic forms mark his greatness as a creative talent.” The board observed that Ghosh’s poetry, while conveying messages, have remained “free from polemics”. His poetic style is rare and relective of the social milieu and record both his time and. Adim Lata – Gulmomay, Murkho Baro, Samajik Noy, Baborer Prarthana are among those creations which have inspired a whole generation of modern poetry due to their unique form and feeling ,” the award panel noted admiring his unique “lyrical and reflective” style that portrayed a deep “sense of anguish towards the superficiality of our society and existence”.