Bengal's beloved poet Shankha Ghosh dies of Covid at 89

Kolkata, India: Bengal's famous literary critic, poet, and social activist Shankha Ghosh has died Wednesday morning of COVID-19 complications. He was 89. 

Ghosh was under home quarantine after he tested positive for the novel coronavirus on April 14, and the poet was hospitalized a few months earlier due to a number of comorbidities.

The poet reportedly has hypertension and blood sugar -- factors that are said to aggravate the severity of the novel coronavirus infection. 

He refused to go to the hospital despite testing positive, but his relatives agreed to leave him in home confinement after meeting with doctors, the Indian Express reported

"I am deeply mourned at the death of the noted poet, literary critic, and 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 for his family members," Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee wrote on Twitter. 

Ghosh's works include 'Adim Lata – Gulmomay' and 'Murkha Baro Samajik Nay,' among others, and he is regarded as an expert on Rabindranath Tagore. The poet was outspoken about current issues and was at the center of many political upheavals in the state, including the Nandigram attack.

Shankha Ghosh was born on February 6, 1932, in Chandpur (now in Bangladesh), and earned his B.A. in Bangla language and literature from Presidency College, Calcutta (now Kolkata), and his Master's degree from Calcutta University.

The poet taught at various colleges affiliated with Calcutta University for years and later moved to Jadavpur University, retiring from there in 1992.

Ghosh, known for his outspokenness on a variety of social and political topics, received the Padma Bhushan in 2011 and the prestigious Jnanpith Award in 2016. In 1977, he won the Sahitya Akademi Award for his novel 'Babarer Prarthana.'

Poet Subodh Sarkar told PTI, that the virus snatched away Ghosh when he was needed the most as “the state was faced with the threat of fascism”.

"Shri Shankha Ghosh will be remembered for his contributions to Bengali and Indian literature. His works were widely read and admired," Modi tweeted.

"Saddened by his demise. Condolences to his family and friends. Om Shanti," he said.


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