Agartala, May 11: Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has stoked fresh controversy by saying that Rabindranath Tagore rejected the Nobel Prize in protest against the “British misrule” in India.
In fact, Tagore had rejected the Knighthood in 1919 and not the Nobel Prize for Literature – awarded in 1913 – which remained with him until his last breath on August 7, 1941.
After inaugurating the three-day Rajarshi festival at the century-old Bhubaneswari temple to mark the poet’s 157th birth anniversary, the Chief Minister said “Rabindranath Tagore was a world-famous poet. He is such a great man that he rejected the Nobel Prize opposing the British rule”.
Opposition Congress and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leaders criticised Deb for his remarks.
Senior Congress leader Gopal Roy said that the Chief Minister did not have knowledge of any subject.
“For Deb’s incorrect comments on Tagore’s Nobel Prize, the people of Tripura were ashamed. The poet visited the state as many as seven times between 1899 and 1926,” CPI-M central committee member and writer Gautam Das told the media.
He said that Deb has “crossed every limit of foolishness”.
The Chief Minister’s Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Sanjay Mishra clarified Deb’s stance saying that he had made a mistake.
“The Chief Minister’s intention was not bad. This is just a mistake,” Mishra told IANS.
Deb’s earlier controversial remarks also invited widespread criticism across the country.
Below are Tripura CM’s Controversial remarks :
Deb, an Arts graduate from Tripura University, had claimed that Internet and satellite communication existed in the days of Mahabharata.
Criticising the “marketing mafia”, he said that the international beauty contests were a farce as the results were all predetermined and took a dig at Diana Hayden “Miss World 1997”.
The Chief Minister also stated that mechanical engineers should not opt for civil services, only civil engineers should.
He had advised educated youth to set up “paan” shops instead of running after political parties to get government jobs.
Deb suggested exploring a career in the dairy field and keeping cows to earn Rs 10 lakh in 10 years.
Not only he had reportedly stated that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee must consult doctors for mental treatment.
According to Deb, the Amazon forest was in Africa and Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang was a journalist while Chanakya taught at the ancient university situated in present-day Bihar.
However, in his defence, the Chief Minister said that he was quoted wrongly by the media.
Interestingly, Tripura CM’s remarks come despite and days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned all the all elected members and ministers to steer clear of controversies and not make irresponsible statements to the media.
In this regard, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also summoned Deb.