Bengal cultural luminaries decry Padma Shri offer to Sandhya Mukherjee

  • | Wednesday | 26th January, 2022

Kolkata, Jan 26 (PTI) Several prominent personalities in the cultural circle of Kolkata on Wednesday criticised the Centre for offering Padma Shri award to singing legend Sandhya Mukherjee who has refused to accept it.Eminent singer Kabir Suman, painter Subhaprasanna and others held a press conference here and said it was nothing short of a "rude jolt" to the 90-year-old icon who is an inspiration to singers of different generations."Had they (the Centre) been serious, they would have offered her something in the category of Padma Vibhushan. But, asking her if she was okay with Padma Shri is blatant disregard to a legend like Sandhya di," Suman said.Painter Suvaprasanna claimed that it was an insult to Mukherjee and Bengalis."The decision was not a stray one. It was a deep-rooted conspiracy against Bengalis. We are here to register our protests," he said.Sahitya Akademi award-winning poet Joy Goswami, who could not be present at the press meet, said in a written statement: "I am deeply anguished as this is akin to humiliating Sandhya Mukherjee." Film director Sudeshna Roy claimed that it was shocking that a legend was treated in that way.Later, BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh said it is unfortunate that the issue was politicised."Some intellectuals close to (West Bengal Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee are unnecessarily creating a controversy over the move by the Centre to honour several personalities on the occasion of Republic day. "There was no ill motive on the part of Narendra Modi government," Ghosh said.Senior Trinamool Congress leader and state minister Firhad Hakim alleged that the decision to offer Padma Shri to Mukherjee is part of a game plan of the BJP to belittle the state.The Mamata Banerjee government has conferred Banga Bibhushan award on Mukherjee, Hakim said.The singer"s daughter Soumi Sengupta on Tuesday said, "At the age of 90, with a singing career spanning over about eight decades, being chosen for Padma Shri is demeaning for a singer of her stature.” Padma Shri is more deserving for a junior artiste, she said.A vast number of netizens supported Mukherjee’s decision.Mukherjee, also known as Sandhya Mukhopadhyay, has refused an offer of a Padma Shri award when she was contacted by central government officials telephonically for her acquiesce. The singer considered for long a prima donna of music in Bengal has also sung for a number of Hindi movie music directors including S D Burman, Anil Biswas, Madan Mohan, Roshan and Salil Choudhary. PTI SUS NN NN

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