Biplab Deb has done it again. The Tripura chief minister who has made it a habit of sorts to hit the headlines with his bizarre utterings is now in news for a blooper on Rabindranath Tagore.
Addressing a gathering organised to mark the 157th birth anniversary of the poet in Udaipur (Tripura), Deb apparently said Tagore “returned his Nobel Prize” to protest against the British rule. A video of his speech is going viral on social media.
While this is not the first time Deb has made a gaffe, his “ignorance” about Tagore and Nobel has baffled many.
See the video here.
Rabindranath Tagore received the Nobel Prize for poetry in 1913, and it has been well documented. His Nobel medallion, in fact, graced a museum at Shantiniketan until 2004, when it was allegedly stolen. The memorabilia was never found as the theft case, investigated by the CBI, was permanently closed in 2009 due to lack of progress.
Also, the Nobel has nothing to do with the British. The Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology/Medicine and Literature are awarded by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden, as stipulated in the will of the Swedish-born inventor and international industrialist Alfred Nobel.
Tagore never refused the Nobel. What the Nobel laureate had denied was Knighthood, which the erstwhile British government wanted to give him. He refused to accept the honour in protest against the Jalianwalla Bagh massacre of 1919.
The Tripura CM’s latest statement evoked a strong reaction from literary circles, historians and the general public.
Biplab Deb made an embarrassing statement last month when he commented that “Internet and satellite communication existed during the Mahabharata era”. He is yet to retract that statement.
Speaking at another event, he questioned the crowning of Diana Hayden as Miss World in 1997. He said she was “not an Indian beauty”, and praised Aishwarya Rai as the “true representative of Indian women”. Facing flak from all quarters, he later apologised for his remark on Diana.
In yet another bizarre remark, Deb said mechanical engineers should not opt for civil services, but civil engineers should.
Addressing the issue of unemployment, the youngest chief minister said graduates should not run after government jobs. They could rear cows or start a paan shop instead, he suggested.
An “angry” Biplab Deb had also threatened to chop off nails of people if they interfere with his government and governance.
Several reports in the media had said Deb would be among the BJP chief ministers who would campaign for the party in Karnataka elections. However, he was not seen in the poll-bound southern state where campaigning ended on Thursday, which according to some reports was because the party did not want to risk another embarrassment.