Remembering Bengali Poet Shankha Ghosh

Eminent Bengali poet and litterateur Shankha Ghosh, who mesmerised readers with his written words for the past several decades, passed away on Wednesday morning in his Kolkata home, saddening all Bengalis (Bengali poet Shankha Ghosh dies battling COVID-19, NT April 22). In fact, an era of the Bengali literature ended with the death of Ghosh, who received several prestigious awards like Padma Bhushan, Jnanpith, Sahitya Akademi and Rabindra Puraskar for his works. He was also honoured with Desikottama by Visva Bharati. His famous books include ‘Murkho Baro Samajik Noy’, ‘Mookh Dheke Jaay Bigyaponey’, ‘Adim Lata-Gulmomoy’, ‘Babarer Prarthana’ etc. His works have been translated into several languages too. The passing away of Ghosh, who was one of the greatest literary figures of modern Bengal, is undoubtedly a great loss for the Bengali literature world.


Keep Migrants’ Interest In Mind

The long walk back to the seemingly safe confines of their roots of origin, when the 2020 lockdown ensured lakhs of migrants could not make both ends meet at their workplaces, is repeating itself in 2021. Men and women employed in the unorganised sector have been hit the most. Insecurity, stemming from anxiety, is creating confusion in the minds of the migrants, mostly from the northern parts of the country. Admittedly, there is no gush of outward flow as it was last time but the movement has begun. This time around the curbs have been imposed by specific states whereas in 2020 the entire nation was locked down by the Centre to tackle the virus. It may safely be said that everyone, including labourers in the unorganised sector know something about the COVID-19 now as compared to the last year when it was truly ‘novel’. Why do migrants rush back to their places? Is the situation better at their native places? Unlikely, but the poor migrants do not want to suffer elsewhere but their roots. A democratically elected government should be pro-poor. It should go beyond lip-service. Transparency, accountability and the ability to learn lessons from the past are not commodities that can be compromised. In 2020, the government woke up late to arrange some sort of transportation in the form of ‘shramik trains’ for migrants who were desperate to reach their homes. Hopefully, the Centre and the states will do better this time with the possibility of a total lockdown looming large in many states. The key is perfect coordination without animosity and bitterness. Out of work migrants should be compensated. Things are likely to turn worse in the coming days and the interests of the migrants, who constitute a considerable chunk of the country’s workforce and contribute substantially to the GDP (gross domestic product), should be taken care of. A citizen pins his/her hope on the government because of the latter’s expansive network. Government’s contingency plan, in times of a natural disaster, has to be enforced with anticipation and alertness using intelligent people and intelligence departments at its disposal.