GUWAHATI: A video that is circulating on social media seems to have been an addition to Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb's gaffes. In the latest video, he can be heard saying that Rabindranath Tagore had given away his Noble prize to protest against the British. "Tagore returned his Nobel award in protest against the British," he said while addressing a function in Udaipur on Rabindra Jayanti.
In fact, Tagore had repudiated his Knighthood in protest against the Jalianwalla Bagh massacre in 1919. His Nobel prize and the citation were stolen from Visva Bharati University's museum from Shantiniketan in Birbhum in 2004. The then chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had handed over the case to the CBI but the agency in 2009 had closed the probe, citing a lack of fresh leads.
The Calcutta High Court had in 2017 also asked the CBI why it did not want to hand over the investigation into the theft case to a West Bengal government agency despite having closed its own probe in 2009.
Rabindra Nath Tagore had received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913 for "his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West".
The Tripura CM has been facing flak for his comments on various issues in the recent past. Just a few weeks back, he had said that those who try to poke into the functioning of his government, should have their nails cut off.
While once he said that mechanical engineers should not go for civil services, he also advised unemployed youth to rear cows instead of striving for government jobs. In another statement, he also questioned the crowning of Diana Hayden as Miss World in 1997.
He had clarified his remark on mechanical engineers saying, “I didn't say mechanical engineers must not go for civil service. I said that civil engineers should join civil services as they have experience in the administration.”
After a spate of controversial remarks, the Tripura CM was also summoned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.