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Sahitya Akademi award winning Bengali poet Nirendranath Chakraborty dies at 94

He won the Sahitya Akademi award in 1974 for his poem 'Ulanga Raja' (naked king) which mocked the social set up.

Sahitya Akademi award winning Bengali poet Nirendranath Chakraborty dies at 94

Kolkata: Famous Bengali poet Nirendranath Chakraborty died at a hospital here Tuesday following a massive cardiac arrest, his family said. Chakraborty was 94. His mortal remains will be kept at the Rabindra Sadan in Kolkata till the evening to let people pay their last tributes. The body will then be taken to his residence briefly before being cremated with a gun salute

He was admitted to the private hospital on Monday due to age-related ailments including acute breathing problem and suffered the cardiac arrest at midnight, the family said. He breathed his last at around 12.25 pm. Chakraborty is survived by his two daughters. His wife had died in January this year.

Born in 1924 at Faridpur in undivided Bengal, Chakraborty was a dominant figure in the modern Bengali literary field. His first book of poems 'Nil Nirjone' was published in 1954 when he was 30 years old. He won the Sahitya Akademi award in 1974 for his poem 'Ulanga Raja' (naked king) which mocked the social set up.

His 'Amalkanti Roddur Hote Cheyechhilo' (Ammalkanto wanted to be the sunshine), 'Kolkatar Jishu' (Christ of Kolkata) and 'Pahari Bichhe' (Mountain scorpion) are considered his two other cult poems. He remained active in literary activities till he became seriously ill.

Chakraborty had been associated with leading Bengali magazine 'Desh' and 'Anandamela' for children, whose editor he had been for years, and some well known other magazines. In November, he had penned a poem for a magazine which will be published in its upcoming Kolkata Book Fair issue.

Chakraborty had penned more than 47 books, many of them for children, apart from 12 novels and numerous essays on different issues. He was also a recipient of 'Ananda Purashkar' and was the president of Paschimbango Bangla Akademi.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed grief over the death. "This is a big loss for all of us. His immense contributions to Bengali literature will keep him alive forever," the CM said in a tweet. "... We had conferred on him the Bangobibhusan honour in 2017. My condolences to his family," she added.

Education minister Partha Chatterjee too paid his respects to the veteran poet. Crediting Chakraborty for guiding him when he came to the city as a struggling poet in his youth, Subodh Sarkar said the renowned poet's death was a "great personal loss".

Eminent writer Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay recalled how Chakraborty had inspired him to write fiction as editor of a children's magazine and that there was a "sense of void" with his demise.

Distraught by the news, writer Nabanita Dev Sen said that a "shelter over the head of all of us has gone now", while poet Sankha Ghosh stressed that Chakraborty's death was a loss for millions of Bengali readers.