‘Your Strong Voice a Source of Strength’: Amartya Sen To CM Mamata

The Nobel Laureate was responding to a letter of support by the WB CM that was sent on 25 December.

2 min read
File photo of Nobel laureate Amartya Sen.

Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen has responded to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's letter saying that she was a "source of strength". The chief minister had written to Sen earlier, condemning those who were raising questions on the legality of Sen's ancestral home in Bengal's Shantiniketan.

This exchange comes after Union Home Minister Amit Shah's visit to Shantiniketan's Visva-Bharati University and PM Modi's address at the same. The university was founded by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in 1921.


'Happy To Get Your Supportive Letter'

Sen responded to Mamata's letter with the same amount of warmth and courtesy that the chief minister had accorded to him.

"Dear Mamata (if I may call you that), I am very happy indeed to get your wonderfully supportive letter," read an email sent by Sen.

“Your strong voice, along with your full understanding of what is going on, is, for me, a tremendous source of strength,” Sen further added.

"May I send you my deep appreciation of the warmth of your extremely kind letter. I also take the liberty of conveying to you my thanks as as my personal affection and admiration," he concluded.

A Nobel prize winner for Economics, Sen has been a staunch critic of the Narendra Modi-run dispensation in the country.

What Mamata Had Said

In a letter written to Sen on 25 December, Banerjee launched a veiled attack on the BJP for allegedly raising questions on Sen's linkages with his ancestral property in Shantiniketan, a part of the Birbhum district, where the CM is to hold a mega rally on 29 December.

On 20 December, Union Home Minister Amit Shah too had held a massive roadshow in the district.

"We are all aware of your family's deep and organic linkages with Shantiniketan. Your maternal grandfather, the revered scholar, Kshitimohan Sen, was one of the early leading settlers in Shantiniketan, while your father Ashutosh Sen, a noted educationist and public administrator, had his famed house Pratichi built up in Shantiniketan about eight decades back", wrote Banerjee in her letter.


"Some nouveau invaders in Visva Bharati have now started raising surprising and completely baseless allegations about your familial properties etc. This pains me, and I want to express my solidarity with you in your battles against the bigotry of the majoritarians in this country, the battles that have made you an enemy of these forces of untruth", she added.

She ended the letter saying “we shall overcome.”

Before this, at a press conference conducted by the Chief Minister after PM Modi's virtual address at Visva-Bharati, Banerjee hit out at him and his party for "insulting Bengali luminaries" like Sen on one hand while "pretending to respect" others like Tagore.

The battle over Visva Bharati and Shantiniketan comes in the lead up to the West Bengal assembly polls scheduled to be held in April-May 2021.

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