New Delhi: Veteran Singer Sandhya Mukherjee, Sandhya Mukhopadhyay, was being offered Padma Shri award, but she rejected. She states that Padma Shri is for someone more deserving of a junior artiste and not someone of her stature. She is the second person from the West Bengal state to refuse such a big honor. Former West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had on Tuesday turned down the Padma Bhushan. He said that he was not aware that he had been named for it, and he would reject it if it were so.
Ms Mukherjee’s daughter Soumi Sengupta said that her mother speaking to the senior official who called from Delhi, told that she was not wanting to be named on the list of persons receiving Padma Shri, and she felt ‘insulted’ for one being offered to her at her age. She was contacted seeking her consent to be named a Padma Shri in the Republic Day awards list.
While, former West Bengal Chief Minister refused the award for political reasons. The former is a vocal critic of the Bhartiya Janta Party led government. Sengupta says her mother’s decision has nothing to do with politics.
A recipient turning down India’s top civilian honours is extremely rare. They are required to confirm acceptance before the announcement.
Film writer Salim Khan had said he had refused to accept a Padma Shri in 2015. Before him, historian Romila Thapar had refused a Padma Bhushan in 2005, having returned her 1974 award in 1984 over the siege of the Golden Temple by the Indian Army.
Author Khushwant Singh had also returned his 1974 Padma Bhushan in 1984 over the same issue but he accepted the Padma Vibhushan in 2007.
Ms. Sengupta says that at the age of 90 with a musical career of over eight decades, being offered Padma Shri is demeaning for her mother.
Padma Shri, awarded for “distinguished service”, is the fourth highest civilian honour in the country after Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan.
“Padma Shri is more deserving for a junior artiste, not ‘Gitasree’ Sandhya Mukhopadhyay. Her family and all the lovers of her songs feel,” the daughter said.
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