Bangladesh-born legendary Indian poet Sankha Ghosh, widely known by his pen name Kuntak, died at home in the eastern city of Kolkata on Wednesday (April 21, 2021) morning. He was 89.
Ghosh passed away around 11.30 am on Wednesday, barely a week after contracting coronavirus, his family said. The poet was in home isolation since April 14 when he tested positive for Covid-19. He was put on life support on Monday (April 19, 2021) after his condition worsened.
In fact, the eminent poet had been suffering from age-related ailments for a while. In January this year, he was briefly hospitalised.
Born at Chandpur in present-day Bangladesh and brought up in West Bengal, Ghosh belonged to the era of Bengali poets after Jibanananda Das. Dinaguli Rataguli and Nihita Patalachaya are some of his celebrated works that have been translated into English.
He is also the recipient of several coveted awards -- Jnanpith and Sahitya Akademi awards to name a few. In 2011, Ghosh was conferred with the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in India.
The prolific poet, who studied in Kolkata's prestigious Presidency College and completed his master's degree in Bengali from Calcutta University in 1954, also taught at many varsities, including Calcutta University, Jadavpur University, Delhi University and Visva Bharati.
India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's president JP Nadda took to social media to pay his tribute to the poet.
"I am deeply saddened by the death of renowned Bengali poet Sankha Ghosh, who was honoured with Padma Bhushan, Sahitya Akademi Award, Rabindra Award, Saraswati Award and Jnanpith Award. May his soul rest in peace," he tweeted.
Last year, Bengal lost another legend to Covid. Celebrated actor Soumitra Chatterjee, the favourite of India's Oscar-winning filmmaker Satyajit Ray, passed away at a hospital in Kolkata on November 15.
Last week, India became the second worst-affected country in the world in terms of Covid cases. On Tuesday, India reported as many as 259,170 new cases and 1,761 fatalities in 24 hours, the highest daily death toll since the pandemic broke out in 2020.
India's Covid tally and death toll currently stand at 1,53,21,089 and 1,80,530, respectively, according to the country's Health Ministry.