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Rabindranath Tagore International Prize conferred to Ramapada Chowdhary


August 12, 2011 - New Delhi

The Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) today conferred the Rabindranath Tagore International Prize to Ramapada Chowdhary, a renowned novelist in Bengali Literature, in a ceremony held in New Delhi.

Chowdhary was conferred the award for his lifelong contribution to Bengali Literature and for his incisive depiction of the socio-cultural milieu in the post-partition era.

He has written over 100 short stories and 50 novels. The award, consisting of a prize money of one crore rupees, a gold medal and a citation, was bestowed upon him.

Thanking IIPM for the award, Chowdhury said: "I feel extremely humbled and deeply honoured to receive such an award which is named after Rabindranath Tagore. It was him who has inspired us to write literature. For me Literature is a philosophy of life; in my lifetime of 89 years I have seen literature growing and going places."

Dr. Malay Chaudhuri, the founder Director of IIPM and the force behind the institution of the prestigious award, said that he has strongly believed in the philosophy of creating people centric economic environment for sustainable development and hence has worked towards the greater goal of creating a humane world through his various initiatives in different parts of the country.

The idea to initiate the prize also stems from a concern that Dr. Chaudhuri always had regarding the current Nobel Prizes. Despite many complaints regarding the sanctity of the selection process over the years in the fields of Physics, Chemistry and Medicine, people have however finally accepted the list of awardees. But still, the selection process is rife with controversies.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Chaudhuri said: "I have a dream to take our nation ahead. There are many loopholes in our governance like existence of discrepancy and discrimination in society and the trade of black money. These have to be rectified particularly and eradicate poverty and destitution. He talked about an altered national economic plan, where the objective is that the weak should not only survive but flourish as well."

Before presenting the award, a thought provoking session was held on the topic "Survival of the weakest" which was attended by eminent guests such as Lord Meghnad Desai, Professor Emeritus - London School of Economics; Dr. Mohan Munasinghe, Vice Chairman-Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change; Dr. Bindshwar Pathak, Founder - Sulabh International; Shukla Bose, Founder - Parikrama Humanity and Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri, Honorary Director - IIPM Think Tank.

Lord Meghnad Desai in his address said that the notion of who is weak is relative to the society in which we live.

"The weak can only survive by taking an initiative themselves through collective organization. He focused on two struggles of independence- The one which we won in 1947 and the other which we are still unable to win- upliftment of the poor," Desai added.

Dr. Mohan Munasingh emphasised on the thoughts of Tagore and the sustainable development of weak with the planet.

"I want to bring notice the fact of growing risks of global breakdown due to repeated heavy shocks. Don't aim for perfect sustainable development instead make each development a perfect. The objective is to transcend boundaries with innovation and fresh ideas," Munasingh said.

Professor Arindam Chaudhuri emphasized upon the need to discuss the three major conventional laws of economics Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility, Survival of the fittest and Law of Trickling up and down.

Speaking about the law of marginal utility, he explained utility of a product goes on diminishing as you have more of it.

"It is this law which is used to exploit us at many levels. For this reason I want to give an example of my father who has altered it according to him. He still utilises the product and wants to use it more and more," Arindam said.

"Survival of the fittest is equivalent to the jungle raj where the fittest survives more than the unfit. But if we look at a scenario where in a family there are old parents then the children aim to look after them rather leave them to die. Thus in a family scenario be it Asia, Africa, America or India there is survival of the weakest. Law of trickling up is where instead of aiming to achieve the higher extreme goals, one has to first start at the basic grassroot level and then only a desired development can be achieved," he added.

Expressing his views on the award, he said that as and when the Nobel Prize came into being, it suffered many allegations regarding its credibility and meaning in true sense.

"It was at this time that my father decided to bring in the Rabindranath Tagore International Prize to ward off all the issues and challenge the existing awards," he added.

ANI

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