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Kolkata: Amartya Sen’s ‘Home in the World: A Memoir’ to Receive Muzaffar Ahmad Prize Today

The prize, as part of the communist leader’s 134th birth centenary celebrations, is given each year to progressive literature.
Amartya Sen

Amartya Sen.Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Kolkata:  Nobel laureate Amartya Sen is to receive the Muzaffar Ahmad Memorial Prize for his book, Home in the World: A Memoir, in Kolkata on Friday. The function is being held as part of the 134rd birth centenary celebrations of ‘Kakababu’ Muzaffar Ahmad, one of pioneering figures of the communist movement in the country.

 “It is a masterpiece of a book which takes us on a breathtaking journey of his life. His take on the present crisis in Indian context where the fangs of communalism are omnipresent or the severe repression of Rohingyas under the Myanmar military regime -- all these issues have found place in this book,” Mridul Dey, president of the Muzaffar Ahmad memorial award committee, told  NewsClick.

Notably, Amartya Sen had recently expressed his inability to accept the honour of  Bangabhibushan award by the Mamata Banerjee government. Political observers had then observed that his decision was commendable, as that was the time when the SSC teacher recruitment scam was unearthed  in the state, leading to the arrest of one of the top state ministers and Trinamool Congress leader Partha Chatterjee.

The Nobel laureate has been named as the recipient of the Muzaffar Ahmad Memorial Prize for his book that was originally written in English. The Bengali translation, titled Jagatkutir, is also available in the market.

Since Prof Sen lives abroad, his representative,  Dr Manabi Majumdar, Director of Pratichi Trust, is likely to receive the award on his behalf  in Kolkata,  his daughter Antara Deb Sen,  a managing trustee  of Pratichi Trust,  told NewsClick  from New Delhi.

The Muzaffar Ahmad prize is awarded for fostering progressive literature in the country, and is given every year. The award is named after communist doyen and a pioneer figure of Indian communist movement, Muzzaffar Ahmad or Kakababu.

In Friday’s programme at  Mahajati Sadan in Kolkata, prizs will also be handed over to three other recipients --Koushik Chattopadhya (for Ekush Shatak e Marxiyo Samjtatya in Bengali, Nehal Ahmad (Nothing Will be Forgotten from Jamia  to Shaheen Bagh in English) and  Sampa Sen (Bong Theatre Manifesto Theke Bazaar).

Last  year, the award was given to  Snigdhedu Bhattacharya  for his book on Mission Bengal,  a Saffron Experiment"  and  Madhushri Bandhyapadhya    for the book in Bengali on Pragitihas Bharatbarshe  Parijan o Janogishti Gathan.

It may be recalled that Muzaffar Ahmad, fondly referred to as Kakababu, had been a pioneering figure in the Left movement and had helped the Communist Party of India (Marxist) grow, especially in West Bengal, and helped it tide over many a crises until his death 1973.  He was a CPI(M) central committee member until his death and was associated with setting up  of the first party printing press  for  publishing  progressive literature in the country. He was  also instrumental in  the publication  of  the first CPI(M) mouthpiece  in the country .

Pre-Independence, when the united Communist Party of India was declared illegal on and off by the British imperialists, Kakababu was imprisoned for a large number of years. Till his death, he was steadfast in his commitment to the progressive movement and later to the communist movement. An internationalist to the core, he was also imprisoned in the Meerut Conspiracy Case and took that opportunity to popularise the communist movement among the common people of the country.

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