No matter how much people term West Bengal as one of the backward states, sucked in politics and rallies, it has, “surprisingly”, produced not one or two but 5 Nobel Laureates. Although, among these Nobel laureates, only two were Bengali, nevertheless, all five of them professed their gratitude, deep love and respect for Bengal. Well, if you don’t know about these legendary men, needn’t worry about it anymore. Here’s a list dedicated to these stars—
5. Sir Ronald Ross
A British by birth but born in Almora, India, Sir Ronald Ross was a famous doctor who was, incidentally, also the first person from India to receive a Nobel Prize. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his excellence in the field of Physiology or Medicine for his notable work on Malaria. It was he who discovered the presence of malaria parasite in the gastrointestinal tract of Anopheles mosquito—thereby, letting the world know that Malaria was transmitted through Anopheles and not from any other germs or mosquitoes.
His association with Kolkata dated back to 1882, when he studied (till 1899) Malaria while working at the Presidency General Hospital. He also built a bungalow at the Mahanad village from where he used to collect mosquitoes for his research. In this tough course, he was ably assisted in his research by another Bengali doctor, Dr. Kishori Mohan Bandhopadhyay.
4. Amartya Sen
Amartya Kumar Sen was the last Bengali to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics. Born in Shantiniketan, Amartya Sen was a student of Viswa Bharati and Presidency College before moving off to Cambridge University. Amartya Sen’s major contribution was in welfare economics, development economics and ethics. However, it was due to his work in welfare economics that he was honored with the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in the year 1998. He is currently serving as the Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and Professor for Economics and Philosophy in Harvard University. He is also a distinguished fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows, All Souls College, Oxford, and of Trinity College in Cambridge.
A profound scholar, Sen has written numerous books on Economics and Philosophy which have been translated into more than 35 languages in a course of 40 years!
3. Sir C.V. Raman
Born in a small village in the Madras Province, Sir Chandrashekhara Venkata Raman received the Nobel Prize for Physics in the year 1930 for his path breaking research in the field of light. In 1917, he was appointed as the first Palit Professor of Physics at the University of Calcutta, and with this started his journey towards excellence. Along with his job as the Professor of Physics, he also continued with his research at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, located in Calcutta, where later he was appointed as the honorary Secretary. Raman always showed his gratitude to Calcutta in utmost terms and referred, quite often, to his stay in Calcutta as the “golden phase” of his life.
He discovered that while travelling through a transparent medium, light changes its wavelength. This phenomenon is popularly still regarded as the Raman effect. Raman was also honored with the Bharat Ratna Award.
2. Mother Teresa
An Albanian by birth and an Indian Roman Catholic Sister by choice, Mother Teresa (as she is fondly known as), dedicated her life to the poor and downtrodden children of Bengal. While serving as a teacher and consequently, as the headmistress of Loreto Convent in Calcutta, she experienced a “call from within” which ultimately led her to found the “Missionaries of Charity” in Calcutta. Her’s was a life dedicated to the service of mankind—erasing every kind of racial and political barriers. And, it is for this service that she was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
1. Rabindranath Tagore
A poet, playwright, painter, actor, singer, musician and modern philosopher, Rabindranath’s contribution to Indian literature and art is beyond words to describe. Although he started writing poems since the age of 8, it was in 1913, at the age of 52, that he was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Literature. In fact, he was the first non-European person ever to receive such an accolade. Geetanjali (Song Offerings), for which he received the award, was highly praised by W.B Yeats; so much pleased Yeats was with the collection of poems, that he even wrote an Introduction for the English translation of the same. While giving the prize, the Nobel Foundation even summarized Gitanjali as being a collection of “profoundly rich, sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse”.
Tagore was also awarded the Knighthood title which he had later given off as a protest to Jallianwala Bagh Tragedy.