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Home > News > Report

One gone, but other Nobels, Oscar safe

M Chhaya in Kolkata | March 26, 2004 17:17 IST

With the wisdom of hindsight, the authorities are checking up on other coveted awards won by illustrious Indians after the theft of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore's Nobel Prize.

Mother Teresa's Nobel is safe at the office of the Missionaries of Charity. The one won by economist Amartya Sen is safe in a bank vault.

Satyajit Ray's honorary Oscar occupies pride of place in his film-maker son Sandip's cupboard, as doesthe coveted Legion de Honour bestowed on the late genius by the Government of France.

Around 11am on Thursday, security staff of Uttarayan, Tagore's home in Shantiniketan, discovered that a window of the building had been broken and the thieves had made away with Tagore's Nobel Prize gold medal and citation. Tagore had won the prize in 1913 for his collection of poems Gitanjali.

A gold pocket watch, gold medals, some ornaments belonging to Tagore's wife Mrinalini Devi and father Devendranath, some rare paintings, utensils and items made of ivory too were missing.

The police investigation so far has failed to find any clues, but it has made them turn their attention to the security of other coveted awards.

"Mother Teresa's Nobel is safe in Mother House," said Sunita Kumar, a prominent volunteer of the Missionaries of Charity.

The prize is not on display for the scores of Mother Teresa's admirers who visit her tomb every day. "Mother did not want her awards to be displayed," Sunita Kumar said.

The numerous awards won by the nun are kept in a cupboard without much concern for security.

Security is not Amartya Sen's concern either, but the reason is different. His Nobel Prize medal and citation are safely stored away in a bank vault.

Incidentally, Sen's aging mother Amita lives in Shantiniketan, a short distance from Uttarayan."It [Sen's Nobel] is safe in a bank," she told reporters, but refused to give the bank's name.

Safe too is Ray's Oscar. It occupies pride of place at the Rays' residence in the city. "Right now it is shining out of a glass almirah,"Sandip Ray said.

Police also inquired about the Nobel won by scientist Sir C VRaman and found that it is safe in the custody of his family in Chennai.

Security has been tightened at Tagore's ancestral home in the city's north, which houses some 5,000 paintings by Gurudev and his illustrious forefathers.

More reports from West Bengal

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