A mat presented by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with two lines from a song by Rabindranath Tagore printed on it has led to howls of protest for spelling bloomers and wrong word usage.
The mat, which uses kantha stitch to depict Tagore’s face, along with part of the Bengali song ‘Aguner Poroshmoni Choaao Prane’ (touch the heart with the magicstone of fire), was handed over by Clinton to Banerjee during their meeting at the state secretariat Writers’ Building on Monday.
A visibly happy Banerjee proudly displayed the gift to the mediapersons after the meeting.
However, on close scrutiny, it was found that the word poroshmoni was wrongly spelt. In the second line of the song, which reads ‘ey jiban purno koro”, the word purno was replaced by rinyo and the word jiban was misspelt.
“When it concerns Tagore and international diplomacy, the US should have been more careful,” said Sahitya Academy president and noted writer Sunil Gangopadhyay.
A spokesperson of the US consulate refused to comment on the matter.
However, sources said that the mat had been purchased in Kolkata from a local designer’s collection. “Whatever it be, the US should have been more sensitive to the sentiments of the Indians, particularly Bengalis, as Tagore occupies a monumental position in the heart and mind of the public,” said TP Dutta, a banker.
“It was extremely immature artwork. As for the mistakes, Hillary and her delegation should have got the quality of the artwork evaluated by knowledgeable people. Nobody will talk about the designer’s flaws. It will go down that the US, in its carelessness, has given a gift that so glaringly lacks aestheticism,” said writer Abul Bashar.