Legendary Bengali actress Suchitra Sen, hockey player Leslie Claudius and painter Jogen Choudhury were among the 13 luminaries from various fields who were awarded the "Banga Vibhusan" award by the West Bengal government Sunday.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who herself presented the awards, expressed her happiness for being able to felicitate the living legends of Bengal.
She also announced that from next year, living legends of Bengal from various fields would be presented the award - the highest civilian award of Bengal- on May 20, the day Banerjee was sworn in chief minister in 2011.
"On May 20 last year, we had started our journey. So from next year we will host this award ceremony on this very day," she said.
Sen, a living legend of Bengali cinema, was not present at the ceremony as she has withdrawn from public life after leaving the world of showbiz in late 1970s. The award was received by her daughter, actress Moonmoon Sen.
Eight-five-year-old Claudius, who is a Guinness World Record holder for being part of a hockey team to win the maximum number of medals at the Olympics, was overwhelmed and said: "I am the happiest man in this world."
The others who were awarded were theatre personalities Rudraparasad Sengupta, Bhibhas Chakraborty, Shaoli Mitra, writer Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, Sanjib Chattopadhyay, national award winning film-maker Goutam Ghosh, poet Joy Goswami, actor Ranjit Mullick, classical singer Ajoy Chakraborty and Ustad Ali Ahmed Hussein Khan.
The state government also felicitated singer Nachiketa Chakraborty, percussionist Bikram Ghosh and classical singer Ustad Rashid Khan with "Banga Bhushan" award.
This is the second year that the Trinamool Congress government conferred the awards. Last year, legendary singer Manna Dey and writer Mahasweta Devi were among the nine awardees.