Kolkata has often been regarded as the ‘cultural capital of India’. It is worth mentioning here that Kolkata carries a famous record of producing Nobel laureates.
Kolkata, in fact, has a strong connection with the Nobel Prize, with at least 5 Prize winners having links- either by birth or work with the Indian city.
The Nobel Prize is a set of annual international awards conferred in several categories by Swedish and Norwegian institutions in acknowledgement of academic, cultural, or scientific advances.
The Nobel Prize comes with a diploma, medal, and cash award. The Nobel Foundation decides on the ‘cash prize’ each year awarded to each Nobel laureate.
The cash prize is 9 million kronor ($917,000). In 2018, it was 8 million SEK (about US$1.1 million or €1.16 million).
Six Nobel Prize winners have been associated with Kolkata:
Abhijit Banerjee was awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on ‘global poverty’. Banerjee was born in India in 1961. He received his PhD in 1988 from Harvard University. The Indian-American was recognized for his ability to divide the vast issue of fighting global poverty into smaller subjects, the committee added in a statement.
studied in Kolkata’s Presidency College and did his MA in economics from JNU in Delhi. His parents were both professors in economics in West Bengal capital.
Amartya Sen won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1998 for his work in welfare economics. He was born in West Bengal’s Shantiniketan. Quite interestingly, Sen was given his name by another Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, who was a very close associate of his maternal grandfather.
Sen graduated from Presidency College, before becoming a professor in Jadavpur University in West Bengal capital. Sen had then gone on to teach at institutions like Trinity College, London School of Economics etc.
Mother Teresa won the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Born into an Albanian family, she moved to India in 1929. She was the one who established Missionaries for Charity in Kolkata (earlier it was Calcutta).
She continued to live there until the rest of her life where she passed away in 1997. Even today, the city continues to be the home for her congregation and continues her work for the poor.
Indian physicist CV Raman received the Nobel Prize for physics in 1930. He was born in the Madras Province and had gone on to become the greatest physics professor at the University of Calcutta. During his work, he discovered the groundbreaking Raman Effect which earned him the Nobel Prize.
Rabindranath Tagore, the poet won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. He is also called the Bard of Bengal and was the first non-European to have bagged a Nobel Prize.
Tagore wrote the Indian national anthem and he was known for redefining Bengali literature, Rabindro Sangeet.
Here comes British doctor Ronald Ross who received the coveted Prize in Medicine in the year 1902 for his work on the transmission of malaria. Ross also had a close connection with Kolkata. He plied his trade at Presidency General Hospital in Kolkata. Ronald Ross Memorial building stands tall in the Indian city even today.