The decision was taken at a meeting of the Jnanpith Selection Board chaired by scholar, writer and critic Namwar Singh in New Delhi.
Born in 1932m Ghosh is a prolific poet, critic and academician and an authority on Tagore, whose poetic idion and experiments with various poetic forms mark his greatness as a creative talent.
His poems convey messages but are free from polemics, the board noted.
“Ghosh is a poet with an eye to the social milieu and his poems record both his time and space in a rare poetic style. ‘Adim Lata – Gulmomay’, ‘Murkho Baro’, ‘Samajik Noy’, ‘Baborer Prarthana’ are among those creations which have inspired a whole generation of modern poetry due to their unique form and feeling,” the panel said.
Ghosh’s poems have been translated into many Indian languages including Hindi, Marathi, Assamese, Punjabi and Malayalam, besides many foreign languages.
Praising his creations as “lyrical and reflective”, the board said they also portray a sense of anguish towards the superficiality of society and existence.
The venerated author was given the Padma Bhushan in 2011 and got the Sahitya Akademi in 1977 for “Baborer Prarthana”. In 1999 he got the Sahitya Akademi award for translation. He is also the recipient of many coveted awards that include Narsingh Das Puraaskar, Saraswati Samman, Rabindra Puraskar and Desikottam.
Ghosh joins Bengali greats like Mahasweta Devi, Ashapurna Devi, Tarashankar Bandopadhyay, Subhash Mukhopadhyay and Bishnu Dey in receiving the Jnanpith.