Kolkata: Legendary poet Sir Muhammad Iqbal, popularly known as Allama Iqbal who authored the iconic poem "Saare Jahan Se Achha Hindustan Hamara", was posthumously conferred the "Tarana-E-Hindi" award by the West Bengal Urdu Academy on Friday, with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee personally handing it over to his grandson Waleed Iqbal.
"There are some occasions in life when you feel really honoured," Banerjee said at the function held before a large audience in the Nazrul Mancha.
She said the nation will never forget Iqbal. "I thank the Urdu Academy for this initiative for honouring Iqbal ji".
Banerjee, who is set to visit Bangladesh with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, batted for improved ties with Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The chief minister also inaugurated the three-day 'Jashn-E-Iqbal' celebrating the contributions of the literary genius.
The celebration is an attempt by the Academy to revive the long-lost glory of Allama Iqbal.
As many as 45 delegates - scholars and poets - from six countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan and Mauritius are slated to take part in paper presentations and international mushairas (gatherings of poets) during the course of three days.
A photo-exhibition showcasing Iqbal's rare photographs will be launched at the Academy premises on Saturday along with the grand opening of the "Gosha-E-Iqbal", a dedicated section of Iqbal's books at the Central Urdu Library.
To honour Banerjee for her contributions to the revival of the Urdu Academy as well as for her work in the past three years, the title of "Pasban-E-Urdu" (protector of Urdu)was bestowed upon her.
In addition, guests and participants were given Banerjee's book of Urdu poems titled "Tamanna".
the chief minister also asked the academy to start an Urdu department at Aliah university and set up a chair in the honour of poet Iqbal, in addition to making the festival a annual one.