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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 December, 2004, 13:33 GMT
Poet's lost Nobel medal replaced
Natwar Singh (L) and Hans Dahlgren
Mr Dahlgren (R) told Mr Singh it was an honour to replace the medal
Sweden's Nobel Foundation has issued India two replicas of the stolen Nobel literature prize medal awarded to the poet, Rabindranath Tagore.

The medal, awarded to Tagore in 1913, was stolen from a museum in the state of West Bengal in March.

The gold and bronze replicas would allow both sides of the medal to be seen at the same, said Swedish Foreign Secretary Hans Dahlgren.

An icon of Indian independence, Tagore wrote the nation's national anthem.

Bengal's Shakespeare

Mr Dahlgren presented the replicas to Indian External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh in Delhi on Wednesday.

Rabindranath Tagore
Tagore composed the Indian and Bangladeshi national anthems

Mr Dahlgren said there had been no similar cases of replicas being made by the Nobel Foundation.

He said it was a "great honour" for Sweden to replace the stolen medal and he hoped the replicas would bring joy to Indians.

Mr Singh thanked the foundation and the Swedish government for the gesture.

The medals will later be presented to authorities in the university town of Shantiniketan in West Bengal.

The medal was stolen from the town's Rabindra Bhawan museum.

Tagore's watch was also taken, along with other medals and artefacts.

Police investigations and a one million rupee ($23,000) reward failed to secure the medal's return.

Tagore is the first and only Indian to win the literature prize and is still revered today.

Often referred to as Bengal's Shakespeare, he wrote poems and short stories and composed both the Indian and Bangladeshi national anthems. He died in 1941.

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