Eminent litterateur and social activist Mahasweta Devi was a leading Bengali fiction writer. Her notable works include Hajar Chaurashir Maa, Draupadi, Rudaali among many others. The Jnanpith, Padma Vibhushan and Magsaysay awardee, she was a vocal voice of human rights, and espoused the cause of tribals of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Born in a reputed family in 1926, Mahasweta Devi was daughter of Manish Ghatak, a well-known poet and novelist of the Kallol movement. Noted filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak was her uncle. Her family relocated to West Bengal after the partition of India. After finishing her graduation in English from Vishvabharati University, she went to Calcutta University to pursue M.A. in English. Married to Bijon Bhattacharya, both got divorced by mutual consent in 1959.
While teaching for at Bijoygarh College in 1964, she got the first hand experience about the life’s of tribals . She was a vocal voice against the government after a state police firing in Nandigram killed 14 people. Mahasweta Devi gave her active support in Nandigram and Singur agitation movements. She voiced her concerns about the commercialization of Santiniketan. Her son Nabarun Bhattacharya per-deceased her two years ago.In her long career Mahasweta Devi wrote numerous novels. Several of her works have been adapted in films over the years.
*The Queen of Jhansi
*Mother of 1084(Adapted as Hindi film Hajar Churashir Maa)
*Layli Asmaner Ayna (Adapted as Hindi film Sunghursh)
*The Why-Why Girl
A great writer and extraordinary activist she during her lifetime won many awards.
Honours and Awards
-1979: Sahitya Akademi Award (Bengali): – Aranyer Adhikar (novel)
-1986: Padma Shri
-1996: Jnanpith Award
-1997: Ramon Magsaysay Award
-1999: Honoris causa – Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU)
- 2006: Padma Vibhushan
-2010:Yashwantrao Chavan National Award
-2011: Bangabibhushan – the highest civilian award from the Government of West Bengal
-2012: Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Sahityabrahma – the first Lifetime Achievement award in Bengali Literature from 4thScreen-IFJW.
. -2014: 1st Mamoni Raisom Goswami National Award for Literature constituted by Assam Sahitya Sabha and sponsored by Numaligarh Refinery Limited, Assam
Suffering from kidney and lung ailments, besides blood and urinary tract infections, she died died of multiple organ failure on 28 July 2016. Her demise is a great loss for the country. Condolence poured from all quarters to mourn the death of this great personality.
Narendra Modi: Mahashweta Devi wonderfully illustrated the might of the pen. A voice of compassion, equality & justice, she leaves us deeply saddened. RIP.
Mamata Banerjee: India has lost a great writer. Bengal has lost a glorious mother. I have lost a personal guide. Mahashweta Di rest in peace
Mahesh Bhatt : The woman who walked with the broken and refused to sit with the 'great'! Writer Mahasweta Devi passes away in Kolkata. What a life !!!!
Office of Rahul Gandhi: A powerful voice against injustice & inequality.Mahasweta Devi's words will continue to inspire &educate.Heartfelt condolences on her demise
(FOLLOWER OF Shrimati MAHASWETA DEVI)
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