Noted writer Mahasweta Devi passes away

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Noted writer and social activist Mahasweta Devi passed away at a city nursing home on Thursday following prolonged illness, an attending doctor said.

She was 90. She had suffered a major heart attack on 23 July.

Mahasweta Devi was a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award, Padma Vibhushan, Jnanpith and Magsaysay Award, among several others.

Photo: Alchetron.com
Photo: Alchetron.com

Devi had been undergoing treatment at Kolkata’s Belle Vue Clinic for the past two months. Doctors said she had been admitted with illnesses related to old age. Her condition had deteriorated as a result of blood infection and kidney failure, PTI reported.

All her acclaimed works like ‘Hajar Churashir Ma’ (Mother of 1084), ‘Aranyer Adhikar’ (Right to the Forest, ‘Jhansir Rani’ (The Queen of Jhansi), ‘Agnigarbha’ (The Fire Within), ‘Rudali’, ‘Sidhu Kanhur Daakey’, etc give us invaluable insights into the lives of the oppressed class.

A number of her works have been adapted for the silver screen. Govind Nihalani’s 1998 Hindi film ‘Hazaar Chaurasi ki Ma’ (The Mother of 1084) is based on her Bengali novel on the emotional struggles of a mother who tries to understand the reasons behind her son’s involvement in the Naxalite movement.

In 1993, Kalpana Lajmi also made the award-winning ‘Rudaali’ on her novel by the same name chronicling the life of professional mourners upon the death of upper-caste males
in Rajasthan.

Italian director Italo Spinelli also made the multi-lingual ‘Gangor’ based on her short story ‘Choli Ke Peeche’ about the rights of women.

Going beyond her role as a writer and journalist, Devi also helped tribals and the rural dispossessed in organising themselves in groups so that they could take up development
activities in their own areas.

The leading Bengali fiction writer was also known for her contribution towards the welfare of tribal people.

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