14 June, 2021

Mahasweta Devi

Mahasweta Devi

She's probably the only writer who followed up the country's highest literary award, Jnanpith in 1995, with the Magsaysay Award for community leadership in 1996. Mahasweta Devi is almost always described as a writer-activist even though her first book, a historical novel, came when she was 30, followed by 100-plus novels and short story collections. As she says: "I think a creative writer should have a social conscience. I have a duty towards society. I must remain accountable to myself." Her initial grounding in the People's Theatre movement of Bengal, the upheavals wrought by the Naxalite movement of the 1970s, and her involvement with the repressed tribal communities of the Bengal-Bihar region irretrievably shaped her life and writings. She continues to edit Bortika—a journal dedicated to the cause of oppressed communities and which also publishes their work—and gives her life to the cause of tribals whom she once described as "suffering spectators of the India that is travelling towards the 21st century". ...

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