Eminent littérateur Mahasweta Devi passes away

28 July, Kolkata

Eminent author and social activist Mahasweta Devi passed away on Thursday afternoon in a Kolkata Nuring Home after a multi-organ failure. She was 91. Her writings focused on the marginalised communities in the country and served as the voice of the oppressed.

Going beyond her role as a writer and journalist, Mahasweta Devi also helped tribals and the rural dispossessed to group themselves to take up development activities in their own areas. 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 sons) is based on her Bengali novel .

In 1993, Kalpana Lajmi also made the award-winning ‘Rudaali’ on her novel by the same name. Italian director Italo Spinelli also made the multi-lingual ‘Gangor’ based on her short story ‘Choli Ke Peeche’ about the rights of women. Her cremation will be held on Friday with full State honours at Kolkata.

President, Vice President and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have expressed grief on the death of eminent literateur Mahasweta Devi.

In his message, President Pranab Mukherjee said, Mahasweta Devi enriched Bengali literature through her prolific writing and unique style and she was a powerful voice against all forms of oppression and injustice.

The President said, her writings reflected the life of downtrodden and her voice was seen as the collective conscience of society reflecting its yearning for justice and equality. Mr Mukherjee said, with the death of Mahasweta Devi, India has lost a creative genius who contributed immensely to literature and social change, but her works will remain forever inspiring the people to strive to build a better India.

In his condolence message, Vice President Hamid Ansari said that Mahasweta Devi will be remembered for her popular stories that sought to raise awareness about social injustice, discrimination, poverty in the country.

In a tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, Mahasweta Devi wonderfully illustrated the might of the pen and was a voice of compassion, equality and justice.

Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu has expressed grief on the demise of Mahasweta Devi. In a tweet, Naidu said, Mahasweta Devi’s death is a huge loss for Indian Literature. The Minister said, her work will continue to inspire young writers.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the country has lost a great writer. She said, she has lost a personal guide. Mahasweta Devi was the voice of the oppressed in her novels and short stories, which won her a number of awards including the Padma Vibhushan, Magsaysay, Sahitya Akademi and Jnanpeeth.

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