Mahasweta Devi was undergoing treatment at south Kolkata’s Belle Vue Clinic.(HT File Photo)
Mahasweta Devi was undergoing treatment at south Kolkata’s Belle Vue Clinic.(HT File Photo)

Author-activist Mahasweta Devi dies in Kolkata at 90

Renowned Bengali author Mahasweta Devi died in a Kolkata nursing home on Thursday of multi-organ failure, leaving behind a formidable literary legacy that focused on the lives of marginalized communities.
By Avijit Ghoshal | Hindustan Times, Kolkata
UPDATED ON JUL 28, 2016 08:57 PM IST

Renowned Bengali author and activist Mahasweta Devi died in a Kolkata nursing home on Thursday, leaving behind a formidable literary legacy that focused on the lives of marginalized communities.

The 90-year-old died of cardiac arrest due to multiple-organ failure. She was undergoing treatment at Belle Vue Clinic in South Kolkata under an eight-member team of doctors.

Read | Mahasweta Devi lived like she wrote: Fearlessly and without restraint

“India has lost a great writer. Bengal has lost a glorious mother. I have lost a personal guide. Mahasheta Di rest in peace,” chief minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted.

Devi was one of the most decorated writers of the country, with awards such as Sahitya Academi (1979), Padmashri (1986), Jnanpith (1996), Ramon Magsaysay (1997) and Padma Vibhushan (2006) under her belt.

Mahasweta Devi at her Calcutta residence in 1984. (Santosh Gupta/HT File Photo)
Mahasweta Devi at her Calcutta residence in 1984. (Santosh Gupta/HT File Photo)

After the 2006 Singur movement lead by Mamata Banerjee, the author, over 80 years of age at the time, became an advisor to the Trinamool leader, who turned to her regularly for guidance. She was also easily the tallest figure in the group of intellectuals who stood by Mamata at the time.

The writer was the prime face on the dais during the yearly July 21 Martyr’s Day programme organised by the Trinamool Congress.

Read | Mahasweta Devi found extraordinariness among ordinary people: Amit Chaudhuri

She spent years researching, writing on and campaigning for welfare activities for the tribals of Bengal, especially the Lodha and Shabar communities. Though Mahasweta Devi was a bitter critic of the Left for the past 10 years, her intellectual moorings was initially with the Left.

Arguably her most-famous book, Hajar Churashir Maa (Mother No 1084) was based on the mother of a Naxalite in the tumul

tuous ’70s in Kolkata and was made into a popular Bollywood movie starring Jaya Bachchan.

She was married to Bijan Bhattacharya, a firebrand playwright deeply connected with Indian People’s Theatre Association, an association of Leftist theatre artists. But her marriage ended in divorce in 1959.

Their son, Nabarun, was born in 1948.

Read | Mahasweta Devi: She was a commandant, leader and the loss is irreversible

Devi had to suffer the pain of her son’s death on July 31, 2014. Nabarun was one of the Bengali authors who wrote about the underbelly of society and was regarded as a cult figure among a large section of the Bengali literary circuit.

Films based on her works include Sunghursh (1968), Rudaali (1993), Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa (1998) and Maati Maay (2006).

“She was admitted in the hospital for 67 days. For the past few days, she was in the critical care unit,” P K Tondon, chief administrative officer of Belle Vue Clinic told HT.

Devi was declared dead at 3:16 pm on Thursday. “The grandmom breathed her last at 3:16 pm today. I thank all of you for your concern and support,” grandson Tathagata Bhattacharya wrote on Facebook.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Anindita Ghose (Vijay Prabakaran)
Anindita Ghose (Vijay Prabakaran)

Interview: Anindita Ghose on her debut novel, The Illuminated

By Simar Bhasin
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 07:49 PM IST
The former editor of Mint Lounge talks about her forthcoming novel, about being irritated by the impulses of journalism in the Twitter era, and about what’s ahead for her in 2021
Close
Shamsur Rahman Faruqi in a photograph dated October 25, 2018. (Amal KS/HT PHOTO)
Shamsur Rahman Faruqi in a photograph dated October 25, 2018. (Amal KS/HT PHOTO)

Essay: Shamsur Rahman Faruqi - drawing out the colossus

By Mahmood Farooqui
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 04:19 PM IST
In this excerpt from a forthcoming valedictory essay, SR Faruqi’s nephew writes about the Urdu poet, critic, and scholar’s last days
Close
The book throws light on the sensory development of children and the process by which toddlers learn to speak.(Unsplash)
The book throws light on the sensory development of children and the process by which toddlers learn to speak.(Unsplash)

Book 'Speak-A-Boo', documentary 'Talk To Your Child' released by Dr. Neeraj Suri

ANI, Ahmedabad (gujarat) [india]
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 03:32 PM IST
Noted authors, journalists and behavioral specialists came together to interact with the public and encourage them to talk to their children during the launch of the book Speak-A-Boo by Dr Neeraj Suri.
Close
Gulzar’s mammoth project, A Poem A Day, an anthology that contains the best names in Indian poetry across languages, is rich and diverse. (Prabha S Roy/HT)
Gulzar’s mammoth project, A Poem A Day, an anthology that contains the best names in Indian poetry across languages, is rich and diverse. (Prabha S Roy/HT)

Essay: Poetry for every day of the year, for all seasons

By Sudeep Sen
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 02:16 PM IST
Recent anthologies that stand out include one that’s a feat of sustained translation and another that features poetry on the Covid crisis from across the world
Close
Horses, hills, and how we make connections with each other - all that on this week’s list of interesting reads. (HT Team)
Horses, hills, and how we make connections with each other - all that on this week’s list of interesting reads. (HT Team)

HT Picks: the most interesting books of the week

By HT Team
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 01:49 PM IST
Books on the history of horses in India, cuisine from the hills, and the networks that bind us feature on this week’s reading list
Close
A view of the Sanjay Van forest reserve, in New Delhi, that is part of the south central area of the greater Delhi Ridge. (Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)
A view of the Sanjay Van forest reserve, in New Delhi, that is part of the south central area of the greater Delhi Ridge. (Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)

Review: Fractured Forest, Quartzite City by Thomas Crowley

By Sudhirendar Sharma
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 04:02 PM IST
Presenting Delhi’s Ridge, that is spread over 80 square km of reserved forest, as a living entity
Close
Another anticipated book of the year -- "Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth" by Nigerian legend Wole Soyinka, his first novel in 48 years -- will be published in September by Bloomsbury.(Unsplash)
Another anticipated book of the year -- "Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth" by Nigerian legend Wole Soyinka, his first novel in 48 years -- will be published in September by Bloomsbury.(Unsplash)

2021 book list: Books lovers in for a treat with these new novels

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 03:07 PM IST
Novels by Orhan Pamuk, Kazuo Ishiguro and Jhumpa Lahiri, a collection by Salman Rushdie and memoirs of Ravi Shastri, Girish Karnad and Priyanka Chopra are some of the highlights of 2021 that book lovers can look forward to.
Close
HarperCollins Publishers India is thrilled to announce a new and definitive biography of Kamala Harris by renowned journalist and writer Chidanand Rajghatta.(ANI)
HarperCollins Publishers India is thrilled to announce a new and definitive biography of Kamala Harris by renowned journalist and writer Chidanand Rajghatta.(ANI)

HarperCollins Publishers India announces 'Kamala Harris: Phenomenal Woman'

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 02:10 PM IST
HarperCollins Publishers India is thrilled to announce a new and definitive biography of Kamala Harris - who sworn today in as the Vice President of the United States of America - by renowned journalist and writer Chidanand Rajghatta.
Close
Lilly Singh(Instagram)
Lilly Singh(Instagram)

Lilly Singh to be guest at virtual book tour of Priyanka Chopra's memoir

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 20, 2021 09:36 PM IST
Ahead of the release of her 'Unfinished,' actor-singer Priyanka Chopra Jonas on Tuesday announced the first four dates of the virtual book tour of her memoir.
Close
Dorah Sitole(Instagram)
Dorah Sitole(Instagram)

South Africa's trailblazing Black food writer Dorah Sitole dies of virus

AP
UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2021 02:40 PM IST
South Africa's trailblazing Black food writer Dorah Sitole's latest cookbook was widely hailed in December as a moving chronicle of her journey from humble township cook to famous, well-traveled author.
Close
Representational image. (Unsplash)
Representational image. (Unsplash)

Students tell story of Gurgaon through lives of 19 people

PTI, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 17, 2021 01:11 PM IST
Students tell story of Gurgaon through lives of 19 people
Close
Audrey Truschke and her book, The Language of History: Sanskrit Narratives of Muslim Pasts(Instagram/Amazon)
Audrey Truschke and her book, The Language of History: Sanskrit Narratives of Muslim Pasts(Instagram/Amazon)

Audrey Truschke's new book to analyse Sanskrit texts of Indo-Muslim history

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 07:09 PM IST
The book, "The Language of History: Sanskrit Narratives of Muslim Pasts", seeks to collect, analyse, and theorize Sanskrit histories of Muslim-led and, later, as Muslims became an integral part of Indian cultural and political worlds, Indo-Muslim rule as a body of historical materials.
Close
Myth, relations between India and China, and reflections on the identity of an ethnic group feature on this week’s list of good reads.(HT Team)
Myth, relations between India and China, and reflections on the identity of an ethnic group feature on this week’s list of good reads.(HT Team)

HT Picks: The most interesting books of the week

By hindustantimes.com
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 06:46 PM IST
This week’s list of compelling reads includes a collection of myth and folklore, an account of relations between India and China, and an anthology that reflects on the identity of an ethnic group displaced by Partition.
Close
Naipaul is not a contributor but his prickly presence can be sensed in the collection:VS Naipaul in a picture dated 9th November, 1968.(John Minihan/Getty Images)
Naipaul is not a contributor but his prickly presence can be sensed in the collection:VS Naipaul in a picture dated 9th November, 1968.(John Minihan/Getty Images)

Review: The Book of Indian Essays edited by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra

By CP Surendran
UPDATED ON JAN 15, 2021 06:36 PM IST
Many of the well-known essays in this anthology still look and feel new.
Close
Author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni(Courtesy the publisher)
Author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni(Courtesy the publisher)

Interview: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Author, The Last Queen

By Simar Bhasin
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 06:27 PM IST
The author says she wanted to present Queen Jindan Kaur, regent of the Sikh empire from 1843-46, and mother of the last Maharaja, Dalip Singh, in all her complexity and humanness
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP