Mahashweta Devi was not only a celebrated writer but also firebrand social activist, who strongly raised voice against the industrial policy of West Bengal government. Her prolific work had fetched her many awards, including the Sahitya Akademi in 1979, the Padma Shri in 1986, the Jnanpith in 1997 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2006.
- Mahashweta Devi was born in 1926 in Dhaka and her family migrated to India after partition.She died of cardiac arrest and multiple organ failures at the age of 90 on July 28, 2016
- Apart from literary works, she had also written for newspapers and helped form organisations for the downtrodden to fight for their rights
- She joined the Rabindranath Tagore-founded Vishvabharati University in Santiniketan and completed a BA (Hons) in English, and then completed an MA in English at Calcutta University
- She later married a renowned playwright Bijon Bhattacharya, who was one of the founding fathers of the IPTA movement. She divorced him in 1959
- Famous film director Ritwik Ghatak is her brother.
- She was bestowed with various honours like Sahitya Akademi Award, Padma Vibhushan, Jnanpith and Magsaysay Award among several others
- Her outstanding work with the Sabars, a de-notified tribal community in the Purulia district of West Bengal, earned her the name ‘The Mother of the Sabars’
- The renowned Bengali fiction writer was well-known for her contribution to the welfare of tribals and Dalits, communities written off as criminal and marginal
She was one of the few Indian authors whose complete works were translated into Italian, German, French and several other major languages
- Her writings often depict the oppression of tribals and untouchables by upper-caste landlords and lenders. She used to say, ‘Real history is made by ordinary people’.
- Her social activities involved working for the tribals of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh Chhattisgarh and Gujarat. She opposed acquisition of farmers’ lands and selling it to corporates by the West Bengal government. She also edited a tribal magazine called Bartike.
- Her first work was Jhansir Rani (The Queen of Jhansi), was published in 1956. She had revealed that her plots and storylines were based on actual events
- Some of her work, such as Hajar Churashir Ma and Rudali, has also been converted into movieshttp://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsEmOlrY3Zs
Top 10 important works authored by her:
- Hajar Churashir Ma
- Aranyer Adhikar or Right to Forest
- Chotti Munda evam Tar Tir
- Breast Stories
- Tin Korir Sadh
- Master Saab