The Indian literature landscape has never been shaped equally by both genders, with the male perspective dominating. However, these women poets from India broke the mould and blazed a trail, leaving an indelible mark on Indian literature. Read below to discover these amazing women.
Toru Dutt was born in 1856 and is often referred to as the Keats of Indo-English literature. She was the first Indian woman to write poems in English, although she was multilingual and apparently able to master languages with ease. She died of tuberculosis at the tender age of 21, but she leaves behind an impressive collection of prose and poetry, including Le Journal de Mademoiselle d’Arvers, the first novel to be written in French by an Indian writer, and another novel, Bianca, that remains unfinished.
Freedom-fighter, educationist and activist, Mahadevi Varma is one of India’s most prolific women poets. She was one of four founders of the Chhayavaad movement – a distinct wave of romanticism in Hindi poetry. She was the first woman to be granted India’s highest literary award for lifetime achievement, the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship, in 1979.
Poet, novelist and essayist, Amrita Pritam was one of the leading voices of poetry in the 20th century and is considered the first prominent Punjabi woman poet. In 1956, she became the first woman to win the coveted Sahitya Akademi Award for her work Sunehe (messages). She later went on to win the Padma Shri award in 1969 and the Padma Vibhushan award in 2004, followed by India’s highest literary award – the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in the same year.