• Parabaas
    Parabaas : পরবাস : বাংলা ভাষা, সাহিত্য ও সংস্কৃতি
  • পরবাস | English | Biography
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  • Biographical Sketch: Mahasweta Devi (1926-2016) : Parabaas



    Mahasweta Devi (মহাশ্বেতা দেবী) was born in 1926 in Dhaka, Bangladesh in a family of litterateurs and social workers. Manish Ghatak, her father, was a poet and a novelist and her mother, Dharitri Devi was a social worker and also a writer. Mahasweta started her schooling in Dhaka, but after the partition, she moved with her family to West Bengal in India. She completed her high school and her bachelor's degree (English Hons.) at Visva-Bharati, in Shantiniketan (the school founded by Rabindranath Tagore). Thereafter she earned an M.A. in English from Calcutta University.

    A prolific and best-selling author of novels and short stories in Bengali, Mahasweta is equally well known for her pioneering work among the most down-trodden in the Indian society - the dispossessed tribals and the marginalized segments such as landless laborers of eastern India. The quarterly Bortika that she had been editing since 1980 has been a mouthpiece for these people. Mahasweta's writings are often based upon meticulous research, conducted sometimes via unconventional means (such as oral history), into the history of the peoples she writes about.

    Unlike other Bengali authors, Mahasweta Devi's works have fortunately been translated (and continue to be translated) into many languages. She has received many awards, including Sahitya Akademi (1979), Jnanpith (1996), Ramon Magsaysay (1996), and for her work among the tribals, the Padmashree in 1986.

    She passed away in 2016.


    Published in Parabaas: November, 2001; Updated 2023


    Tags: Mahasweta Devi; Parabaas Translation;
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