Eminent litterateur and social activist Mahasweta Devi passed away on July 28 at a private hospital in Kolkata.
The 90-year-old died of cardiac arrest due to multiple-organ failure.
Mahasweta Devi mid-day
She was admitted to the hospital in south Kolkata with urinary infection and was also suffering from diabetes. She was put on ventilator support.
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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).
She has played a significant role to uplift the tribal community of Bengal, especially the Lodha and Shabar communities.
Influenced by the Communist movement of the 1940s, she chose to work among the poorest of the poor in the tribal areas of southern West Bengal and in other parts of the country.
She was married to one of Bengal’s most prolific playwrights and litterateurs, Bijon Bhattacharya, the activist-writer grew up in the family of Bengal’s leading writers, poets and filmmakers. 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.
Her most-famous book, Hajar Churashir Maa (Mother No 1084) was based on the mother of a Naxalite in the tumultuous ’70s in Kolkata and was made into a popular Bollywood movie starring Jaya Bachchan.
Films based on her works include Sunghursh (1968), Rudaali (1993), Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa (1998) and Maati Maay (2006).
Born in Dhaka in 1926, Devi did her graduation and MA from Calcutta University. She retired from her job as an English lecturer in 1984.