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Mahasweta Devi, acclaimed writer and social activist, dies at 90

Mahasweta Devi was a recipient of the Jnanpith and the Padma Vibhushan.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 28, 2016 6:43 pm
mahasweta devi, mahasweta devi books, mahasweta devi works, mahasweta devi dead, mahasweta devi death, mahasweta devi photos, mahasweta devi news Mahasweta Devi, noted writer and social activist (Express archive photo Partha Paul)

Acclaimed writer and social activist Mahasweta Devi has died at the age of 90. She was admitted to the hospital in Kolkata with age-related ailments and her condition was critical due to kidney disorder and blood infection.

“She passed away at 3.16 p.m. following a cardiac arrest and multi-organ failure,” a doctor told IANS.

She has won both the Sahitya Akademi and Jnanpith awards for literary excellence. She is also a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay award and the Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second-highest civilian honour.

She began writing in the 60s, moved by the everyday realities she saw around herself in rural Bengal. At that point of time, Devi used to teach in a college on the outskirts of the city of Kolkata. Many of her works have also been the basis of films.

Her works include ‘Aranyer Adhikar’, ‘Chotti Munda evam Tar Tir’, ‘Rudali’, ‘Kulaputra’ and ‘Agnigarbha.’

Along with writing, Devi was committed to the empowerment of tribals in the country and she has campaigned for a wide range of issues.

In 1997, based on a petition led by her, then president Shankar Dayal Sharma stopped the execution of two boys from Andhra Pradesh at the last minute. This, despite having rejected the convicts’ mercy petitions earlier.

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Also read: Mahasweta Devi, the writer as activist

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee mourned Devi’s demise and wrote on Twitter, “India has lost a great writer. Bengal has lost a glorious mother. I have lost a personal guide. Mahashweta Di rest in peace.”

Read tributes pouring in on Twitter

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief on Twitter, “Mahashweta Devi wonderfully illustrated the might of the pen. A voice of compassion, equality & justice, she leaves us deeply saddened. RIP.”

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  1. A
    Amar Mudi
    Jul 28, 2016 at 12:18 pm
    Mahasweta di to generations of Bengali writers will now rest in peace. She fought for the tribals, the marginal people not as a writer but as one of them. That is Mahasweta Devi, a very different kind of story teller.
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    1. Faf Devillers
      Jul 28, 2016 at 1:24 pm
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      1. H
        hussain
        Jul 28, 2016 at 11:37 am
        Wretched with death of Hon'ble Mahasweta Devi.. i have gone through with some of her books. Great writer..she left irreplaceable void in the country. RIP
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        1. M
          Manzoor
          Jul 28, 2016 at 12:09 pm
          Your contribution for Bangla literature is immense. Your writing for innocent tribals belong to Bengal and Jharkhand is a great treasure. Mahasweta Devi rest in peace.
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          1. D
            Darshan
            Jul 28, 2016 at 10:51 am
            She was one of my favorite poet . RIP Mahashwetadevi.
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