Eminent poet and novelist Nabaneeta Dev Sen passed away at her Hindustan Park residence Thursday evening. She was 81. Family sources said she breathed her last around 7:35 pm. The Padma Shri awardee had been undergoing treatment for cancer.
“She passed away this evening. Today, the family has requested privacy and only close relatives will be allowed to enter the house. Tomorrow, the family will allow her admirers and other personalities to pay their last respects,” said a family member of the writer.
Recently, Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee had paid a visit to her at her residence.
Condoling her death, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said in a tweet, “Saddened at the passing away of noted litterateur and academic Nabaneeta Dev Sen. A recipient of several awards, her absence will be felt by her myriad students and well-wishers. My condolences to her family and admirers.”
Nabaneeta Dev Sen was born in Kolkata in 1938. She was the daughter of poets Narendra Dev and Radharani Devi. Sen graduated from Presidency College and received her master’s degree from Jadavpur University, Calcutta, in 1958. In 1959, she married Nobel laureate Amartya Sen.
The couple had two daughters — Antara Dev Sen and actor and writer Nandana Sen — before they were divorced in 1976.
Nabaneeta then went to the US with her daughters, finished her higher studies, and built a career as a writer and poet.
Nabaneeta had a Masters with Distinction from Harvard University, PhD from Indiana University and did her post-doctoral research from the University of California at Berkeley and Newnham College, Cambridge University. She was a University Grants Commission Senior Fellow at University of Delhi.
In addition to Bengali and English, she could read Hindi, Oriya, Assamese, French, German, Sanskrit, and Hebrew.
Expressing grief at her demise, noted Bengali writer Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay said, “It is a personal loss to me. Her death leaves a void in the literaty world of this country. I am a fan of her books. She was a prolific writer and a learge-hearted person. Lately, she had been finding it difficult to walk. Yet, she tried her best to attend various cultural programmes.”