Updated: July 29, 2016 1:28:13 am
As the news of social activist and writer Mahasweta Devi’s demise spread, many dignitaries and political leaders took to Twitter to express condolence and pay homage.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee were among the first to mourn loss of the great writer. Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj too took to Twitter to express condolence and said that the works of the writer had “left a lasting impression” on her life.
However, something went terribly wrong when the accolades were wrongly attributed. Swaraj while paying homage Mahasweta Devi mentioned names of two books, ‘Pratham Pratishruti’ and ‘Bakul Katha’. Both these books were not written by Mahasweta Devi but by Ashapurna Devi.
Given to Swaraj’s wide following and popularity on Twitter and Mahasweta Devi trending, the post drew quick attention and the External Minister was trolled for confusing the works of the two authors, following which she deleted her second tweet.
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Though the tweet was deleted, people criticised the minister and posted photos of her deleted tweet and termed it as ‘ignorance’.
Here are a few tweets of how the people trolled her:
Commenting on Swaraj’s mistaken tweet, a user said, “Ignorance is not always a bliss.”
Dear @SushmaSwaraj. Mahasweta Devi & Ashapunra Devi are Bengal’s pride. Ignorance is not always a bliss.
— Aparna Bhattacharya (@chhuti_is) July 28, 2016
Unforgivably another users said it was a “Shame!”
@SushmaSwaraj None of these are written by Mahasweta Devi. Confusing with Ashapurna Devi. Change ur script writer. Shame!
— Debasish chakraborty (@debuganashakti) July 28, 2016
People informed her that she had confused works of two famous writers
— Reshmi Dasgupta (@ReshmiDG) July 28, 2016
Some also suggested her to be “mum”.
@SushmaSwaraj when u dint know what Mahasweta Devi hs written pls be mum..as ur wrong info defames such renowned personality….
— @kamalikasengupt (@kamalikasengup2) July 28, 2016
She began writing in the 60s, moved by the everyday realities she saw around herself in rural Bengal, when she taught at a college in the outskirts of Kolkata, were largely those which moved the youth of the city to join the armed agrarian revolt at Naxalbari. The setting of her most famous novel, Hajar Churashir Ma [Mother of 1084] (film by Govind Nihalani in 1998) is based on the Naxalite movement.
Her other famous works include ‘Aranyer Adhikar’, ‘Chotti Munda evam Tar Tir’, “Rudali’ ( the 1993 film by Kalpana Lajmi, starring Dimple Kapadia, Rekhaa and Raj Babbar) , ‘Kulaputra’ and ‘Agnigarbha.’
Mahasweta Devi was married to the famous Bengali playwright Bijon Bhattacharya, one of the founding members of IPTA. She was one of the first Indian writers to address the concerns of Dalits and tribals, especially women. Her much-acclaimed book “Draupadi” is about a tribal woman named Dopdi, who is accused of being a Naxal and picked up by the police, who then gangrape her.
Mahasweta Devi won several awards including the Sahitya Akademi and Jnanpith awards for literary excellence. She was also a Ramon Magsaysay awardee and had won the Padma Vibhushan. Her best-known stories were agitprop.
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