Google on Sunday paid tribute to award-winning author and social activist Mahasweta Devi on her 92nd birth anniversary.
Devi was known not just for her writing but also for dedicating her life for the welfare of tribals across India. She won the Sahitya Akademi Award, Padma Vibhushan, Jnanpith and Magsaysay Award, among several other distinctions.
Many of her writings and novels spoke extensively about the rights of tribal people in West Bengal. She also campaigned against the former Left Front government’s land acquisition policies in Singur and Nandigram.
“My India still lives behind a curtain of darkness,” she had said during her Ramon Magsaysay Award acceptance speech. “A curtain that separates the mainstream society from the poor and the deprived.”
Devi was born in 1926 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Her father, author Manish Ghatak, was part of the Kallol movement in Bengali writing, while her uncle was filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak.
Devi studied in Dhaka and later in Santiniketan and Kolkata. Devi wrote more than 100 novels, starting with a biography of Rani Lakshmibai titled Jhansir Rani published in 1956. Hajar Churashir Ma (Mother of 1084), Aranyer Adhikar (Right to the Forest), Breast Stories, Tin Korir Sadh, Agnigarbha (The Fire Within) and Rudali were some of her most notable works. Several of her works have been adapted in films over the years.
She also published a journal, Bortika, giving voices to those who were unheard.
Devi died in Kolkata in July 2016.