Hailing from a family of prolific playwrights and writers, Mahasweta Devi wielded the power of the pen to bring to light the plight of "suffering spectators" in our fast-developing country.
After graduating in Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in English from the Patha-Bhavana Vishvabharati University, Santiniketan, she also completed her Master's degree in English from Calcutta University. This artwork of Google pays tribute to the pre-eminent writer on her 92nd birthday. Her early works include Amrita Sanchay and Andhanmalik, both set in the British colonial period.
Devi is well known for her crusade for the rights and empowerment of the Lodha and Shabar, the tribal people from West Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Her other literary landmarks, Aranyer Adhikar or The Occupation of the Forest, Imaginary Maps, Breast Givers, Our Non-Veg Cow, won her every literary award in India, the Padma Vibhushan and the Magsaysay. In 2007, she was the leading voice to protest against the killing of 14 people by West Bengal police who were protesting against a proposal by the Left Front government of the state to set up a chemical hub at Nandigram. She once said, "My India still lives behind a curtain of darkness". She was best known for her work "Hajar Churashir Ma", "Rudali", and "Chotti Munda Evam Tar Tir". "When you see women in Argentina protesting restrictions by breastfeeding in public, you remember Mahasweta's Gangor, the young tribal mother who was horribly tormented by the police because someone took a photo of her breastfeeding her baby and published it", she wrote.
Following a prolonged illness, the Jnanpith and Sahitya Akademi awardee breathed her last on July 28, 2016, in Kolkata.