While the world is hailing Mahasweta Devi as eminent writer largely inheriting the literary genius of then undivided Bengal, she always considered her creativity as a weapon to fight the daily injustice and exploitation faced by the most marginalised and dispossessed among Indian tribals.
Once she famously remarked that her writings were just an extension of the rebellion she was carrying out through reports in newspapers, petitions, court cases, letters to the authorities, participation in activist organisations, advocacy and through the grassroots journal she edited, Bortika, in which the ousted told their stories.
In a way, she was trying to merge the forgotten and invisible tribal history with the official history of the nation. The eminent writer and social activist passed away in Kolkata on Thursday after cardiac arrest following multi-organ failure. She was 91 and had been suffering from kidney, lung and other age-related ailments for a long time.
Mourning her death, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that her body would be kept at Peace World mortuary and on Friday morning it would be brought to the cultural hub of Rabindra Sadan where the public can pay their last respects to the departed soul. “India has lost a great writer. Bengal has lost a glorious mother. I have lost a personal guide. Mahashweta Di rest in peace", Banerjee said recalling her association with Mahasweta who had supported her in the fight against acquisition of land in Singur and Nandigram.
A litterateur with the zeal of an activist, Mahasweta Devi used expression as a tool to fight for the rights of the indigenous people and marginalised sections. Sadly, Mahasweta Devi, who had penned hundreds of heartwarming tales, could never finish her own story about the mental trauma she went through after her divorce.