When India was struggling for its independence under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad and many more, a girl was born in Matualalaya of Dhaka in Bengal Presidency of British India in a literary family of Ghataks. Manish Ghatak, well-known poet and novelist of the Kallol movement and Dharitri Devi, Writer and Social worker was blessed with a baby girl on 14th January 1926. With a strong alma matter of Vishwa-Bharati University and Calcutta University and literary culture at her home, Mahasweta Devi has written over 100 novels and over 20 collections of short stories.
The book I am bringing to you is called Bitter Soil. This is the collection of most compelling stories written by Mahasweta Devi which are translated from Bangla by Ipsita Chanda. Three of the stories in this collection were previously translated either by Devi herself or by other authors. The stories included in this collection sheds light on Devi’s political and economic humanism perspectives about human life. Mahasweta Devi has worked in the welfare of tribal communities of West Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh states of India. This interest in tribal welfare is always reflected in her stories. This collection not an exception to that either. Though the book is translated from Bengali, I have read it still carries the same excellence and mastery of storytelling. Thanks to Ipsita Chanda for giving access to these amazing stories told by one of India’s finest storytellers.
Mahasweta Devi has been a fiery storyteller which has done amazing work of waking and shaking up of Bengali people from slumber and become active to fight against injustice. She was awarded Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan for her social work and Sahitya Akademy Award for her novel Aranyer Adhikar. In 1996, she was awarded Dnyanapeeth Award which is the highest literary award in India. For her “compassionate crusade through art and activism to claim for tribal peoples a just and honorable place in India’s national life.” Raman Magsaysay Award was conferred upon her in 1997. On her 92nd birth anniversary, Google celebrated her work by creating amazing doodle in her honor. As a reader, only tribute we can offer to this fiery Dnyanapeeth of India is enjoy her fantastic stories and I am starting with Bitter Soil.
Adding this to the amazing bucket of blogs at #BlogchatterA2Z.