Mahaswetha Devi : Pen is Sword

“My India still lives behind a curtain of darkness. A curtain that separates the mainstream society from the poor and the deprived. But then why my India alone? Cannot one say the same for so many countries and societies today? As the century comes to an end, it is important that we all make an attempt to tear the curtain of darkness, see the reality that lies beyond and see our own true faces in the process.” – Mahaswetha devi on her Ramon Magsaysay Award acceptance speech, 1997.

Some six years before in a sultry afternoon travel from trichy to chennai, i read the tamil translation of mahasweta devi’s novel ‘The Mother of 1084’(hazaar chourasi ki maa). i had no introduction of mahasweta devi and her writings at that time. the story gripped me and as happened to me with many other remarkable books, i couldn’t put it down until i finished the book. After that I had read the book several times and had always amazed at the poignant, seamless narration style of Mahaswetha. Govind nihalani made a movie on the basis of this novel.

I got awestruck with her short stories ‘Draupadi’ and ‘Choli ke peeche kya hai’. i read some more of her short stories, tamil translation of the novel ‘Aranyer Adhikar’ that describes the life, struggle and the landscape of munda tribe in the light of the biography of Birsa Munda. The characters of mahasweta devi have immersed in my subconscious mind such that often I remember them like remembering old friends. With a net search, i found director shashwati has made a documentary on mahasweta devi. I wish i could see that.

well, Knowing Mahaswetha is to know the way of writing and Reading Mahaswetha’s writings is to read the struggle of truth and oppressed. In bhupinder singh’s blog, Bhaswati Ghosh has written a nice introduction on mahasweta devi. After reading that one, i felt of writing my admiration on Mahaswetha Devi. Thanks to bhaswathi ghosh and Bhupinder.


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