The Ramon Magsaysay awardee passed away in July 2016 following age-related illness. She was honoured with the in 1996. Counted among South Asia’s most decorated authors, Mahasweta Devi was also bestowed with Padma shri, Padma Vibhushan and Sahitya Akademi award.
The writer-activist was known for a lifetime of dedicated work for welfare of tribals in different parts of India. She raised her voice against forcible land acquisition in Singur and Nandigram.
“My India,” she once said, “still lives behind a curtain of darkness”. Her famous works like ‘Hajar Churashir Ma’ (Mother of 1084), ‘Aranyer Adhikar’ (Right to the Forest, ‘Jhansir Rani’ (The Queen of Jhansi), ‘Agnigarbha’ (The Fire Within), ‘Rudali’, ‘Sidhu Kanhur Daakey’, gave an insight into the oppressed lives.
Many of her novels inspired filmmakers and were turned into movies. Award winning films like Govind Nihalani’s 1998 movie Hazar Chaurasi ki Ma and Kalpana Lajmi Rudali were based on books authored by Mahasweta Devi. While Rudali was based on the lives of professional mourners upon the death of upper-caste males in Rajasthan, ‘Hazaar Chaurasi ki Ma’ (The Mother of 1084) is based on her Bengali novel on the emotional struggles of a mother who tries to understand the reasons behind her son’s involvement in the Naxalite movement.