Nabaneeta Dev Sen, prolific Bengali writer and Padma Shri awardee, passes away at 81

Noted writer and academic, Nabaneeta Dev Sen, passed away at her Kolkata residence at the age of 81 on Thursday evening. The writer had been suffering from cancer.

FP Staff November 07, 2019 22:32:48 IST
Nabaneeta Dev Sen, prolific Bengali writer and Padma Shri awardee, passes away at 81
  • The noted writer and academic passed away at her Kolkata residence on Thursday evening.

  • Dev Sen had been suffering from cancer.

  • The writer's body of Bengali writing includes notable works like Bama Bodhini, Srestho Kobita, Sita Theke Shuru, Icchamati, among several others.

Noted writer and academic, Nabaneeta Dev Sen, passed away at her Kolkata residence at the age of 81 on Thursday evening. The writer had been suffering from cancer.

The Padma Shri and Sahitya Akademi awardee was born in Kolkata into a Bengali family. She continued residing at her parental home 'Bhalo-basha', — a heritage building in the city — until her death.

The writer's prolific body of Bengali writing includes notable works like Bama Bodhini, Srestho Kobita, Sita Theke Shuru, Icchamati, among several others. Her oeuvre boasts of fiction, poetry, travelogues, children's literature, satire and humour, besides essays and works of non-fiction.

Nabaneeta Dev Sen prolific Bengali writer and Padma Shri awardee passes away at 81

Writer and academic Nabaneeta Dev Sen passes away at 81 in Kolkata. Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.

The academic was a well known feminist and advocate for various human rights issues, having written and spoken extensively on a wide range of subjects — from LGBTQ rights, AIDS, child abuse and sexual violence, to the Naxalite movement and its fallout. The final novel from her Naxal trilogy, — The Parrot Green Saree — first published in 1978, was made available in English earlier this year, translated by Tutun Mukherjee. The novel was originally titled Phoenix in Bengali.

The book, preceded by I, Anupam and In a Foreign Land, By Chance is a tale exploring the myriad desires and expectation of  two women from two different generations, retold from memory. It touches upon themes of loss and displacement from one's homeland, political struggles, and freedom to shape one's identity.

The trilogy largely deals with the moral and existential crises faced by the urban Indian intellectual, examining their contribution to the long-standing Naxal movement in the country.

Nabaneeta Dev Sen retired as a professor from the Department of Comparative Literature at Kolkata's Jadavpur University in 2002, besides having been a regular visiting lecturer at various institutes across the world, including Harvard University, Cornell University, Columbia University, University of Toronto, among several others.

Dev Sen served as a member on the advisory board of the Bengali Sahitya Akademi from 1978 to '82, and was the founder and president of the West Bengal Women Writers' Association.

She was the former wife of Nobel laureate, economist Amartya Sen, and is survived by her daughters Antara, Nandana, and Srabasti.

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