‘Mahasweta Devi’s death has left a huge void’

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New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) The demise of the prominent Bengali writer and social activist Mahasweta Devi, who gave voice to the voiceless by chronicling injustices against them, had left a void that would be difficult to fill, speakers at a condolence meeting here said.

“She was a writer not just writing but chronicling class exploitation and giving a voice to the voiceless, said eminent Malayalam writer P. Sachidanandan.

Sahitya Akademi president Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari, vice president Chandrashekhara Kambara and eminent literary personalities like Balchandra Nemade, C. Radhakrishnan, Geeta Dharmarajan, N.K. Bhattacharjee, Padma Sachdev and Ramkumar Mukhopadhyay, among others, offered their condolences to the writer who passed away on July 28.

Padma Sachdev spoke of the connection that the deprived sections shared with Mahasweta Devi by narrating an incident from 1979.

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“When she won the Sahitya Akademi award, adivasis celebrated it singing ‘We won the Sahitya Akademi award’,” she said.

Describing Mahasweta Devi’s contributions as an activist, writer Mridula Garg said, “literature is not important but social engagement and betterment are important. Her writings don’t pertain to just one part but are relatable to people in every corner of the country.”

Chandrashekhara Kambara described Devi as one of the finest writers of modern India and a social activist whose heart always beat for the oppressed and downtrodden.

“It’s difficult to find another writer of her stature. Her heart always went out to the needy. She was a prolific writer, never a propagandist,” he said.

Marathi writer Bhalchandra Nemade said: “I am proud that I have been her contemporary” as she was somebody who “raised the conscience of the people”.

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