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Mahasweta Devi Activist and Writer
There are few writers of Mahasweta Devi's stature today in whose career creative writing and activism have been as closely intertwined.
THESE days, when literary diaspora dominates international cultural space, the renown achieved by a writer like Mahasweta Devi, writing almost exclusively in a regional language on regional issues, is a striking and welcome phenomenon. The Jnanpith award comes in the wake of this renown. But even earlier, the establishment has been forced to take note of her work and an Akademi award for literature (1979) and the Padmasree citation for work among the tribals (1986) also came her way. These awards, particularly the Padmasree, certainly have not added to her stature but are official acknowledgements of what she is and what she represents. But it should be noted that these are not just acknowledgements of Mahasweta the writer; gradually, like Medha Patkar or Sunderlal Bahuguna, through her activism she has come to represent that lone voice of conscience which plays such a crucial role in weak civil societies like ours. There are few writers of her stature today in whose career creative writing and activism have been so closely intertwined.
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