Kolkata: Describing Mahasweta Devi’s death as West Bengal losing a “glorious mother” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday announced the eminent writer and social activist will be cremated with full state honours.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award winner died following cardiac arrest and multi-organ failure at a city hospital. She was 90.
“India has lost a great writer. Bengal has lost a glorious mother. I have lost a personal guide. Her death is akin to Bengal losing her mother,” Banerjee now in Delhi said.
“Her last rites will be performed with full state honours tomorrow (Friday) at a city crematorium.
“Tonight her mortal remains will be kept at the Peace Haven and on Friday morning she will be taken to Rabindra Sadan for the people to pay their last respects,” said Banerjee who is expected to reach the city at night.
Meanwhile, tributes have been pouring in from all quarters.
“She will always remain a light to follow for all those who fight for the society. She would often ask us to go to the tribals and experience their extraordinary and beautiful world. She used to say that it’s the tribals who actually can teach us about civilisation,” said national award winning filmmaker Goutam Ghose.
“There are some who attain immortality through their work. Mahasweta Devi is one of them. Mahasweta Devi is dead, long live Mahasweta Devi,” said acclaimed actor-director Rudraprasad Sengupta.
“Not only through her literary creation but personally as well she led from the front in the fight for the masses. I always found her busy writing letters to different organisations in her bid to solve people’s problems. Everybody will feel her absence,” said thespian Bibhash Chakraborty.
Noted actress Shaoli Mitra also condoled her death hailing Mahasweta as a brave fighter.
Filmmaker Govind Nihalni, who in 1998 directed the touching Hindi movie “Hazar Chaurasi Ki Ma”, adapted from Mahasweta Devi’s novel, recalled those times.
“During the making of ‘Hazar Chaurasi Ki Ma’ and even after that she was always there to support me. She was happy at the way the film had turned out. Every director who adapts a work of literature looks forward to it, because if the writer doesn’t like the adaptation the director feels sad,” Nihalni said.
Veteran Bengali litterateur Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay referred to her compassion for the downtrodden and the guts to protest all injustice.
“I feel lonely. She was a personality imbued with the spirit of protest and humane feelings.
“She had deep compassion for tribal people and those living in the margins. She was a complete human being,” said Mukhopadhyay.
Film director Aparna Sen said she was true to her beliefs in her work.
“This is an irreparable loss not only for the literary world, the way she led her life, there was no gap between her work and belief.”