Award-winning poet, writer and acclaimed teacher Nabanita Deb Sen passed away in her south Kolkata residence on Thursday night after prolonged illness. She was 81, reports The Hindu online.
A Sahitya Akademi and Padma Shri awardee, Deb Sen will be best remembered for her feminist take on the Ramayana, which she has analysed from the perspective of Sita. Her book, Sitayan, was translated into many languages.
Her parents, both poets, were associated with Rabindranath Tagore and thus Deb Sen often said she knew that ‘one of the signatures of growing up is to write poetry’. Her first collection of poems came out in 1959, the year she was married to economist Amartya Sen. The couple had two daughters and separated later.
She taught for many years in the Comparative Literature department of the Jadavpur University and was a favourite among students.
Her travelogue, Truckbahone McMahone provides an entertaining and delicate description of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. Deb Sen, in her early twenties, hitchhiked up to Tawang in an Army truck to write the all-time bestseller of Bengali literature.
Lamenting her demise, writer Shirshendu Mukherjee said Deb Sen had a ‘huge pool of material’ which could not be used due to her ill health. ‘Besides losing a friend, I would say I will be missing her writings,’ Mukherkee said. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee said ‘her absence will be felt by her myriad students and well-wishers’.
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