Her Life. Her Times

Mahasweta Devi

Translated by Sunandini Banerjee


5 x 8.5 inches, 80pp. 2009

ISBN : 9788170462910

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Spoken in the first person, these reminiscences of a woman whose mother was rescued from a house of ill-repute construct a history not often documented. A history that runs parallel to the official narrative of India’s modernism and nationalism: that of women outcast because they are ‘fallen’. Starting from the late nineteenth century, the voice of Bedanabala bears witness to the experiences of many women who find themselves outside the safety of domestic walls for various reasons. They thereafter make their lives in the only ways open to them in a society where women did not work except as domestic servants—entertaining men, developing liaisons, intertwining their dreams and passions with the destiny of a country struggling for independence and questioning oppressive time-worn social custom. Bedanabala, written in 1996, seeks to empathize with a segment of society condemned even by other women as beyond the bounds of decency and social acceptance.  

Mahasweta Devi is one of India's foremost writers. Her powerful fiction has won her recognition in the form of the Sahitya Akademi (1979), Jnanpith (1996) and Ramon Magsaysay (1996) awards, amongst several other literary honours. She was also awarded the Padmasree in 1986, for her activist work amongst dispossessed tribal communities. 


Sunandini Banerjee is an editor, graphic designer, translator and digital-collage artist who lives and works in Calcutta.

Selected Works Of Mahasweta Devi
Gender Studies