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Mahasweta Devi: 90-Year-Old Legendary Writer and Social Activist Dies in Kolkata

Mahashweta Devi. Image source:
  • Mahasweta Devi is reported to have been suffering from a blood infection, kidney failure, and she had also suffered a heart attack on July 23
  • She is famous for writing about the tribal communities in states like Bihar, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh and their struggles and oppression
  • The Sahitya Akademi in 1979, the Padmashree Award in 1986, and the Jnanpith award in 1997 are a few of the many awards she has received

Mahasweta Devi, the eminent writer and social media activist, died at the age of 90 on Thursday, July 28, at 3:16pm in Kolkata. She is reported to have been suffering from a blood infection and kidney failure. Her health had continued to worsen from the medical problems and she had also suffered a heart attack on the July 23.

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She was undergoing treatment at the Belle Vue Clinic in Kolkata, since past two months. Doctors told media sources that she had been receiving aid for illnesses that occur commonly with ageing,  reported PTI.

Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee mourned her death and said this is the loss of a great writer for the country. Banerjee Tweeted, “India has lost a great writer. Bengal has lost a glorious mother. I have lost a personal guide. Mahashweta Di, rest in peace.”

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Mahasweta Devi was famous for researching and writing about the tribal communities in states like Bihar, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh. Her particular focus is on the life of these communities by exploring the struggles faced by the people. She is also known to place emphasis on Dalits and women.

She started off as a teacher at the female-focussed institution, Bijoygarh College, in 1964. She also used, this time, to work as a journalist. To explore her writing, she also worked as a creative writer.

Rudali, a book by Mahasweta Devi. Image source:
Rudali, a book by Mahasweta Devi. Image source:

A social activist, she devoted a majority of her time to work with the tribal communities in the same states she wrote about. She narrates instances from such work into her fiction and mentions themes of oppression, especially by landlords and government officials towards the tribes and other marginalised communities.

For her exceptional literary work, she was awarded various awards- The Sahitya Akademi in 1979, the Padmashree Award in 1986, and the Jnanpith award in 1997 are just a few of the many. She has published over 100 novels, and at least 20 collections of short stories, all in the last 40 years.

Though most of her works are written in her native language Bengali, many of her works have also been translated into Indian and foreign languages. Two of her most famous works, Rudaali and Hajar Churashir Ma, have also been made into films that have been critically acclaimed, both in India and internationally. These achievements have had a global impact and have earned her a rightful international reputation.

Mahasweta Devi was born in 1926 in a middle-class family in Dhaka, now Bangladesh. She is a distinguished Indian-Bengali writer and had attended the renowned Shantiniketan, established by Rabindranath Tagore. She later went on to graduate from the University of Calcutta and attained an MA in English from the Visva Bharti University later.

-by Varsha Gupta of NewsGram. Find her on Twitter: @VarshaGupta94


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List of UPA Schemes Renamed by Modi Government

The above comparison shows that BJP is not only trying to steal the credit of previously launched schemes by Congress party by just repackaging them as new schemes

India, elections, vietnam, BJP
Modi's LPG scheme reduced household air pollution: Study, VOA

A lot of BJP supporters claim that government led by Narendra Modi has launched several schemes for the development of nation in the last four years. What they failed to acknowledge that Narendra Modi has done nothing else than repackaging and renaming the previous schemes started by Congress and took their credit to his name. Shocked, aren’t you? In the last four years, Modi government has failed to develop any original ideas. So in order to appear like the government is working, they have renamed various successfully running schemes started by Congress party to fool people of the nation into believing that BJP has launched numerous schemes in the country. If you find this fact hard to believe, here is the list of s Modi government schemes that are nothing but altered name previously running schemes in the nation:

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana

Originally Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account (BSDBA)

The (BSBDA) scheme was launched in August 2012 according to RBI which provided facility of no minimum balance required to maintain the bank account and avail all the banking services. The number of withdrawals were however limited to 4 per month. The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) is nothing else than a wrap up on BSDAB scheme adding Rs 1 lakh of accident insurance, overdraft facility up to Rs 5,000 and a life insurance of Rs 30,000 to previous BSDAB accounts.

Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana (BBBPY)

Originally National Girl Child Day programmes

The government has initiated a lot of programmes to bring about a change in the attitude of people and stop these kinds of social evils. Wikimedia Commons

According to a report of Centre for Development and Human Rights presented in 2016, the girl child education programme listed under the BBBPY scheme is nothing but the repackaging of older Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan started by Congress.

The act of similar repackaging of scheme can be found in BBBPY’s programme to improve child sex ratio and reduce the dropout rates of school girls. These programmes were already available under Congress party’s Dhanalakshmi and Sabla schemes.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

Originally Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan

One of the major Modi government schemes, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched in September 2014 is nothing but restructured result of Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan scheme which was started by Congress in April 2012.

Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan was also a renamed scheme by Congress party which was originally introduced as Central Rural Sanitation Programme by Congress in 1986.

Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana

Originally Indira Awaas Yojana

Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana, BJP
‘Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana ‘ is an initiative by Government of India in which affordable housing will be provided to the urban poor.

According to a parliamentary standing committee report, it is found that the most anticipated Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojna by Narendra Modi nothing by rechristened format of Indira Awaas Yojana. The funny fact about the renaming of this scheme is that several web pages of Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana still open as Indira Awaas Yojana documents.

Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana

Originally Rajiv Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana

According to an information release by government on 23rd July 2015, the Rajiv Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana stated by Congress is merged under the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana launched by BJP with no significant changes.

Soil Health Card scheme

Originally National Project on Management of Soil Health and Fertility

According to the Outcome Budget 2015-16 of the agriculture and cooperation department, a soil health card was included in the scheme of National Project on Management of Soil Health and Fertility. The similar soil cards were also issued by Congress under the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture.


Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, BJP
The aim of this scheme is to form 10,000 clusters over the next three years and bring about five lakh acres of agricultural area under organic farming to develop agricultural activity in the country


Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana

Originally Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and other programmes

The lack of creativity and insight in Modi government schemes can be seen in its Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana which is nothing but the fusion of some existing components which are amalgamated together as a cluster based programme. This fact was reported in the Outcome Budget 2015-16 of the agriculture and cooperation department.

Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana

Originally Jan Aushadhi scheme

The Jan Aushadhi scheme was developed by Congress to supply unbranded medicines at reduced prices. This scheme was executed on 23 April 2008 and the first store under this scheme was established on 25 November 2008. According to an statement issued by Loksabh on 144th March 2017, the Jan Aushadhi Scheme is renamed as Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana.

Make in iIndia, BJP
Make in India, a type of Swadeshi movement covering 25 sectors of the economy,

Make In India

Originally National Manufacturing Policy

The funny part about BJP copying this scheme from Congress National Manufacturing policy is that they forget the remove the information of previous policy in the new website of Make In India scheme. The broken download link redirects to the 2011 older policy document of year 2011.

Also Read: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Appeals MPs To Utilize Their Winter Season Well

The above comparison shows that BJP is not only trying to steal the credit of previously launched schemes by Congress party by just repackaging them as new schemes, but the BJP lacks credibility and insight required to develop new schemes necessary for the development of the nations. Some other Modi government schemes that were actually the brain child of Narendra Modi and BJP part resulted in drastic disaster in nation. GST and demonetisation are two biggest examples of such failed Modi government policies.