Top 5 women Writers in Bengali Literature Ever Till 2023
The literary world of India has been enhanced by the exceptional creativity of women writers in Bengali literature. Here, I would like to share my top five favorite female authors from Bengal. Annie Dillard's quote, "She reads books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live," perfectly encapsulates my love for Bengali literature. Growing up as a typical Bengali girl, I had numerous opportunities to immerse myself in the beauty of Bengali literature. My father's extensive collection of Bengali books, my mother's bedtime stories, and the Bengali literature in my academic curriculum all enriched my love for literature. As a book lover at heart, I never missed an opportunity to satiate my literary hunger with Bengali literature. From Upendrakishore Rai Chaudhuri and Satyajit Ray's children's books to the novels of Buddhadeb Basu and Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay for teenagers, every masterpiece of Bengali literature has influenced my emotions, feelings, perspectives, and opinions significantly. During this exciting journey of exploring the literary gems of Bengali culture, I have come across numerous books written by women writers in Bengali, which have strengthened my belief in the power of women. I firmly believe that anyone who loves Bengali literature must read the work of these amazing women writers who combined beauty with substance to create some of the most captivating literature of all time.
1. Ashapoorna Devi
Ashapoorna Devi is one of the most renowned women writers in Bengali literature whose writing depicts the lives of mothers, daughters, and brides in our society. Her vivid characters are portrayed with great care, whether it be a pregnant mother or an elderly woman witnessing the changes in her surroundings from inside a prison cell. She challenges the conventional and contradictory expectations placed on women in contemporary society and highlights how domestic responsibilities and household chores can hinder women's desires. This is one of the distinctive features of her writing. Some of her notable works include Prothom Protishruti, Subarnolata, Bakul Katha, Satyabati, Rajkumarer Poshak, and Sudhu Tara Dujon.
2. Mahasweta Devi
Mahasweta Devi, a recipient of both the Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan awards, was passionate about bringing attention to the injustices faced by tribal communities. She was captivated by the ordinary occurrences around her and dedicated her life to empowering these marginalized groups. Devi strongly believed that the right to dream should be considered a fundamental right, and her involvement in social activities, as well as her rebellious nature, broadened her creative horizon. She vehemently criticized the West Bengal government for taking away agricultural land from farmers during the Singur-Nandigram riot. Devi's impressive literary works include "Hajar Churashir Ma," "Aranyer Adhikar," "Titu Mir," "Sangharsh," "Rudaali," "Jhansir Rani," and "Chotti Munda Evam Tar Tir."
3. Suchitra Bhattacharya
As a contemporary female author in the realm of Bengali literature, she authentically depicted the fabric of our society in her literary works. Along with depicting women from various social classes, she also delved into issues of significant social concern, providing a clear voice for feminism, social justice, and gender equality in her novels. Her writings often portrayed women who strived to fulfill their potential despite the presence of male chauvinism and their dependence on men. Her collection of writings included several novels such as Dahan, Onnyo Basanta, Nilghurni, Mitinmashir Samagra, Achin Pakhi, Kacher Manush, Bhalo Meye, Kharap Meye, Kancher Dewal, and many more.
4. Leela Majumdar
Leela Majumdar, one of the most imaginative women writers in Bengali literature, primarily focused on children's fiction. Her literary collection offers a diverse range of stories, including detective tales, fantasy, ghost stories, and humor.
In her book Pakdandi, she reminisces about her childhood in Shillong, her time at Shantiniketan, and her experience working at All India Radio. She carried on the legacy of her uncle, Upendrakishore Ray Chaudhuri's magazine, Sandesh, which was the most popular children's magazine in Bengali.
Furthermore, she captured the hearts of literature enthusiasts with her exceptional works, such as Holde Pakhir Palok, Podi Pishir Bormi Baksho, Boddi Nather Bori, Din Dupure, Bagher Chhok, Batash Bari, and many more.
5. Nabaneeta Dev Sen
One of the most innovative women writers in Bengali literature is Nabaneeta Dev Sen. She has excelled as a short story writer, columnist, and travel writer, with a distinctive feature of free-spiritedness and humor in gritty situations present in all her works.
Most of her works reflect real-life situations and absurd encounters, portrayed with a personal touch. She is a popular literary icon for women in India, presenting them as active protagonists in her works, which focus on their struggles and negotiations with power in a patriarchal society.
Her captivating works include Bamabodhmi, Bhalobasha Kare Koy, Thikana, Deshantar, Khagen Babur Prithibi Evam Anyanya, Prothom Pratyay, Ami, and many others.