Mahashweta Devi, Indian writer, social activist, dies at 90

AP News
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Posted: Jul 28, 2016 9:40 AM
Mahashweta Devi, Indian writer, social activist, dies at 90

NEW DELHI (AP) — Mahashweta Devi, a well-known Indian writer and social activist, who used her writing to give voice to the oppressed poor tribal and forest dwellers, has died. She was 90.

Devi had been in a hospital in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata where she was being treated for a kidney ailment for the past two months, Press Trust of India said.

Writing mostly in the Bengali language, Devi's major works dealt with the suffering of poor laborers and forest dwellers who had lost their lands due to industrial and urban growth. She founded several social organizations to help fight for the rights of indigenous people.

Devi was the recipient of several awards including several of India's highest civilian and literary awards. In 1997 she was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay award, a Philippine honor considered the Asian Nobel Prize.

Her citation for the Magsaysay award recognized her "compassionate crusade through art and activism to claim for tribal peoples a just and honorable place in India's national life."