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Nabaneeta Deb Sen: Wit, brilliance, guts shaped literary ouvre
TIWN
Nabaneeta Deb Sen: Wit, brilliance, guts shaped literary ouvre
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Kolkata, Nov 9 (TIWN) Nabaneeta Dev Sen once said she took up the pen because there was no escape for her as "everybody who came to our house, was a writer". It was a typical witty take on her childhood, the sort of sharp humour that pervades most of the engrossing large body of works spanning all literary genres which Dev Sen effortlessly delved into, and almost always struck gold".

The immensely talented Dev Sen, known for the life force in both her persona and literary creations, spontaneously wore multiple feathers in her cap - she was a brilliant student, internationally acclaimed academician, linguist, polyglot, thinker, a liberal, a curious globe trotter, mesmerising speaker, and one who fearlessly expressed her mind on various issues affecting the society and the polity.  Born in Kolkata (then Calcutta) on January 13, 1938, to the poet-couple Narendra Dev and Radharani Devi, Dev Sen delightfully listened to her mother reading out to her poems from Rabindranath Tagore''s immortal composition for children "Sishu" (child).  But her childhood was really shaped by the historic happenings of the period, of which Kolkata - "luckily" as she said later - was the epicentre. 

The experience of living in air raid shelters during World War 2, the famine of 1946 when she saw "famished people begging for a morsel of thrown away rice water" and dogs fighting with men and women for leftover food in the dustbin, left an indelible impression in the small girl''s mind.  Then came the Calcutta riots "in which we lost my father''s best friend" and the flood of refugees in 1947-48 soon after the country''s partition. Suddenly, the city seemed to be teeming with people, all struggling to make a living and begin life afresh.  Dev Sen grew up in this milieu, and her scholarship took root in some of the finest institutions of the city - Gokhale Memorial Girls'' School, Lady Brabourne College, Presidency College and Jadavpur University from where she obtained her M.A. degree. 

Side by side, her literary endeavours took flight.  Dev Sen''s first collection of Bengali poems Pratham Pratyay was published in 1959, months before she got married to economist Amartya Sen and moved to England.  Interestingly, her second book came out in the 1970s after she got divorced from Sen, who later won the Nobel prize for Economics.  In between, however, she wrote poems, with some of the compositions Apoignant in their portrayal of the marriage breaking up and her painstaking effort to hold on to her life.

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