Mahasweta Devi: Tearing the curtain of darkness

Mahasweta Devi: Tearing the curtain of darkness: The story goes, not apocryphal, that every time Mahasweta Devi visited Jharkhand, she would demand that Birsa Munda be unshackled. In Ranchi, on Birsa Munda Chowk, there’s a statue of this fiery...


"An old Ranchi hand recalls her saying: “Shaddhin deshe keno shekole bandha(why is he still in chains when India is free)?” as she gathered for a meeting of bonded labourers in the 1980s. Last month, the Jharkhand government decided to free Birsa Munda of his shackles, 116 years after his death, and several years after the writer and activist voiced her demand. She may not be around to see a “free” Munda, but the downtrodden — tribals, dispossessed, marginalised, landless — and those who are fighting against injustice and are still in chains know that she is there in spirit."


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