(Last Updated on : 27/05/2013)
Nabanita Dev Sen's identity is not merely the former wife of the Nobel laureate, Amartya Sen. Nabanita in fact is a name to reckon with. She is a poet, novelist, professor and a columnist. Nabanita has grown up among distinguished personalities
Early Life of Nabanita Dev Sen
Dev Sen was born in Kolkata
, to the poet-couple Narendra Dev and Radharani Devi. In addition to Bengali and English, she reads Hindi language
, Oriya language
, Assamese language
, French language, German language, Sanskrit language
, and Hebrew language. In the very next year of obtaining her Master degree she was married to Amartya Sen. In 1976 they were divorced and she went abroad for higher studies.Dev Sen lives in Kolkata
, in her parental house Bhalo-Basa, where she was born, now declared a Heritage Building. She has two daughters Antara Dev Sen and Nandana Sen with former husband economist Amartya Sen. Apart from that she even has one adopted daughter, Srabasti.
Career of Nabanita Dev Sen
Nabanita Dev Sen graduated from Presidency College and received her Masters degree from Jadavpur University, Calcutta; and a Masters with Distinction from Harvard University. She earned her Ph.D from Indiana University. Dev Sen completed her post-doctoral research at the University of California at Berkeley; and Newnham College, Cambridge University. She was also a University Grants Commission Senior Fellow at University of Delhi
Nabanita Dev Sen has been a writer in residence at several international Artists' Colonies, including Yaddo and Mac Dowell Colony in the United States; Bellaggio in Italy; and the Mishkenot Sha'ananim in Jerusalem. She has been a visiting professor and a visiting creative writer at several universities in the United States, including Harvard, Cornell, Rutgers, Columbia, Smith College, and Chicago. In Canada, she has been visiting professor at Toronto, York, and British Columbia. Other countries where she has participated as professor include Mexico, England, Germany, France, and Japan.
Before doing her post graduation in comparative literature from Jadavpur University under the tutelage of Buddhadev Bose
, the famous Bengali poet Nabanita Dev Sen began to pen poems and was associated with Kritiwas Gosthi. Her first book on anthology of poems Pratham Pratyay was published in1959. She did her PhD in the Ramayana
Her magnum opus was a novel Ami, Anupam, which was believed to have written on the life of Ashok Mitra, the economist and the former minister. She was Sahitya Akademy Award
for her novel Navanita. Even Nabanita showed her dexterity in writing belles-letters and literature for children. Today Nabanita Dev Sen needs no other identity. She herself is an institution. From her bungalow, built on the banks of Ganges, one can see the bright red sun slowly sinking into that ever-flowing stream. The writer takes up the pen-to continue her journey.
Nabanita Dev Sen's short stories and travelogues are a rare combination of fine humour, deep human concern, and high intellect, which has made her a unique figure in the Bangla literary scene. Her first short story collection was Monsieur Hulor Holiday (1980). Travelogues like Karuna tomar kon path diye and Truckbaahane Myakmahane have become classics in Bengali literature. Additional notable works include Bama-bodhini; Nati Nabanita; Srestha kabita; and Sita theke suru. She is a well-known children's author in Bengali for her fairy tales and adventure stories, with girls as protagonist. She has also written prize-winning one-act plays.
Personal Life of Nabanita Dev Sen
Nabanita Dev Sen doesn't mince any words when she says she lives the life of a true feminist. Nabaneeta Deb Sen tells Shoma A Chatterji that she works harder than any other writer.
christened her. Her marriage to Amartya Sen
was the most celebrated event in Kolkata when it happened. But neither the revelries nor Sen are Nabaneeta Deb Sen's claim to fame. In fact, this lady is very much at the centre of Kolkata intelligentsia. And that's not because her former husband's last name is still affixed to her name, but rather it's because she is a distinguished writer in her own right.
Her e-book in Bangla the first of its kind was released recently in the Calcutta Book Fair, she is the recipient of last year's Sahitya Akademi award and she has also been conferred with the Padma shri Award
One can quite see the perfectionist in her flinching at a not-too-perfect piece of work. Just as she is transparent about her displeasure when one has forgotten an appointment. But her ire is soon replaced with other feelings when she makes it known that the Sahitya Akademi award was a long-overdue prize that should have come her way much before it actually did.
It's this no-nonsense attitude of hers that has accorded her the ability of looking back at a life lived constantly in flashbacks and flash-forwards. But the one thing that has remained constant is her talent with the pen. Her creativity is multi-layered: Poetry, essay, drama, humour, satire, travelogue, short story, novel, play you name it, and Nabaneeta has written it. Her pen unfolds a rare fluidity, an insight into human nature, a gift for satire capped with feather-light touches of humour. And she writes with equal felicity in both English and Bangla.
Her candid confessions tend to frazzle one till it's realised that her dynamic personality disallows any attempts at camouflage or mincing one's words. Nabanita Dev Sen is not in the habit of committing herself to any activity or project that she is not convinced about.
For Nabanita Dev Sen, poetry has been her closest friend during moments of loneliness, fear and depression.