Mahasweta Devi was a pillar of Indian literature and a tireless advocate for marginalized communities. Her rich education history helped shape her into an incisive writer and fierce activist. So where did Mahasweta Devi go to college? Let’s take a closer look at her formative educational journey.
Quick Facts About Mahasweta Devi’s Education
- Attended Loreto School in Darjeeling for early education
- Earned BA in English from Santiniketan’s Visva-Bharati University in 1950
- Obtained MA in English Literature from Calcutta University in 1952
- Briefly taught at Bijoygarh College in Kolkata
Who Was Mahasweta Devi?
Mahasweta Devi (1926-2016) was an Indian Bengali fiction writer and activist. She was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh (then part of British India) and grew up in West Bengal. Devi wrote over 100 novels and short stories focused primarily on the struggles of tribal communities and Dalits in India.
She was deeply invested in the rights of indigenous people and campaigned against caste and gender discrimination. Devi’s fiery activism and poignant fiction brought her numerous accolades, including the Sahitya Akademi Award, Padma Shri, Padma Vibhushan, and Ramon Magsaysay Award.
Mahasweta Devi’s life and work were profoundly shaped by her educational experiences. She attended distinguished institutions that nurtured her literary skills and social consciousness.
Early Education at Loreto School
Mahasweta Devi began her education at the Loreto Convent School in the hill station of Darjeeling in 1934. The elite English-medium school provided young Mahasweta a rigorous education and exposure to English literature.
This early foundation helped nurture her literary talents. In fact, Devi wrote her first short story titled Imoorther Kahini (Tale of the Earthquake) while still a student at Loreto in 1940. The school’s progressive environment and emphasis on social service also influenced Devi’s social activism later in life.
Undergraduate Education at Visva-Bharati University
After graduating from Loreto in 1944, Devi pursued her undergraduate studies at Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan.
Founded by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in 1921, Visva-Bharati was a pioneering liberal arts university that encouraged freedom of thought. Here Devi studied English literature and honed her writing skills under eminent professors like Sudhin Dutta.
She received her BA degree in English in 1950. Devi considered her time at Santiniketan to be deeply enriching both intellectually and creatively. The university’s humanistic philosophy and emphasis on Indian culture, arts, and heritage left a lasting impact on Devi.
Postgraduate Studies at Calcutta University
After completing her BA, Mahasweta Devi enrolled in an MA program in English Literature at Calcutta University in 1950.
Founded in 1857, it was one of India’s first modern universities. At Calcutta University, Devi studied under pioneers of English literary studies like Suniti Kumar Chatterjee.
It was an academically rigorous program that honed her critical perspectives on language and literature. Devi received guidance from renowned professors Pruthwis Chandra Chakraborty and Sudhin Dasgupta here.
She earned her MA degree in 1952, submitting a noteworthy thesis on Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. This distinguished postgraduate education helped bolster Devi’s literary scholarship.
Teaching at Bijoygarh College
Following her MA, Mahasweta Devi briefly worked as an English teacher at Bijoygarh College in Jadavpur, Kolkata in the early 1950s.
The college specially served underprivileged, working-class women students. Teaching at Bijoygarh provided Devi first-hand exposure to the struggles of marginalized Indian women. Observing the daily challenges faced by her students made a profound impression on Devi.
This experience as a young lecturer helped awaken her social conscience and sensitized her to women’s issues. Though short-lived, her teaching stint played a key role in shaping Devi’s evolution as a feminist writer and activist.
How Her Education Shaped Her Writing and Activism
Mahasweta Devi’s illustrious educational background provided strong intellectual and philosophical foundations that deeply influenced her literary works and social activism.
Her training in English literature endowed Devi with exceptional writing skills. The lessons in critical thinking, linguistic analysis, and literary theory she gained helped hone her craft as a creative writer.
The liberal atmospheres of Loreto, Shantiniketan, and Calcutta University nurtured her independent thinking and sensitivity to India’s cultural heritage. Their progressive values shaped Devi’s egalitarian worldview and belief in equal rights.
Her interactions with the underprivileged women students of Bijoygarh College gave Devi first-hand insights into gender and class struggles. This fueled her desire to give voice to the voiceless through writing.
Devi’s literary brilliance combined with her social conscience catapulted her into one of India’s foremost writers and activists. Her courageous fiction and activism improved the lives of many disadvantaged Indians.
Thus, Mahasweta Devi’s distinguished educational journey laid the groundwork for her impactful literary and humanitarian contributions.
Follow Mahasweta Devi on Social Media
Though she passed away in 2016 before the social media boom, Mahasweta Devi’s work continues to be discussed online by fans and scholars.
- Twitter hashtag: #MahaswetaDevi
- Facebook page: Mahasweta Devi – Public Figure
- YouTube lectures: Mahasweta Devi – YouTube
Frequently Asked Questions About Mahasweta Devi’s Education
Where did Mahasweta Devi complete her early schooling?
She attended the prestigious Loreto Convent School in Darjeeling from 1934-1944.
Which college did she attend for her bachelor’s degree?
Devi earned her BA in English from Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan in 1950.
Where did she receive her master’s degree from?
She completed her MA in English Literature from Calcutta University in 1952.
Did Mahasweta Devi teach at a college after her MA?
Yes, she briefly taught English at Bijoygarh College for women in Kolkata in early 1950s.
How did her education shape her writing and social activism?
Her literary training honed her writing, while exposure to marginalized students sparked her activism.
What are some online resources to learn more about Mahasweta Devi?
Twitter hashtags, Facebook pages, and YouTube lectures on Devi offer great online information.
What were some key impacts of her education on Devi?
It developed her literary skills, social consciousness, and sensitization to women’s issues that drove her writing and activism.
Mahasweta Devi had a rich educational history spanning acclaimed institutions like Loreto School, Visva-Bharati University, Calcutta University, and Bijoygarh College. Her formative years as a student and young lecturer nurtured her creative genius and ignited her passion for social justice. Devi’s pioneering literary works and fearless activism for the marginalized were indelibly shaped by her diverse educational experiences.