Kolkata-based NGO, The Bengal and Zubaan – India’s first feminist publishing house – today organized a session at the ICCR Kolkata in memory of Late Nabaneeta Dev Sen who was a former working president of The Bengal.
Eminent artist and the Working President of The Bengal, Shri Jogen Choudhuri, along with Antara Dev Sen, Nandana Dev Sen and Padmashree Urvashi Butalia launched Nabaneeta Dev Sen’s book – Chandrabati’s Ramayan – translated into English by her and published by Zubaan. A reading session was held in which excerpts were read out by eminent litterateurs Vasanth Kannabiran, Sanjukta Bandopadhyay, Anjum Katyal, Nirupama Dutt, Raka Dasgupta, Sebanti Ghosh, Mehul Devkala, Samragnee Bandopadhyay and Srijato.
“It makes me very emotional to think of our poet, writer, teacher and friend Late Nabaneeta Dev Sen. We would hold this programme once in every three years in Kolkata and invite the poets and litterateurs from across the country to celebrate Nabaneeta di’s works,” said Shri Jogen Choudhuri.
Reminiscing her mother’s works, Antara Dev Sen said, “Mother did her research in Balmiki Ramayana and Chandrabati’s Ramayana had a deep and lasting impact on her work and life.”
“Chandrabati’s poetry had a lasting impact on her mind and works. Like so many other women, Chandrabati’s Ramayana had also immensely influenced my mother’s grandmother,” said Nandana Dev Sen.
Chandrabati is widely considered to be one of the first women poets of Bengal who is best known for her women-centric composition interpreting of Ramayana from Sita’s point of view which challenges the dominant ideology of patriarchy of the time.
Chandrabati’s Ramayana – composed originally in Bengali – is a narrative about a woman, narrated by woman, meant for women audience and the English version of the book has been translated by a woman. Late Nabaneeta Dev Sen was an active member of The Bengal for years and had initiated many events and activities pertaining to women empowerment and spreading awareness of gender equality.