Late Smt. Mahasweta Devi was an Indian Bengali fiction writer and social activist. Her notable literary works include Hajar Churashir Ki Maa, Rudali, and Aranyer Adhikar. She initiated DNT-RAG now known as NAG-DNT for the upliftment of DNTs in India. She worked extensively with the Sabar Tribe in West Bengal. She also played a major role in setting up of the first National NT-DNT Commission known as Renke Commission in 2003. (Read More)
Devi wrote over 100 novels and over 20 collections of short stories primarily written in Bengali but often translated to other languages. Her first novel, titled Jhansir Rani, based on a biography of Rani of Jhansi was published in 1956. She toured the Jhansi region to record information from the people and folk songs for the novel. Mahasweta Devi raised her voice several times against the discrimination of tribal people in India. In June 2016, the Jharkhand State Government freed the statue of noted tribal leader Birsa Munda upon Devi’s activism. The statue showed Birsa in chains as was photographed by the then ruling British government. Her 1977 novel Aranyer Adhikar was on the life of Munda.
Prof. Ganesh N. Devy was a professor of English at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. He is a renowned literary critic and activist and is the founder director of the Bhasha Research and Publication Center, Vadodara and Adivasi Academy at Tejgadh, Gujarat, established to create a unique educational environment for the study of tribal communities. He led the People’s Linguistic Survey of India in 2010, which has researched and documented 780 Living Indian Languages. Prof. Devi was awarded Padma Shri on 26th January 2014 in recognition of his work with DNTs and his work on dying-out languages. Along with Mr. Laxman Gaikwad and Late Smt. Mahashweta Devi, he is one of the founders of the DNT-RAG. [READ MORE]
Prof. Devy was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award for After Amnesia, and the SAARC Writers’ Foundation Award for his work with the DNTs. He has also won the reputed Prince Claus Award (2003) awarded by the Prince Claus Fund for his work on the conservation of the history, languages and views of oppressed communities in the state of Gujarat. His Marathi book Vanaprasth has received six awards including the Durga Bhagwat Memorial Award and the Maharashtra Foundation Award. He won the 2011 Linguapax Prize for his work for the preservation of linguistic diversity. Prof Devy was educated at Shivaji University, Kolhapur and the University of Leeds, UK. Among his many academic assignments, he has held fellowships at Leeds University and Yale University and has been a Jawaharlal Nehru Fellow (1994–96).
Laxman Maruti Gaikwad is a famous Marathi novelist known for his best work The Branded, a translation of his autobiographical novel Uchalaya (also known as Ucalaya). This novel not only gave him international recognition but he was also awarded the Maharashtra Gourav Puraskar, and the Sahitya Akademi award for this novel. Considered a masterpiece in Marathi literature, his novel for the first time brings to the world of literature the trials and tribulations of his tribe, Uchalya, literally the pilferers, a term coined by the British who classified the tribe as a criminal tribe. This book also brings in the problems faced by the Dalits in India. [READ MORE]
Other notable novels written by him include Dubang, Chini Mathachi Divas, Samaj Sahitya Ani Swathantra, Wadar Vedna, Vakila Pardhi, Utav and A Swathantra Konasat. Gaikwad has been associated with social services for a long time. Since 1986, he was the President of the Jankalyan Vikas Sanstha and since 1990, he has been the President of the Denotified and Nomadic Tribes Organization, an organization associated with the welfare of the Tribes. He has actively participated in the Labor Movement and worked for the welfare of the farmers, slum-dwellers and the other weaker-sections of the society