A Major Literary Figure Passed Away.

Nabaneeta Deb Sen, a major author, educator and feminist torch bearer passed away today in Kolkata, India. She was 81.

In my discussions on Journalism of Exclusion, I have elucidated how Western media have ignored contributions of authors, poets, scientists, artists and social reformers from India, Africa, Latin America, and other “Third World” countries. Exclusion from public awareness personalities from what they consider “uncivilized and primitive” places — especially in this day of globalization — is pathetic. The vast majority of Americans and Europeans are simply kept in dark about the vibrant humanity and achievements from the “unknown” places. Euro-American media and have thus deliberately created a cultural hegemony. 

Even though in recent years, a couple of literary figures from Latin America and Africa have received their long-overdue recognition through accolades (Mario Vargas Llosa from Peru and Mo Yan from China got Nobel), especially I regret to see blanket exclusion of Indian and Bengali writers. Yet, no country can claim that it was built on a language movement: Bangladesh is the only exception. Thousands of people have gave their lives to preserve their language and culture, and an entire war was fought and won by Bengalis on the issue of language.

Nabaneeta came from the land of undivided Bengal — a place that keeps producing unbelievably rich artists, musicians, poets and authors. But Western media and establishments do not have time or desire to pay attention.

With her passing, we Bengalis lost a literary pioneer.