Khanaa’s Song

Listen o listen:

Hark this tale of Khanaa

In Bengal in the Middle Ages

Lived a woman Khanaa, I sing her life

The first Bengali woman poet

Her tongue they severed with a knife

Her speechless voice, ‘Khanar Bachan’

Still resonates in the hills and skies

Only the poet by the name of Khanaa

Bleeding she dies.

(“Khanaa’s Song,” a poem by the author, translated by Amitabha Mukherjee)

Mallika Sengupta's picture

Mallika Sengupta Born (1960-2011), Kolkata, she was a major poet and writer in Bangla. She has published 21 books including 14 books of poetry, 1 book of translations, 2 novels, 2 books of essays on gender, and an edited anthology of Bengali women's poetry. With a doctorate in Sociology, she worked as H.O.D. and Selection Grade lecturer in Sociology in Maharani Kasiswari College, Kolkata. She has served 12 years as poetry editor of SANANDA, the largest circulated Bengali fortnightly. Mallika received the Sukanto Puroskar (1998) and the Bangla Academy award (2004) from the Govt. of W.B. and a Junior Fellowship for Literature (1997-99) from the Dept. of Culture, Govt. of India. She has been invited to poetry readings, conferences and seminars in Sweden (1987), Australia (1994), the USA (2002 & 2006) and Bangladesh (1998 & 2002) as part of Indian writer's delegations. English translations of her work have appeared in various Indian and American anthologies. In addition to teaching, editing and writing, she was actively involved with the cause of gender justice and other social issues. As introduced by the e-journal PIW: “Mallika Sengupta is a proponent of an unapologetically political poetry and an important voice in contemporary Bengali literature.”

Last updated September 28, 2011