Ashapurna Debi was born in 1909. Her conservative family did not send her to school, but encouraged by her mother, she learnt to read and write on her own and published her first poem in the children’s magazine Shishu Saathi. Married at fifteen to Kalidas Gupta of Krishnanagar, she continued to write with his support. Pratham Pratisruti (1964) is the first of a trilogy that includes Subarnalata (1966) and Bakul Katha (1973). Translated here as The First Promise, it won her the Rabindra Puraskar in 1966 and the Bharatiya Jnanpith award in 1977. Ashapurna published 181 novels, 38 anthologies of short stories, and 52 books for children. She died in 1995.
Debi Chatterjee retired as Professor, Department of International Relations, Jadavpur University. She is the founder-editor of the journal Contemporary Voice of Dalit.
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