Ashapoorna Devi

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Born (1909-01-08)8 January 1909
Potoldanga, Calcutta, India
Died 13 July 1995(1995-07-13) (aged 86)
Occupation Novelist, poet
Language Bengali
Nationality Indian
Ethnicity Bengali
Period 1939–2001
Genre Fiction
Notable works Prathom Protishruti
Bakul Katha
Notable awards Jnanpith Award
Padma Shri
Sahitya Akademi Fellowship

Ashapoorna Devi (Bengali: আশাপূর্ণা দেবী), also Ashapurna Debi or Asha Purna Devi, was a prominent Bengali novelist and poet. She was born on 8 January 1909. She has been widely honoured with a number of prizes and awards. She was awarded 1976 Jnanpith Award and the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1976; D.Litt by the Universities of Jabalpur, Rabindra Bharati, Burdwan and Jadavpur. Vishwa Bharati University honoured her with Deshikottama in 1989. For her contribution as a novelist and short story writer, the Sahitya Akademi conferred its highest honour, the Fellowship, in 1994. She died in 1995.[1]


Ashapoorna Devi was born on 8 January 1909, at her maternal uncle’s place at Potoldanga in North Calcutta. Her real name was Asha Purna Devi (Gupta). Her early childhood finds her in a traditional and extremely conservative family at Vrindaban Basu Lane amongst a large number of relatives. Due to the domination of her grandmother who was a staunch supporter of old customs and conservative ideals, the female children of the house were not allowed to go to school. Private tutors were employed only for the boys. It is said that baby Ashapurna used to listen to the readings of her brothers sitting opposite to them and that was how she learnt the alphabets.

Ashapurna's father Harendra Nath Gupta was a famous artist of the time who used to work for the C. Lazarus & Co. fine furniture makers as a designer, Sarola Sundari, Ashapurna's mother came from a very enlightened family who was a great book lover. It was her "intensive thirst" for reading classics and story books which was transmitted to Ashapurna and her sisters in their early age.

Due to shortage of space Harendra Nath shifted his own family to a new house at 157/1A, Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road (beside Khanna Cinema Hall), which provided freedom to Sarola Sundari and her daughters to read more and more according to their heart's desire. To satisfy Sarola Sundari's tremendous urge of reading there had been a continuous flow of various books and magazines from the different libraries of the time. As there was no dearth of leisure for the daughters and no bar to reading adult books from a very early age. Ashapurna and her sisters had built up a love-relationship with books. Though Ashapurna had no formal education as such, she was no less self-educated.

The period in which Ashapurna was growing up was socially and politically a restless one. It was a time of nationalist agitation and awakening. Though the children of Harendra Nath did not have direct contact with the outside world, they were quite sensitive to the restlessness going on throughout the country led by Mahatma Gandhi; and other political leaders who were ready to sacrifice their lives to bring independence. Thus different factors were responsible for nourishing specific culture which guided Ashapurna from her early childhood to youth, and carried her to a definite platform through various experiences and ideals of life.

According to Ashapurna –she and her sisters used to compete with each other by composing and reciting poems. This gave rise to an unusual tenacity which inspired Ashapurna to send a poem to Sishu Sathi secretly to the then editor Rajkumar Chakravorty for publishing. The year was 1922, Ashapurna was thirteen and the name of the poem was "Bairer Dak"(The Call from the Outside). The poem was not only published, there was request from the editor to send more poems and stories. That was the beginning which developed into a never-ending flourish for Ashapurna culminating into a permanent place for her into the realm of literature.

Ashapurna got married in 1924 when she was just fifteen. She had to go to Krishnanagar to her in-law's place leaving behind Calcutta of which she was so fond. She was married to Kalidas Gupta. Since this period we find them changing places quite frequently. Three years later in 1927 the whole family settled in Calcutta for good at first in Ramesh Mitra Rload, Bhowanipur and later in a bigger house at 77 Beltola Road, where they lived till 1960. They had however, to shift with their own family to a separate flat near Golpark together with their only son Sushanta, daughter-in-law Nupur and a granddaughter Shatarupa. Later in 1967 another grand daughter Shatadeepa was added to the family. Finally in 1970 Kalidas Gupta and Ashapurna built their own house in Garia at 17 Kanungo Park. Ashapurna lived there till she died on 13 July 1995.

Along with the normal chores of domestic life Ashapurna was making a room of her own through sheer power of will which realised her a significant place in the world of creative literature.

As mentioned earlier that publication of the poem 'Bairer Dak' marked the beginning of the odyssey of one of the most prolific creative geniuses of Bengali literature to whose credit go 242 novels and novelettes, 37 collection of short stories, 62 books for children. The number of her short stories runs into over 3000.

In the beginning of her writing career Ashapurna wrote only for the children – Chhoto Thakurdar Kashi Yatra was the first printed edition published in 1983, followed by others, one after another throughout her literary career.

In 1936 she first wrote a story for adults – "Patni O Preyoshi" published in the Puja issue of Ananda Bazar Patrika. "Prem O Prayojan" was her first novel for adults published in 1944.

Since this period her writing continued as a never-ending process. Most of her writings marked a spirited protest both for men and women, against the inequality and injustice stemming from the gender-based discrimination and narrowness of outlook for both ingrained in traditional Hindu society, Ashapurna Devi's stories lay threadbare the oppression women have to face and made a fervent appeal for a new social order though not subscribing to the modern theoretical feminism of western mode. Her magnum opus – the trilogy – Pratham Pratishruti (1964), Subarnolata (1967) and Bakul Katha (1974) symbolises an endless struggle for women to achieve equal rights.

Upon her death she was at the peak of fame leaving behind an inexhaustible fund of unique literary creations which gained her respect and appreciation from all her readers. Ashapurna Devi had been widely honoured with a number of prizes and awards, the list of which follows this script.[2]




  1. Aar Ek Ashapurna (Mitra O Ghosh)
  2. Agniparikha (Mitra O Ghosh)
  3. Asha Purna Devir Rachanaboli [in 10 volumes] (Mitra O Ghosh)
  4. Asha Purna Bithika (Nirmal Sahityam)
  5. Anamaniyaa (Karuna Prakashani)
  6. Bakul Katha (Mitra O Ghosh)
  7. Biswas Abiswas (Deb Sahitya Kutir)
  8. Chabibandha Sinduk (Mitra O Ghosh)
  9. Chitrakalpa (Mitra O Ghosh)
  10. Chosma Palte Jai (Deb Sahitya Kutir)
  11. Dibyahasini'r Dinolipi (Mitra O Ghosh)
  12. Drishya Theke Drishyantore (Mitra O Ghosh)
  13. Dwitiyo Adwitiyo (Nirmal Sahityam)
  14. Ei To Sedin (Ananda Publishers)
  15. Kalyani (Nirmal Sahityam)
  16. Ka(n)ta Pukur Lane'r Komola (Deb Sahitya Kutir)
  17. Laghu Tripodi (Puspo)
  18. Lila Chirontan (Mitra O Ghosh)
  19. Nakhyatrer Akash (Nirmal Sahityam)
  20. Noksha Kata Ghor (Karuna Prakashoni)
  21. Pancha Nodir Teere (Pal Publishers)
  22. Prem O Proyojon (Punascha, Nirmal Sahityam)
  23. Priyo Galpo (Nirmal Sahityam)
  24. Prothom Pratisruti (Mitra O Ghosh)
  25. Sashi Babu'r Sangsar (Punascha)
  26. Siri Bhanga Anka (Mitra O Ghosh)
  27. Shrimti Sat(m)a Jibon (Karuna Prakashoni)
  28. Sthan Kaal Patra (Karuna Prakashoni)
  29. Subarnalata (Mitra O Ghosh)
  30. Tin Prohor (Baluchori, Sunglass, Srinkholita) (Nirmal Sahityam)
  31. Trimatrik (Nirmal Sahityam)
  32. V.I.P Bari'r Lok (Karuna Prakashoni)


Her collected works is published from Mitra O Ghosh in 10 volumes.

Rochonaboli #1[edit]

  1. Boloygras
  2. Jogbiyog
  3. Nirjon Prithibi
  4. Charpotra
  5. Prothom Lagna
  6. Samudra Neel Akash Neel
  7. Uttorlipi
  8. Teenchanda
  9. Mukhor Ratri

Rochonaboli #2[edit]

  1. Agni Parikha
  2. Alor Sakhor
  3. Jibon Swad
  4. Aaar Ek Jhor
  5. Nodi Deek Hara
  6. Ekti Sondhya Ekti Sokal
  7. Uttoron
  8. Johuri
  9. Mayajaal
  10. Unpublished Short Stories
  11. Unpublished Non Fictions

Rochonaboli #3[edit]

  1. Premo O Proyojon
  2. Nabajonma
  3. Sashi Babur Sangsar
  4. Unmochon
  5. Bahironga
  6. Begboti
  7. Abohosangeet
  8. Unpublished Short Stories
  9. Unpublished Poetries

Rochonaboli #4[edit]

  1. Nepothyo Nayika
  2. Jonom Jonom ke Sathi
  3. Laghu Tripodi
  4. Du ye Mile Ek (Srinkholita and Sunglass)
  5. Suktisagar
  6. Sukherchabi
  7. Suyoranir Sadh
  8. Surobhi Sopno
  9. Unpublished Short Stories
  10. Unpublished Non Fictions

Rochonaboli #5[edit]

  1. Mayadarpan
  2. Brittopoth
  3. Mittirbari
  4. Atikranto
  5. Sonar Horin
  6. Uro Pakhi
  7. Jugal Bondi
  8. Sesh Raai

Rochonaboli #6[edit]

  1. Kokhono Deen Kokhono Raat
  2. Baluchori
  3. Anobogunthita
  4. Unpublished Short stories

Rochonaboli #7[edit]

  1. Bijoyi Basanta
  2. Ditio Adhyay
  3. Neel Porda
  4. Durer Janla
  5. Juganter Jobonika Pare
  6. Dui Meru
  7. Unpublished Short stories

Rochonaboli #8[edit]

  1. Prothom Pratisruti (First Part)
  2. Polatok Sainik
  3. Pratikhar Bagan
  4. Jhinuk e Sei Tara
  5. Unpublished Short stories

Rochonaboli #9[edit]

  1. Prothom Pratishruti (Last Part)
  2. Subarnalata

Rochonaboli #10[edit]

  1. Bakul Katha
  2. Balir Niche Dhew
  3. Unpublished Short stories

Works for younger readers[edit]

  1. Aloy Adityer IcchaPatra Rahosyo (Ananda Publishers, 1995)
  2. Amorabatir Antorale (1994)
  3. Byaparta Ki Holo (1993)
  4. Bhaggi Juddho Bedhechilo (1986)
  5. Bhagyolakhi Lotarry (1990)
  6. Bhitore Ki Chilo (1985)
  7. Bhuture Kukur (1982)
  8. Bolber Moto Noi (1987)
  9. Cha(j)jone Mile (1979)
  10. Chutite Chotachuti (1982)
  11. Chotoder Srestho Golpo (1955)
  12. Chotoder Shresto Golpo (1981)
  13. Chotto Thakurdar Kashijatra (1938)
  14. Chotoder Bhalo Bhalo Golpo (1962)
  15. Dakaat r Kobole Ami (1972)
  16. Dibbosundarer Dibbogayan luv (1988)
  17. Doshti Kishore Uponyas (Ananda Publishers)
  18. Durer Basi (1978)
  19. Ek Kuri Golpo (1988)
  20. Ek Samudra onek Dheu (1963)
  21. Eker Modhe Teen (1991)
  22. Gaja Ukil Er Hatya Rahasya (Ananda Publishers,1979)
  23. Golpo Bhalo Aber Bolo (1958)
  24. Golpo Holo Suru (1955)
  25. Golper Moto Golpo (1961)
  26. Half- Holiday (1941)
  27. Hasir Golpo (1967)
  28. Jibon Kalir Pakka Hiseb (1985)
  29. Jugalratno Tiktiki Office (1992)
  30. Kanakdeep (1962)
  31. Karapaker Pakchakra (Karuna Prakashani, 1997)
  32. Kato Kando Railgarite (1985)
  33. Kishore Amonibaas (1986)
  34. Kishore Bachai Golpo (1999)
  35. Kisor Sahityo Samagro (1983)
  36. Kishore Sahitya Samagro (1–3) (Mitra O Ghosh)
  37. Kisor Sahityo Samvar (1980)
  38. Kopal Khule Gelo Naki (1992)
  39. Kumkum (Deb Sahitya Kutir,1970)
  40. Majarumama (1992)
  41. Manikchand O Aro Choddo (1992)
  42. Manuser Mato Manus (1986)
  43. Mon Thaklei Mon Kamon (1996)
  44. Nije Bujhe Nin (1987)
  45. Nikharchai Amod (1982)
  46. Onara Thakbeni (1982)
  47. Pa(n)ch Bhuter Goppo (Punascha, 1990)
  48. Panchasti Kishore Galpo (Nirmal Sahityam)
  49. Pakhi Theke Hati (1983)
  50. Planchet(Karuna Prakashani,1999)
  51. Poyela Doshra (1992)
  52. Rajkumarer Poshake (Ananda Publishers, 1975)
  53. Rahasyer Sandhaane (Nirmal Sahityam, 1981)
  54. Raja Noi Rani Noi (1959)
  55. Rajai Golpo (1976)
  56. Rani Mayabatir Antardhyan Rahosyo (1993)
  57. Ro(n)gin Molat (1941)
  58. Sakaler Sapno (1994)
  59. Sarojanter Nayak (1992)
  60. Satyi Amod (1992)
  61. Sei Sob Golpo (1967)
  62. Sera Baro (1988)
  63. Sera Rahasyo Samvar (1984)
  64. Shanirbachito Chotoder Shesto Golpo (1996)
  65. Shono Shono Golpo Shono (Deb Sahitya Kutir, 1956)

Stories published in children's magazines[edit]

  • Anko Sir o Mozart [Sarodiya Anondomela, 1995]
  • Bhagye Thakle Kina Hoi [Uponyas]
  • Bishe Bishkhay
  • Bhut Namaibar Sahoj Podhdhoti [Sarodiya Anondomela, 1986]
  • Chutite Chotachuti [Uponyas,Sarodiya Anondomela, 1981]
  • Ghya(N)ch Kore
  • Kagaj To Paro Na [Sarodiya Anondomela, 1985]
  • Kichhu Korena Kichhu Korbe Na [Agomoni, Deb Sahitya Kutir]
  • Matra Ekkhana Than Eet
  • Muskil Asan er Kolkathi [Sarodiya Anondomela, 1989]
  • Parar chhele [Sarodiya Anondomela, 1987]
  • Swapner Railgari [Boro Golpo, Sarodiya Anondomela, 1983]
  • Tibboti Lamar Coffin [Sarodiya Anondomela, 1993]

Pakhik Anondomela Golpo Sankalan[edit]

  • Tiktiki, Ateendriyo Shakti o Bedanto Bardhan [11 January 1989,illustration – Krishnendu Chaki]
  • Kopaal'er Naam Gopaal [9 June 1993,illustration – Debashish Deb]
  • Mojaru-Mama [17 October 1984, illustration – Anup Roy]
  • Ninkhonj Niruddesh Hote Gele [7 January 1987, illustration – Krishnendu Chaki]

PujaBarshiki Anondomela Golpo Sankalan[edit]

  • Bahadur [Sarodiya Anondomela, 1971]
  • Hoito Eirokomi [Sarodiya Anondomela, 1992]
  • Char Buror Adda [Sarodiya Anondomela, 1996]

Kishore Uponyas (preteen novels)[edit]

  • Raajkumar Er Poshake [Anandomela]
  • Gaja Ukil Er Hotya Rohosya [Anandomela]
  • Bhuture Kukur [Anandomela]
  • Lonka Morich O Ek Mohamanab [Pakhyik Anandamela, March 1983]
  • Manusher Moto Manush [Sharodiya Kishormon]
  • Chara Pute Gelen Nantu Pise [Pakhyik Anandamela, 1987]
  • Bomar Cheye Bisham[Sharodiya Kishor Bharati]
  • Somuddur Dekha [Sharodiya Kishor Bharati, 1988]
  • Aloy Adityer Iccha Potro Rohosyo [Anandomela]
  • Harano Theke Prapti [Anandamela]

Television adaption[edit]

Her novel "Baluchori" was adapted as a TV serial in Deepto TV named Aparajita.


External links[edit]