Kabita Sinha

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Kabita Sinha
Born 1931
Died 1998
Nationality Indian
Occupation Poet, Novelist
Spouse(s) Bimal Roy Choudhury

Kabita Sinha, (b. Kolkata,1931–1998), Bengali poet, novelist, feminist and radio director. She is noted for her modernist stance, rejecting the traditional housebound role for Bengali women, a theme echoed later in the work of other poets including Mallika Sengupta and Taslima Nasrin.


Born into a literary family, she started writing as a child. In 1951, while a student of Botany at the Presidency College, Calcutta, she married author and editor Bimal Roy Choudhury, against the wishes of her family. A rebellious spirit, she was involved in dissidence movements in the 1950s.

In the process, she never finished her bachelor's degree - this she would complete many years later, from Asutosh College. She worked for some years as a schoolteacher before joining the West Bengal government as an editor. In 1965 she joined All India Radio and was at one point station director at Darbhanga, Bihar. In 1966 she started the poetry magazine dainik kabitA with her husband.

In 1981, she was invited to the Iowa International writer's workshop.

In the 1980s she launched a number of programs involving the youth in All India Radio.

Literary career[edit]

Although Kabita Sinha is primarily known for her poetry, it was as a novelist that she first entered Bengali literature. Her first novel, chArjan rAgI JubatI (four angry young women) was published in 1956. This was followed by ekTi khArAp meyer galpa (story of a bad girl, 1958), nAyikA pratinAyikA (heroine, anti-heroine, 1960).

In the meantime, she was also writing poetry in various magazines, but her first volume of poetry, sahaj sundarI (easy beauty), was published only in 1965. The 1976 collection kavitA paramesvarI (poetry goddess) became particularly well known.

Many of her poems address the woman's place vis-a-vis man in poems like AjIban pAthar pratimA (stone goddess, all my life), Iswarke Eve (Eve speaks to God),[1] or apamAner janya fire Asi (because I crave your insults).

Other collections include hariNAbairI (enemy deer, 1985), and her shreShTa kabitA (selected poems) which came out in 1987.[2]

A novel on eunuchs, pauruSh (lit. manliness, English title: The Third Sex, 1984), won the Nathmal Bhualka award in 1986.

In total, she published nearly fifty books, including some under the pen name Sultana Choudhury. She has been anthologized in a wide range of poetry collections, and has also been widely translated.


  1. ^ Translation by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
  2. ^ Book Excerptise: kabitA siMher shreShTha kabitA. Three poems in bAnglA. English translation for apamAner janya fire Asi

Further reading[edit]

  • Susie J. Tharu, K. Lalita, Women Writing in India: The twentieth century, v.2, CUNY Press, 1993. Includes Pritish Nandy's translation of Ishwarke Eve.
  • the unsevered tongue: modern poetry by Bengali women, tr. Amitabha Mukerjee, Nandimukh Sangsad Kolkata 2005. Includes bilingual translations of apamAner janya fire Asi, nA, Excerpts