Rassundari Devi

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Rassundari Devi
Born 1810
Pabna, Bengal British India
Died 1890
Occupation Writer
Language Bengali
Nationality Indian Bengali
Citizenship Indian (British India)

Rassundari Devi (Bengali: রাসসুন্দরী দেবী) was a Bengali writer who is identified as the author of first full-fledged autobiography[1] in modern Bengali literature. She is among the earliest woman writers in Bengali literature.

She was born in west Bengal and the first Indian woman to write an autobiography and the first Bengali to write an autobiography.[citation needed] Aamar Jiban (My Life), her autobiography, was published in 1876.[2]

She was the first woman in India who studied the history of India.[citation needed]


Rassundari was born in 1810 in the village of Potajia.[2] Her father, Padmalochan Roy, died when Rassundari was a small child. She never saw her father and was raised by her mother and relatives. She attended a school run by a missionary woman in her father's house, where boys also studied. Rassundari attended the school for a brief period and learned some Bangla and Persian.

At age 12 she married Nilmani Roy from Ramdia village, Rajbari, Faridpur.[3] She was a religious Vaishnavite by faith. With limited formal schooling, she learned to read driven by Bhakti (devotion), out of her keen desire to read Valmiki Purana and Chaitanya Bhagavata.[citation needed] She bore 12 children, of whom 7 died early. Her surviving children were Bepin Behari Sarkar, Dwarka Nath Sarkar, Kishori Lal Sarkar, Pratap Chandra Sarkar and Shyamasundary. Her husband died in 1868.[4] Her son Kishori Lal Sarkar became an advocate at Calcutta High Court and is the author of several noteworthy works.[5] Rassundari died in 1890.


In 1876 Rassundari's autobiography Amar Jiban (My Life) was published. The book is in two parts, the first of which, consisting of sixteen shorter compositions narrated her autobiography. The second part, published in 1906, contained fifteen shorter compositions, each repceded by a dedicatory poem.[6]

Jyotirindranath Tagore praised the book for the 'wonderful train of events' and its 'simple sweetness' of expression.[citation needed] Dinesh Chandra Sen called her prose an 'epitome of simple prose compositions of the bygone era'.[7] Her book was translated into Hindi as Mera Jeevan.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Deepa Bandopadhyay. "নারীর লেখা নারীর কথা". 
  2. ^ a b Tharu, Susie J.; Lalita, Ke (1991-01-01). Women Writing in India: 600 B.C. to the early twentieth century. Feminist Press at CUNY. p. 190. ISBN 9781558610279. 
  3. ^ ফরিদ আহমেদ. "পিঞ্জরাবদ্ধ এক বিহঙ্গীর ডানা ঝাপটানোর গল্প।". 
  4. ^ Amin, Sonia (2003). "Dasi, Rassundari". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (First ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. Archived from the original on 16 March 2008. 
  5. ^ Hindu system of moral science (1895, 3rd revised and enlarged ed. 1912), Hindu system of religious science and art, or the revelations of rationalism and emotionalism (1898), Hindu system of self-culture of the Patanjala Yoga Shastra (1902), Mimansa rules of interpretation as applied to Hindu law (1909), An introduction to the Hindu system of physics, being an exposition of Kanad-Sûtras relating to the subject (1911).
  6. ^ Tharu, Susie J.; Lalita, Ke (1991-01-01). Women Writing in India: 600 B.C. to the early twentieth century. Feminist Press at CUNY. p. 191. ISBN 9781558610279. 
  7. ^ Dinesh Chandra Sen. Vanga Sahitya Parichaya or Selections from the Bengali Literature: Volume II. Calcutta.