Ashapurna Devi
Born(1909-01-08)8 January 1909
Potoldanga, Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India
Died12 July 1995(1995-07-12) (aged 86)
Calcutta, West Bengal, India
OccupationNovelist, poet
Notable worksProthom Protishruti
Bakul Katha
Notable awardsJnanpith Award
Padma Shri
Sahitya Akademi Fellowship

Ashapurna Devi (8 January 1909 – 12 July 1995),[1] also Ashapoorna Devi or Ashapurna Debi, was a prominent Indian novelist and poet in Bengali. In 1976, she was awarded the Jnanpith Award and Padma Shri by the Government of India,[2] D.Litt. by the Universities of Jabalpur, Rabindra Bharati, Burdwan and Jadavpur. Vishwa Bharati University honoured her with Deshikottam in 1989. For her contribution as a novelist and short story writer, the Sahitya Akademi conferred its highest honour, the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship, in 1994.[3]


Ashapurna Devi was born in a Baidya family on 8 January 1909 in North Calcutta. Her birth name was Asha Purna Devi (Gupta). Her early childhood was spent in a traditional and extremely conservative family. Female children of the house were not allowed to go to school. Private tutors were employed only for the boys.[4] It is said that as a baby Ashapurna used to listen to the readings of her brothers sitting opposite to them and that was how she learnt the alphabets.[5] Though Ashapurna had no formal education as such, she was self-educated.[6]

Ashapurna's father Harendra Nath Gupta was a famous artist of the time who worked for furniture makers C. Lazarus & Co. as a designer. Ashapurna's mother Sarola Sundari was a great lover of books.[7] It was her "intensive thirst" for reading classics and story books which was transmitted to Ashapurna and her sisters in their early age.[8]

Due to shortage of space, Harendra Nath shifted his family to a new house at 157/1B Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road (beside the Khanna Cinema Hall), which provided freedom to Sarola Sundari and her daughters to read according to their heart's desires. To satisfy Sarola Sundari's tremendous urge of reading there had been a continuous flow of books and magazines from the 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 built a love-relationship with books.[9] The period in which Ashapurna was raised was socially and politically restless, 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 the 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.[10]

According to Ashapurna, she and her sisters used to compete with each other by composing and reciting poems. This inspired Ashapurna to secretly send a poem to Sishu Sathi in 1922. Ashapurna was thirteen and her poem "Bairer Dak" (The Call from the Outside) was published.[11] She also received a request from editor Rajkumar Chakravorty 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 Bengali literature.[12]

Ashapurna was sent to be married in 1924 when she was 15, leaving Calcutta for her betrothed's family residence in Krishnanagar. She was married to Kalidas Gupta, and the couple moved frequently as they established themselves. In 1927 they settled in Calcutta where they lived until 1960. They then had to shift to a separate flat near Golpark with their only son Sushanta, daughter-in-law Nupur, and a granddaughter Shatarupa. Later, in 1967, another granddaughter, Shatadeepa, was added to the family. In 1970, Kalidas Gupta and Ashapurna built their own house in Garia at 17 Kanungo Park. Ashapurna lived there until she died on 13 July 1995.[13]

In the beginning of her writing career, Ashapurna wrote only for children – Chhoto Thakurdar Kashi Yatra (Great Uncle Goes to Varanasi) was the first printed edition published in 1938, followed by others 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. Her magnum opus, the trilogy Pratham Pratishruti (1964), Subarnolata (1967) and Bakul Katha (1974), symbolises an endless struggle for women to achieve equal rights.[14] According to Somak Ghoshal, writing for Mint, "Ashapurna Devi wrote about women and men whose lives were claustrophobically restricted by social, economic and psychological conditions."[15]

Upon her death, she had been widely honoured with a number of prizes and awards.[16] In January 2009, Doordarshan broadcast a documentary about her, and a two-day event was organized to celebrate what would have been her 101st birthday.[17]



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  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, 1974)
  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, 1964)
  25. Sashi Babu'r Sangsar (Punascha)
  26. Siri Bhanga Anka (Mitra O Ghosh)
  27. Shrimti Sat(m)a Jibon (Karuna Prakashani)
  28. Sthan Kaal Patra (Karuna Prakashani)
  29. Subarnalata (Mitra O Ghosh, 1967)
  30. Tin Prohor (Baluchori, Sunglass, Srinkholita) (Nirmal Sahityam)
  31. Trimatrik (Nirmal Sahityam)
  32. V.I.P Bari'r Lok (Karuna Prakashani)


Her rochonaboli (collected works) are published in 10 volumes from publisher Mitra O Ghosh.

Rochonaboli, Vol. 1[edit]

  1. "Boloygras" (1952)
  2. "Jog Biyog" (1953)
  3. "Nirjon Prithibi" (1956)
  4. "Charpotra" (1960)
  5. "Prothom Lagna"
  6. "Samudra Neel Akash Neel" (1960)
  7. "Uttorlipi" (1960)
  8. "Teenchanda"
  9. "Mukhor Ratri" (1961)

Rochonaboli, Vol. 2[edit]

  1. "Agni Parikha" (1952)
  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-fiction

Rochonaboli, Vol. 3[edit]

  1. Prem O Prayojan (1944)
  2. "Nabajonma" (1960)
  3. Sashi Babu'r Sangsar (1956)
  4. "Unmochon" (1957)
  5. "Bahironga"
  6. "Begboti"
  7. "Abohosangeet"
  8. unpublished short stories
  9. unpublished poetries

Rochonaboli, Vol. 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-fiction

Rochonaboli, Vol. 5[edit]

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

Rochonaboli, Vol. 6[edit]

  1. Kokhono Deen Kokhono Raat
  2. Baluchori
  3. Anobogunthita
  4. unpublished short stories

Rochonaboli, Vol. 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, Vol. 8[edit]

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

Rochonaboli, Vol. 9[edit]

  1. Prothom Pratishruti (Last Part) (1964)
  2. Subarnalata (1967)

Rochonaboli, Vol. 10[edit]

  1. Bakul Katha (1974)
  2. "Balir Niche Dhew"
  3. unpublished short stories

Works for younger readers

  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. Majarumama (1992)
  40. Manikchand O Aro Choddo (1992)
  41. Manuser Mato Manus (1986)
  42. Mon Thaklei Mon Kamon (1996)
  43. Nije Bujhe Nin (1987)
  44. Nikharchai Amod (1982)
  45. Onara Thakbeni (1982)
  46. Pa(n)ch Bhuter Goppo (Punascha, 1990)
  47. Panchasti Kishore Galpo (Nirmal Sahityam)
  48. Pakhi Theke Hati (1983)
  49. Planchet (Karuna Prakashani, 1999)
  50. Poyela Doshra (1992)
  51. Rajkumarer Poshake (Ananda Publishers, 1975)
  52. Rahasyer Sandhaane (Nirmal Sahityam, 1981)
  53. Raja Noi Rani Noi (1959)
  54. Rajai Golpo (1976)
  55. Rani Mayabatir Antardhyan Rahosyo (1993)
  56. Ro(n)gin Molat (1941)
  57. Sakaler Sapno (1994)
  58. Sarojanter Nayak (1992)
  59. Satyi Amod (1992)
  60. Sei Sob Golpo (1967)
  61. Sera Baro (1988)
  62. Sera Rahasyo Samvar (1984)
  63. Shanirbachito Chotoder Shesto Golpo (1996)
  64. Shono Shono Golpo Shono (Deb Sahitya Kutir, 1956)

Stories published in children's magazines

Pakhik Anondomela Golpo Sankalan

PujaBarshiki Anondomela Golpo Sankalan

Kishore Uponyas (preteen novels)

Works translated to English

Television and film adaptions

Her novel Baluchori was adapted as a TV serial on Deepto TV named Aparajita. Subarnalata (TV series) on Zee Bangla and Prothom Protisshruti on Colors Bangla were adaptations of her novels by the same name. Devi's 1953 novel Jog Biyog inspired a number of films in various Indian languages.[21] The 1954 Bengali film Agni Pariksha was based on her novel by the same name.[22] The movie was simultaneously made into a 1959 Telugu - Tamil bilingual titled Mangalya Balam in Telugu and Manjal Mahimai in Tamil.[23] Later it was remade in Hindi in 1967 as Chhoti Si Mulaqat.[24]

The 1976 film Tapasya, produced by Tarachand Barjatya, was based on one of her stories.[25] Director Suman Mukhopadhyay adapted her story Chuti Nakoch into the Hindi feature film Nazarband, which premiered at the New York Indian Film Festival in 2021.[26][27]


  1. ^ "Ashapoorna Devi - Library of Congress". Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  2. ^ Chakravarti, Deepshikha (25 August 2020). "15 Indian Women Short Story Writers You Should Read". SheThePeople.TV. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  3. ^ [1] Archived 13 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Ghosh 2004, pp. 1–3.
  5. ^ Ghosh 2004, pp. 1–3.
  6. ^ Ghosh 2004, pp. 7–9.
  7. ^ Ghosh 2004, pp. 4–6.
  8. ^ Ghosh 2004, pp. 4–6.
  9. ^ Ghosh 2004, pp. 7–9.
  10. ^ Ghosh 2004, pp. 10–12.
  11. ^ Ghosh 2004, pp. 13–16.
  12. ^ Ghosh 2004, pp. 13–16.
  13. ^ Ghosh 2004, pp. 17–18.
  14. ^ [2] Archived 28 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Ghoshal, Somak (25 January 2014). "Jhumpa Lahiri - The lives of others". Mint. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  16. ^ [3] Archived 28 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Bengal gears up to pay homage to Ashapurna Devi". The Indian Express. Express News Service. 28 December 2008. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  18. ^ "Jnanpith Laureates Official listings". Jnanpith Website. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007.
  19. ^ Ganguly, Srijani (29 May 2016). "Ashapurna Debi's Matchbox is about ordinary lives". India Today. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  20. ^ "A short conversation about Ashapurna Debi / Ipshita Mitra". RIC Journal. 19 February 2019.
  21. ^ "Tamil cinema's bong connection". Times of India Blog. 23 April 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2022.
  22. ^ Narasimham, M. L. (8 October 2015). "Mangalyabalam (1959)". The Hindu. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  23. ^ Narasimham, M. L. (8 October 2015). "Mangalyabalam(1959)". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 5 July 2020. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  24. ^ Ganguly, Ruman. "Remakes of Bengali films: What's new in this trend? - Times of India". The Times of India.
  25. ^ Malhorta, A.P.S. (8 January 2015). "Tapasya (1976)". The Hindu. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  26. ^ "Suman's first Hindi feature on Ashapurna Devi's story". Times of India. TNN. 17 September 2018. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  27. ^ "Wanted to focus on the marginality of characters in Nazarband, says Suman Mukhopadhyay". Cinestaan. 4 June 2021. Archived from the original on 25 June 2021. Retrieved 21 June 2021.