Mother of 1084
Mother of 1084 is one of Mahasweta Devi’s most widely read works, written during the height of the Naxalite agitation—a militant communist uprising in the 1960s–70s that was brutally repressed by the West Bengal government, leading to the widespread murder of young rebels across the state. The novel focuses on the trauma of a mother who awakens one morning to the shattering news that her son is lying dead in the police morgue, reduced to a mere numeral: Corpse No. 1084. Through her struggle to understand his revolutionary commitment as a Naxalite, she recognizes her own alienation—as a woman and a wife—from the complacent, hypocritical, and corrupt feudal society her son had so fiercely rebelled against.
‘Mahasweta Devi’s best-known novel—Hajar Churashir Ma in the original—is a heartbreaking and yet coldly analytical story of a loving mother who is suddenly informed of her grown-up son’s death. . . . Crisp and incisive in capturing the thought processes of a generation and the turmoil in the cosy construct of the middle-class family, Mother of 1084 is still a truly moving human document.’—Scroll
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