Her book Sketches from My Past : Encounters with India's Oppressed (translated by Neera Kuckreja) is a powerful collection of real-life portraits of oppressed women and other deprived members of society. From the jacket: " Her intimate and affectionate sketches of women, men and children she personally knew, reveal her compassion for the desperate plight of the disinherited poor in India, as well as her intense rage at those who exploit women and the dispossessed. Whether it is Binda, the lonely orphan girl victimised by her step-mother; Bhabi the emotionally and physically abused child widow barred from any contact with the outside world; or Sabiya the poor sweeper woman deserted by her husband shortly before the birth of their child, the subjects of Mahadevi's memoir convey her universalist vision to resurrect the inner dignity of "these wounded and mauled lives". Her compelling memoir transcends the borders of culture and time."
Forge a feminist path. A profile from indiatogether.org.
Here is an example of her work, along with its english translation. Its called "tum mujhme priya, phie parichay kya(Why an introduction, since you are within me)
Tum mujhme priya, phir parichay kya, tarak mein chhavi, praano.N mein smriti, palako.N mein neerav pad ki gati, laghu ur mein pulako.n ki sansriti, bhar laayi h.Un teri chanchal, aur karoo.N jag mein sanchay kya! Why an introduction dear, you are within me, reflections on starry nights, memories of a life, creations of life in short spells, eyes notice creations of life in short spells, eyes notice gentle footsteps! I don't much to treasure anymore, you are the treasure I have in me. Tera mukh sahaas arunoday, parchhaayi rajani vishaadmay, wah jaagrati, wah nee.Nd swapnamay, khel-khel, thak-thak sone de, main samjhoo.Ngi srishti pralay kya!! Your dazzling, radiant smile like sunrise Is the reflection of fragrant sorrow, it is consciousness, and dreamy slumber, Let me tire and sleep incessantly, for Would I understand the creation, big-bang!! Chitrit tu, main hoo.N rekha- kram, madhur raag tu, main swar-sangam, tu aseem main seema ka bhram, kaaya-chhaya mein rahasmay, preyasi priyatam ka abhinay kya!! You are drawn, I am just an outline, you are the sweet melody, I am just a string of notes, you are limitless, I am but an illusion of limits, In the secrecy of real image-reflection, why enact to be lovers!!! Tum mujhme priya, phir parichay kya!!! Why an introduction, since you are within me.
South Asian Women authors