It was under the vision and leadership of Late Smt. Maitreyi Devi (1914 – 1990), writer, poet, social activist, and Tagore protégé, that Khelaghar as an institution took shape. She invested most of her later life to building an institution, fashioned on the ideals of Tagore, which would provide a safe and nurturing environment for children from less privileged homes. She dedicated her life to create, groom, and sustain a dynamic organization that to this day strives to make a positive difference in the lives of these children.
Daughter of eminent philosopher and Sanskrit scholar Surendranath Dasgupta, Maitreyi Devi was born in 1914. Her family’s association with the great poet himself exposed the young Maitreyi Devi to a world of literature. She wrote her first book of verse at the tender age of sixteen, with a preface by Rabindranath Tagore himself. She was greatly inspired by Tagore, and their relationship is well documented. Their association has been captured through various letter correspondences and Tagore is also noted to have been hosted a few times at her house in Mongpu, Kalimpong, on which she has subsequently authored books.
As a renowned social activist, she has traveled widely, lecturing at international universities & seminars and touring several countries on the invitation. She founded the Council for the Promotion of Communal Harmony in 1964 in the backdrop of the growing comunal tension in the country at that time. During the Bangladesh war in 1971, she was a frequent visitor to refugee camps at the border to organize and facilitate relief work. It was this sustained involvement with displaced people that gave birth to her dream of creating a safe home and haven for less-fortunate children, a mission that she dedicated her later life towards.
Maitreyi Devi is also well known as a poet and novelist. Her publications include books of travel, philosophy, social reform and poetry. Her works have also been translated into different languages. Her semi-autobiographical novel ‘Na Hanyate‘ catapulted her to international fame and recognition. She was a recipient of the prestigious Sahitya Academy award for the same in 1974 and she was awarded the coveted award of Padmashree in 1977.
Khelaghar is a residential institution and training center that caters to children from marginalized communities in and around West Bengal.
Shri Ashis Kumar Ray
Khelaghar, Dhalipara Road, Village & P.O.- Badu, 24 Parganas (North), West Bengal, 700128 India.
(91)-983-001-0345 (M) / 7764081795-Chaitali Chakraborty -
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