Toru Dutt

Toru Dutt was born on March 4, 1856, in Calcutta, to father Govin Chunder Dutt and mother Kshetramoni. Toru was the youngest child, arriving after sister Aru and brother Abju (who died in 1865). Their cousin was the poet and civil servant Romesh Chunder Dutt. Both girls honed their English and French during a four-year residence in England and France, starting in 1869 at the French School at Nice, then in London in 1870, where The Dutt Family Album was published, and last in Cambridge in 1871, where the sisters attended the "Higher Lectures for Women." The family returned in September 1873 to their city house in Rambagan and their garden residence at Baugmaree. Toru produced her first volume of poetry, A Sheaf, in 1876: it held 165 translations from French writers, eight by her sister Aru and the rest by herself, including "My Vocation" by Jean-Pierre de Béranger. After her best friend and sister Aru died of consumption on July 23, 1874, Toru determined to make a "sheaf" of poems for her native culture and proceeded to acquire Sanskrit in 1875-76. Though ill herself, she wrote her Ancient Ballads and Legends at this time. She died on August 30, 1877, also of consumption, and is buried at C. M. S. Cemetery in Calcutta. Her father ensured that her manuscripts -- two novels, one in English and one in French, as well as her new "sheaf" -- were published in London and Paris.

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