Toru Dutta was a literary product of the 19th century Bengali Renaissance. Her family happened to be one of the few converts to Christianity in Bengal at the time of orthodox Hinduism. That was a well known family of Rambagan in North Calcutta. Toru Dutta was born in her ancestral residence in Rambagan on the 4th March, 1856. She was the youngest daughter of her father, Govind Chandra Dutta, a highly placed Indian officer. Her childhood passed with her elder sister, Aru Dutta, at her father’s garden house in the city of her birth. She was only six, when her family was baptized, in 1862. Along with her parents and sister Aru, she remained a devout Christian.

Toru Dutta, despite her rigorous attachment to her Christian faith, never alienated herself from the epical and mythological accounts and legends of the Hindu religion. She was, in fact, much inspired by them and their echoes were heard in her literary creations. In fact, she had a poetic sensibility and a romantic yearning, both of which were found expressed in her poetical works, not voluminous, but impressive enough.

Toru Dutta, as one of the first Indian women, went abroad in 1870 and visited France and England. Along with her sister Aru, she mastered the French language in a short time during her stay in France. She became competent enough to write original works in that language.

Toru Dutta, like Derozio, did not live up to maturity. She was a little more than twenty-one when she died in Calcutta on August 30, 1877.

Toru Dutta remains a notable name among the Indian poets in English, particularly for her poetical collection A Sheaf Gleaned in French Fields, published in 1876. The work brought her to fame, of course posthumously, because she did not live to see and enjoy her recognition as a Bengali poetess in English.



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