Rashsundari Debi (Bengali: রাসসুন্দরী দেবী) was a Bengali writer who is identified as the author of first full-fledged autobiography in modern Bengali literature. She is among the earliest woman writers in Bengali literature.
Rashsundari Debi was born in West Bengal and the first Indian woman to write an autobiography and the first Bengali to write an autobiography. Aamar Jiban (My Life), her autobiography, was published in 1876.
She was the first woman in India who studied the history of India.
Rashsundari was born in 1809 in the village of Potajia. Her father, Padmalochan Roy, died when Rashsundari was a small child. She never saw her father and was raised by her mother and relatives. She attended a school run by a missionary woman in her father's house, where boys also studied. Rashsundari attended the school for a brief period and learned some Bangla and Persian.
At age 12 she married Sitanath Ray from Ramdia village, Rajbari, Faridpur. She was a religious Vaishnavite by faith. With limited formal schooling, she learned to read driven by Bhakti (devotion), out of her keen desire to read Valmiki Purana and Chaitanya Bhagavata. She bore 12 children, of whom 7 died early. Her surviving children were Bepin Behari Sarkar, Dwarka Nath Sarkar, Kishori Lal Sarkar, Pratap Chandra Sarkar and Shyamasundary. Her husband died in 1868. Her son Kishori Lal Sarkar became an advocate at Calcutta High Court and is the author of several noteworthy works. Rassundari died in 1890.
In 1876 Rassundari's autobiography Amar Jiban (My Life) was published. The book is in two parts, the first of which, consisting of sixteen shorter compositions narrated her autobiography. The second part, published in 1906, contained fifteen shorter compositions, each repceded by a dedicatory poem.
Jyotirindranath Tagore praised the book for the 'wonderful train of events' and its 'simple sweetness' of expression. Dinesh Chandra Sen called her prose an 'epitome of simple prose compositions of the bygone era'. Her book was translated into Hindi as Mera Jeevan.