Kamala Das passes away

Kamala Das passes away

Well-known Indian writer Kamala Das Suraiya, who courted controversy with her unorthodox views, died here on Sunday.

She was 75 and is survived by three sons.

The Malayalam writer and poetess, who earned fame for her works in English, breathed her last in a city hospital where she had been admitted on April 18 following a complaint of respiratory distress.

Kamala, winner of many national and international literary awards, had settled down in the city a few years ago, leading a secluded life.

Known for her frank and explicit expression on matters of sexuality, Kamala focused on love, betrayal and the resultant agony in her writings that unsettled the orthodox readers.

Kamala hit the headlines when, though born in a conservative Hindu Nair family in Kerala with a royal lineage, she embraced Islam in 1999 at the age of 65, assuming the name Kamala Suraiya.

The conversion, just as the themes of her stories, generated much heat and dust in social and literary circles.

The writer who loved to tread the unorthodox path, had also made a foray into politics and floated 'Lok Seva Party' aiming at social and humanitarian work, providing asylum to orphaned mothers and to promote secularism. She unsuccessfully contested a Lok Sabha election in 1984.

A prolific author who was widely acclaimed for her short stories and novels in Malayalam, Kamala also became famous for her poetry in English that won her many international awards.

Her books in English include 'Summer in Calcutta', 'The Descendants', 'The Old Playhouse', 'Alphabet of Lust', 'My story' (Autobiography), etc.

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